Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: May 23, 2005

AMERICAN EXPRESS named Cruise Planners/American Express as a winner of its

Representative Excellence award. Agency members selected for the award will be recognized with a five-day trip to County Kerry, Ireland, as guests of the Park Hotel Kenmare in June. Cruise Planners, based in Coral Gables, Fla., is a franchise operation that has many home-based members. It became affiliated with American Express last year.

THE AWARD honors the accomplishments of members of the American Express USRepresentative Travel Network who have achieved superior sales results in support of preferred cruise and tour suppliers. Cruise Planners had $85 million in sales in 2004. Of that amount, 74%, or $62 million, consisted of sales of American Express's preferred suppliers. Most American Express preferred suppliers also are Cruise Planners preferred suppliers, a spokesman for Cruise Planners said.

CRUISE UNIVERSITY is gearing up for its Oct. 2 educational program that will immediately follow CLIAs 360 conference in Port Everglades, Fla. The featured expert on agency operations will be industry veteran Marc Mancini, who has presented seminars and workshops for many travel industry associations. Dave Stockert from Holland America also will be on the program, teaching agents how to find ways to sell more cruises. He is the author of " 101 Ways to Increase Cruise Sales."

CHARLIE DUBINSKY, president of Cruise University, said the organization is developing new educational classes for agents who attend Cruise University.

"We are also in talks with vendors to add benefits to graduates of Cruise University such as congratulation letters, bonus commission, special trips, contests and more," he said. Details about the October event are online at





Departures: Oct. 25 and Nov. 22 from Athens, land only

Length: Four nights

Sponsor: Sterling Vacations, Austin, Texas

Cost: $549 per person, double. Includes roundtrip air from Athens to Limassol, Cyprus; hotel accommodations; some meals and sightseeing

Trip: Spends one night in Athens and three nights in Limassol. Also visits Aphrodite, Apollo, Larnaka, Nicosia and Pafos, Cyprus

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible at the same rate

Contact: (866) 345-7755; fax: (512) 345-7722; e-mail: [email protected]


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