Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Oct. 16, 2006

CRUISE AND TRAVEL AGENTS ONLY rolled out plans for its first Cruise University sailing Alaska's Inside Passage. Cruise University, the travel agent training program for U.S. and Canadian retailers, will be held aboard the Carnival Spirit on a roundtrip sailing from Vancouver May 9 to 16. Along with onboard training, the CVBs in Vancouver, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan will host seminars for participating agents. Agents interested in learning more or making reservations for Cruise University can contact Cruise and Travel Agents Only at (954) 491-2269 or visit www.cruiseandtravelagentsonly.com.

A NEW SERVICE that lets agents create their own blogs entered the marketplace. The blog template, called You! the Brand, is the brainchild of Scott Ahlsmith, president and CEO of the Illinois-based Magellan Travel Group. Ahlsmith said agents benefit from getting into the blog world because this medium, unlike typical Web sites, provides a dynamic two-way conversation with customers and it turns the travel professional (the individual, not the agency) into the product, he said. FOR $40 a month, or $360 if paid annually, a subscribing agency buys a domain name and e-mail account; instructions on how to create good blog content and good headlines; and three or four weekly blogs written and posted by Ahlsmith. He said he writes generic pieces about news or other relevant matters to boost each agent's image as being an expert in the field. More details are at www.you-the-brand.com.

THROUGH THE PORT HOLE: Carnival Cruise Lines' 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom will operate a nine-day inaugural cruise in March 2007 featuring visits to five ports in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Turkey. The 2,974-passenger vessel will kick off its regular schedule March 14 and offer 12-day Mediterranean and Mediterranean/Greek Isles cruises from Civitavecchia through Oct. 16, 2007.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Egypt/Jordan

Trip: Visits Aswan, Cairo, and Luxor, Egypt, as well as Amman, Madaba, Mount Nebo and Petra, Jordan.

Departures: Saturdays through 2006 from Los Angeles or New York to Cairo via EgyptAir.

Length: 11 nights.

Sponsor: Tours Specialists, Palm Harbor, Fla.

Cost: $2,160 per person, double, from New York, $2,260 from Los Angeles. Includes roundtrip air, accommodations, most meals, sightseeing, transfers and a Nile River cruise.

Noteworthy: Single supplements are available; the companion rate is an additional $100.

Contact: (800) 223-7552; e-mail: [email protected].

Home-Based Agent Editor:

Donna Tunney

Phone: (508) 221-3674

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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