Agents offered a new educational option to earn credits toward their CLIA cards

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Agents who attend a Cruise and Travel University educational event now can earn credits toward certifications by the Cruise Lines International Association, thanks to a new partnership between the university and Coral Sands Travel, the host agency.

Charlie Dubinsky, president of Cruise and Travel Agents and Cruise and Travel University, and Peter Stilphen, CEO of Coral Sands Travel and managing director of STARS, said the alliance would "present several Cruise and Travel University programs to help alleviate the potential backlog of travel agents seeking certification as a result of CLIA's increased requirements to obtain its photo ID card."

Among other requirements, agents will have to enroll in CLIA's cruise counselor certification program to qualify for an ID card. And, for 2009 ID card renewals, agents must be enrolled in, or have achieved, one of CLIA's four levels of certification. CLIA said it would suspend the cards of agents who do not complete a counselor designation within a two-year period.

Dubinsky said the partnership with Coral Sands and STARS is "a perfect match to our overall focus to promote unity and education within the travel industry. This shows that even though organizations are separate, they can still work together when the goals are the same."

The first joint program will be aboard the MSC Orchestra sailing Jan. 10 from Fort Lauderdale to the western Caribbean; future sailings will be announced later. For details, visit the Cruise and Travel University website at www.cruiseandtraveluniversity.com.

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