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Mothers and Daughters Team Up to Sell Cruises: A Week to Appreciate Family

April 29, 2013 By: Susan Young

As the week before Mother’s Day gets under way, Travel Agent looked at five sets of mother-daughters who work for CruiseOne or Cruises Inc.

How did the mothers inspire their daughters? How did they begin working together selling cruises? What’s life like as a mother-daughter team?

A 21-year CruiseOne veteran, Gail Pastor ( started her cruise selling business in Hernando, FL, when her daughter Cheri was in the fifth grade. The younger Pastor grew up, graduated from college with a marketing degree and joined Gail in the firm as an associate in 2006.

“She wanted to start her family and she knew exactly how the business worked by watching me all of those years,” notes Gail Pastor. “Because of the flexibility of working from home, I was able to attend all of her school functions, tennis matches, cheerleading events and games. She wanted the same flexibility for her family.”


From left to right, Cheri Pastor Thomas and Gail Pastor on a cruise ship.
From left to right, Cheri Pastor Thomas and Gail Pastor on a cruise ship.


Once Cheri was comfortable with the business, her mother promoted her to partner. “We put her marketing skills together with my experience and were able to grow the business to the point of becoming the Franchise of the Year in 2011,” says her mother. “We are best friends and enjoy our time together.”

Cheri Pastor Thomas says her mother’s strong devotion to her Christian faith, her family and friends inspired her and on this Mother’s Day, she wants to say the following: “She cares so much for others and is always on her knees in prayer… She is worth far more than diamonds. Thanks mom for being so amazing!”

When it comes to cruising being a family affair, Debby Hughes, a CruiseOne franchise owner ( from Big Bear, CA, works together with her mother, Bonnie Waddington, an associate in the cruise franchise. Daughter Stephanie Hughes also is an associate in the business.

As a youngster, Debby Hughes took camping and road trips with her family, which may have launched her travel or discovery bug. That's continued as a family affair.

“At the very beginning, six years ago, I asked [my mother] if she wanted to join forces,” says Hughes.


Bonnie Waddington (mother) and  Debby Hughes (daughter) of CruiseOne.
Bonnie Waddington (mother) and Debby Hughes (daughter) of CruiseOne.


Waddington was working at a full-time job, and Hughes wondered if her mother would think it was a crazy idea. Waddington, though, says she surprised her daughter by saying “yes,” left the other position and the two have been selling travel ever since. 

The duo took the CruiseOne training in Florida together so Paddington quips that when she says to Hughes ‘I work for you,’” her daughter corrects her and emphatically says, ‘No, you do not work for me.’”

As independent spirits, Hughes and Paddington ork separately and in different cities, but are a good team in many ways.

"It’s a nice thing to have each other to cover – we’re a tag team when one of us is traveling,” says Hughes. “We haven’t traveled a whole lot together [since being in the business] but that’s something I’d like to do.”

Hughes also says the mom-daughter team is still learning; each is good at coming up with different ideas. “It’s like having two brains," says Hughes.

As with all the the mother-daughter teams in this story, Hughes says her mom’s “hard work” has been a big influence in her life. When Hughes was a child, Paddington would get up at 4 a.m., do the laundry, ironing, cook breakfast and do everything for everyone, all before going off to her full-time job.

While Hughes quips that she didn’t the “that early morning gene” from her mom, she did learn about having a sense of pride in whatever you are undertaking.

Her mom is equally complimentary, telling Travel Agent that “the relationship is awesome.”

Paddington emphasizes it’s not so much about being a mother-daughter team, but rather about being good friends. “I hope she knows just how much I appreciate how much of everything she does,” Hughes responds.

Another CruiseOne agency, LT & Associates ( is home to Jennifer Luna of San Antonio, TX, who works alongside her mother, Candi Thomas, a partner in the business.

Luna says her mother inspires her because of her excellent work ethic: “She will work a 10-hour shift and show up to help at my business.”


Selling cruises is a mother-daughter affair for Jennifer Luna and Candi Thomas (seated).
Selling cruises is a mother-daughter affair for Jennifer Luna and Candi Thomas (seated).


“She has taught me to be independent, hard-working, dependable and, most of all, she has given me unconditional love,” Luna says.

Andrea Joyce, an independent cruise and vacation specialist ( with Cruises Inc., resides in Somers, NY. She works with her mother, Amy Botto, who “inspires me by example,” says Joyce.


Andrea Joyce (left) and Amy Botto sell cruises as a mother-daughter team in Somers, NY.
Andrea Joyce (left) and Amy Botto sell cruises as a mother-daughter team in Somers, NY.


“She loves unconditionally, is caring, a hard worker, energetic and always surrounded by family and friends,” Joyce says, noting those are all the things she inspires to be.

In Austin, TX, Alex Horne is a vacation specialist who sells cruises with her mother, Lainey Melnick, who owns Lainey Melnick & Associates (, a CruiseOne agency.

With Mother’s Day to be celebrated in just a few days, Horne reflects on her mom’s influence: “My mother inspires me every day to give my best and hold myself to a higher standard in all aspects of my life."


Lainey Melnick and her daughter Alex Horne (standing) are cruise sellers for CruiseOne.
Lainey Melnick and her daughter Alex Horne (standing) are cruise sellers for CruiseOne.


Horne says her mom’s dedication to owning a successful business while still providing her children with endless love as they were growing up, as taught her a good life lesson in how to do the same.

So here’s a Happy Mother’s Day wish in advance for all the mother-daughter teams selling cruises throughout the travel industry, now and throughout the year.

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About the Author

Susan Young
A veteran of 100-plus cruises, Susan J. Young, is senior contributing editor for cruises – covering ocean, river and niche cruises for Travel Agent and

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By Susan Young | April 29, 2013
In advance of Mother's Day on Sunday, we profile five sets of mother-daughter teams happily selling cruises for CruiseOne & Cruises Inc. These ladies tell us what inspires them about their moms year-round.