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January 21, 2008 By: Travel Agent Central Contributor Travel Agent

SHARRI WHITING DE MASI, Italy correspondent for Travel Agent, writes from Umbria and Rome about world travel, food and wine. Whether it's hunting for truffles, making chocolate with a master, tasting wines or looking for that perfect hideaway, Whiting de Masi (pictured here in Venice) has sampled the best that Italy has to offer. She wrote the Top 10 Guide to Rome (2001), and her book on Namibian culture will be published in 2008. She is working on a history of the Americans buried in the old Protestant cemetery in Rome. In this issue, she reveals to us the properties in Italy she finds herself returning to again and again.

STEPHANIE STEPHENS, writes about Australia and New Zealand for Travel Agent from California, North Carolina and New Zealand, where she's a resident. Stephens is a former airline spokesperson and radio and TV personality who now writes about travel. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications. In this issue, she writes about Pool Port Douglas, a new Aussie hotspot.

In this month's cover story, SUSAN J. YOUNG tackles the growth of the world's third largest cruise "parent," Apollo Management LP. Young is Travel Agent's contributing editor for cruises and a veteran of 60-plus cruises. She's well known to agents and cruise executives alike, as she was Travel Agent's cruise bureau chief from 2000 to 2006. Today, she's the editor and publisher of two consumer online publications,™ and™. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and that organization's Editor's Council, Young also freelances for various publications, including Luxury Travel Advisor. She has a passion for cruising, adventure travel and "ruins." Her favorite travel experiences include journeying to Kathmandu, taking a cruise shore trip to the Roman ruins at Palmyra, Egypt, and visiting Red Square in Moscow. She is shown here on a recent trip to Monte-Carlo.

MACKENZIE ALLISON is a story editor at Travel Agent. Besides editing for the magazine, she covers Florida and oversees the Agent Insider section (left). She also often reports on New York City (where she's pictured) and the Middle East. Allison has interviewed industry veterans including Randy Maged of Ask the Travel Maven; Nexion's general manager, Jackie Friedman; and Thomas See, vice president of sales for Universal Studios Hollywood. In this issue, Allison reports on Six Senses Resorts & Spas' first property in the Middle East.

MARK ROGERS, Travel Agent's senior editor, stayed at the historic Caravelle Hotel during his last visit to Vietnam. "For someone who grew up during the Vietnam War era, it was an emotional experience to walk the streets of Ho Chi Minh City [formerly Saigon] and talk with elderly Vietnamese who were excited to reminisce about the friendships they'd formed with Americans during that time," says Rogers. "For all the hardship and tragedy the Vietnamese people were put through, they're remarkably forgiving and friendly." Mark Rogers covers Hawaii, the South Pacific and Asia, as well as California, where he is based. Rogers is currently on the road attending back-to-back conferences: the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Bangkok and a travel agent event in Fiji sponsored by the Fiji Visitors Bureau and Air Pacific.

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