Cruise Planners - American Express Travel, among the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise networks, reports the keynote speaker for this year’s sold-out convention along with confirmed cruise line executive speakers and top breakout sessions.
Following the land portion of the convention, the agents will join the North American inaugural sailing of the Royal Princess from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on October 27.
The October 24-27 conference at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida, will bring home-based travel advisors and industry partners together for three days. Johnny Jet, travel expert, active blogger and host of Travel Channel’s “Hot Spots 2012,” will be the keynote speaker offering an insider’s scoop on 2014 travel trends and forecasts.
The convention will focus on new technologies, products, trends and programs with nearly 500 expected to attend to learn about new cruise and land vacation packages in preparation for the 2014 year.
Cruise Planners said it will host its cruise line executive panel with cruise executives Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean International and Dondra Ritzenthaler of Celebrity Cruises, who will co-present on their family of brands.
While most of the breakout session themes remain under wraps until opening day on October 25, Cruise Planners said some of the sessions that have been announced include: Zero to Hero, a panel featuring success stories from Cruise Planners Rock Stars (top-selling travel advisors); A Luxury Travel Segment Panel, What’s New from American Express Vacations; River Cruising as a Major Trend and Niche Travel Markets.
“As evidenced by our noteworthy line-up, the Cruise Planners program has become stronger each year with widespread support from our travel advisors and the travel industry,” said CEO and co-founder Michelle Fee. “This support has been key to our 20 years of success, which is why we’re dedicating the theme this year to those partnerships.”
This year’s theme is “Power in Partnerships,” as Cruise Planners puts an emphasis on developing and nurturing partnerships with cruise lines, land vacation tour operators and fellow agents.
More than 120 of the industry’s leading vendors are participating this year, Cruise Planners said, noting it is also celebrating its 20th anniversary at convention, an important milestone to the company’s history.
There will be a variety of new Cruise Planners merchandise available for purchase to commemorate the event, with all donations from the merchandise going to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. As part of the CP Cares initiative, attendees are also being asked to bring donations for Kids In Distress, a South Florida-based charity that Cruise Planners is supporting this year.