Cruise Planners Reaches Out to Veterans

Cruise Planners is offering a boost to returning U.S. military veterans with its CP Cares Community Outreach program. The Miami Herald reports that the nationwide home-based travel agency franchise recently awarded Air Force veteran Chris Silman with his own Cruise Planners franchise as the result of the company’s first-ever franchise giveaway competition.


Air Force Veteran Chris Silman (right) receives a ceremonial key to his new franchise from President Michelle Fee and Franchise Director Jason Mattes

Photo by Julie Levin/The Miami Herald

In late 2008, Cruise Planners launched a nationwide franchise giveaway to celebrate the launch of its CP Cares program, which among other charitable contributions, provides veterans with discounts toward purchasing a franchise.

“For us, it is giving them access to their own business,'' Jason Mattes of Cruise Planners/American Express, told the Miami Herald.

After winning the essay-writing contest, Silman received the ceremonial key to his franchise July 28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Fort Lauderdale among representatives from Broward County's Veteran Services and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

As part of the giveaway, Cruise Planners asked veterans nationwide to write a 500-word essay explaining why they deserved the free franchise. According to company President Michelle Fee, Silman's essay stood out, explaining how his military and educational experience was a bonus.

“It was very well written and the essay was well thought out,” said Fee, who oversees 700 franchises in 42 states. The company also announced a yearlong charitable partnership with Royal Caribbean International called Voyages for Veterans.

Both companies will donate $50 for every booking by Cruise Planners on select Royal Caribbean voyages. The proceeds will benefit the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that provides no-cost housing to families of veterans who are undergoing medical treatment at Veterans' Affairs hospitals.

The foundation, established in 1990, has 43 homes around 98 hospitals and 18 military bases. Construction is under way on a home near the VA Medical Center in Miami.

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