Elite Cruise Counselor Scholars, last together in 2019, met last week at Cruise360 in Hollywood, Florida. Pictured are Joni Cohen, ECCS (2017 ECC of the Year); Wendy Rosenberg, ECCS; and Michael Akana, ECCS. Craig Satterfield, ECCS and Jeannie Lipphard, ECCS (2021 ECC of the Year) were also in attendance.
Thank you Premier Custom Travel (Chris Grum (ECC), Melissa Watkins, Scott (MCC) and Michelle (ACC) McAllister) for your friendship and including me (plus 2 or 3) in meals and activities.
It was an honor to meet agents from around the county—both those with CLIA certification (CCC, TAE, ACC, MCC, ECC, ECCS) and those who are on the path--all learning latest news on products, destinations, health and safety protocols, and government policies. Exciting new workshop offerings included pre-cruise certification in Family Cruise Travel, Accessible Cruise Travel , and Public Relations.
Five days of solid instruction began Tuesday. We spent long hours in classrooms, general session, and the trade show. Thursday ran from 8am to 11pm, though Wednesday was only 7am to 7:30pm, (including coffee and evening Graduate Reception.) Saturday winded down with three enhanced virtual ship inspections (each and hour and a half long). Mine were Princess Royal Class and Medallion Class, Silversea Silver Origin (Galapagos purpose built), and Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady.
Some agents hopped on a ship—such as Chris and Melissa boarding on Sunday the Symphony of the Seas for a two-night test sailing. I spent Sunday touring Sawgrass Recreation Center, with an airboat ride to see alligators, snapping turtles, iguanas and a variety of birds, followed by a demonstration and interpretive displays highlighting alligator and everglades conservation efforts.
Highlight of Cruise360 was CLIA Vice President of Industry and Trade Relation Charles (Charlie) Sylvia on stage of the opening session channeling the emotion and energy of all in attendance—We Are Back! We all missed seeing each other while facing enormous personal, professional and industry challenges in the last 18 months.
CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead continued to keep the energy high as she praised those in attendance “With industry leading protocols in place guiding the resumption of operations in Europe and Asia, and with the growing availability of vaccines, it was you and your voices that successfully made the case for cruise resumption in the United States,” said Craighead, referring to CLIA’s ‘Ready, Set, Sail’ initiative that engaged the wider cruise community, many of whom are travel advisors, to call on Congress and the White House to issue the instructions needed to comply with the Conditional Sail Order that is in place until November 1.”
--quote from CLIA press release 7/28 Hollywood, CA
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