Cruise Planners/American Express, the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the cruise industry, announced they will add new industry experts to its Cruise Planners University (CPU) sophomore class curriculum beginning in March. The online travel agent educational platform provides access to vigorous training courses, social networking opportunities and the ability for agents to gain the Cruise Planner Experts Certification (CCPE).  

The experts will instruct the agents as they cruise through the CPU program with training sessions planned from sophomore through Ph.D. tracks. The professionals joining CPU are Stuart Cohen, sales and marketing coach; Mike Marchev, professional speaker and sales coach; Jeff Miller, travel industry consultant and industry attorney, as well as Laura Rubinstein, certified social media consultant.

“The addition of these experts to the CPU curriculum provides an added value for our students,” said Terri Burke, MCC, CTC, SVP of relationship marketing for Cruise Planners.  “The skills these experts bring to the table provide a strong foundation to the overall development of our agents.  The courses are timely, and I’m confident our agents will take away a solid skill set that will lead to sales and marketing success.”

The industry specialists will teach a range of courses centered on sales related skills, social media, group business and marketing. Courses include: 20 Ways to Build your Home Based Business; Marketing the Legal Way; Learning to Speak with Authority and Putting An End To Cold-Calling: Effective Lead Generation, just to name a few.

“My goal in this project is to have the agents feel better about themselves, and have them develop a solid idea of what to do next and how to do it,” said Mike Marchev. “Knowing is one thing, doing is another. I want participants to believe that with the proper action, over time, positive results will come from their efforts.”

According to Laura Rubinstein, social media expert joining CPU, “Large advertisers pay millions of dollars to get the kind of exposure that is available on social media today. It is the place to grow relationships and attract new business on a more level playing field. I will show agents how to stand out from the crowd and become known as go-to Cruise Planners.”

CPU, a two-year program with more than 40 courses per training level, integrates Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and select cruise line and tour company universities, with Cruise Planners’ core training modules. Graduating agents will be Certified Cruise Planner Experts (CCPE), which Cruise Planners describes as the new standard in travel agent accreditation.

About Cruise Planners/American Express

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Services Representative, is the largest home-based travel agent network in the cruise industry with more than 700 franchise owners across the country that independently book cruises and associated travel. Named No.1 Cruise Tour / Travel Agency by Entrepreneur magazine for the past seven years, Cruise Planners positions franchise owners for success by providing them with innovating marketing, booking and lead-generating tools as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives.  Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla., Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line.  Accolades include Royal Caribbean International Home-based Partner of the Year (2007 – 2009); Regent Seven Seas Top Producer (2009); and American Express Travel Representative Excellence Awards (2004 – 2009). For more general information, please visit

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