Cruise Planners/American Express, the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the cruise industry, is pleased to announce that franchise owner and U.S. Air Force veteran Chris Silman has been honored with the Home-Based Business of the Year Award from the Green Valley – Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce in Green Valley, Ariz.

Silman, who has been a Cruise Planners franchise owner since 2009, was recognized alongside other winners at a dinner reception on April 24. As a recipient of the award, Silman has been given the opportunity to advertise his home-based travel business in the chamber’s monthly newsletter free of charge for one year. Silman took it a step further by implementing a visual and mobile campaign on his automobile wrapped with cruise-themed banners and images as well as the Cruise Planners logo.

“My goal every day is to provide someone with an exciting cruise vacation, and this recognition is a testament of my dedication to keep my clients content and coming back to Cruise Planners,” said Silman. “Cruise Planners Home Office has always been supportive of me since my first day as a franchise owner, which was a truly exciting moment in my life”

Silman, who served in the Air Force for six years, was awarded a Cruise Planners franchise worth $10,000 after winning a nationwide essay competition for Cruise Planners’ Corps Care veterans program in 2009. The essay contest, “Why You Should Be Awarded a Cruise Planners Franchise,” was open to all honorably discharged U.S. military personnel and veterans. Silman was deployed to Afghanistan as part of a combat search and rescue unit directly responsible for 22 combat rescues of downed pilots, injured Army soldiers and Afghan fighters. He was honorably discharged in 2005.

“Chris’ accomplishments as a Cruise Planners franchise owner illustrate how effortlessly he has transitioned back into civilian life,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners/American Express. “He has taken off as a home-based agent by building a strong client base and successfully marketing himself. Chris stands as a role model to other veterans re-entering civilian life after serving their country.”

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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