Cruise Planners/American Express, the nation’s largest home-based travel agent franchise network in the cruise industry, celebrated the inaugural sailing of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, the Norwegian Epic, from the Port of Miami on July 8. More than 60 top selling Cruise Planners agents joined members of the executive team on the two-night sea excursion to get first-hand experience of the ship’s amenities, dining and nightlife.

“It was a memorable time at sea not only experiencing this grand new ship, but also connecting with our home-based agents,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners. “Our agents utilized their time aboard to tour the ship, which will help them sell the ship to their clients and provide them first-hand accounts of what to expect while cruising on the Epic.”

The Cruise Planners executive team along with agents marveled at the 4,100-passenger cruise ship with its expansive pool deck and Aqua Park, the 17-degree SVEDKA Ice Bar, and entertainment features such as the Blue Man Group and the Legends in Concert original live tribute show with Madonna, Tina Turner and Elvis impersonators. Additional highlights the group experienced include the 31,000-square-foot Mandara Spa, fitness center and salon – the largest at sea – as well as a variety of restaurants such as the Garden Café, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, Moderno Churrascaria, and the chic Manhattan Room, an upscale restaurant with a dance floor and live band.

“From its modern décor to the different dining options and slew of entertainment features, Norwegian Epic is a marvelous cruise ship offering travelers so much to do, see and experience,” said Fee. “Our agents, as well as the executive team, now have an overall feel of what spectacular amenities the Norwegian Epic offers today’s cruise traveler.”

“We were also impressed with the Epic’s Studio cabins, which we predict will create a huge buzz among cruisers,” noted Fee. “Allowing single passengers to sail without paying double the cost, or having to share a triple berth, is a very exciting innovation.”

The 100-square-foot interior cabins were designed for the single cruise traveler with a flat-screen TV, porthole-style window and mood lighting. Single guests have exclusive access to the ship’s “Studio Lounge” area offering comfortable seating, televisions, a bar as well as continental breakfast. The Epic’s Studio cabins with private lounge are the first introduced by a major cruise line.

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 Cruises Top Producer (2009); and American Express Travel Representative Excellence Awards (2004 – 2009). For more general information, please visit

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