Cruise Planners Reigns with Back-to-Back Chairman’s Award from Royal Caribbean International

Cruise Planners recognized as Chairman’s Award winner for the second year in a row–third time overall due to continued strong sales growth and supportive partnership

For the third time, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, was awarded Royal Caribbean International’s Chairman’s Award, which is the company’s highest award bestowed on their top travel partners. Cruise Planners’ vast nationwide network of home-based travel advisors have had continuous, impressive sales growth for the global cruise line and the partnership has never been stronger.

Cruise Planners wins Royal Caribbeans Chairmans Award - Theresa Scalzitti - Vicky Garcia - Vicki Freed - Michelle Fee

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, earned Royal Caribbean’s highest honor, the Chairman’s Award, for the second year in a row. From left to right: Theresa Scalzitti, VP of Sales and Marketing at Cruise Planners; Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner at Cruise Planners; Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service at Royal Caribbean International; and Michelle Fee, CEO and founder at Cruise Planners.

“We are committed to our strong partnership with Royal Caribbean and are delighted they honored our advisors with back-to-back Chairman’s Awards,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and Founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “Year after year, Cruise Planners provides the tools and our travel advisors provide the outstanding service as we all work hand-in-hand with Royal Caribbean to attract vacationers new to cruising, retain repeat clients and upsell travelers to increase sales and earn higher commission.”

Cruise Planners continues to innovate by creating new marketing and technology tools as well as maintaining a strong focus on advisors training.

“Cruise Planners is a leader when it comes to travel marketing, automation and technology for travel advisors,” said Richard D. Fain, CEO and Chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Their ability to be nimble and flexible in our everchanging industry is at the core of their success as a strategic partner of ours year after year.”

Some of the recent tools that help Cruise Planners advisors sell more include:

  • Triggered Emails: A series of automatic emails, which allow travel advisors to stay in contact with their clients after booking and through the time when they return back home from their vacation.
  • Hot Lists: A list of hot sales opportunities that identify clients who have milestone birthdays and anniversaries or clients who haven’t made a booking in the last 12 months or who have an open onboard future cruise deposit. Travel advisors have the option of personalizing an eCard or having them automated each month.
  • CP Marketing Hub: An area within CP Maxx allowing travel advisors to track their marketing efforts, analyze the ROI, create and track goals and even log and track partner co-op commitments from their local BDMs.
  • CP Video Network: More than 20 different modern, fresh videos focusing on popular destinations and travel styles such as family, solo travelers, adults-only travel, luxury, land and much more. Cruise Planners announced adding new customization as video marketing continues to be an impactful way for travel advisors to drive sales.
  • Data-Driven Travel Insight: Through the brand’s “Travel Styles” and segmentation efforts, advisors are able to find out more about their customers’ desires for upcoming travel and better market to them. By focusing on top-performing niches, including foodies, millennials, adventure travelers and solo travelers, the brand will help advisors close more sales.

“The ways Cruise Planners engages with our sales organization day in and day out is incredible,” said Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service at Royal Caribbean International. “With a partner just as dedicated to pushing the boundaries as we are in delivering vacations, it’s a pleasure to work with them as we continue to bring in new and loyal guests to sail with Royal Caribbean. The Chairman’s Award is well deserved and a testament to how the teams at Cruise Planners stand out as travel professionals.”

Cruise Planners has been recognized and honored by Royal Caribbean each year, but this back-to-back ranking proves Cruise Planners place is at the top.

“Our franchisees’ will always be our main focus, and we will constantly operate on their behalf and in their best interest to create new programs and build new tools to keep our travel advisors at the forefront of the industry,” Fee said. “The numbers prove it: our latest suite of marketing and technology tools making selling easier for our home-based travel agents and we’re not slowing down.”

Cruise Planners: Leaders in Land

How Cruise Planners latest land award and specialized trainings benefit travel advisors

Playa awards logo

Playa Hotels and Resorts named Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, its Top-Selling Travel Network in the U.S., continuing Cruise Planners’ trend of dominating the land travel segment. As we keep growing our land sales, our trophy case grows too. Check out the other awards Cruise Planners has received from our land partners:

  • 1 Host Agency Worldwide – Sandals and Beaches Resorts
  • Best of the Best – Travel Impressions
  • Amped Diamond Agency – AIC Hotel Group
  • Premiere Agency Partner – Globus Family of Brands
  • Outstanding Top Producer – Insight Vacations
  • Platinum Member of the 500 Club for Sales Excellence – Mark Travel Corporation
  • Sales Excellence Award – Rocky Mountaineer
  • Outstanding Sales Achievement Award – Trafalgar

Playa awards

With a 20% growth in land sales year-over-year from 2017 to 2018, Cruise Planners is invested in offering franchise owners the utmost support and training in this lucrative travel segment. Here are a few of the opportunities available for Cruise Planners travel advisors to grow their land business:

  • Annual Land Symposium, hosted in 2018 at the Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive resort in Los Cabos, Mexico
  • Annual Luxury Travel Forum, to be hosted at resort in 2019
  • Land Travel Specialist online training program, launching soon
  • Weekly webinars from land travel brands including tour operators and destination partners
  • Land-centric digital and print mailings sent to clients
  • New land-centric agent website templates, launching soon

Joining Cruise Planners means gaining instant credibility with our 25-year legacy as a leader in the travel industry. As a top-producing travel company with our valued travel brands, you’ll jumpstart your travel career by earning the industry’s highest commissions. Let the Cruise Planners name propel you to success.

Cruise Planners Remains Untouched as #1 Travel Franchise to Own

Flexibility to work-from-home, industry-leading tools and an amazing reputation make Cruise Planners’ franchise model ideal for travel enthusiasts – no experience required

For the 16th straight year, Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, earned the ranking of No. 1 Travel Franchise to Own in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500®, the world’s first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking. Since 1994, Cruise Planners’ franchise model has given entrepreneurs the ability to run a travel business that fits their lifestyle, from part-time hobbyist to multi-million-dollar top producers.

As the company enters its 25th year, Cruise Planners celebrates its franchise owners with the new “My Story” campaign, highlighting how franchisees from all backgrounds have found success with Cruise Planners. Unlike a franchise with a storefront and staff, Cruise Planners businesses can be run from anywhere and by only one person, giving franchisees flexibility. The franchise model is popular with those looking for a second career such as Sue Palenik who stated, “Getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me,” as it led her to be her own boss and work-from-home parents such as Scott Hammer who stated that with Cruise Planners, “my business is booming, but ‘dad’ is still my primary job title.”

Some of the benefits of Cruise Planners’ franchise include:

  • A low start-up cost
  • Turn-key marketing programs with both digital and print components to help attract clients
  • An innovative proprietary technology system, CP Maxx, designed to handle booking, accounting, reporting and the tools needed to run a travel business from anywhere on any device with internet connection
  • The home-based travel industry’s first-ever, voice-activated technology and mobile apps for both consumers and franchise owners
  • On-going personalized training with a business development coach in addition to frequent virtual and in-person training opportunities

“We have grown to become more than just the nation’s largest home-based travel franchise, we are the overall top-awarded travel franchise,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and Founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “Being named Entrepreneur’s No. 1 travel franchise for the 16th year in a row holds incredible clout as it proves we’re not a fad franchise for those looking to make a quick buck, we’ve been helping people build successful businesses while traveling the world for over 25 years.”


Cruise Planners, the nation’s largest home-based travel franchise opportunity, earned Entrepreneur’s No. 1 Travel Franchise to Own distinction for the 16th straight year. Cruise Planners franchise owners, pictured at the company’s annual Convention in 2018, operate full-service travel advisors in all 50 states.

The Entrepreneur’s evaluation of top franchises takes into consideration costs and fees, brand strength, financial strength and stability, size and growth, and support. Over its 40 years in existence, the Franchise 500® has become both a dominant competitive measure for franchisors and a primary research tool for potential franchisees. Cruise Planners’ position on the ranking is a testament to its strength as a franchise opportunity and commitment to innovating on behalf of its franchise owners.

“While the franchise business model has changed little, the strongest franchise brands are constantly evolving and innovating to keep up with changing trends and technology,” says Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur.

“Our franchisees’ drive for success inspires all of us to always think big, think beyond, and never settle for the status quo,” Fee said. “Cruise Planners will continue to push the limits, create new programs and build new tools to keep our travel advisors at the forefront of the industry.”

Cruise Planners Leads the World in Sales for Sandals and Beaches Resorts

Sandals Resorts names Cruise Planners Top U.S. and Worldwide Host Agency, further establishing the network’s dominance as a leader in land travel, proving its investment in this travel sector

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, ranks No. 1 not only in the U.S., but in the world in sales for Sandals Resorts International. At the 17th annual Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (S.T.A.R.) Awards held recently at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Sandals awarded Cruise Planners the following top honors:

Top Host Agency – U.S. for Sandals and Beaches Resorts

Top Host Agency – Worldwide for Sandals and Beaches Resorts

Best of the Best for Sandals and Beaches Resorts

Laura Blanco - Cruise Planners Director of Sales at Sandals STAR Awards

Laura Blanco, Director of Sales for Cruise Planners, accepts the Top Host Agency – U.S. and Top Host Agency – Worldwide for Sandals and Beaches Resorts on behalf of Cruise Planners at the Sandals Travel Agency Recognition (S.T.A.R.) Awards at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Jamaica. Pictured with Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International.

“We won’t stop until our brand is synonymous with all things travel – resorts, land travel and cruises,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and Founder of Cruise Planners. “Being named #1 in the world for Sandals and Beaches Resorts is a phenomenal testament to the dedication our team has put into building partnerships with major all-inclusive resorts, tour operators and destinations, expanding our land training programs and investing in technology tools. This continued investment into our network has led to our travel advisors’ continued sales growth in this segment. Sandals has done an incredible job spreading brand awareness worldwide, and when travelers see Sandals, they are encouraged to use a travel advisor and trust Cruise Planners advisors to best plan their trip.”

Jeff Clarke at Cruise Planners Annual Convention (sized)

Jeff Clarke, representing Sandals and Beaches Resorts (third from left), congratulated Cruise Planners on tremendous sales growth for 2018 to a standing ovation at Cruise Planners’ annual Convention in November 2018. Pictured with Cruise Planners executives: (from left to right) Theresa Scalzitti, VP of Sales and Marketing; Michelle Fee, CEO and Founder; and Vicky Garcia, COO and Co-Owner.

Cruise Planners, the nation’s most-highly decorated travel company, has a longstanding partnership with Sandals Resorts, the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company for 23 consecutive years. Cruise Planners travel advisors can become Certified Sandals Specialists at Cruise Planners’ annual Convention and local trainings and regularly take part in Sandals and Beaches Resorts FAM trips.

Gary Sadler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Sandals and Beaches Resorts, shared a special message with Cruise Planners which enters its 25th year of business in 2019:

“On behalf of all of us at Sandals and Beaches Resorts, I would like to congratulate you, Cruise Planners, on 25 years of doing business. Twenty-five years in the travel industry is quite some time to be doing business and you guys have done the most amazing job,” said Sadler. “You have helped to shape the travel industry and you have helped to make the travel industry better than it was 25 years ago.”