Exclusive Cruise Planner Elite Summit Sails to Success on the Danube

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WHY IT RATES: During this cruise event, travel advisors had the chance to recharge, network and immerse themselves in the world of travel before resuming their daily routines. —Codie Liermann, Editor-in-Chief


After two years in the making, the Cruise Planners’ Elite Summit has finally made its way down the Danube aboard the magnificent AmaMagna for a scenic and productive tour of Eastern Europe. Cruise planners proudly hosted the event to celebrate the achievements of their top producers at the Elite 2022 Summit on the luxury vessel AmaWaterways last week. More than 170 travel consultants from across the United States gathered on the Danube to network, learn, and revel in the fruits of their labor.

Cruise Planners CEO and Founder Michelle Fee hosted the eight-day event alongside Cruise Planners Senior Vice President of Strategic Development Scott Koepf and Chief Sales Officer Theresa Scalzitti. Although this trip was originally scheduled for March 2020, it has experienced a series of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.

“It was definitely worth the wait,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and Founder of Cruise Planners. “These agents are the equivalent of travel advisor royalty. They are successful people and experts in their fields, and this summit is an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments in an undeniably difficult year. They set the example to show that it is possible to turn lemons into lemonade, topped with a splash of sparkling champagne.

This is the first time Cruise Planners has a full ship charter, and the voyage began March 13 in Vilshofen, Germany, with stops in Passau, Linz & Grein, Melk & Spitz, Vienna and Bratislava before heading to finish in Budapest on March 20. .

The Elite Summit featured supplier partner presentations and networking. Industry partners in attendance included:

AmaWaterways – Kristin Karst, co-owner and vice president

AmaWaterways – Diane Marie Curchy Horan, Director, Strategic Partner Networks

Carnival Cruise Line – Jodi Kinmon, Director of Strategic Partnerships

Silversea – Laurie Bohn, Director, Strategic Partnerships

Norwegian Cruise Line – Soleil Domagala, Senior Director, National Accounts

Oceania Cruises – Nikki Upshaw, Senior Vice President

Princess Cruises – Mary Irene Jencen, National Account Business Development Manager

Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Lisette Thurman, Director of Strategic Accounts

Allianz – Jeff Schafer, Regional Sales Manager

Celebrity Cruises – Yolanda Sheppard, Manager, National Accounts

Royal Caribbean Cruises – Vicki Freed, SVP, Sales and Trade Support & Service

Kensington – Stephanie Governali, Director, Agency Sales

Disney – Jodi Bainter, Director, Travel Agency Sales

Seabourn – Wendy Whitener, Director, North American Sales

The AmaMagna offers multiple restaurants and is twice the size of traditional river cruises, adding space and luxury to the river cruise experience. Guests on board also had access to a massage and hair salon, fitness room, swimming pool and hot tub. AmaMagna is also the first of AmaWaterways ships to offer a full water sports platform with the Sundowner boat for evening river excursions.

“The Elite Summit is always one of the most incredible experiences of the year,” said Joel Wilder, who has been on nine top producer trips. “It’s always so uplifting and inspiring to exchange ideas, to meet CP and cruise line leaders, to see old friends, while discovering the world! I’ve cruised most European rivers aboard Viking, Uniworld and Avalon and now AmaWaterways which certainly didn’t disappoint. The AmaMagna is an amazing ship and I am planning to organize a group cruise to sail her.

The summit included executive presentations, one-on-one vendor meetings while giving top producers the opportunity to network and immerse themselves in the culture of these premier historic destinations. Examples of excursions include, “Hungarian Goulash Making Class”, “Wine Tasting and Castle Walking Tour”, “Passau River Bike Tour” and “Cesky Krumlov Excursion with Czech Beer” to name but a few. name a few.

“This year is very special because 1) the ship was chartered only for cruise planners 2) because we feel like we are back on track after the past two difficult years,” Mellanie said. Ingle, based in Huntington Beach, Calif. “I love that we all have a bond that encourages sharing information, helping each other when we can, and looking forward to spending time together each year. We all understand what it takes to reach that level of sales and we support each other.

AmaWaterways co-owner Kristin Karst also hosted a special surprise dinner for her top producer and cruise planner executives, which included an intimate dinner with Count Carl Philip Clam in Austria.

Cruise Planners hosts two Elite Summits each year, with the second scheduled for May 1-5 at Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau. Additionally, there will be a series of five in-person Boot Camp events, including nationwide with locations in Las Vegas, Connecticut, Dallas, Chicago and Orlando. To culminate, the annual Cruise Planners Convention will be held in Miami and will end on Norwegian Prima on her first sail.

“They really deserved this,” Fee said. “You couldn’t ask for a better cadre, a more dedicated and talented group of travel advisors to recharge, innovate and immerse themselves in the world of travel before you go and continue doing what they do best. It will only increase from here.

Visit our website, www.cruiseplanners.com, for more information or to view a full list of awards and accolades. For those interested in becoming a franchise owner, please visit https://www.cruiseplannersfranchise.com/.


THE SOURCE: Press release from cruise operators.

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