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CLIA Doubles Participation in Annual Cruise Night

Published on: October 25, 2006

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said its second annual World's Largest Cruise Night (WLCN) on Oct. 19 was a resounding success. The number of participating agencies totaled 829, up from the 427 that participated last year. "The number of WLCN events nearly doubled, which clearly demonstrates that CLIA travel agencies understand the benefits of consumer promotions," said Terry Dale, CLIA president and CEO. "WLCN also clearly showcased how innovative CLIA retailers are at finding new and exciting ways of bringing consumers through their doors, which ultimately results in higher commissions."

The one-day event, which is the centerpiece of National Cruise Vacation Month, is designed to provide consumers with everything they ever wanted to know about cruise vacations. As part of the promotion, CLIA agents joined with celebrity chefs and retailers that sell travel-related products to get the word out about cruising. Patti Cash of Magic Cruises in Worthington, Ohio, hosted her second WLCN event in conjunction with a camera store and had U.S. postal officials present, enabling attendees to have passport pictures taken and apply for passports. "We expedited 47 passports in three hours," Cash said, adding that Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises representatives were on hand for mini presentations. "The people who came were very pleased and appreciated with the event," she said, adding that approximately 150 consumers attended.

Academy Travel in Manahawkin, N.J., drew 250 people to the local Holiday Inn for an evening event targeted at families with Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line participating. Costumed pirates and princesses added a fanciful touch to the event that "really tweaked people's interest," said agency owner Lisa Givas, adding that the event could easily result in as many as 100 bookings. "We gave away all the brochures we had," she said.

At CruiseOne in Greenville, S.C., Debbie McLees designed a WLCN promotion with Food Network chef Paula Deen, who will be the featured chef on a cooking theme cruise aboard Royal Caribbean International's Liberty of the Seas that McLees hopes will draw between 500 to 600 people. CruiseOne's two-day WLCN promotion welcomed 60 prospective travelers who participated in cooking classes at two local restaurants. "Everyone who attended was really excited about it," McLees said. "We've already had at least 10 different couples call in and commit to the cruise." CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., networks of more than 900 independent cruise specialists, teamed up with NCL to offer a promotion that offered as a prize attendance at the Norwegian Pearl's christening ceremony as well as a two-night inaugural cruise in December. The agencies and cruise line also hosted a podcast on their websites featuring an interview with CLIA Chairman Andy Stuart, NCL Corp.'s executive vice president of sales, marketing and passenger services. Cruise Planners of Little Rock, Ark., hosted an evening event at a local restaurant with a travel apparel store that drew 150 people and included two distinctly separate presentations: one for first-time cruisers and another for a more seasoned, luxury clientele.

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