By Michael Akana at Nov. 19. 2013.
      Young Professional Ponders Change

      CLIA Lack Luster

      I am ambivalent about attending what has been a highlight of my career as a Travel Agent.  I remember my first Cruise3Sixty event in 2007.  Inspecting ships, sometimes 2 in day.  Attending general sessions where the top cruise executives shared their vision for the cruise industry.  previewing some of the shipboard entertainment, enjoying celebrity level presentations by Terry Dale and a personal highlight–attending trainings personally conducted by Dr. Marc Mancini

      At Cruise3Sixty I met the hard working staff at the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and came to appreciate their attention and dedication to the cruise industry and to travel agents who relied on CLIA for industry news, training and recognition.  CLIA had recently joined with the ICCL and moved to Ft. Lauderdale.


      The resulting organization seemed fresh, new and relevant.
      And I had not been disappointed in the intervening years.  I appreciated more and more the role that CLIA and Cruise3Sixty played in my professional development as a travel agent specializing in cruises and tours.  I have been an Agent Member each year and continued to follow the full range of certifications from Accredited Cruise Counselor to Master Cruise Counselor to Elite Cruise Counselor and for three consecutive years as Elite Cruise Counselor Scholar (an achievement of perhaps 60 travel agents annually.)
      This year I had registered for Cruise3Sixty 2013 as soon as early registration opened.  I was going to be in Vancouver anyway for another conference and I looked forward to some time in what I consider to be one of the most spectacular cruise ports anywhere.  Personal business came up and I reluctantly had to cancel.
      Through the years I took multiple online classes.  I ordered a library of VHS and DVD trainings.  I attended multiple events in Ft. Lauderdale and Vancouver.   I attended Training Fests and local CLIA classes, sometime driving 4 hours to attend a class–even though I had completed the course online.
      And I was a fan.
      That is, I had not been disappointed until now.
      I had been considering signing up for Cruise3Sixty 2014.  That memory of prior years still stirs.  To be in a class lead by Dr. Marc Mancini, to see the dedicated staff including Bob Sharak, Gaye Stewart-Loudis, Bernie Blomquist, and Tom Cogan again at the tradeshow, receptions and in the classes, putting that personal face to the excellence in service I strive for.  Then… upon discussing with friend and coming upon the shakeups at CLIA via Google….
      Travel Weekly “Cruise-Travel/Shakeup as CLIA plans announcement about new initiative”
      …I have come to accept that much of what I value about the industry’s support of travel agents is uncertain.  So, no… I don’t plan to register for Cruise3Sixty soon.  I am on the fence as well about my Agent Membership for 2014 and renewing my ECCS certification for 2014.  (Will it even be offered in future years? I don’t see relevant ECCS classes on the schedule.)
      Maybe I’ll spend a weekend reviewing my library of VHS and DVD workshops by Dr. Mancini by which I’m sure to get a good refresher on the core competencies of a good travel agent and perhaps skip what looks to be a more topical selection of short workshops and none of the longer full classes once offered.
      Agent Member of CLIA
      ACC – Accredited Cruise Counselor
      MCC – Master Cruise Counselor
      ECC – Elite Cruise Counselor
      ECCS2011, Elite Cruise Counselor Scholar 2011
      ECCS2012, Elite Cruise Counselor Scholar 2012
      ECCS 2013, Elite Cruise Counselor Scholar 2013


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