Cruise Planners – American Express Travel, a home-based travel agent franchise network, has announced the keynote speaker for this year’s sold-out convention along with confirmed cruise line executive speakers and top breakout sessions.

Taking place October 24-27, 2013 at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla., this year, Cruise Planners has invited Johnny Jet, travel expert, active blogger and host of Travel Channel’s “Hot Spots 2012,” as the keynote speaker to provide his expert advice and insider’s scoop on 2014 travel trends and forecasts.

The convention will focus on new technologies, products, trends and programs with nearly 500 in attendance to learn about new cruise and land vacation packages in preparation for the 2014 year.

Cruise Planners will host its customary cruise line executive panel, and cruise executives Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean International and Dondra Ritzenthaler of Celebrity Cruises will co-present on their family of brands.

While most of the breakout session themes remain under wraps until opening day on Oct. 25, some of the sessions that have been announced include: Zero to Hero, a panel featuring success stories from Cruise Planners Rock Stars (top-selling travel advisors); A Luxury Travel Segment Panel, What’s New from American Express Vacations; River Cruising as a Major Trend and Niche Travel Markets.

This year’s theme is “Power in Partnerships,” as Cruise Planners puts an emphasis on developing and nurturing partnerships with cruise lines, land vacation tour operators and fellow agents. More than 120 of the industry’s leading vendors are participating this year. Cruise Planners is also celebrating its 20th anniversary at convention, an important milestone to the company’s history.

Following the land portion of the convention, the agents will join the North American inaugural sailing of the Royal Princess from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on October 27, 2013.