Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has unveiled a new Certification Designation designed to help travel agency executives and managers demonstrate their commitment to professional development and motivate their employees. The program leading to the designation of CLIA Accredited Cruise Manager (ACM) was introduced at cruise3sixty in Fort Lauderdale.

The ACM program enables agency leadership personnel who are not full-time selling travel agents to complete a course of study and hands-on experience that encompasses personal cruise experience, ship inspections, seminars and a case study leading to Certification. Past cruise experience, training courses and product knowledge may be used to fulfill the requirements. The program was developed in response to many requests from agency managers and other professionals for a vehicle that recognizes their unique skills and responsibilities within the agency framework.

“The Accredited Cruise Manager designation fills a gap in our comprehensive Certification system by providing agency management with the credentials most needed to lead and motivate a sales team. We already have Certification designations for cruise sellers at all levels of experience and knowledge; ACM ensures that everyone in the agency has demonstrated a strong commitment to the professional development that we know results in greater cruise sales,” said Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive vice president for marketing and training.

The ACM program is available to all those working in a leadership capacity affiliated with a CLIA member travel agency but not as a full-time selling travel agent. This may include executives, directors, accounting or marketing managers, ecommerce professionals, trainers or other positions. Within two years of enrollment, participants must complete: five ship inspections, two personal cruises of seven days or more on CLIA-member lines, one of four case study options from the areas of marketing, business plans, enhancing service and closing the sale training, and eight of 14 training seminars or other CLIA training programs. Successful completion of CLIA’s Institute Track at cruise3sixty, and achievement of The Travel Institute’s CTA, CTC, or CTIE designations may contribute toward completion of ACM requirements. The seminars included in the menu of 14 options may be taken live in a classroom or online.

To facilitate completion of the requirements, enrollees in the ACM program are required to fill out a Mandatory ACM Training Journal that details what case study and which seminars are completed as well as information about cruises taken and ship inspections performed.

A nominal enrollment fee of $70 is charged to cover the cost of materials, processing exams, grading the journal and general administration. Upon completion, each Accredited Cruise Manager receives a certificate of achievement, a lapel pin, a press release for local distribution, and logo sheets to be used with business cards and stationery.