CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., one of the nation’s top travel retail networks as part of World Travel Holdings, today celebrated the beginning of its 2013 National Conference onboard Norwegian Breakaway.

This weeklong annual event focuses on the personal and professional development of agents using interactive workshops, dynamic speakers, teambuilding exercises and strategic business conversations with key executives from World Travel Holdings, cruise lines and land vendors. This year’s theme - Collaboration, Passion and Innovation - reflects the company’s goals for 2013 and beyond.

Nearly 800 attendees gathered this morning for an exciting general session, which included a welcome address from CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. Senior Vice President and General Manager Dwain Wall, remarks by Norwegian Cruise Line Executive Vice President Andy Stuart and Keri Rivera of Make-A-Wish® America, as well as an interactive panel discussion with cruise line executives.

Wall opened the general session with a motivational speech which generated excitement among the attendees. He focused on how the attendees and corporate headquarters team can shape the future of the company’s success in the changing marketplace by implementing ideas and actions surrounding the conference theme of Collaboration, Passion and Innovation.  

Wall noted “In today’s environment we know that ‘status quo’ is no longer acceptable. Our future success relies on our ability to work jointly with you [agents] in writing the next chapter of our history.”

Following the welcoming remarks, Keri Rivera, corporate alliances manager at Make-A-Wish America, the signature charity of CruiseOne, Cruises Inc. and World Travel Holdings for the third year in a row, addressed the crowd. Rivera shared the impact of a wish experience and highlighted the different fundraising opportunities taking place throughout the week including Zumba@Sea – Dance For Wishes, In the Park After Dark, “Run Like a Champion, Cruise Like a Norwegian” Marathon At Sea, prize drawings, silent auctions and more.

A cruise line executive panel was then hosted by David Crooks, Senior Vice President of Product and Operations for World Travel Holdings, and included the following panelists:
•           Andy Stuart – executive vice president, global sales & passenger services, Norwegian Cruise Line
•           Vicki Freed – senior vice president, sales and trade support & service, Royal Caribbean International              
•           Dondra Ritzenthaler – senior vice president of sales, Celebrity Cruises     
•           Ken Muskat – senior vice president, sales & marketing at MSC Cruises USA
•           Joni Rein – vice president of worldwide sales, Carnival Cruise Line
•           Brian O’Connor – vice president, North American sales, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line
•           Charles Dunwoody - senior director, national accounts , Holland America Line and Seabourn

After the cruise panel, attendees enjoyed a keynote address by Google Travel Marketing Manager Ashley Chang and Travel and Tourism Account Manager Kathryn Devlin.  They addressed how video content impacts buying decisions, local paid search advertising and the digitalization of consumer shopping.  

In the afternoon, attendees participated in workshops organized by learning tracks such as “Product,” “Business Opportunity,” “Sales,” “Marketing” and “Technology.” Presenters included corporate team members from CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., land and tour vendors, Chief Motivational Officer Stuart Cohen as well as CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. vacation specialists.

Sessions throughout the day included, by learning track:
•           Product – “Selling Land Packages” and “How to Sell Europe”
•           Business Opportunity – “20 Ways to Build your Business, 20 Ways to Shrink It,” “Employees vs. Associates” and “New Owners and Agents”
•           Sales – “Tools to Promote Groups,” “Cruises Inc. Best Practices” and “Boot Camp for a Cause”
•           Marketing – “Public Relations Boot Camp” and “Community Events – Trade Shows & Local Shows”