The new Carnival Executive Forum – comprised of some of the most influential travel executives throughout the U.S. and Canada, along with key Carnival Cruise Lines executives – held its first meeting earlier this week in at the Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The new forum is designed to provide travel agents and Carnival executives with a forum to discuss issues relevant to the cruise industry, including product, sales and marketing policies, and distribution. The forum will meet twice a year during intensive two-day conferences with members serving two-year terms.
The travel agent executive forum will also provide Carnival management with a vehicle for enhancing their understanding of unique challenges faced by travel agents while looking for best-practice solutions that will benefit all parties involved.
“Travel agents are the largest and most vital part of our distribution system. And while Carnival has always enjoyed an excellent relationship with the travel agent community, this new executive forum offers an opportunity to enhance our dialogue with agents while seeking new ways to make them more successful and profitable in today’s marketplace,” said Lynn Torrent, Carnival’s senior vice president of sales and guest experience.
The 19 travel agent members that comprise the Carnival Executive Forum were specifically chosen to represent a wide range of business models, including traditional “brick and mortar” agencies, home-based travel agents, consortia, and on-line retailers.
Additionally, the members represent agencies of different sizes and from various regions throughout the U.S. and Canada. The travel agent members include:
Representative Travel Agency Name
Roberta Christman AAA Northern California – San Francisco
Brad Anderson America’s Vacation Center – San Diego
Sandy Cleary Cru Con Outlet – Boston
Anthony Hamawy Cruise.com – Fort Lauderdale
John Keen Cruise consultant – Charlotte, N.C.
Vicky Garcia Cruise Planners – Coral Springs, Fla.
Michael Drever CruiseShipCenters – Vancouver, B.C.
Ross Spalding Cruise Value Center – East Brunswick, N.J.
Koreen Mcknutt Expedia – Seattle
Joyce Landry Landry & Kling – Coral Gables, Fla.
Makis Xenatos Liberty Travel – Ramsey, N.J.
Jackie Friedman Nexion – South Lake, Texas
Ed Rudner Online Vacation Center – Plantation, Fla.
Marcia Rowley Our Vacation Center – Phoenix
Filomena Andre Signature – Los Angeles
Mark Jacobs The Cruise Line Limited – North Potomac, Md.
Ken Lorey Travelocity – Boston
Emerson Hankamer Vacations to Go – Houston
David Crooks World Travel Holdings – Boston
Carnival executives participating in the forum include President and CEO Gerry Cahill, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Guest Experience Ruben Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Sales and Guest Experience Lynn Torrent, Vice President of Field Sales Joni Rein, and Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships Edie Bornstein. Other members of Carnival’s senior management team will be participating in this function, as well.
Carnival is the world’s largest and most popular cruise line, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages of three to 18 days in length to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe and South America.
The line currently has two 130,000-ton ships on order — Carnival Dream, set to debut Sept. 21, 2009, and Carnival Magic, scheduled to enter service in June 2011.