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Winter Cruise-a-Thon opens

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Cruise-a-Thon opens for travel sellers

by Tom Stieghorst, Business Writer, Posted November 29 2004

About 1,500 people are expected to travel to Fort Lauderdale this week for the winter Cruise-a-Thon, a semi-annual event for travel agents who specialize in selling cruises.

Programs for the event begin Wednesday with presentations at the Fort Lauderdale Marina Marriott by the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents, which is hosting a parallel meeting for home travel agents. Ship inspections begin Thursday with Holland America Line's Westerdam and Rotterdam, and Princess Cruises' Sun Princess.

Speakers are expected to include Royal Caribbean International President Jack Williams, Norwegian Cruise Line President Colin Veitch, and Carnival Cruise Lines Senior Vice President Vicki Freed.

In addition to the Marina Marriott, hotels used by the conference will include the Embassy Suites 17th Street, Renaissance Fort Lauderdale, Comfort Suites Airport and Holiday Inn Express.

Sponsored by Travel Trade Publications, the Cruise-a-Thon closes on Sunday. The next one is scheduled for Seattle in June 2005.

The best examples of hospitality by frontline travel industry workers will be honored on Thursday when the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau announces its annual courtesy award winners at a luncheon at the Broward County Convention Center.

Each year, the bureau solicits nominations for outstanding acts of hospitality. A panel of experts chooses about a dozen winners. In addition to recognition, those honored get gifts ranging from free stays at area resorts and meals at fine-dining restaurants to American Express gift cards and excursions on local tourist attractions.

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