The Cruise Lines International Association is launching two new
programs an Elite Cruise Counsellor certification and a new
membership category for outside and independent agents.
“Among the many changes that we have seen in the travel agent
distribution system in recent years has been the enormous growth in
the number of outside agents and independent contractors,” said Bob
Sharak, CLIA’s executive director.
The new Travel Agent Associate program costs $99 a year for
outside/independent agents who are affiliated with a CLIA agency
Sharak noted that the outside segment has been difficult to
recognize and reach.
“Since important communications from CLIA and its member lines
typically are delivered to agency owner/managers only, these
outside agents may be missing out of a great deal of information
relevant to their business,” he said.
Travel Associates will receive ongoing e-mail news, promotional
announcements and updates directly from CLIA and CLIA member cruise
Other benefits include a kit including various CLIA materials
and a listing on the CLIA Web site for consumers seeking an
Meanwhile, agents who have already achieved the Master Cruise
Counsellor certification “are telling us they were ready to receive
a higher level of training and certification,” Sharak said.
To qualify for the new Elite Cruise Counsellor certification,
agents with MCCs must complete 10 live or online CLIA seminars and
They must also have cruised for at least seven days on a line
not used to qualify for ACC or MCC, inspect five additional
CLIA-member ships, and prove they have sold 50 cruise cabins within
12 consecutive months.
Qualifications for the ACC and MCC have also been changed for
In addition to educational requirements, applicants must now
inspect three ships and sell 15 cabins over 12 months for the ACC,
and have three ship inspections and 30 cabins sold for the MCC.
This year, CLIA allowed ACC and MCC candidates to use certain
levels of cruise sales in lieu of ship inspections.
“We listened to our travel agents, and we heard that they want
the bar raised, not lowered,” Sharak said. “We are maintaining the
cruise sales element in 2004 but as a required product experience
component in addition not an alternative to ship inspections.”