First Carnival Executive Forum Meets

Carnival executives hold discussions with 19 North American agents

By: By Marilyn Green

The new Carnival Executive Forum held its first meeting in August at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale. The 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 group will meet twice a year during intensive two-day conferences with members serving two-year terms.

“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 of 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 online retailers. They represent agencies of different sizes and from various regions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The travel agent members include Roberta Christman, AAA Northern California; Brad Anderson, America’s Vacation Center; Sandy Cleary, Cru Con Outlet; Anthony Hamawy,; John Keen, Cruise consultant; Vicky Garcia, Cruise Planners; Michael Drever, CruiseShipCenters; Ross Spalding, Cruise Value Center; Koreen Mcknutt, Expedia; Joyce Landry, Landry & Kling; Makis Xenatos, Liberty Travel; Jackie Friedman, Nexion; Ed Rudner, Online Vacation Center; Marcia Rowley, Our Vacation Center; Filomena Andre, Signature; Mark Jacobs, The Cruise Line Limited; Ken Lorey, Travelocity; Vacations to Go; David Crooks, World Travel Holdings.

Carnival executives participating in the forum include president and CEO Gerry Cahill, executive vice president of marketing and guest experience Ruben Rodriguez, vice president of field sales Joni Rein, and vice president of business development and strategic partnerships Edie Bornstein. Other senior management team will participate in future, as well.

Carnival 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.