When I sit down to write this column (which will now appear in The Rim Review’s first edition of the month), there are usually several different topics running through my mind, this month is no exception. Let’s start off with upcoming events.
I am pleased to announce that we have put together a special exclusive country music cruise with The Doo Wah Riders called “Riders On The High Seas.” The Doo Wah Riders have been entertaining fans in the Southwest for 30 years and have had national airplay with recent songs such as hits as “Dear Beer,” “Smothered, Covered and Scattered,” and “You Just Need a Little Twang.” They also have just released a new single called “Tonight She Just Wants to Dance.”
Their country sound with a slightly Cajun flavor appeals to a wide demographic base. I have had the pleasure of knowing the group and seeing them perform on many occasions since my days at KMOG. Kenny Lee Benson, founder and leader of “The Rider,” tells me that they should have two new CDs — one recorded live and one recorded in a studio — coming out right around this time. The cruise is a five-night Mexican Riviera cruise on the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, sailing Nov. 16 from San Diego. The band will be doing two private concerts for this group and we will also have a “meet and greet” party. A wide variety of staterooms are available, contact our office at (928) 472-7878 for details and pricing.
Right now we are working the finishing touches of a quilters group cruise. Preliminary plans call for several classes, product vendor displays and, of course, being spoiled on the high seas. More details as they become available.
Cruise Port Travel has contracted with the Payson company, Computer Creations, to develop a new Web site for our travel agency. There will be many new features, special events and last-minute specials available to you, as well as the capability to book airline travel. We will let you know in our advertising in the Payson Roundup and on Cowboy Carl’s Country Gold show Sunday mornings on KMOG; we sponsor the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. hour.
Alphabet soup sorted out
Every business big or small has some abbreviations you might see or hear, our business is no exception. Here are some you might hear the travel industry use.
What do these letters mean?
A.C.C. is for Accredited Cruise Counselor. We feel that this separates us from the people who have come in on the ground level in a multi-level marketing plan. To become an Accredited Cruise Counselor we must meet very specific requirements including completion of two Cruise Line International Association (C.L.I.A.) classroom courses (yes, there is a test), completion of the C.L.I.A. textbook (another test), a minimum of two additional C.L.I.A. classroom courses, attendance at a C.L.I.A. endorsed or sponsored conference, a minimum of five shipboard inspections, cruising on at least two different cruises on different C.L.I.A. member cruise lines, a minimum of 15 cabins sold within the prior 12 months and being employed or owning a C.L.I.A. certified travel agency. To maintain our rating we must continually update our training.
In all, to obtain an Accredited Cruise Counselor rating involves more than 100 hours of training and several thousand dollars in expense. When you are dealing with an Accredited Cruise Counselor you can be assured that the person is more than just someone who hands you a brochure or quotes you a price from some Web site linked to an out-of-town or out-of-state company.
I.A.T.A. is a part of the International Airlines Travel Agent Network, an association that certifies travel agencies and agents.
I can tell you from personal experience that when we bought Cruise Port Travel the process to maintain certification was a long and complicated task for Carol and me. To be certified, the travel agency must have been in business for more than one year and must have met a minimum total for travel sales, have letters of recommendation from at least two travel suppliers, proof of listing as a travel agency in the local telephone directory and provide proof of insurance for errors and omissions and professional liability insurance.
I.A.T.A. is quite strict in limiting their certification to non-multilevel marketing companies and has, on more than one occasion, refused to certify companies that do not meet their standards.
Each year we must reapply for certification for both of these associations and, of course, they require documentation that we have in fact adhered to their guidelines.
That’s it for this time. Thanks for reading and remember to “Support your Locally Owned Payson Businesses.”