Back in 2011 I was looking for new opportunities, and a new direction for my professional life. After spending nearly 22 years in “Corporate America”, I was ready and excited about a change. I was fortunate to find Cruise Planners. I had done a lot of due diligence looking at a variety of different opportunities to own my own business. I had a love for travel, and a personal passion for Disney-based travel, and figured I could make something good for my family’s future with Cruise Planners. There was something extra special about the information that the company shared, but it really came to light when I spoke with numerous franchise owners, separate and away from the organization’s franchise sales team.
I purchased my franchise late in 2011 and dove in feet first, no looking back. Using the skills and traits I had used in my previous career positions, I have been able to successfully grow my business beyond what our initial expectations were for our first three years in business. We’re currently in our fourth year with Cruise Planners and it has truly been a wonderful experience. We are growing year over year, and I have personally been able to expand my business footprint with the addition of an associate on my team in 2013, and I’m currently in talks with another potential associate. Cruise Planners allows us lots of flexibility in how we operate our individual franchises, and definitely encourages us to “work smarter, not harder”, and having associates absolutely helps me to grow my business.
But it doesn’t stop there. The marketing support from Cruise Planners is phenomenal. Being able to get to know and interact with all levels of the Home Office team is fantastic, as well as very beneficial. There have been so many times when I can reach out and ask questions with no problem. But it’s also great to be able to serve others and mentor one another. I have enjoyed having personal relationships with many long-time franchisees who are also extremely willing to help; and in turn, I offer my time and guidance to newer franchisees, or any franchisee who might have a question that they might be struggling with.
Cruise Planners also offers each of us an amazing palette of technology options, which allow us to a) be mobile – we can work from anywhere in the world, and b) keep our primary focus where it really ought to be – fostering and building relationships with our clients, not worrying too much about paperwork or back-end issues. I am blessed to have so many great options at my fingertips, and can only imagine what other great innovations the CP tech team will dream up next.
I purchased my Cruise Planners franchise in Aug of 2013 and I only have positive things to say about the decision. From the Executive Leadership team, to the Home Office support, and the camaraderie with other franchise owners it has been a very positive (and profitable!!) experience. I came to Cruise Planners after a long career of working in both the airline industry and on board cruise ships. I thought Cruise Planners was mostly a cruise-based business, but I quickly learned it was so much more! Having the ability to sell cruise and land vacations has doubled my revenue options. And Cruise Planners has cultivated strong relationships with all the top suppliers in both the cruise and land vacation sectors of the business. Additionally, a large percentage of my client base is from the LGBT community and Cruise Planners is very engaged with their marketing and support of the LGBT community. The company provides very thorough initial training and the ongoing support is available 24/7 via Home Office support and e-learning modules, called Cruise Planners University. I could not be happier with my decision to purchase a Cruise Planners franchise and I plan on being a part of the CP family for years to come.
After retiring from the US Air Force I spent a full year researching various franchise opportunities. I have to admit, the thought of a travel franchise had never crossed my mind at the time I started researching even though I have spent my entire life traveling the world, and planning trips for myself and small groups of friends.
I purchased my Cruise Planners Franchise 20 months ago, and had formulated a 5 year plan to financial independence which I thought was ambitious. At the end of 12 months my business had shown such phenomenal growth that I began re-assess my 5-year goal, and submitted my notice to my then full-time employer.
The support and ongoing expansion of the home office team has been incredible over the past 20 months. I have a regional coach that I can reach out to personally when I have an issue or just need advice. The network of agents is phenomenal and really brings that military sense of "we're a family and we're all in this together to support on another" to life.
The IT infrastructure of the organization is really geared towards making your life as a home-based agent as easy as possible. They are constantly working to create newer and more customer-friendly technologies that appeal across the spectrum of the generations that love to travel.
My parting two cent? as with virtually any venture, you'll get out of a franchise what you put in to it. It's not an automatic formula for success, but Cruise Planners does their very best to set their franchisees up to be a success.
I feel like I might need to add a newer perspective to the rave reviews here so that new franchisees, or those thinking of getting in, can be a little smarter and go in with a better sense of reality. Yes, Cruise Planners does have an amazing amount of tools and resources. The people are positive, smart, and professional. However, there is so much information that it is overwhelming and there really isn't one person to help the new people coming onboard as each piece is handled by a different department and some is even outsourced. So, you'll need to allow a lot of time (regular Mon-Fri 8-5 time) to be on the computer and the phone getting set up. If you are trying to keep your job while you get set up, it will be difficult unless you can work evenings or weekends and work on your business during the day. You really do need to plan on being able to do without income for at least 6 months as it will probably take you at least that amount of time to get up and running and get any commissions coming in, and probably another 6 months for the commissions to be anything you can live off of, depending on the timing (I joined at a great time of year but the unexpected delays in getting all of my marketing materials is probably going to cost me the first big booking season). I wouldn't advise going to the training until you have all of your marketing tools in place as it will not be as meaningful. I still recommend the company but wish I'd have been better prepared. Hopefully, I'll be on here 5 years down the line talking about my tremendous success as well but you have to know that the first part is going to likely be really hard.
I have been with Cruise Planners for over 2 years now and I have enjoyed every moment of it. It was the best decision I have ever made. My wife and I love to travel, especially cruises. Other than planning our own personal travel, I do not have any sales or travel industry experience. I was in the computer industry prior to purchasing the Cruise Planners franchise. The initial week-long training provided by Home Office is invaluable. They give us everything we need to know to start our own Cruise Planners franchise, from how to organize the filing system in our home office to where to find our first customer. Technology is definitely first class and Home Office is constantly making improvements based on feedback from the franchisees. I can literally work from anywhere in the world as long as we have internet connection. We actually continued to conduct our business while in Europe on a river cruise and a Northern Europe Baltic cruise we were recently on.
Being an American Express Travel Representative, it definitely gave us a competitive advantage over other travel agencies, especially as a start-up. People immediately recognized the "blue box" and trust us as a reliable company.
I highly recommend Cruise Planners if you are looking into a good host agency. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Ivan Lai, MCC
Master Cruise Counselor
I joined Cruise Planners just over 3 years ago and I love it! I had no prior travel experience but I have had prior experience with franchises and so purchasing a Cruise Planners franchise was an easy choice. They have provided me with all of the training, tools and continuous support needed for me to be successful. There is also an abundance of help and support from all of the other franchises. It really is one big family.
Cruise Planners has an amazing marketing and IT department with the best direct mailing pieces out there and our new Cruise Planners mobile phone app. It just keeps getting better!
I ended my career in law enforcement as a Deputy Chief of Police and began looking for a second career. I wasn't looking at travel but rather the best opportunity for a home based career. After six months of intense research, interviewing the home office, and other franchise owners it was clear their was no other legitimate opportunity.
Beyond the reputation in the marketplace, training, day to day support, and incredible access to travel value, there are things Cruise Planners brings to the table that are truly one of kind. It is possible as a franchise owner, at a VERY LOW cost I might add, to talk with a prospective client, pre a follow-up flyer and have it customized and to them within minutes of your meeting. Not just a piece of paper with color printing but a fully glossy, sales slick that rivals anything in the marketplace. The back end support for your business and website is amazing and will allow you to focus on sales and not business operations.
Lastly, the Cruise Planner organization is a family and I was immediately welcomed by all other owners who I daily interact with via email, Facebook, etc. As a group we work to resolve each others issues, questions, etc. It is like having a company with a resource of hundreds of mentors all willing to help.
I would encourage anyone looking at franchises to consider this option. If you have traveled it will be helpful as you have a better personal reference to be a resource for your clients.
It has truly changed our lives forever!
I joined Cruise Planners in Sept 2012 and it is the best move that I made! I was with another major agency for 6 years prior and I wish I would have made the move a long time ago. The support that I receive is phenomenal and the constant on-going training is the best!
The initial training week that you attend once you join is filled with tons of information and so much fun! I learned more in that session than I did the entire 6 years at my other agency.
The Cruise Planners team is very much like my family and I am treated as such. No matter how many times I ask for help, I am giving quick and friendly help with a lot of enthusiasm. Even though I am a "newbie" to Cruise Planners, I see that I am treated the same as the top producer. I went to the New York regional conference this year and we all had a great time together.
They are constantly revamping their marketing and other tools, and the give constant updates on all the specials, deals, and sales.
Being an American Express company has been the biggest benefit as there are so many more options that I can give my clients. Because of these benefits, I got my own Platinum American Express Card.
I could keep going on-and-on about this great company and wonderful staff! As you can tell, I am very happy to be here and it was the best decision that I have made.
This is my "dream come true" agency!!! I have been in the industry 25+ years and I have never seen such professionalism, warmth, guidance, etc. as this company has. We researched it extensively and Cruise Planners always came out number 1! The industry tools, websites, back office, webinars, training, are all the best I have ever seen with any company prior. They go above and beyond for us. They want you to succeed and give you the tools to do so. I've spoken with several industry reps who've I've known over the years and they ALL said this was the best decision I have made. This is "THE COMPANY" to be with. They have won and continue to win numerous awards for their achievements in the industry. They say to be successful in life, you need to surround yourself with positive and successful people. Cruise Planners fits that bill to a tee! Our executive staff are also owners who are all passionate about their work. I've been with the company less than a year, but I intend to be here for a very long time! Thank you, Cruise Planners!
So glad all worked out well, Deb! :) And even happier to hear the site was such a great resource for you!
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