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2007: A Banner Year For Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance

2007: A Banner Year For Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance ( With growth from 11 to 15 member lines, the incorporation of a new Certified Niche Cruise Agent designation that attracted 250 agents to its online training system, and training of more than 1200 new niche cruise specialists, the Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance experienced a banner year in 2007.

Louis Cruise Lines, Pandaw Cruises, American Canadian Caribbean Line, Variety Cruises and Elegant Cruises and Tours all became NCMA members in 2007, joining the 11 existing NCMA member lines and further adding to the diversity of cruise offerings available through NCMA.

In addition, NCMA participated in six trade shows during the year - the Home-Based Travel Agent Show in Charlotte, N.C., Cruise-A-Thon in Seattle, the Home-Based Travel Agent Show in Atlantic City, the Leisure Travel Show in Fort Lauderdale, the Home-Based Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Expo in Las Vegas.

The 15 NCMA member lines have banded together to educate travel agents on the value of concentrating on the sale of specialty cruise products. The alliance provides educational programs, seminar content and trade show exposure for its members and this industry segment. In addition, its award winning website,, allows consumers in the United States and Canada to locate Niche Cruise Specialist travel agents by postal code, name or city.

"As successful as 2007 was, we are looking forward to an even more exciting year in 2008," said NCMA Executive Director Larry Dessler. “We hope to introduce a new “Open House" training program for agents that will be scheduled independently of trade shows and provide an extended program for agents who would receive their Certified Niche Cruise Specialist designation upon graduation from the training.

"We are developing a series of webinars (web-based live training programs) to offer a wide variety of training subjects presented on the web. Agents who participate in these webinar programs would satisfy the ongoing education requirement of the Certified Niche Cruise Specialist designation and receive in-depth training in our members' products and marketing techniques, " Dessler said. These new programs are scheduled to begin in March.

The organization will participate in eight trade shows in 2008 and also update its sales manual binder. Dessler said NCMA's goals are to interact with at least 10,000 travel agents and add 500 new Niche Cruise Specialists in 2008.

Other NCMA member lines include American Cruise Lines, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Galapagos Explorer II/Canodros, Hurtigruten, Imperial River Cruises, Orion Expedition Cruises, Peter Deilmann Cruises, RiverBarge Excursion Line, Star Clippers and Voyages of Discovery.

The NCMA office is in Bellevue, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. Executive Director Lawrence Dessler can be reached by telephone at 425.867.0399, fax at 425.867.0589 or e-mail at href="">

Steve Kravitz,
Phone: 305.932.4785,

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