Edwin W. Stephan, Walter Sherota, Joyce Landry and Josephine Kling. To be Honored at cruise3sixty in Fort Lauderdale, April 4
Fort Lauderdale, FL — March 12, 2009 — Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced four inductees to the 2009 CLIA Cruise Industry Hall of Fame. They are: Edwin W. Stephan, a founder and past president of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and iconic innovator in the cruise industry; Walter Sherota, founder of Gold Coast Cruises and a pioneer in the cruise-only travel agency model; and Josephine Kling and Joyce Landry, founders of Landry & Kling, Inc., visionaries who led the way in seagoing corporate meetings and incentives. The induction will take place during the 2009 CLIA Hall of Fame gala dinner at cruise3sixty in Fort Lauderdale, April 4.
In its fifth year, the Cruise Industry Hall of Fame honors those individuals, past and present, whose efforts and accomplishments represent a significant contribution to and positive impact on the development and growth of cruise vacations. They are selected based on nominations from CLIA’s membership, review by a nominating committee made up of Travel Agency Advisory Board (TAAB) and cruise line members, and approval by CLIA’s Executive Committee. Inductees are chosen in three categories: cruise retailer (Walter Sherota), cruise line executive (Edwin Stephan) and an “At Large” category that may be any individual, such as a retailer or cruise line executive, a politician, publisher, or shipbuilder, whose accomplishments warrant nomination (Landry and Kling). “We are extraordinarily pleased to induct into the Hall of Fame four individuals who have truly shaped today’s cruise industry. Ed Stephan’s vision changed ship design and warm weather cruising forever. Walter Sherota was a leader in creating a cruise-only travel agency. And Landry and Kling were the first to identify the potential of meetings and incentives at sea. It is an honor to welcome all of them to the Hall of Fame,” said Terry Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. Edwin W. Stephan Ed Stephan was a founder of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. where for three decades he held numerous positions, including president, CEO, vice chairman and general manager.
In 1968, Stephan persuaded three Norwegian ship builders to help construct the first ship ever built specifically for warm weather cruising in the Caribbean. Two years later, the Song of Norway sailed from Miami with features that would revolutionize the industry, including the first Viking Crown Lounge, a glass-enclosed cocktail lounge cantilevered from the ship’s funnel. Competitors predicted it would not survive but, as the saying goes, the rest is history. During his tenure with Royal Caribbean, Stephan supervised the creation of a fleet of 25 cruise ships and introduced other shipboard features that are now commonplace, including, in 1988, Sovereign of the Sea’s five-story atrium, another industry first.
Prior to founding and leading Royal Caribbean, Stephan held a number of positions with other shipping companies, including Yarmouth Steamship Company and Commodore Cruise Line. He began his travel industry career in the hotel business in Florida. He was also a decorated army officer in the Korean War. Stephan retired from Royal Caribbean’s board of directors, as vice chairman, in 2003 at the age of 71.
Walter Sherota founded Gold Coast Travel in 1973 with his wife Rhea. In 1979, they changed the name to Gold Coast Cruises after making the decision to become a cruise only travel agency. The decision to focus all their time, effort and money on selling cruises was born out of foresight and business acumen. In seeing the vast potential in cruise vacations Walter was well ahead of his time.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Gold Coast Cruises grew significantly. In 1997 the company had annual sales of $40 million and employed over 100 people. In 1998, the Sherotas sold the company to Travel Services International. Gold Coast Cruises was rolled up under the brand CruisesOnly, America’s Largest Cruise Agency, which is now part of World Travel Holdings.
Landry and Kling
Joyce Landry and Josephine Kling founded Landry & Kling, Inc. in 1982. It was the first distribution channel between the cruise industry and corporate America and has become the premier business-to-business resource for meeting planners, providing site selection for cruise groups and full ship charters as well as complete program management services. It was the only travel company focused exclusively on developing cruise ship charters and meetings and incentives at sea for all kinds of organizations, including many Fortune 1000 companies. To accelerate the company’s growth, Landry and Kling sold the company to the publicly traded Travel Services International in 1998, and successfully re-purchased it in 2005. Landry and Kling were named among the 10 Women Leaders who are making a difference in the meetings industry by Incentive Magazine in 2006.
Kling started her career as sales and marketing coordinator for Royal Viking Line in San Francisco. In New York she worked in advertising with Scali McCabe Sloves and then joined Holland America Line as director of program planning and passenger research where she met Joyce Landry. Through her company, Kling has become an industry spokesperson, developing a reputation as a reliable source for consumer and trade publications, speaking at premier industry events and appearing as a cruise expert on such broadcasts as NBC’s Today Show. Prior to forming Landry & Kling, Joyce Landry held several management positions with Delta Queen Steamboat Company and Holland America Line. She also has been on advisory board for Disney Cruise Line, Radisson Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean and Cunard/Seabourn Cruises. In addition to educating thousands of meeting planners on the benefits of cruising, Landry has been nominated for several prestigious awards including being named one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry by Meeting News magazine in 2002.