Nov 30, 2009
Fort Lauderdale, FL — November 30, 2009 —

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has applauded the decision by American Express Travel to enable its travel specialists to enroll in CLIA certification programs.

Available in a wide variety of formats, including online and classroom courses and educational programs at cruise3sixty, CLIA’s annual industry conference and trade show, and other special events and training opportunities, CLIA programs lead to certification as Accredited Cruise Counsellor, Master Cruise Counsellor or Elite Cruise Counsellor, with further levels of achievement as Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar and Luxury Cruise Specialist also available. In addition to training, cruise experience is also factored into certification.

"For CLIA there is no greater priority than helping travel agents sell more cruises, and our training and certification programs are the essential ingredient in that effort. Surveys show that agents who complete CLIA certification generate, on average, 261 percent more in cruise sales," said Bob Sharak, CLIA’s executive vice president. "To have a company as prestigious and well-respected in the cruise and travel industry as American Express join us in getting more agents enrolled in professional development, reinforces our goal."

"We are delighted to partner with CLIA to offer their Cruise Counsellor Certification program to our travel specialists," said Laurie Farquhar, vice president of the American Express U.S. Consumer Travel Network. "Both CLIA and American Express are known for world class programs and services, and we see this partnership as a natural fit. American Express Cardmembers expect the best, and together with CLIA, our agents will be well-positioned to deliver cruise expertise that is unparalleled in the industry."

American Express has long been an active supporter of the cruise industry. From its various Cardmember programs, such as Cruise Privileges and Mariner Club Programs, to its many cruise travel specialists, and online sitelet dedicated to expanding the cruise market by providing first-time cruisers with tips and advice (

About American Express Travel:
American Express entered the travel agency business in 1915 and today operates one of the world’s largest travel agency networks in more than 140 countries worldwide.

American Express Company ( is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

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About CLIA

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world's largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA represents the interests of cruise lines, travel agents, port authorities and destinations, and various industry business partners before regulatory and legislative policy makers. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise holiday vacations with thousands of travel agency and travel agent members. CLIA's Associate Member and Executive Partner program includes the industry's leading providers of supplies and services that help cruise lines provide a safe, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable holiday vacation experience for millions of passengers every year. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit CLIA can also be followed on the Cruise Lines International Association's Facebook and Twitter fan pages, and CEO Christine Duffy can be followed @CLIACEO and

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