Press Contacts

Travel Industry & Marketing

Sarah Kennedy – Director, Public Relations
Tel: 703-628-7389 

Industry Policies/Regulatory & Legislative Issues

Catharine Montgomery – Director of Public Affairs
Tel: 202-759-6758

Press Releases

Stay on top of the latest information about CLIA and the cruise industry by checking out our most recent press releases below.

CLIA Announces Winners of 2018 Hall of Fame Cruise Industry Awards

Apr 20, 2018

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Hall of Fame Cruise Industry Awards. These awards recognize individuals and organizations whose efforts and accomplishments represent a significant contribution to the cruise industry. The 2018 Award Winners were honored at the Hall of Fame Cruise Industry Awards dinner during the CLIA Cruise360 conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL on Thursday, April 19, 2018.

“The nominees for Hall of Fame represent the best and brightest individuals within our industry and the winners this year are some of the most talented and dedicated members of this group,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “We are proud to host the Hall of Fame Cruise Industry Awards to highlight the ongoing dedication and passion these individuals have for advancing the cruise industry.”

Congratulations to the 2018 Cruise Industry Hall of Fame Award Winners:


Awarded to an individual from any aspect of the cruise industry who is an advocate for cruise travel and has made remarkable, positive contributions to the cruise industry. This year the selection committee elected to award Lifetime Achievement Awards to two individuals:

Sandy Cleary- Founder and CEO, CruCon Cruise Outlet

Cleary started CruCon Cruise Outlet 25 years ago in her mother’s basement because of her love of cruise travel. Due to Cleary’s leadership and innovative marketing strategy, CruCon Cruise Outlet is now among the largest sellers of cruises, with more than $135 million in annual cruise volume. She has won a number of awards and honors throughout her career for both her achievements in the cruise industry and her philanthropic efforts.

Vicki L. Freed, CTC, Senior Vice President, Sales and Trade Support & Service, Royal Caribbean International

Freed oversees Royal Caribbean’s sales force, the largest sales team in the cruise industry. Dedicated to helping the travel agent community achieve success, she also manages the global cruise line’s Trade Support and Service division, which includes Reservations, Group Sales and Customer Service as well as the cruise line’s Consumer Outreach division. Freed joined the company after 29 years with Carnival Cruise Line, where she spent the last 15 years as senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. An industry pioneer, Freed also served as the first female chairman of CLIA from 1998 to 2000.


Awarded to a CLIA Travel Agency Member who has demonstrated innovation in their approach to promoting cruise travel and growing their cruise travel sales.

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative

Founded by travel professionals, Cruise Planners® is a home-based travel agent franchise network with more than 1,800+ franchise owners. “At Cruise Planners, our vision is simply to create innovative tools and programs designed to help our agents stand out in a busy marketplace,” said Michelle Fee, CEO of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. “It’s funny, suppliers always tell us, ‘Your technology is better than ours,’ and I agree. We truly have the most creative and collaborative team in the industry because our technology team believes ‘If you can dream it; we can build it.’ Couple that with a marketing team that is pushing boundaries to bring our ideas to life and our agents flourish in business. I couldn’t be prouder to lead such a passionate team.”


Awarded to an Individual Agent Member who has demonstrated their commitment to professional development through achievement of Elite Cruise Counsellor or Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar status – the pinnacle of CLIA certification with the requisite sales requirements – as well as significantly impacted the travel agent landscape through contributions to their agency.

Gary E. Smith, ECCS- TravelPerks Dream Vacations

Gary Smith has been in the travel industry for more than 15 years and is an Elite Cruise Counselor Scholar, the highest accreditation in the cruise industry. He is one of Dream Vacations’ top-producing travel agents and has forged strong connections with the cruise lines and is very involved with the development and growth of the industry.

The 2018 Cruise Industry Hall of Fame Cruise Industry Awards draw nominations from throughout the CLIA membership. Recipients of the awards are determined by a selection panel that includes representatives from the CLIA Strategic Trade Advisory and Review Board (STARBoard) and Trade Relations Committee.

About Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – One Industry, One Voice

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. The association has 15 offices globally with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA supports policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment for the more than 25 million passengers who cruise annually and is dedicated to promoting the cruise travel experience. The CLIA Community is comprised of the world’s most prestigious ocean, river and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and cruise line suppliers and partners, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers and business services. The organization’s mission is to be the unified global organization that helps its members succeed by advocating, educating and promoting for the common interests of the cruise community. For more information, visit or follow Cruise Lines International Association on CLIA Facebook and Twitter pages.