Cruise360 Preview: What Exactly Is Cruise360?

Next week, the Premier Custom Travel staff will travel to our tenth Cruise360. You may have heard us mention this conference before or the host – CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association). But what exactly is Cruise360, and why is it important to us and to your vacation?

The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida


Each year, over 1,000 travel advisors, dozens of cruise lines, and hundreds of other travel industry suppliers gather for the Cruise360, the industry’s largest cruise conference. The event is typically on a three-year rotation, with back-to-back years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and then repositioning to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada every third year. Last year would have been our tenth consecutive time attending this event, but the pandemic caused the cancellation of our much-anticipated return to Canada. This year would normally see us returning to the Broward County Convention Center, but that facility is under construction and won’t be available to us until next year’s conference in March 2022. So for this year only, Cruise360 is relocating to The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida. Having the event and lodging at the same location will be nice and make the daily grind a bit easier to manage.

The event officially kicks off on Tuesday. Here is a glimpse of the day-by-day events:

  • Tuesday, July 27th – PRE-CONFERENCE SEMINARS – Full day classes where agents can get certified in various specialties
  • Wednesday, July 28th – CLIA SEMINARS – A slate of 75 minute cruise industry training focused on sales, marketing, public relations, etc.
  • Thursday, July 29th – PRODUCT & DESTINATION WORKSHOPS – A chance to learn from various vacation suppliers & destinations
  • Friday, July 30th – CRUISE LINE SHOWCASES – Presentations from dozens of cruise lines about their products and latest news
  • Saturday, July 31st – VIRTUAL SHIP INSPECTIONS – Our chance to “tour” some of the newest ships on the water
  • Sunday, August 1st – FAM TRIPS – “FAMiliarization” tours designed to show us various products (hotels) and attractions in the area

In addition to these daily themes, there will be three General Sessions featuring keynote addresses from industry leaders and executive panels, plus the trade show (with hundreds of supplier booths and exhibits) and the CLIA Cruise Industry Hall of Fame Gala Dinner. We’ll also celebrate those who have earned CLIA Certification at a special reception. I’m a CLIA ECC (Elite Cruise Counselor) – currently the highest-available level of certification. All Premier Custom Travel employees have earned at least the minimum CLIA certification and two of us also have our LCS (Luxury Cruise Specialist) titles.


As you might imagine, this will be a busy week for all of us. Our day will typically begin around 7-8am each day and on some evenings it won’t end until almost midnight. But as jam-packed as it is, the information we get and the contacts we make are invaluable. There are over 30 CLIA cruise line members and they will all be present at the event. On top of that, there will be dozens of hotel suppliers, representatives from many of the world’s most popular destinations and cruise ports, plus other companies that work with agents to help us with websites, industry connections, insurance, and much more.

When we attended our first Cruise360, we did not know what to expect and quite honestly, as a brand new agency we were worried about feeling out of place or insignificant. Yet many of the higher-ups at the various lines and companies made us feel incredibly welcome and took us under their proverbial wings. Although this is our tenth time, we find new things to take away each year and look forward to re-connecting with old friends. This year, the event will be extra special since none of us have met in person in well over a year. With cruises beginning to re-start these last few weeks, the conference will certainly have a unique energy. We always leave incredibly motivated and full of great info to share with our customers.

The various levels of CLIA certification, with ECC being the highest.


So you might be thinking, “This sounds great and all, but why should it matter to me?”

Great question.

When you book a vacation, you are spending your hard-earned money on something designed to relax you, not stress you out. One of the many reasons to use a travel advisor is to have someone who understands the product, the procedures, and the ins and outs of travel. By attending this conference (and many other training events throughout the year), we stay up-to-date on the latest trends, rules, and protocols in our industry. Travel is an ever-evolving industry and agents who do not keep track of the changes will not be able to properly service their clients or their reservations. You should always work with a certified travel advisor (we certainly hope that it is us) but you should also make sure that whichever company you choose is investing in their industry knowledge by continued learning at events like Cruise360.

Another reason that Cruise360 should matter to you is the contacts we make at this event. If you book your own vacations, when you need help you’re at the mercy of an 800 number and a call center located who knows where. Hold times are extremely high these days, and often the level of service (and knowledge) you get can unfortunately vary with each call. Rarely will you work with the same person twice. Through networking, we have contacts throughout the industry that can get things done and fix issues quickly and effectively. Usually we can get things done with a single call or email, thanks to years of interacting with some of the industry’s top executives.

And remember – all of our knowledge, advice, and connections are yours at no extra charge. While other agencies may charge booking or planning fees, Premier Custom Travel does not.


Beginning Monday, we’ll be sharing lots of updates from Cruise360 including photos, videos, breaking news updates, and daily blog posts recapping the day’s events. The easiest way to keep up with all of this is to subscribe to all our Social Media channels and to visit our Cruise360 2021 Updates page, where all of this information is available at any time.


While we do not have an official invitation in hand as of now, Premier Custom Travel has been told that we will be invited to be a part of a test sailing for one of our cruise line partners at the conclusion of Cruise360. “Simulated voyages” are required for ships that wish to welcome un-vaccinated guests onboard. We are excited at the prospect of being able to bring you the details of this experience. If we do attend, we will be providing daily updates and more through our social media channels.