SmartDepart: What to Expect on Your Cruise

July 9, 2020 4:00 pm

AAA Travel is proud to present our broadcast of our SmartDepart Travel Series, What to Expect on Your Cruise. Join us as we discuss the open seas, ports, ship safety, and more. This in-depth panel discussion includes behind the scene updates direct from AAA Travel cruise partners. Our open panel discussion brings industry leaders together for an hour of need-to-know insider information exclusively presented to AAA members.

Our panel includes:

Charles Sylvia, ECC
Vice President of Industry and Trade Relations
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

Charles’s 26-year career in cruise sales and marketing began with his starting out as a front-line travel agent at a brick-and-mortar agency in his hometown near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In his role at CLIA, Charles champions the interests of CLIA’s North American Travel Trade Membership, comprised of more than 41,000 travel agency owners and agents, and he serves as primary liaison for CLIA’s Strategic Trade Advisory and Review Board (STARBoard) and Trade Relations Committee.

Vicki Freed
Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service
Royal Caribbean International

Freed oversees the company’s sales force, the largest and most awarded sales team in the cruise industry. She also manages Royal Caribbean International’s Trade Support and Service division, which includes Reservations, Group Sales and Consumer Outreach.

Freed joined the company after 29 years with Carnival Cruise Lines, where she spent the last 15 years as senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. Prior to that, Freed served in a variety of sales management positions within the cruise line. From 1998 to 2000, Freed also served as the first and only female chairman of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the marketing and travel agent training arm of the North American cruise industry.

Dondra Ritzenthaler
Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support & Service, North America
Celebrity Cruises

Dondra Ritzenthaler joined award-winning modern luxury cruise line Celebrity Cruises in September 2003, becoming the brand’s first Vice President of Sales. After three years of success and celebrated accomplishments, Ritzenthaler was promoted to her current role as Senior Vice President of Sales (SVP) for the brand, where she continues to thrive and win awards.

Widely credited for raising awareness of the importance of travel partners, Ritzenthaler has led the creation of a number of programs designed to help travel agents build their business, including “The Celebrity Commitment.” And, under her leadership, Celebrity has been awarded “Best Premium Cruise Line,” by leading industry trade publication, Travel Weekly, for the last eight consecutive years and counting.

John Chernesky
Senior Vice President, North America Sales & Trade Marketing
Princess Cruises & Cunard Line

John leads the national accounts and field sales team of sales directors and business development managers who are responsible for managing the relationship with North America Travel Advisors who sell Princess Cruises and Cunard Line. In addition, John is responsible for all Princess Trade Marketing.

John has been with Princess for 27 years and prior to his role in Sales served in a number of positions within the Fleet Operations Department, most notably the Vice President, Onboard Revenue & Business Development.

July 9, 2020 4:00 pm