Expedia CruiseShipCenters Puts Up Strong Fight Against Breast Cancer

Cruise ship booking agency has designated breast cancer research as its charity of choice

Supporting breast cancer research and awareness has always been important to us at Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®. Over the years, so many people in our organization have been touched by breast cancer in some way — our customers, employees, friends, and franchisees have all been affected.

In 2009, Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Owner Barry Foot lost his wife to breast cancer. Understanding first-hand the impact of the disease, Barry decided to do something to give back and created the Cruise for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research in memory of his wife, Mary. This coming March will mark the seventh annual Cruise for the Cure, which has become a national effort supported by the entire Expedia CruiseShipCenters system. The seven-day cruise, including a walk and workout, is supported by national marketing initiatives, and a portion of each stateroom is donated to breast cancer research.

“Supporting breast cancer research has always been important to our organization at the corporate and Franchise Owner levels,” says Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “Since we designated breast cancer as our charity of choice, we have fundraised as an organization primarily through initiatives in partnership with other warriors raising funds to battle the disease.”

Matthew Eichhorst, president of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, is all decked out for our company’s fight against breast cancer.
Matthew Eichhorst, president of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, is all decked out for our company’s fight against breast cancer.

Approximately 82% of women diagnosed with breast cancer were older than 50 — a demographic closely aligned with many of Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ customers. We are a top seller of cruise travel in North America, and our companywide passion for this cause really shines during our annual conference attended by Franchise Partners, corporate support staff, and our travel industry suppliers. Each year, all conference attendees gather onboard the cruise deck during this 7-day conference at sea for an energetic walk and workout in support of the cause. It’s truly an incredible display of how the power of franchising can give back to a cause.


In addition to Cruise for the Cure, other Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees across the system have taken fundraising initiatives into their own hands at the local level. Owners of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise in Richmond, British Columbia, Carole Petersen and Gina Holvick hold another hosted fundraising cruise called Nite of Hope each year.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that we’ve been able to contribute to this wonderful cause,” said Carol.
“Gina and I felt [Nite of Hope] was just an absolutely amazing cause because one in nine women will develop breast cancer. Onboard we’ve had silent auctions, the walk, raffles — the total contribution that [our franchise] has made over the past 17 years is about $150,000.”

Although Expedia CruiseShipCenters is proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, we’re just getting started. As a franchise organization, we feel we can bring awareness and raise money for a great cause as we continue to grow. We plan to do even more to help the fight against breast cancer.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Owners get national exposure

Expedia CruiseShipCenters launched in 1987, and our travel agency franchise is rapidly expanding with nearly 200 locations open or under development. Our growth is driven by three overarching realities: our proven business model is affordable to start and extremely scalable; our focus on cruise vacations makes us a trusted resource among cruise customers who overwhelmingly prefer to book with a travel agent; and the cruise industry is growing quickly.

Our efforts around breast cancer awareness and research help us to support the issues that are important to the communities served by our Franchise Owners and their teams of Vacation Consultants. And they’re part of why Expedia CruiseShipCenters has experienced double-digit growth over the decades. Our brick-and-mortar retail locations are places where our clients can see our Franchise Owners’ dedication to causes at the heart of our communities — all the while benefiting from our Vacation Consultants’ unparalleled experience in navigating the complex nature of booking cruise travel.

Seventy percent of cruise vacations are sold by a travel agent, not purchased through an online travel agency, according to the Cruise Line International Association.

“The value we add is in being thoughtful,” says Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Franchise Owner Mary Beth Casey. “We have to know what this vacation will bring to them and their families. There’s a lot of patience and hand-holding from our side. Then when our customers get off the boat, we do a follow-up: Did we meet their expectations? Where are they going to go next?”


Learn more about Expedia CruiseShipCenters

For in-depth details about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity and how you can be part of an organization that gives back, download our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.