Cruise Planners Vs. Dream Vacations: Better Booking Cruise

Cruising has become one of the most popular ways to vacation. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, over 30 million people went on a cruise in 2019 alone. With so many options for cruise lines, ships, destinations and more, many travelers turn to travel agencies that specialize in cruises to help plan their perfect cruise vacation.

Two of the most well-known cruise-focused travel agencies are Cruise Planners and Dream Vacations. But what sets these two apart? Which one is better for booking your next cruise?

Here we’ll compare the key differences between Cruise Planners and Dream Vacations to help you decide which agency is right for you.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeaturesCruise PlannersDream Vacations
Startup Costs$10,995+$495-$9,800
Monthly Fees$495+$175-$275
Commission RatesUp to 100% for sales over $30K/month90-100% minus $25 transaction fee
Training4-6 weeks virtual4 day in-person retreat
LeadsBased on sales tiersMinimum 5/month guaranteed
Booking EngineSabre GDSApollo/Galileo
InventoryExclusive promotionsGroup rates and WOW deals
Marketing SupportCustom site, shared campaigns, promotions on CruisePlanners.comAgent website, brochures, promotions on
Additional ServicesGuided tours, airfare, hotels, car rentals, groupsResorts, guided tours, airfare, weddings, car rentals

Overview Of Cruise Planners

Cruise Planners
Cruise Planners

Cruise Planners is a home-based franchise travel agency network founded in 1994 that specializes in cruises. They are one of the largest sellers of cruises in the world and part of American Express Travel.

Some key facts about Cruise Planners:

  • Network of over 2,500 home-based franchise travel agents across the US
  • Offer cruises on all major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, etc.
  • Part of the American Express Travel family since 2015
  • Provide 24/7 customer service and support
  • Customize cruise vacations for any travel style and budget

Overview Of Dream Vacations

Dream Vacations is a home-based travel agency franchise focused on cruises and land vacations. Formerly known as CruiseOne, they rebranded to Dream Vacations in 2017. The agency is affiliated with World Travel Holdings, which also owns brands like Cruises Inc. and

Dream Vacations
Dream Vacations

Some key facts about Dream Vacations:

  • 1,100+ home-based travel agents across North America
  • Sell cruises, guided land tours, resort stays, and more
  • 24/7 support from travel experts
  • Customize vacations for any budget or travel style
  • Part of World Travel Holdings with Cruises Inc.,, and more

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the key differences between these two cruise specialists.

Comparison Between Cruise Planners And Dream Vacations

Business Models And Franchising

Both Cruise Planners and Dream Vacations operate as franchise models, providing an established brand, support, and training to individual travel agents who run their own home-based businesses. However, there are some differences in their franchising structures.

Cruise Planners

-Initial investment Starts at $10,995 -Monthly fee: $495+ -Commission payment tiers: Up to 100% for sales over $30,000/month

Dream Vacations

-Initial investment: $495-$9,800
-Monthly fee: $175-$275 -Commission rates: 90-100% minus $25 transaction fee

Dream Vacations offers lower startup costs and monthly fees. But Cruise Planners provides higher earning potential through tiered commission rates.

For those new to the travel industry, Dream Vacations may be more budget-friendly to begin with. Cruise Planners requires a more significant upfront and ongoing investment.

Cruise Inventory And Booking Systems

Both agencies provide access to all major cruise lines and a vast array of sailings. However, there are some differences in their booking systems and cruise inventory.

Cruise Planners

-Leverages Sabre GDS for booking engine -Real-time pricing and availability
-Exclusive promotions not available to public

Dream Vacations

-Uses Apollo/Galileo systems -Offers customized group rates -Special WOW deals on unsold cabins

While both pull from extensive cruise inventory, Cruise Planners seems to have an edge with its proprietary inventory and promotions unavailable elsewhere. However, Dream Vacations offers some unique group and last-minute deals.

Also Read: Comparison Between Outside Agents And InteleTravel.

Training And Support Provided

Operating a home-based travel franchise comes with a learning curve. So the training and support provided is an important consideration when comparing Cruise Planners Vs. Dream Vacations.

Cruise Planners

-4-6 weeksvirtual training program
-Ongoing seminars and training resources -24/7 support team assistance -Account management from corporate team -Annual national conference

Dream Vacations

-Initial 4 day training retreat -Ongoing bi-weekly sales calls -Private agent forum and resources -Account reps provide coaching -Annual national conference

Both provide extensive upfront and ongoing training. Cruise Planners does more virtual learning, while Dream Vacations starts with an immersive 4 day retreat. For some people, the in-person retreat may be more engaging than fully virtual classes. But Cruise Planners likely offers more flexibility for those unable to travel.

Marketing And Lead Generation

Marketing your cruise travel business is crucial for success as a home-based agent. Cruise Planners and Dream Vacations both provide branding, marketing tools and lead generation assistance.

Cruise Planners

-Customizable agent website -Access to group marketing programs -Shared marketing materials and templates -Promotions on -Inclusion in national marketing efforts -Leads provided based on sales tier

Dream Vacations

-Agent website and hosting -Access to marketing campaigns -Promotions on -Customizable apps and brochures -Referral rewards program -Minimum 5 leads per month

Both seem to offer excellent marketing resources and exposure on their branded sites. Dream Vacations guarantees a minimum number of leads, while Cruise Planners ties leads to sales production.

For newer agents, Dream Vacations lead guarantee provides a good jumpstart. But over time, Cruise Planners rewards top sellers with even more marketing and leads.

Additional Services Offered

Beyond just cruise bookings, Cruise Planners and Dream Vacations agents have access to a range of additional travel products and services.

Cruise Planners

-Airfare, hotels, rental cars -Guided land tours and vacation packages -Luxury travel services -Group cruise and events planning -River cruises -Travel insurance

Dream Vacations

-Hotels, resorts, and tours -River cruises -Guided land vacations -Destination weddings -Group cruise planning -Travel insurance -Car rentals

The services offered are quite similar. Both provide the ability to book complete vacation packages, land tours, group travel, river cruises, and more.

One standout for Dream Vacations is their focus on destination weddings. For agents interested in wedding travel, Dream Vacations has an edge.

Also Read: Comparison Between Whimstay And Airbnb.

Pros And Cons Of Cruise Planners


-Established brand since 1994 -Access to exclusive cruise deals and promotions -Higher earning potential through tiered commissions -Strong marketing and leads program tied to sales -Ongoing training focused on sales and marketing


-Higher startup and monthly costs -Requires significant sales to maximize commissions -Less flexibility for new agents to get started

Best for

Cruise Planners is ideal for motivated agents ready to invest more in their home-based business to maximize their earnings long-term. The higher commissions reward top sellers.

Pros And Cons Of Dream Vacations


-Lower startup and monthly costs -In-person initial training retreat -Guaranteed minimum number of leads -Destination wedding specialist program -Account reps provide coaching/support


-Lower commission rates than Cruise Planners -Less established brand recognition
-Doesn’t offer exclusive cruise deals

Best for

Dream Vacations offers a more affordable starting point for new travel agents, as well as strong support. It can be a great option for agents focused on destination weddings.

Also Read: Comparison Between Med Travelers And Club Staffing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Cruise Planners legit?

Yes, Cruise Planners is a legitimate and reputable home-based travel agency franchise. They’ve been in business since 1994 and are part of American Express Travel.

Is Dream Vacations franchise legit?

Yes, Dream Vacations is a legitimate travel agency franchise. They have over 1,100 home-based agents across North America and are part of World Travel Holdings.

Who are the competitors of Dream Vacations?

Some key competitors to Dream Vacations include Cruise Planners, CruiseOne, Cruises Inc., and other home-based travel agency networks focused on cruises.

Do cruise planners make money?

Yes, Cruise Planners agents have the potential to earn significant income through commissions on cruise sales and other travel bookings. Top sellers can earn over $100,000 per year. Commissions start at 80% and go up to 100% at higher monthly sales volumes.

Watch this video of Cruise Planners!

The Verdict

When choosing between Cruise Planners and Dream Vacations, here are some key considerations:

  • Your budget for startup and monthly costs
  • How much time you have for training
  • Interest in destination weddings/groups
  • Sales and commission structure preferences
  • Your experience level in travel sales

Take time to research both options thoroughly. Reach out to existing agents from each franchise to learn about their experiences. Make sure you understand the business models, commissions, workload, and requirements to succeed.

While Cruise Planners or Dream Vacations can provide great cruise booking home businesses, make sure the opportunity aligns with your skills, interests and financial situation.

With the right match, either agency can be an optimal platform for you to succeed booking cruises from home.

1 thought on “Cruise Planners Vs. Dream Vacations: Better Booking Cruise”

  1. You may wish to include a disclaimer since your information is not entirely correct as of Feb 2024. And a comparable video for each company would be helpful.


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