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Need help researching/planning your destination wedding or honeymoon? Let Christi Esterle with Cruise Planners assist you.

Christi, tell us a little about your business:

I am an independent travel advisor affiliated with Cruise Planners, the largest network of home-based travel agents in the country. We help our clients find and book land and cruise vacations perfectly matched to their tastes, interests, and budget.

What inspired you want to be a florist/photographer/planner/DJ, etc.

I have always loved travel and travel planning, and this is the perfect opportunity for me to share my passion with others.

How did you learn your craft?

Learning about travel is an ongoing process!  The world and the way people experience it is always changing, so I’m constantly doing seminars and reading up on the latest trends and developments.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Vorfreude—it’s a German word meaning “joyful anticipation” and refers to the feeling you get when you’re looking forward to something exciting like a vacation. I love inspiring this feeling in my clients.

How would you describe your personality?

Laid-back and no pressure, but deeply committed to meeting my client’s needs beyond their expectations.

What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?

My husband and I are huge geeks and we spend a lot of time playing World of Warcraft and Overwatch, introducing our kids to Doctor Who and Star Wars, and just enjoying each other’s company. I love music and sing and play flute for my church choir, and I’m a member of Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval and Renaissance historical re-creation group.

Have you ever worked with a celebrity?

Not for my job, but I was a two-day champion on Jeopardy! and I got to meet Alex Trebek.  That was an amazing experience.

What trends do you love or would like to see be left behind?

I love that people are becoming more committed to truly experiencing their destinations, learning more about lives and cultures in other places. I believe travel is one of the essential tools for continuing to grow as a person and becoming more engaged and empathetic with the world around us.

If you met with a bride and groom and literally had ONE minute to tell them why they should use your company, what would you say?

You have a choice. You can go on a website and click a few buttons and get a confirmation code and a 1-800 number, or for the same price you can sit down with someone who will truly listen to your needs, work with you to create your ideal destination wedding or honeymoon, be your advocate if complications arise, and take care of the details so you can relax and enjoy your special time together.

How far in advance should couples contact you to start their planning with you?

Destination wedding planning should start at least a year in advance, to give you the best availability for bookings and allow plenty of time for your guests to make arrangements. With honeymoons, it depends on where and how long you want to travel—I’d recommend 3-6 months for a quick getaway and 6-9 months for longer stays, cruises, and overseas travel.

Visit Cruise Planners here.

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