Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations, and what they never leave home without.
Name: Cindy Bertram
Occupation: Business and Visual Storyteller, Marketer, Communications and Content Creator, PR Strategist, Book Author, Social Media and Relationship Sales
College major: MBA from Loyola University Chicago (Business Administration and Marketing) BA with double majors in communications/English and theater
Website: cindybertram.net; my cruise blogs can be found at leisuregrouptravel.com/category/content-category/cruise (go to Cruise, Online Exclusive)
Facebook: Cindy Bertram
Short bio: Cindy Bertram is an author, speaker, and storyteller. Her 20+ years of professional experience includes diverse work in the cruise and travel industry. A savvy content creator and marketer, Cindy’s passion for pulling out the positive stories works well with her public relations, social media, and business storytelling expertise, along with visual creation skills including videos and photography. Cindy’s diverse writing includes thought leadership pieces, articles, and cruise industry forecasts, along with her specialized cruise blog, and she is a book author. She also does ghostwriting.
During her career, Cindy has developed genuine, long-term relationships with top cruise industry executives, and her book “How Six Women Executives Steer the Cruise Industry Today“ shares inspiring stories of these women leaders. Cindy has contributed sections to tree different PR NEWS’ guidebooks and has spoken at different diverse travel and public relations conferences. Her love for the cruise industry began when she took her very first cruise (three-night Bahamas and private island cruise). Then she worked at a retail travel agency where she managed to increase cruise sales 700% in her first four years there and began contributing guest columns to the different travel industry trade publications. Cindy is passionate about having a positive impact.
Richard Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., shares more and says, “Cindy has been an example for all, men and women alike, as a gifted professional who never hesitates to give a helping hand.’ Her short story, “A Cruise and a Promise,” in “Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul™,” is one. Her MBA from Loyola University Chicago combines well with her high creative edge and liberal arts BA.
How often do you fly? I fly at least 5/6 times per year.
How many countries have you been to? 10
How many continents have you been to? 2
Earliest travel memory: My parents would take my sisters and I on “road trips” to California to visit their relatives along with going to Disneyland which was nearby.
Favorite American city: I have a few—Seattle, Fort Lauderdale.
Favorite international city: I don’t one in particular.
Least favorite country: I really don’t have a least favorite country.
Friendliest people in the world: Many are in the Caribbean.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Nothing comes to mind.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone.
Favorite airline: I love Southwest Airlines!! They make me feel like a human being when I fly with them and not just a “number.”
Favorite aircraft type: Just not the smaller 50 passengers or less aircraft.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: American.
Favorite U.S. airport: Not just one in the U.S.
Favorite international airport: San Juan is one.
Favorite hotel: Many favorites—it’s hard to identify just one.
Favorite cruise line: Hard to say, because cruise lines have really done well to specialize with their niche. Celebrity Cruises’ Edge is phenomenal, as is MSC Cruises’ Seaside. When it comes to shipboard staff, Crystal Cruises excels. I have great admiration for other cruise lines. When it comes to river cruise lines, AmaWaterways is one.
Favorite travel credit card: Southwest Visa.
Favorite island: I love Dominica, St. Kitts, Barbados.
Favorite beach: I love the ones at the different private islands that cruise lines use in the Caribbean.
Favorite National Park: It was fun to see the Grand Canyon park as a child.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Lawry’s Prime Rib (favorite family celebration memories there, besides the great food and people).
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Don’t have one.
Favorite bar: Dockside Bar in Havensight Mall, St. Thomas.
Favorite fruit: Mangos.
Favorite food: Filet mignon as well as fresh salmon.
Least favorite food: Lamb.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Sparkling water while flying. On land or while at sea on a cruise, I like an occasional martini and wine. A favorite is a chocolate martini.
Favorite travel movie(s): Eat, Pray, Love.
Favorite travel show(s): Don’t really have one.
Favorite travel book(s): Rick’s Sasso’s “Unselfish World” as well as “Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul.”
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: I enjoy ones tied to the travel and cruise industries. Insider Travel Report, Porthole Cruise, Travel Weekly are just a few.
Favorite travel website: Ones that are more travel agent professional related. Besides those, TripAdvisor and Cruise Critic. And of course, JohnnyJet.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Extra makeup, notebook to write as well as my laptop, a great book, extra contact lenses.
What do you always seem to forget? I try not to forget things to bring with me, because I make a list while packing, and check those off. But confession—I tend to overpack.
What do you like least about travel? Travel delays are not fun, but you just have to deal with them. I don’t like it when people on the flight get nasty. I had a situation where my flight got routed to a different airport because the Chicago airport we were flying back to was shut down due to heavy fog. The airline was being safe, but once we landed, people got nasty. The airline took care of us and had staff come in at 2am to rebook us on other flights. I made sure I sent a personal email to one of the executives at that airline with those great staff members’ names who helped rebook us.
Duty Free store? Perfumes.
Favorite travel app(s): TripAdvisor.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I was traveling twice during one week. The first was to attend a travel industry conference and a few days later I was heading back down again to Ft. Lauderdale to finally take a cruise vacation. I used the baggage claim attendants outside and didn’t bother to check my checked bag tags. When I got down to Florida, my luggage didn’t come out, and discovered (after checking my bag tags) that my luggage had been routed to a completely different city. The airline was helpful, but my luggage wasn’t going to get back to Ft. Lauderdale until 7pm that evening, and I was sailing out on my cruise at 4:30pm. The airline’s staff said they could then send my luggage down to my first port of call (St. Thomas) on Monday. Luckily, I had a car rental lined up and was able to get some clothes at an outlet mall and boarded my ship “as a bag lady.” The staff members on the ship were also helpful and Monday my bags were delivered to my stateroom. I learned from that experience!
What’s your dream destination? I have a few—Tahiti, Galapagos, Australia, sailing through the Panama Canal, and seeing Costa Rica.
Favorite travel charity: Mercy Ships—they do a phenomenal job.
Best travel tip: Have a backup plan, don’t take inconveniences too seriously when traveling and make sure to enjoy! Have a sense of humor!