Minneapolis-SeaMaster Cruises-a homebased franchise from the Carlson Travel Franchise Group-was officially launched. "Well over 25 percent of all legitimate sellers of travel in the United States are now opting to base themselves in their homes," noted Roger E. Block, executive vice president of the Carlson Travel Franchise Group.

Because the cruise industry has a history of growing at an average rate of 8.4 percent each year and is expected to grow to more than 11 million passengers from North America by 2007 (according to the Cruise Lines International Association), Block explained that there is ample opportunity for further growth in this market.

The narrow product focus will allow SeaMaster Cruises members to become product specialists with internalized knowledge of each of the products and how they suit individual travelers. The limited lineup will also enable each member to operate independently of a Global Distribution System (GDS), lowering operating costs and eliminating associated training burdens. Because average transaction values for cruise vacations are substantially higher than typical full-service agency transactions, there are a reduced number of transactions required to achieve the same return. -Carlson Travel Franchise Group