CLEVELAND - The Lady Sandals, a 135-foot yacht, is docked on the Cuyahoga River in the flats of downtown Cleveland, all for the pleasure of local travel agents whom sell vacations and getaways in Sandals Resorts around the world.
Michele Wilson, Sandals' business development manager, explained that it's just the owner's way of thanking the many travel agents in the area.
"We're hosting a luncheon for our travel agent partners and just working with them. We have a very strong relationship with our travel agents. Something special for them. We can't always take them to the Caribbean, so we're knd of bringing some fun to them," said Wilson.
The yacht was recently re-purchased from the actor Nicolas Cage. Sandals owned it for 10 years, sold it to Cage, but in August 2009 purchased it from the actor again, renovating it for their own purposes. They set sail from Florida this spring for an East Coast and now Midwest tour.
The ship is a 135-foot beauty with a full bar, huge living and dining areas and full sleeping cabins below. The fuel tank has a capacity of 10,000 gallons.
Travel agency owners and agents were pampered Thursday and Friday with drinks, dinner and a cruise around the breakwall area for a picturesque view of Cleveland from Lake Erie.
Jason and Karen Cavadas, owners of Twinsburg Travel, have been one of Sandals top producers in the country, if not the world, for the last 12 to 15 years. They love dealing with such a generous partner as Stewart and deal with Sandals Resorts for almost 95 percent of their business. They also stress that the internet has proved to be one of their best allies because searching for the best resort can be often be daunting. Most people find that they need travel agents to steer them to their best deals.
Friday was a special treat that they only found out about three weeks ago. They packed up their agents in a limo and found their way to Shooter's on the west bank of the flats.
"This is very generous," Jason Cavadas says. "They bring the yacht down for us and we appreciate it. We take care of our workers, too, the best we can, and come down here."
"It's like a big family to us," Karen Cavadas added.
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