Program: Nursing
Class of: 1994

Anchors Aweigh! CCM Graduate Steers Cruise Business in the Right Direction

Debbie DevineWith thousands of options available, choosing the right cruise line, ship, itinerary, cabin and dining plan can be a daunting task. That’s why there are travel advisors like Debbie Devine ’94.

After graduating from County College of Morris (CCM) with her nursing degree, Devine enrolled at SUNY Stony Brook where she earned her B.A. and M.S. degrees with a focus on public administration and management. She was approached by the university’s travel agency and offered a position as an outside agent, but the timing wasn’t right. She ended up starting a family and began working as a nurse for the stability and flexibility it offered.

“Working as a NICU nurse and later in pediatric home care was interesting, but I felt something was missing,” she recalls. As it turned out that ‘something’ was the fascination Devine experienced when researching trips and exploring new places. In 2003 she became an outside sales agent for a cruise-only agency in New Jersey. A year later, she joined Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Services Representative Agency.

For a number of years, she juggled working as a nurse and building her travel business. “As my business grew, I was able to decrease my nursing shifts before eventually dedicating all of my time to travel consulting,” she says.

“I’ve sailed on small river ships, large mass-market ships and luxury lines. I’ve visited Alaska, Hawaii, Caribbean, Canada and Europe. When my clients ask me, ‘Have you been there?’ I want to be able to say, ‘Yes, I have!’”

She notes that the assessment skills she developed as a nurse have helped her in the travel business. “As a result of my nursing experience, I ask many questions, and I really listen to the responses,” she says. “That way, I can help guide my clients in a direction that will give them the best vacation experience available.”

Reflecting on her CCM experience, Devine says, “I really appreciate the education I received at CCM. The nursing program was very challenging and I also learned how to multitask in a constantly changing environment. The resources at CCM are incredible, and I hope to return and take some business courses that will help me be more efficient.”

If you’re thinking about hitting the high seas or relaxing at an all-inclusive resort on your next vacation, Devine and her team can be reached at ddevine@cruiseplanners.com. To visit her website, go to www.northeastcruiseplanners.com.