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Cruise Planners longtime COO Vicky Garcia has passed away after a long illness. She was 56. In a statement, Michelle Fee, founder and CEO of Cruise Planners, said on the passing of Garcia: “As I reflect on our 18-year partnership, I feel blessed to have had such a sincere, warm and fun BFF by my side. She knew early on that the secret to CP success was in the human touch, our agents and home office team, many of whom were part of her extended family. She truly felt that way.”

With a career that spanned 30 years, Garcia helped make Cruise Planners the successful organization it is today, and was beloved across the industry. Many payed tribute to her on social media describing her as a “true champion,” “amazing,” and an “icon.”

The following statement was posted to the Cruise Planners Facebook page upon her passing: “Vicky was a trailblazer who added so much to the travel industry, with her vivacious laughter, can-do attitude and keen intelligence. To say that she will be deeply missed is an understatement. In the coming months, we will continue to honor her legacy but today, we send our deepest condolences to her family and mourn the loss of a true giant. RIP Vicky.”