Cruise Story

Maureen Basye, MS

Maureen is a native Floridian turned Virginian by way of the University of Virginia where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. After UVA, Maureen attended Syracuse University and earned her Master’s of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. For several years, Maureen worked in hospitals helping adults and children with speech, swallowing, and feeding challenges and then started a multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice specializing in autism and feeding disorders. After numerous diagnoses of celiac disease in her immediate family, Maureen identified the limitations of awareness of celiac disease in the travel industry and made the transition from Speech Pathologist to Celiac Travel Consultant. Maureen now shares her passion for helping families in a different way, by ensuring safe, care-free adventures for all.

Maureen started Celiac Cruise in 2018 with a dream to be able to provide families impacted by celiac disease the opportunity to sail the open seas in a safe, gluten-free environment. Celiac Cruise hosts various sailings around the world and has partnerships with Royal Caribbean International and AmaWaterways. Outside of Celiac Cruise, Maureen is also a licensed Special Needs and Autism Vacation Specialist and an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She resides in Herndon, VA with her husband and three children.

Connie Saunders

Connie Saunders, CEO
Total Travel and Events, Inc.

Connie Saunders, founder and CEO, of Total Travel and Events, Inc., has a passion for the travel industry. Her and her team of loyal crew members are intensely focused on customer service and friendliness.

She began booking travel and events in the 1980s when she oversaw and planned regional meetings in the corporate sector. In 2004, she went full-time into building her own travel business.

Originally named “Your Cruise Agents” because of Connie’s focus on cruise planning, she and her team mostly booked sailings for vacations, groups, families, and events. As the clients’ needs changed, Connie and her team began to book other venues, like all-inclusive resorts, meetings, destination weddings, honeymoons, and more.

In 2013, “Your Cruise Agents” changed to “Total Travel & Events”, better reflecting the work Connie and her team perform today. She also began expanding her company by adding new agents to her team. Today, the company has grown to more than 35 Independent Travel Agents who are trained, mentored, motivated and led by Connie and her team.

Connie’s core philosophies focus on customer service, integrity and follow-through. Those principles are what stand behind the explosive organic growth of Total Travel and Events through the years. Today, Connie and her team service a client base of more than 24,000 customers, providing counsel and guidance in the areas of group and individual travel planning for cruises, flights, hotels, car rentals, all-inclusive resorts, and land-based itineraries.

She is proud of the personal relationships she and her team have built with their clients and hopes you’ll be next!

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