Neu McCluskey is Coordinator
and Co-Founder of the .
She's a former newspaper and television reporter,
TV news anchor and bureau chief who was based in El Paso,
TX; Washington, DC; and Moscow, Russia for 33 years
prior to creating this new concept for fitness cruises.
Cynthia reported for
the El Paso Times 10 years. She
also wrote radio editorials for Fred Hervey
in El Paso during the '70s and 80s. Fred Hervey was
founder and creator of the Circle K Corporation.
By the late 1980s, before CNN existed,
Cynthia planned with El Paso's NBC TV News anchor Peter
Heinlein to establish a television news bureau
in Washington, D.C. that would satellite news
reports back to TV stations out west covering issues
important to America's western cities. Cynthia also became a local CBS TV News anchor. Soon afterward she and Peter left their local TV jobs to partner with Mr. Hervey in creating Sun
World Satellite TV News based in Washington, D.C. Within 10 years their independently owned and
operated TV news bureau on Capital Hill broadcast
daily reports back to 365 ABC, NBC and CBS TV affiliates
across the Southwest. Peter Heinlein later joined
By 1990 Cynthia was on her way to the Soviet
Union to open a second TV News bureau in Moscow as a result of President Reagan's "People To People" exchange.
She sent back TV reports via satellite on Soviet
matters affecting western cities in the
USA. Oil and military issues were major news stories
in Russia then as they are today. President Gorbachav's Soviet government permitted Ms.
Neu to report from Moscow because the Sun World Corporation agreed to print in English,
and distribute in the USA, the first ever
free speech Soviet newspaper. That brave new weekly underground
newspaper was published in Moscow and named Nezavisamaya
Gazetta or Independent
Newspaper. It advocated Russia be democratic and independent and allow free press, free speech
and free enterprise for all citizens.
It became world famous in
August 1991 as...."the
first media ever to rally Russians to bring down
Communism," reported the Wall
Street Journal Aug. 21, 1991 on its front page.
That 26 inch news story described the "late
night heroic deeds led by Russia's only
Independent Newspaper." When
military tanks rolled into Moscow after midnight
Aug. 19, 1991, determined to destroy any free press
in Russia, Nezavisamaya Gazetta was the
only media working courageously to print
and distribute itself throughout the city until dawn calling out for Russians to stand up and defeat
Communism. It is still today being published in Moscow as a weekly newspaper.
When working with the Russians in Moscow, trying to help it develop advertising, Cynthia learned about the cruise industry. It happened when 600 workers at GasProm in Siberia asked her to organize cruises for them. She reluctantly agreed to organize their cruises, having never been on one herself, only to find out how much fun they were! Later, upon returning to the USA, she met Jim Seeley who
was a travel agent working part time teaching her and her classmates early morning water aerobics exercises. When she told Jim about having organized cruises for Russians they decided that together they would offer fitness cruises to their friends and his students. They decided to name their idea the "Jim
taught me about water aerobics and travel agencies,"
says Cynthia. "I showed him how we could
promote fitness cruises by using the
media. On our first cruise we had 23 guests. Today we have 4000 club member nationwide who cruise with us in various group sizes nearly every month. Every day Jim and I say our prayers
of thanks. We cannot believe how lucky we are!"
Cynthia is a 1975 graduate
of the University of Texas at El Paso where she attended
on journalism scholarships and grants. She was married
to the late Ron McCluskey, an El Paso attorney,
who also served as Chief of Staff in Washington,
D.C. to the late Congresswoman Gladys Noon Spellman
of Maryland. Cynthia and Ron's son, Patrick McCluskey,
lives in Austin, TX with his wife Shannon and their
three children: Bryan, Grace and Paula.
Shortly after creating the Cynthia
became certified by Aquatic Alliance International
(AAI). Today Cynthia
is also certified by the Arthritis Foundation and
is a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor
who teaches adults and preschool children how to swim. Spring Hill,
where she teaches, was named Best RECenter in
the nation in 2006. That same year the Fairfax County
Park Authority was named America's Best Park Authority. Within a few more months
was named Royal Caribbean's number #1
Business Partner in the Mid-Atlantic states
of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. By 2008 Cynthia
was named Top Aquatics Instructor at
Spring Hill RECenter. And in both 2011 and 2012 she and Jim were honored by Royal Caribbean for increasing their agency's cruise sales 214% in one year. Yes, two hundred fourteen percent!
Seeley, who is Program Director and Co-Founder of
is also a certified
water fitness instructor and pool guard trainer
in Fairfax County, VA where he's been employed
more than 20 years. He specializes in water aerobics,
yoga and tai chi. Jim's been certified by the American
Council on Exercise (ACE), Aerobics Fitness Association
of America (AFAA), Aquatic Exercise Association
(AEA), American Aerobics Association International
(AAAI), the Arthritis Foundation and the American
Red Cross. He's taught fitness classes in nine Fairfax County Recreation Centers in Virginia.
"My exercise philosophy
comes from a song I heard as a child," says
Jim. " ' A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine
go down.' We've been blessed with club members
who agree with this philosophy. We strive to make
all our fitness cruises fun
and they are! With the travel club growing we've added more fun activities.....like ball room dancing and Zumba."
As Program Director
for , Jim oversees 360 certified water exercise teachers
who qualify to take their students on fitness cruises. is
a registered trade mark with at least 4000
club members nationwide. While the travel club has
grown and gained in popularity, so has Jim.
For 5 years he's actively promoted the Ms.
Virginia Senior America Pageant. He's been invited by pageant officials to serve as its Master
of Ceremonies a number of times. Click here to watch
a slide show of pictures from a Ms.
Virginia Senior America Pageant. "Incredible," is
how Jim describes the pageant's participants. "Marvelous," he says. "The
most beautiful thing about all the candidates is how they smile. And
I love a woman who smiles."
Jim is a 1986 graduate of
William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He is
fluent in Spanish, having worked 7 years in customer
service for American Airlines in Los Angeles, Washington
D.C. and Miami. Jim is single, but keeps very busy
with his parents, 10 brothers and sisters and their
families. In 2005 he began producing and hosting
a new TV show he created for Cox Cable TV in Fairfax
County. His bi-weekly show is "Forever Young." Guests
are members of the ,
as well as other popular retirees in the Washington,
DC metro area, who
promote good health and social activities for active
seniors. His TV show has been a top rated program
in both Fairfax and Arlington Counties in Virginia
and in Montgomery County in Maryland.
During the past 15 years,
while escorting fitness cruises, Jim has become an
expert on the design and history of cruise ships.
He shares his knowledge
with guests by taking them on walking tours on each
ship the first day a new cruise begins.
"This makes it easier for our
guests to find their way around the ship," he
says. "No other travel agency
adds this touch.
It's part of our promise to take you on a cruise
with us and not just send you out on one
Jim and Cynthia are co-founders
of Ventures in Travel, (DBA) the
in Travel is a subsidiary of Ventures in Video, Inc.,
in Falls Church, VA where the company has been in
business more than 30 years. It is owned and operated
by Michael Williams of McLean, VA. The club's Fitness Host Coordinator
is Barb Batson of Nashville, TN.
Webmaster is Evan Hambrick of Sterling, VA.
Fairfax County Park Authority, where both Jim Seeley and Cynthia Neu McCluskey teach water exercise classes,
was named Best Park Authority in the nation in 2006.
And their travel agency has since been named
its #1 Business
Partner in the mid-Atlantic states of Virginia,
Maryland, Delaware and Washington,
D.C. The award winning was
given this honor above
104 other travel agencies on the East Coast. In 2011 the travel club was honored again by Royal Caribbean for its outstanding sales record on the East Coast increasing cruise sales more than 214% in one year.
"Our philosophy is clear," says Jim. "The best time to travel is during difficult economic times. It's when cruise selection is best and prices are lowest. Our business succeeds because our prices are competitive, our service superior and our product is excellent. We can say this truthfully because of the popularity of our hometown Fitness Hosts, and because of the capability of our Fitness Host Coordinator Barb Batson in Nashville. Most of all we say this because when club members return home from a cruise with us they look tanned, toned and rested. Our proof is that nearly 100% of our club members are repeat cruisers. You too can cruise with us and return home looking like a million dollars.... without spending anywhere near that. We promise."