Meetings on the High Seas
Cozy hideaways, small lounges and casual parlor settings with inspiring views are just a few of the things that have helped catapult the trend of meeting on the high seas. While the majority of cruise passengers are still vacationers, many businesses are discovering the value of holding meetings and events on cruise ships. An overwhelming majority of corporate cruise business is based on rewards programs or incentives for a job well done. However, many companies are beginning to hold strategic planning meetings, team building retreats, quarterly reviews and educational seminars aboard cruise vessels.

Cruise ships offer a unique combination of incentives for companies and organizations. They have become the logical choice for events of all sizes because they are extremely cost effective. Unlike hotels or convention spaces, there are no hidden costs associated with cruise ships. Rooms, entertainment, meals and additional amenities are usual included in the package rate. Cruise ships offer an easy way to plan and control a rigid budget. Cruise ships are essentially a one-stop-shop for meetings and events.

A cruise can also be an effective way to accommodate a large group. It is sometimes difficult to find rooms for groups of 1,000 or more in certain locations. Cruise ships offer no additional transportation requirements and relieve planners of the task of entertaining guests. They also force participants to stay on the ship and interact. Unlike hotels, which give attendees access to roam away from events, cruise ships require that people eat, drink, and socialize together. In essence, the hotel door is locked.

Cruise ships are equipped to accommodate most technological needs. They are generally equipped with projectors, flat screen televisions and audio-visual equipment. Many cruise ships also offer wireless internet and cell phone usage.

Travel industry pioneer’s, “Jo” Kling and Joyce Landry, are at the fore-front of the cruise ship movement. Their company, Landry and Kling Meetings at Sea, has arranged events and meetings for various companies and organizations. Their biggest undertaking came when they were called upon to accommodate 75 groups of corporate executives during Super Bowl XXXIX. Landry and Kling have arranged events for companies including Radio Shack, Prudential, and Electronic Data Systems Inc.

There are a multitude of options to consider when planning a meeting on the high seas. Here are some frequently asked questions about cruise ship events:

What is included in my cruise price?
Usually all meals, entertainment, facilities and on-site activities are included in the cost of a cruise. Also, unlike hotel facilities, the use of audio and visual equipment and the use of meeting rooms are included in the package.
Why a cruise ship?
Simplified coordination is the key to the cruise ship meeting. Details are tended to by on-site staff and leave meeting participants to enjoy the purpose of the event.
Are their security personnel on board the ship?
Yes. Security aboard cruise ships is usually much greater than on land based facilities.
Can meetings or events be customize?
Yes. Amenities can be tailored to fit the desired theme of any event. Customized napkins, decorations and displays can be used to showcase the purpose of the meeting.
Does the entire meeting have to be aboard the ship?
No.Tours can be formatted to fit the desires of the company or organization. Beach excursions or city tours can be arranged by most cruise ship meeting companies.

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