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Advantages of a Group Cruise Retreat
or Conference
 
A new and exciting travel experience. (People are motivated to cruise.)
Enhanced camaraderie from sharing a new travel experience. (Creates a bond with your organization.)
Self-contained environment with a variety of function rooms for private events, attended by a "captive audience", allows ministry to flourish.
Gorgeous ocean-view dining rooms, ample menu choices, and unlimited servings. (No limitations as with banquet meals.)
Highly personalized service, traditional aboard ship.
Multiple destinations with minimal hassle. Virtually all-inclusive pricing provides better budget control.
Combines the pleasures of a resort hotel with the adventure of foreign travel.
Built-in activities program offers variety for participants, spouses, and kids without extra planning or cost.
Perceived as having a high value by attendees, while costing less overall than a comparable land-based program

Pricing for a cruise program generally includes many more meals, services, entertainment and activities than a land-based program. Most cruise lines promise the following:

What's included:

Cruise

Hotel/Resort

Sleeping rooms (some with robes, mini-bar, VCR and more)

yes

yes

Complimentary private receptions/parties

yes

no

Transportation to multiple destinations

yes

no

Seated breakfast/lunch/dinner with ample menu choices

yes

no

Daily snacks/midnight buffets/room service

yes

no

Use of beautiful public rooms for private events (no décor budget needed)

yes

no

Meeting break coffee service

yes

no

Meeting room/AV equipment

yes

rental fees

Variety of complimentary activities for spouses/children

yes

no

Nightly entertainment—floor shows/cabaret/dancing

yes

no

Photographer's services free—photo purchase extra

yes

no

Health & fitness club free

yes

no

First-run movies free

yes

no

Enrichment lectures, sports and deck games

yes

no

Duty-free shopping on premises

yes

maybe

24-hr medical services

yes

no

24-hr security on-site (fee for service)

yes

no

Printed schedule of daily activities delivered daily

yes

no

Cruise line's document wallet, bag tags, port info/tips brochure

yes

no

City/State and occupancy taxes

yes

no

 


How a cruise retreat or conference differs from a land based event

Even the most experienced planner may find that when it comes to planning an event aboard ship,  it's quite different from a land–based trip.  Below are some things to consider before you choose a cruise.

1.) What kind of ship is best for my needs?
Be careful to choose a ship whose image appeals to the people in your group. If a conservative bunch looking for quiet and relaxation gets booked on a ship full of disco-type party people, your guests will be unhappy.  Also consider the nationality of your passengers and how they will fit with the nationality of the passengers and crew of the ship you are considering.  The average age, economic status, prior travel experience, etc. of your guests should all play a role in the final ship choice.

2.) Booking passage
In general, cruise bookings require more lead-time than resort bookings on land.  Some destinations--such as the Caribbean—have so many sailings that late bookings may not be an issue.  But, any group over 500 people should be committed at least a year in advance. Charters may require more lead-time because ships must be removed from inventory before vacation passengers begin booking.

3.) To charter or not to charter? That is the question…
Basically there are two options: you can book your group on one ship with other passengers, or charter a ship just for your group.  A number of factors will enter into your decision such as how many people, how large of a budget you have, and where to sail.  Both options offer distinct advantages.

4.) What's included?
Cruising is an outstanding value when you consider all of the amenities that are included in a cruise price versus a hotel. 

5.) Negotiating rates
Negotiating rates for a cruise is somewhat different than negotiating rates for a resort.  The planner must consider such variables as season, ports of call, and arrival / departure dates.  Prices will vary depending on the cruise line and level of luxury you want, as well as the accommodations you choose.  However, cruise lines tend to be more restrictive than hotels in giving out free rooms for your planning staff. 

6.) Obtaining expert help
Planners should know that if they book their cruise direct from the cruise line, they will be working with the cruise line's corporate office—which is not aboard ship.  The staff that coordinates the program planning is not the same staff who will implement it once you sail. For this reason, planners often seek help from specialists.

It is important to work with a company that has a background in the industry or specializes in cruises. It is important to be familiar with what can and cannot be done onboard ship.  Being familiar with how a cruise line operates makes it possible to come up with alternatives that might not have otherwise been thought possible. CTF has relationships with the cruise line executives. CTF knows all facets of the cruise industry and its suppliers including cruise ship staff, ground operators, and air providers.

Contact us about hosting your own Cruise Retreat or Conference 888-770-6898, x103.

 
 
 

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