Get your checklist ready

Business event planners taking their programmes onboard a cruise ship get plenty of support from the cruise lines, but it never hurts to be prepared. Princess Cruises’ Farriek Tawfik and Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Angie Stephen dish out some hot tips that will help planners get more out of the cruise experience

Book early
Plan ahead and make reservations early to secure the best stateroom selection and venue spaces, especially if your group isn’t chartering the whole vessel. The larger your group, the farther ahead you should plan and book.

For a full ship charters, Stephen advises planning to begin 1.5 to two years ahead. For 1,000 guests and more, planning should begin one to 1.5 years ahead. Six to 12 months of planning should suffice for smaller groups of 500 to 999 guests.

Be BFFs with cruise team planners
The cruise line’s in-house planner will be your closest ally, working closely with you from the get-go to secure and arrange everything you might need, from conference room booking, dining room seating and customised features for your gala dinner and themed parties. They are experienced in handling onboard business events and are a hassle-free help for MICE agents and event planners.

Go for customised leisure activities
Start by having a clear understanding of your group’s preferences and requirements before planning a teambuilding programme onboard. Once these details are known, have a look at the wealth of activities and leisure facilities available on the ship. These days, cruise ships are packed with much more than what a five-star hotel can typically offer. Most of these onboard activities are also customisable, allowing you to shape a programme suitable for your delegates’ profile and level of expectations.

Dole out the special treats for VIPs
To reward the best of the best in your group, be sure to plan special events. Consider booking them into premium accommodation or treating them to a speciality dining experience.Guests of Royal Suite Class on Royal Caribbean International and Princess Suite on Princess Cruises offer more customised adventures, greater exclusive access and inclusive amenities.

Stay connected
Don’t forget that your delegates are businessmen by nature, and would want to remain connected to the world beyond the cruise ship while onboard. Work with the cruise line to secure complimentary Wi-Fi for everyone.

Plan for many feasts
Dining options are aplenty onboard cruise ships, and most will have dining venues that can accommodate large groups of several hundreds of guests. Plan ahead so that the ship’s kitchens can prepare and accommodate various dietary requirements your guests might have.

Go for off-peak seasons
To get the most attractive rates, avoid school holidays and festive dates which usually come with higher rates.

 

This article is part of – Events of the high seas, first published in TTGmice October 2018

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