Holding your next meeting at a luxury resort or exotic hideaway? That’s fine, but there’s an alluring, all-inclusive, possibly even money-saving alternative — a cruise ship. Meetings at sea are sailing on a rising tide in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and events) industry. Christine Duffy, president and CEO, Cruise Line International Association, touts group bookings on a cruise ship, as opposed to a landlocked resort, as “a cost-effective way of producing a meeting that doesn’t look and feel like every other meeting.”
The advantages of a meeting at sea begin with the ports of call made possible by a movable venue and, along the way, shore excursions tailored to a group’s special interests. On board, networking and team-building opportunities are particularly abundant. Most ships, especially the newest ones, feature purpose-built facilities for group events, with meeting coordinators on hand. And by some estimates, cruise meetings are up to 30 percent less costly overall than comparable meetings conducted ashore.
All of Royal Caribbean’s mega-ships, an ideal choice for meeting-goers with families, now have conference centers and the ability to set aside public areas, from theaters to decks, for private gatherings. Holland America Line, with its worldwide fleet of mid-sized ships, can host meetings of up to 2,650 guests at a time while providing private kitchen tours, cooking demonstrations and, on its Bahamas cruise, a Beach Olympics team-building day on Half Moon Cay, the line’s own private island.
On all-inclusive small-ship lines such as Silversea Cruises, the attractions for groups include gourmet dining, luxury amenities, butler service and exotic shore excursions. These are ideal characteristics for an incentive cruise rewarding top employees, dealers or distributors; for rolling out products; or for expressing appreciation to special customers and influential clients.
For small groups favoring adventures at sea over onboard amenities, boutique lines such as Un-Cruise Adventures charter out an entire vessel. This enables groups of 22 to 88 passengers to team-build in the Southeast Alaskan outback, snorkel with sea lion pups in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez or toast the best at vintage wineries along the Columbia River from what amounts to their own private yacht.
Nearly every international cruise line, large or small, arranges full-ship charters, giving groups full control over meeting spaces, shore excursions and ports of call. Firms such as the venerable Landry & Kling specialize in setting up these ultimate meetings at sea. But however a group chooses to convene on a cruise — whether by becoming part of a floating resort or chartering its own expedition yacht — it promises to be a meeting to remember.
First opened in 1742 by George William Wilton, a seller of oysters, shrimp and cockles near Haymarket in London, Wiltons continued drawing diners with its delicious food for more than two centuries. This summer, Wiltons celebrates its 280th birthday and its place as one of London’s most beloved fine-dining establishments with a unique dining experience.
There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*
Resting on the edge of Reykjavik’s Old Harbour next to the soaring, sparkling glass edifice of Harpa concert hall and conference center, the brand-new Reykjavik EDITION brings a new level of swish lodging to Iceland’s capital city. Steps from Laugavegur — the city’s main shopping street — and an easy walk to a wide selection of museums, restaurants and cafés, the newly opened hotel delivers high on luxury and service in a location ideal for becoming fully engaged in the energy of this spirited capital city.
Recently, more than 345 million people globally watched OMNIYAT light up the sky for the launch of AVA at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection, Dubai thanks to more than 500 drones. Now, OMNIYAT will once again illuminate the sky with one light to signify the groundbreaking of AVA at Palm Jumeirah Dorchester Collection, Dubai.
In time for summer, the recently opened Palacio Provincial hotel in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, launched a new exploration-driven offer. The Sip & Savory Summer offer includes a mixology tour for two adults, a sweet or savory welcome amenity and a hotel-branded gift.
Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.
Monticello, New York, population 6,400, is an old Catskill town in Sullivan County that thrived from the 1950s–70s, with hundreds of country resorts. Although the town lies just a two-hour drive from Manhattan's cultural attractions, Monticello always seemed light years away in terms of cultural ambiance.