What do you do when you’re planning a high-profile meeting in a destination that doesn’t have enough hotel rooms? The organizers of the Summit of the Americas, which took place April 17-19 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, brought in floating hotels.
The summit, attended by leaders and dignitaries from 34 nations as well as some 1,200 journalists, had more than 5,000 total attendees. The U.S. delegation alone was reported to be close to 1,000, including President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was the first time a U.S. president attended the summit, and the first time it was held in a Caribbean nation.
The destination, Port of Spain, had only about 1,700 hotel rooms available for the conference—not nearly enough. So the organizers—the National Secretariat of Trinidad and Tobago—chartered two cruise ships through cruise event services company Landry & Kling to accommodate about 3,000 people.
Landry & Kling booked the Carnival Cruise Lines’Victory and Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess to sit dockside in the port city to serve as floating hotels. They were within walking distance of the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, where most of the summit events were held. The ships were used for pre-summit and parallel events, including an opening-night reception, meals, and ancillary private-sector events, explained Joyce Landry, president and CEO at Landry & Kling. The room costs on the ship, which include meals, were comparable to the rates charged by the hotels, she added.
After the summit, the two cruise ships embarked on 4-day cruises, which had been marketed to Trinidad residents, with all revenues going to the government to defray the cost of bringing in the vessels. Both cruises sold out.