1) Cruising is too expensive. Actually, cruising is cost-effective—and less expensive than it was 15 years ago. Back in the 1990s, a four-night cruise for 100 attendees aboard an upscale vessel would cost approximately $1,100 per person (including taxes/fees, gratuities, travel staff, amenities, cocktail receptions, cabin gifts). Today, that same program, in balcony cabins, averages about 20 percent less.
You’re also saving time when you book a cruise. There’s need to labor over banquet menus, or to organize conference facilities, AV equipment, linens, lighting, décor, daily activities, or entertainment.
2) Attendees could get seasick. Most of today’s popular itineraries sail in the calm waters of the Caribbean or Mediterranean, and ships are equipped with powerful stabilizers.
3) Hurricanes are a constant threat. Cruise ships are moving targets, whereas if a hurricane is heading toward your land resort, finding quick flights out or a place to hunker down can be a logistical nightmare. With today’s technology, ships are re-routed to avoid major storms. While your itinerary may change slightly, there’s no panic about getting off the island before the storm hits.
4) It’s too confined. In spite of the spaciousness of today’s floating resorts, planners still sometimes worry about feeling confined—even with multi-level decks, atriums, glass walls, and indoor/outdoor sports facilities. Today’s ships also have wide hallways and spacious cabins, many with private balconies. But if this is still a concern, consider a port-intensive itinerary so guests can spend more days ashore.
5) The environment is not “corporate” enough. We hear this often, probably because in past years, business meetings were conducted in cruise ship lounges, which could be distracting. But today’s vessels are more like floating hotels—purpose-built with dedicated conference centers, air walls, breakout rooms and state-of-the-art AV. Groups can also use the high-tech theaters, which are equipped with professional sound and lighting equipment, revolving stages, and theatrical effects.
6) There’s no Internet access. Most ships now offer Wi-Fi hot spots and internet cafés, and many newer vessels feature Wi-Fi throughout, including inside the cabins. If Internet service is a deal breaker for your event, be sure to tell your cruise adviser, as these rates can often be negotiated and bandwidth upgraded to accommodate larger groups.
7) There’s a perception problem. While cruising used to be reserved for the wealthy with the time and means for long, luxurious vacations, today’s shorter itineraries and cost-effective pricing make it more “meetings friendly” than ever before.
8) They’re not secure enough. A cruise ship is comparable to a secure building with a 24-hour security guard. Everyone who boards a ship must be on an official manifest, including passengers, crew, and officers. Security measures include screenings similar to those at U.S. airports, including metal detectors and inspection of all passengers, carry-on baggage, and luggage.
9) My group won’t feel special on a mega-ship. If exclusivity is a priority, consider chartering a ship of your own. If that’s not possible, groups of all sizes can still enjoy a customized experience with themed receptions and private on-board events. You can also operate excusive group shore excursions and events in port.
10. It’s not what we’re are used to. That’s because only 20 percent of the U.S. population has ever cruised! But once people step on board and see how similar ships are to hotels, it takes almost no time to adjust.