Booking Ship Charters: What You Need to Know
What are the benefits of cruise ship charters?
You’ve probably heard that booking ship charters is an excellent choice for planners who need absolute privacy for their group. Cruise ship charter (also called full-ship charter ) is a complete buy-out of all the vessel’s accommodations. Organizations might choose a cruise ship charter for a major event because of the unique advantages of this option, which include: exclusivity, flexibility, security, and opportunities to customize the entire cruise experience.
With no other passengers sharing your ship, you have exclusive use of all on board facilities and function space, so you can create extraordinary special events and dynamic meetings. Since the ship is a self-contained environment with no outside distractions, you’ll have a “captive audience” with greater meeting attendance and more opportunities for attendees to connect, build relationships, and exchange ideas. Read more about advantages of a cruise ship charter.
Charters require an upfront financial commitment, typically guaranteed via a Letter of Credit. Once a contract is signed, it is irrevocable and payments are non-refundable.
The first step in booking ship charters: Finding the perfect ship
When considering a cruise ship charter, the first step is to determine which ships will best fit your needs. How many sleeping rooms do you need? What about function space? Remember to charter a vessel with extra rooms to accommodate staff and any additional personnel you might need to operate the program.
Word to the wise: If you are planning an incentive and your qualification is open-ended, be sure to calculate your risk. If you outgrow the ship, you will have to book the overflow on a different sailing date. If you fall below your projected numbers, you will have to pay for empty rooms.
Size Matters: Ship Capacity and On board Venues
When looking at cruise ship charter options, be mindful of venue and public space capacities – on larger ships (over 1,500 guests) the main show lounge and dining room will usually accommodate half the ship’s capacity. On smaller vessels, main theater and dining room usually accommodate the full capacity of the vessel.
Booking Ship Charters: Lead Time
The ideal time to book your charter is before the cruise lines have published their ships’ itineraries – usually 18-24 months prior to your program. This gives you an advantage if you want to customize a specific itinerary with your required number of nights. For example, you might be able to charter a ship with a 7 night itinerary for a shorter 3 or 4-night cruise program.
Once the itineraries are established by the cruise line, you have less flexibility and may have to pay to charter the ship for more days than you need. In addition, you will have to cover the cruise line’s cost of “buying-off” any passengers already booked on that scheduled sailing.
Customization: Dream Big!
One of the great advantages of chartering a ship is the freedom to totally customize the experience. Some ideas include using the ship’s daily newsletter for announcing meeting times and special events, flying a flag with your company’s logo, and incorporating your custom logo on room keys, photographs and desserts. You can bring on your own entertainment and keynote speakers and even create your own itinerary with custom shore excursions.
Dockside Cruise Ship Charters
Ships can also be used as “floating hotels” for city-wide meetings or global events when there is a shortage of sleeping rooms. This is also referred to as a dockside charter (the ship remains in port for a determined number of nights and is used as a hotel). This creates an invaluable solution when there are insufficient hotel rooms to support an event.
Work With Ship Charter Experts to Minimize Risk, Maximize ROI
When planning and booking ship charters – and especially dockside charter projects – a different set of logistics need to be taken into account. Landry & Kling’s depth of experience planning and booking global ship charters is unsurpassed, and our team is ready to assist you in creating your best event ever!