Ship Charter Considerations: What You Need to Know
A cruise ship charter offers many exciting and enticing event advantages including exclusivity, freedom to customize, and flexibility (detailed in Advantages of a Cruise Ship Charter). But there are several ship charter considerations to be aware of if you’ve never booked a full-ship charter program. Here are a few things to consider that might help you determine if a cruise ship charter is your best option.
A Cruise Ship Charter is a Major Commitment
Unlike a group cruise or hotel contract, full ship charter agreements require that you guarantee payment in full – and in advance. Most cruise lines require all charterers to sign an irrevocable letter of credit. There is no attrition clause for a reduction in guest rooms; from the moment your contract is signed, you literally take on the ownership of the sailing.
While a cruise ship charter is a major financial commitment, most organizations we’ve worked with agree that the advantages far outweigh the risk!
Selecting a Ship for Your Charter
When weighing the ship charter considerations, selecting the appropriate ship for your group size is crucial for maximum cost effectiveness. Remember, you are buying all the guest rooms, including suites and all inside cabins.
Be sure that if your program requires functions that include all of the attendees, your ship has a public room that can accommodate everyone at one time.
Pay close attention to the dining room capabilities on board; on large ships, it might not be possible for everyone to dine at one time in the main restaurant. We can offer creative alternatives. An outside event (deck party, reception or dinner) might be a unique option one evening. What about a group dinner at an interesting venue while in port? When you book a cruise ship charter, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
Booking Your Ship – The Earlier the Better
Cruise lines finalize and publish their itineraries a year or so in advance to open up sales to the public. If you’re interested in a cruise ship charter and have a specific itinerary in mind, we recommend you make your decision as early as possible. In some cases, the cruise line will “carve out” the number of days you want, and plan their itineraries around your charter schedule.
Ship Charter Rates
Even thought you might not use every stateroom, your price for a charter is based on a high percentage of the ship being filled at double occupancy .
Be aware that if your numbers fall below full capacity levels, surcharges may apply for on-board revenue loss (casino, beverages, shore excursions, etc.).
If you want a specific date but there are already passengers booked on that sailing, the cruise line will have to move these guests to a different date. The cost for these “buy offs” will be included in your charter contract – another great reason to book early!