MIAMI FL April 2, 2012

Rock and Roll lover? Country music junkie? Want to be the next top model? Theme and specialty cruises are gaining in popularity as organizations increasingly explore unique venues for their next customer event or gathering of fans.

Landry & Kling, cruise event specialists, have experienced a dramatic increase over the past two years in the number of groups and name-brand companies interested in holding one-of-a-kind events at sea. In 2011, nearly 70 percent of Landry & Kling’s passengers participated in special interest or theme cruises. From corporate milestones to music festivals, Landry & Kling works closely with a variety of organizations to further their relationship with customers and fans.

“Event marketing is the hottest way to deepen customer relationships and increase brand awareness,” said Jo Kling, president, Landry & Kling. “Coupled with heightened awareness about the cruise experience and more people adding a cruise to their ‘bucket list,’ the timing to capitalize on this trend has never been better.”

According to a survey by Meeting Professionals International Foundation in 2009, event marketing was cited most frequently – 31 percent – as the marketing discipline that provides the greatest ROI.

Recent branded cruise events Landry & Kling facilitated include:

  • Barbizon USA’s 2011 Passport to Discovery Competition Cruise—An annual event held for the center’s modeling and acting students. During the five-night cruise ship charter on Carnival Inspiration, Barbizon graduates had the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of more than 100 casting directors, talents scouts and modeling agents. More than 2,000 people sailed, including students and their family members.
  • Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) Rock Legends Cruise—A fundraiser held on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. The four-night private cruise ship charter showcased 20 bands in concert, with a total of 58 performances. Artists included ZZ Top, George Thorogood and the Marshall Tucker Band. Proceeds went to NAHA, a charitable non-profit that helps Native American families in need living on the reservations of South Dakota.
  • Country’s Family Reunion Cruise—A five-night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. The cruise featured performers from the hit video series Larry’s Country Diner and Country’s Family Reunion. The ship’s main stage was familiar to the 800 fans onboard, with all the sets and props from Larry’s Country Diner. In addition to live shows, fans were able to attend autograph sessions with the stars.

What theme cruise organizers are saying:

“We wanted to provide cost-effective audition opportunities to our graduates and their families. The cruise saved us almost half of what we normally spend for a traditional land-based event,” said Laura LaBelle, chief operating officer of modeling center Barbizon USA. “The response from our participants and their families has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.”

“The Rock Legends cruise exceeded our high expectations. We were overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback we received from participants. Almost as soon as the event ended, we began receiving inquiries about when the next one would take place,” said Pamela J. Myers, NAHA’s executive vice president. “From the beginning, Landry & Kling acted as a trusted advisor, providing invaluable guidance and insights. They helped turn our fundraiser dream into a reality.”

Cruises provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional land-based destinations. The all-inclusive nature of a cruise includes fine dining options, nightly entertainment and other complimentary amenities such as state-of-the-art A/V equipment and function space.

Landry & Kling works closely with all kinds of organizations on every aspect of a special event cruise from finding the ideal ship to arranging multiple full ship charters. The company has a complete menu of optional services such as customizing the ship’s daily program, staging logistics, website creation and attendee registration management. They also assist with press releases, social media and the production of TV and radio commercials.

“Fans are seeking ways to more closely interact with their favorite performers. Celebrities also enjoy the interaction with a live audience. Corporate brand managers value the feedback from customers. Cruise ships provide an environment where everybody has a better chance to meet and mingle up close,” said Lori Cassidy, director, corporate, incentive & charter sales, Royal Caribbean International. “We’ve worked with Landry & Kling on many successful events. With more than 30 years’ experience in the cruise industry, Landry & Kling understand the needs of their customers and partners. They have knowledge, insights and technology to help successfully execute unique events at sea.”

Organizations from Barbizon to NAHA are already planning their next event with Landry & Kling. Barbizon’s 2012 Passport for Discovery is scheduled to set sail on Carnival Paradise on October 6.Rock Legends II will take place January 10-14, 2013. And Country’s Family Reunion will sail again January 19-24, 2013.

About Landry & Kling – Now Celebrating 30th Anniversary, 1982 – 2012

Landry & Kling Inc., cruise event specialists and pioneers of the meetings-at-sea concept, provide turnkey solutions and custom cruise logistics for ship buy-outs, incentive cruises, all kinds of meetings-at-sea, theme cruises and dockside ship charters for global events. For oceans of information, visit www.landrykling.com or call 800-448-9002 to speak with a Cruise Advisor.