WISTA (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association) is an international networking organization for women at management levels in the global maritime industry, representing more than 40 countries.
Their annual meeting rotates among various countries, and WISTA USA was the proud host of the 2016 WISTA International Annual General Meeting & Conference. The organizers decided it was time to go to sea, and contacted Landry & Kling for assistance in securing a ship and translating their program to a cruise environment.
The Association Planner wanted a 4-night premium ship sailing from south Florida for this sophisticated, well-traveled group. Premium ships don’t normally operate short cruises, but we knew about an unpublished 4-night segment of a longer sailing on the brand new Holland America Koningsdam, launching in November 2016. (Below: WISTA signage on Holland America Koningsdam)
We were able to book the group on Koningsdam, but because of the new ship design, the cruise line was unable to confirm all the program requirements we normally arrange in advance. The ship was debuting in Europe with sold-out inaugural sailings and scheduled to reach Ft. Lauderdale on the day of our group departure, so there was no opportunity for us to do an advance site inspection with our client (which we typically do, especially for a program of this complexity).
Landry & Kling’s Elegant Solutions
Because of Landry & Kling’s reputation in the industry, we were able to persuade Holland America to confirm an advance “walk-on” ship visit in the port of Amsterdam. But since this was a brand new ship, we felt we needed more time on board to determine venues and setup for WISTA’s conference.
So we planned our flights and continued to press for two cabins – one for Landry & Kling and one for our client representing WISTA. Fortunately, our persistence with the cruise line paid off, and we were able to sail during the last two nights of a cruise after the media contacts debarked early. The WISTA planners checked out the ship from top to bottom. (Above, from left: Koningsdam atrium with hospitality desk on the left side, a stunning photo mosaic of a face made up of tiny cars, planners taking photos of original artwork in the stairways)
The Results & Positive Feedback
- A total of 272 WISTA shipping & trading executives and guests from 30 countries sailed Nov 9 – 13, 2016.
- The itinerary included visits to 2 ports of call, and allowed ample time for attendees & guests to enjoy activities ashore plus participate in a series of onboard workshops.
- A full day at sea was used for 4 Conference Sessions, culminating in WISTA’s Group Dinner & Celebration.
- The cruise resulted in a very satisfied client and highly enthusiastic WISTA members. Although they are in the maritime industry, most of the association members are in the industrial sector and were not familiar with today’s modern cruise vessels– every bit as contemporary as the newest hotels.
- They appreciated the variety of dining and entertainment choices available on a cruise, with no planning or cost to the Association. (Above right: Koningsdam World Theater, WISTA meeting space by day, entertainment venue in the evenings)
- The meeting sessions were especially well received because the ship’s theater had astounding A/V technology. Their program was projected on huge wall, and there was no cost for use of the equipment — just a nominal hourly fee for tech support staff.
- The group appreciated the exclusive opportunity to go “behind the scenes” with officers and crew to learn about the ship’s new technology and environmental innovations.