5 Top Tips for Planning a Ship Charter Program

Ritz Carlton Yacht for private charter

For the ultimate in security and exclusivity, more organizations are considering ship charters for meetings and incentive travel programs. From a miletone event for 50 persons to a global convention for 5,000 attendees, a private cruise ship charter is a unique and memorable experience your participants cannot duplicate on their own.

Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas

Chartering a ship is a major decision for any organization and a significant investment, so it’s important to do your due diligence. Where to begin? We’re here to help! Landry & King has worked with dozens of cruise lines arranging hundreds of ship charters all around the world.

Here are our top 5 tips to help you plan a successful ship charter program:

1. Size matters

Ritz Carlton Yacht for private charter
Ritz-Carlton Yachts are ideal for private charter.

The charter price is only as cost effective as your ability to use most or all of the rooms. Be realistic about the number of rooms you will truly need, since every empty room is ultimately the charterer’s liability. You’re securing your charter with a contract and upfront payment or financial guarantees — and you can’t give back the rooms you don’t use.

2. Negotiate Well

Once you sign the charter contract, your organization effectively removes the ship from the cruise line’s inventory and takes ownership of it. And with 99 percent of the cruise lines, there’s no backtracking on the agreement. While this arrangement is designed to protect the cruise line, you can protect yourself, too. Work with a ship charter expert familiar with cruise ship charters. They can help you negotiate terms and explain flexible clauses that could work to your advantage.

3. Feel Free to Customize

Azamara cruise in the Med
Azamara deck party in the Med.

Want to express your creativity? You’ll love how much you can personalize the experience on a chartered ship! Since the sponsoring company “owns” the ship, virtually every aspect of the cruise charter can be customized – from menus and entertainment to ports of call and shore excursions.

4. Know When to Opt for Group Space

Perhaps your perfect ship has the facilities you need, but is larger than your group requires. Booking group space on the ship — rather than a full-ship buyout — is likely the better solution. Landry & Kling’s clients have had success hosting groups of as large as 1,000 people on ships that hold 3,500 or more without compromising the desired feeling of exclusivity at events. 

Norwegian Bliss - The Haven Observation Lounge
Exclusive Lounge for The Haven guests on Norwegian Bliss

Consider large-ship theaters or the possibility of deck parties. Several contemporary cruise lines offer luxury ship-within-a-ship concepts, with private key access, butler service and exclusive venues. Your group will enjoy complete privacy as well as easy access to all the big ship facilities.

5.Consider Smaller Vessels

Crystal Mozart Danube River Cruise

Big ships get all the attention. But yachts, barges, expedition vessels, tall ships and riverboats offer unique charter opportunities with access to smaller, less visited ports of call. These are good options for groups of anywhere in size from a dozen to 200 or 300 people.


Dockside Cruise Ship Charters

Cruise ship charter services - dockside charters
Cruise ships used as floating hotels for Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad

Ships can also be used as “floating hotels” for city-wide meetings or global events. Also referred to as a dockside charter, this creates an invaluable solution when there are insufficient hotel rooms to support an event.

Minimize Risk, Maximize ROI

Researching all the ship options, narrowing down the choices, contacting different cruise lines, and negotiating a charter contract takes time and an understanding of what’s involved. 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!

Learn More

No matter what your group size, budget, or meeting requirements, Landry & Kling can help you find the perfect ship for a flawless charter program or group cruise event. Give us a call at 305-661-1880, send an email to inquiry@landrykling.com, or request a group or charter quote.


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