By Jo Kling

As incentive travel makes a comeback and budgets begin to rise, we’re not surprised that the latest incentive cruise trends reflect the recent developments in the meetings & incentives industry.

Crystal Yacht Esprit deep-sea submersible accommodates 2 + a pilot.

Crystal Yacht Esprit deep-sea submersible accommodates 2 + a pilot.

Andrea Doyle, Sr. Editor of Northstar Travel Media, reached out to Landry & Kling for assistance with an “incentive cruise trends” article she was writing for the May/June issues of both Incentive Magazine and Successful Meetings Magazine. Based on our experience and the latest research, we narrowed it down to:

The top five meeting & incentive cruise trends

1.Unique & Memorable Experiences

Incentive cruise event: Caviar and Champagne served in the Surf during a Seabourn Quest cruise

Caviar and Champagne served in the Surf during a Seabourn Quest cruise

If there’s one recurring theme as we look at meetings and incentive cruise trends, it’s this: Experiences are the “new luxury”.

While large and mega-ships feature expansive sports decks, exhilarating activities, and a plethora of dining options; mid-sized and smaller upscale cruise lines are focusing on immersive destination experiences, exclusive shore events, culinary excellence, and enrichment programs.

2.More Luxury Choices

Regent Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Suite (rendering)

Regent Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Suite (rendering)

To meet the demand for a more intimate and exclusive incentive cruise experience, several midsize and small luxury ships are on order – perfectly sized for private ship charter.

Crystal Yacht Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent Seven Seas are launching  new, all-inclusive luxury ships that offer customized, specialty tours in exotic ports; stunning venues and spacious suites; and world-class service for high-end incentive groups, including personal butlers.

3.Authentic Destination Experiences

Complimentary private concert during at Ephesus during Azamara Club Cruises incentive cruise

Private concert at Ephesus during Azamara Club Cruises’ complimentary “AzaMazing Evening” Event.

To visit enticing, less-visited ports, many planners are opting for a small ship or yacht that explores places beyond the reach of bigger ships.

Premium and luxury lines are adding longer stays with more overnights in port so incentive cruise guests can immerse themselves in local food, culture and nightlife. Interactive shore excursions and exclusive evening events ashore have also been crafted for authentic destination experiences.

4.Memorable Dining

Unique cruise ship culinary experiences are in high demand, especially for top-tier meetings and incentives. High-end cruise lines have responded by introducing globally inspired and locally sourced menu items, crafting chef-led culinary excursions, and adding interactive cooking schools aboard their ships.

5.Meeting Wi-Fi Demands

Free Wifi on Silversea ship during incentive cruise.

Complimentary Wifi on Silversea ships

Cruise ship Internet access is more accessible than ever, and the costs are steadily declining as cruise lines add more bandwidth, faster connectivity speeds, and flexible Wi-Fi packages.

Some premium, luxury, and river cruise lines now offer free Wi-Fi as part of the “all-inclusive” experience.  (Pictured left: Free WiFi on Silversea ship.)

To Learn More:

For more examples of how cruise lines are raising the bar for high-end groups, read the full articles in Incentive and Successful Meetings magazines.

But this is only the beginning…there are more new ships and exciting cruise news right on point with meeting & incentive travel trends, and I’d love to share them with you! Give Landry & Kling a call at 305-661-1880 or send us an email.