Planning a recognition program? Then you ‘ll want to read this sales incentive cruise success story. The Landry & Kling’s team report includes ship highlights, what the client and sales agents loved about the destination, and wow moments that made this event an overwhelming success.

How it Began

A leading insurance company contacted Landry & Kling to explore cruise options for a sales incentive to recognize and reward their top-selling insurance agents.  The meeting planner worked with Landry & Kling for nearly a year to find the ideal ship and destination, then plan and execute every detail of the program. The results exceeded everyone’s expectations!

The Challenge

We had to find a ship that would appeal to sales agents whose ages ranged from Millennials to Boomers, sailing to a destination that would motivate peak performance and inspire all attendees.

This was a very diverse, multi-generational group with qualifiers in their 30’s, 40’s and higher. Some of these “top performers” were very well-traveled and had cruised on their own many times before, so we had to deliver the “wow factor” in order for the program to be successful.

The Solution

Since our client’s previous incentive programs included cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas, we agreed that Alaska would be an exciting destination. Our client requested the southbound glacier itinerary (Seward to Vancouver), because she wanted the guests to experience magnificent Hubbard Glacier – a brilliant choice!

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, sailing in Alaska, was the perfect ship for this incentive program. The beautiful “ship of glass” had just completed a multi-million dollar revitalization, making the Radiance of the Seas well suited for the group’s diverse range of ages and interests.

The size of the ship (2112 passengers) was also ideal. Radiance is large enough to offer all the big ship amenities like rock climbing, plus a variety of dining and entertainment options for all tastes and ages; but small enough that the group of 100 wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and could easily find each other onboard.

When it was time to set sail for the Alaska voyage on Radiance of the Seas in Alaska, the Landry & Kling team was onboard working behind the scenes to make sure everything ran seamlessly. Here is their feedback on the cruise experience.

The “Royal Advantage” of Radiance of the Seas

Royal Caribbean recently added “Royal Advantage” upgrades to the Radiance of the Seas, and the ship looked beautiful. This class of ship is perfect for Alaska – with walls of glass in the Atrium and glass elevators to whisk attendees from deck to deck, it was a perfect match! The enhancements – seven new dining venues, an outdoor movie theater, interactive flat screen TV’s in the staterooms and WiFi throughout the ship – were fabulous.

Dining Experiences Onboard the Ship

Some of the attendees chose to dine in the new restaurants, and they all raved about them. Giovanni’s Table was a big hit! Several attendees dined there together, and they thoroughly enjoyed the traditional Italian feast. Waiters served large platters of food to the group family style, and a great time was had by all.

We booked the interactive “Chef’s Table” for some couples one evening, and they said it was spectacular. The chef mingled with them during this intimate dinner to explain each of the five courses, and thoughtful wine pairings were included with each course. There was a per person fee for the Chef’s Table, but everyone agreed it was well worth a culinary experience of this caliber.

Several groups also tried Chops Grille. One guest – an avid cruiser – said it was “the best steakhouse dinner he and his wife had ever experienced on a cruise ship”. This cruise-savvy participant was quite impressed with the “Royal Advantages” restaurants onboard Radiance of the Seas.

Group Events Didn’t Cost our Client a Penny!

Since this was a pure incentive program designed to reward the qualifiers, there were no formal meetings in the group’s agenda. (Just for the record – Radiance of the Seas has conference facilities and plenty of flexible space suitable for meetings, as well as complimentary AV.)

We had negotiated two complimentary cocktail receptions with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and premium brand spirits. Both events took place in one of the ship’s beautiful lounges, so there was no need to plan or pay for additional decor.

One evening, the meeting planner and the Landry & Kling program manager brainstormed about how they could kick up the farewell reception a notch to make it even more memorable– without spending money. They decided to run a slide show with group photos that the meeting planner had taken during the cruise. It was a bit hit with the attendees, and didn’t cost our client a penny! The cruise line staff was very helpful in assisting us with the A/V equipment and set up.

Wow Moments in Alaska

One of the WOW moments everyone loved during the cruise was simply sitting in the lounges and gazing outside to see the incredible nature and wildlife of Alaska. At one point, an Orca whale did a full breech and entire room erupted in cheers – It was truly a spectacular moment!

Also, the captain was able to get the ship extremely close to the spectacular blue walls of ice while we were in Hubbard Glacier. This was an awe-inspiring experience, especially when the glacier began calving. The crash of massive chunks of ice broke the serene stillness and took everyone’s breath way – it sounded like thunder!

A Thoughtful Stateroom Gift

The embarkation gift from the client was a lovely blanket for each stateroom. This was a plus as all qualifiers were in balcony staterooms and could cuddle up on the balcony with their blankets and watch the beauty of Alaska unfold before their eyes.

Highlights of Alaska

This itinerary was great, with just the right mix of ports and glacier view days. Our client was a bit concerned that guests arriving in Anchorage had a three-hour transfer to the port of Seward, so our staff added bottled waters and snacks on the buses to make the ride pleasant. It was a nice touch, and the group appreciated it. We didn’t hear any complaints about the ride; in fact, some of the guests enjoyed having time to relax and get acquainted with each other after their flights.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite port – they all were spectacular! Icy Strait Point is a very small port town, but it was the “real” Alaska. No jewelry shops, no tee-shirt shops on every corner; just a small shopping area to buy a souvenir or two. There were some interesting shore excursions offered here – everything from a whale-watching cruise to a Glacier Bay flightseeing tour.

Snorkeling in Alaska…really!  One couple booked a shore excursion in Ketchikan that included snorkeling. They said that it was the highlight of their cruise, because they saw marine life they had never seen before – amazing! This couple said they would highly recommend the snorkeling excursion to anyone who goes to Alaska.

Zip Line Excursions –  Each of the ports of call had a zip line excursion and they were all booked by the first day of the cruise. In fact, these tours were so popular that the excursion desk added more time slots. Attendees from our group tried the zip line in Icy Strait point. This particular zip line is said to be the “world’s largest zip line”. At 5,330 feet long and with a 1,300 foot vertical drop, you’re speeding down at 60 miles per hour and soaring 300 feet above the ground. Needless to say it was a rush!

What They Loved Most

The incentive winners and meeting planner all raved about the excellent service onboard Radiance of the Seas – in the restaurants, staterooms, and throughout the entire ship. The stop in Hubbard Glacier was also a big hit with the guests, and perhaps the most awe-inspiring experience of the week.  This was definitely the highlight of their Alaska cruise, and a day no one will ever forget.

The Incentive Cruise Experience was a “Radiant” Success!

The cruise to Alaska on Radiance of the Seas exceeded the expectations of our client, the attendees, and all of us at Landry & Kling. Now our only challenge is….how to top it next year!