Cruise ships are sensational venues for almost any type of incentive program, business event or professional meeting. Whether it’s a dockside charter in the Caribbean for a global meeting or an executive retreat on an intimate yacht sailing in the Med, there’s a ship and itinerary perfect for your next event.

Here are the Top 10 Most Popular Types of Cruise Events

1. Incentive / Employee Recognition Cruises

Only 24% of the U.S. population has been on a cruise, and the all-inclusive nature of a ship makes a cruise incentive especially appealing! Individual cruise certificates or group travel programs are powerful motivational tools for employees, channel dealers, sales staff or franchisees. Reward top talent and increase productivity by planning a recognition program at sea. Read a few incentive cruise success stories.

2. Customer Appreciation Cruise

The self-contained environment of a cruise ship makes cruising ideal for relationship-building and generating future business. With a variety of on board dining venues, bars, lounges and theaters, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for entertaining your customers. They’ll also appreciate sharing the experiences on the ship and ashore with their spouse or guest.

3. Business Meetings

Save money and add greater impact to your annual meeting, board meeting, or sales conference. Today’s cruise ships offer meeting planners complimentary use of dedicated conference centers, flexible meeting space and built-in A/V. Creative spaces and being at sea will lead to “out of the box” thinking and increased camaraderie. Read a few meeting at sea success stories.

4. Conferences, Conventions and Trade Shows

With capacity for up to 5,000 people, a ship is a convenient, self-contained venue that can add pizzazz to increase attendance and control cost. A conference or convention at sea will generate pre- and post-event buzz, more networking opportunities, and have lasting impact.

5. Continuing Education at Sea

Planners of medical, legal and other professional continuing education programs are using cruise ships to increase attendance and boost satisfaction ratings. A great option for family programs, a seminar at sea is also conducive to peer-to-peer networking and exchange of ideas.

6. Executive Retreats

If your C-Suite is ready for a Sea Change, a cruise will deliver the results you need, at any budget level. For the ultimate in security and privacy, consider a small ship or yacht charter. If a full-ship charter isn’t feasible, take a look at the “ship within a ship” private enclaves on Norwegian and MSC Cruises ships – you’ll have the best of both worlds!

7. Theme or Special Interest Cruises

An affinity, themed or special interest cruise is the best way to bring like-minded people together to share and celebrate their common interest. Ships provide a budget-friendly alternative to land-based venues. Whether it’s a cruise for music fans, food and wine lovers, dance enthusiasts or sports fans, your guests will love the opportunity to meet and mingle with their favorite performers, artists, sports stars or celebrities. Read about a few successful theme cruises.

8. Fund Raisers at Sea

Universities, hospitals and other organizations motivate donations through travel programs that earmark a portion of the cruise price for a worthy cause. Some nonprofits are chartering ships for special interest cruises to raise funds. Rock Legends I and Rock Legends II Cruises are successful examples of this trend.

9. Cruise Ship Charters

For the ultimate security and prestige, charter a vessel for your organization’s exclusive use. The opportunities for customization are limitless – you can fly your company’s flag, customize the itinerary and daily on board events, even stage your own entertainment or awards ceremony. You will have the entire ship at your command. Read a few cruise ship charter success stories.

10. Dockside Charters or “Floating Hotels”

If there’s a shortage of hotel space for a city-wide convention or global event in a port city, consider a dockside charter to accommodate the overflow. You’ll get instant housing and lots of publicity with your “floating hotel”. The Jacksonville Super Bowl and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) are great examples of successful dockside charter programs. Read about successful Dockside Charter programs.