Perspectives of Dylan DeClerck, Event Consultant
Post 5 of 5 in this series.
Booking a group on a cruise, or for that fact any trip for a larger group, can be very exciting, especially when you’ve worked with a cruise expert to help you with the daunting research to locate the perfect location, received the best concessions and amenities, and created the best experiences for all of the attendees. However, right after the trip gets booked, the overwhelming pressure of putting on an event just as well as you envisioned starts to feel heavy on your shoulders. Let’s explore a couple of the things you need to address when planning a cruise and provide you with a way to alleviate some of the stress.
Picking a Ship – One of the challenges in picking a ship is finding the company and vessel with everything you need for your group. Unlike choosing a hotel and destination, a cruise ship has no room to add additional meeting space or any flexibility in set up, so everything that you need for the length of your group’s stay on board must be part of the contract or on the ship from the start. This also raises the question of, “How do I know the ship has the right accommodations for my needs?” Realistically you’d like to have prior experience with the ship, but secondarily there are event planner experts who can help with group planning.
Miscommunication – While it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to construct a plan that avoids miscommunication, there are certain steps every event planner can take to make communication as clear as possible. The first thing to do is establish a relationship with someone from the cruise company that you know will take good care of your special circumstances and needs. Many groups complain that the cruise lines fail to address their concerns. Working with a cruise can be completely different than working with a hotel. A cruise expert can help align you with the right person to be your point person and vice versa, meaning that you almost exclusively communicate with each other when it comes to your group and the cruise. Now these two steps may seem like an easy task, but unfortunately it takes time and investment from both parties to establish this clear line of communication.
Challenges and Obstacles – As with all group trips there are going to be challenges and obstacles for the event planners to manage. Most event planners know the best way to solve problems is to anticipate them and plan for them even before they occur. If your group has never done a cruise before this can be incredibly difficult, but a good place to start is by talking with someone who has cruised with a group before.
Fortunately for your group, a good way to alleviate some of this stress when planning a cruise is to work with a partner that knows your group and the cruise options available. Conference Event Management can help you pick a ship because our cruise President and her cruise team have been on almost every ship that can accommodate a group. In addition, we have established relationships and a single point of contact at all major cruise lines and won’t hesitate to reach out to them immediately as a problem arises. Conference Event Management has the experience to make your group’s trip a smooth sailing!