Cruise Ships for Meetings

Most companies and associations don’t immediately think of cruise ships as practical venues for their meetings, and at VenueQuest, we are the first to admit a cruise ship is not ideal for everyone…but if the shoe, or Meeting Space on Cruise Ship_1life jacket fits…

Consider the benefits:

  • Cruises have a high perceived value due to the grandeur of the ships, and the inclusion of numerous leisure time activities not available in a hotel or resort.
  • Cruise lines offer a generous comp room ratio of 1 comp cabin per 8 sold (compare this to the hotel industry standard of 1 per 50!)
  • Cruises are often less expensive to the organizers of a meeting because the cost of all meals, all audio/visual equipment and all meeting room rental is included in the per passenger cruise rate.
  • Cruises offer a high level of informal networking (one-on-one spontaneous conversations in the elevator, at the coffee shop, waiting in line, during meals,etc) between meeting attendees, which any meeting planning professional or meeting attendee will tell you is the most valuable part of any conference.
  • There is abundant meeting space on cruise ships
  • Meetings at sea offer excellent team building opportunites

But it is not for everybody.  Here are some of the potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Cruises start and end on particular days and they don’t deviate from their schedule.  So your agenda needs to match up with the ship schedule.meeting room at sea_2
  • The ship or itinerary you want, may not leave from the port that is most convenient to your attendees.
  • Meeting space on many ships can be unconventional.  While most ships today have dedicated meeting rooms, they also make use of empty theaters, lounges and restaurants for meeting attendees.