Organising a Cruise Ship Event – Three Top Tips


Wedding Photo on Cruise ShipHosting your next event on-board a luxury cruise ship is one sure way to make it unforgettable. Whether you’re planning a special birthday celebration, business retreat, wedding, sales conference, family reunion or a convention, a cruise ship is a unique and exhilarating venue choice.

Travel to exotic worldwide destinations for 3 nights or longer on-board state-of-the-art ships. With guaranteed fine dining, exciting on-board activities, fantastic nightlife and function rooms to hire, a cruise will make your event truly spectacular.

Feeling inspired? Here are three top tips for organising your next big cruise ship event!

1) Who, what, where, why when?

The first and most important part of event planning is defining the five W’s: who, what, where, why and when.

Who is the event for? Colleagues, business partners, family or friends? Decide who you want to invite and allow the guest list to help you plan the event programme.

Why are you hosting the event? Are you celebrating a special occasion, rewarding employees’ hard work or networking with potential customers?

What is the concept or theme of the event? Will you celebrate winning an eco-friendly business award with eco-themed workshops and activities? A consistent theme or concept is a great way to ensure your event stands out.

Where will you host the event? Choose your cruise package wisely. Important things to consider here are: duration, location, on-board amenities and of course, budget.

And finally… When will the event take place? Choose a date that accommodates the majority of the guest list but don’t let it interfere with important periods at work or home. A family reunion over Christmas might be perfect, but taking your employees away during the busy festive period may cause undue stress.

2) Plan the Programme

So you’ve settled on a theme and picked your cruise package. Now you can start planning activities and workshops. If you’re celebrating a birthday you may only want to plan one party and let the guests entertain themselves for the rest of the trip.  A business conference or special interest convention however will likely require a full programme of events.

Use the theme and provisional guest list to help you plan suitable activities. You might have meetings, lectures, presentations, team building workshops and award ceremonies. Allow some free-time for your guests to relax and enjoy all the cruise ship has to offer and don’t forget about the on-shore day trips!

Finalise the programme and invite guest speakers well in advance, to help reduce any unforeseen booking issues later down the line. When you book the cruise, give your agent a copy of the programme so they can help secure function rooms and finalise seating plans. It’s always useful to delegate some tasks to those who have direct contact with the ship.

3) Publicise and Promote your Event

How you advertise your event will depend entirely on who the event is for.

A family reunion or wedding will require some advanced warning. Send a Save the Date card or email six months in advance to gauge interest and get an early idea of numbers. From there, create a guest list and include important information such as contact details, RSVP and payment information. This will help you stay organised and stress-free, it will also ensure no one gets forgotten! Pro tip: remember to include yourself on the guest list!

If you’re planning a special interest convention then you may need to promote the event heavily before booking the cruise. You can advertise the event for free on social media, online forums and fan websites. In addition you might like to print flyers and brochures with event details, offering a special early bird discount to entice guests.

A corporate event, whether an employee incentive trip or sales meeting, may require less promotion as you will likely have a strict guest list. Once the cruise has been provisionally planned and booked, you can invite guests either formally by post or over email. Invites should be sent with detailed event information in the form of a programme brochure or flyer. Branding is important, particularly if you’re inviting potential customers or board members, so make sure to have all invites and promotional material professionally designed and printed.

If you need further help planning your next cruise ship event, please take a look at our destinations or get in touch with Cruise1st today!

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