So nice to be back home… even for just one day!

A SeaDream II Site Inspection Report

SeaDream Yacht

It had been two years since I last sailed with SeaDream Yacht Club (too long!), and I was really looking forward to seeing the SeaDream II again, especially after her extensive renovations last November. So I was thrilled to have an opportunity to “show her off”  during a recent site visit in Barcelona with a client who is considering a future ship charter.

Upon boarding, we were greeted with chilled glasses of champagne and ice cold towels. This is standard practice for all guests boarding a SeaDream yacht, and it was especially appreciated on a warm July day in Barcelona. I immediately noticed changes in the pool area – the teak flooring has been replaced, new plush cushions adorn the chaise lounges. The pool area really shined!

Inside the yacht, we were greeted by name by Hotel Manager Christophe and Executive Chef Tomasz, and warm hugs and embraces were exchanged. I had worked with this same team on our last SeaDream program when we chartered both twin yachts, SeaDream I and II, for a “tandem” cruise event in the Caribbean. It was so nice to be recognized and reconnect, and my client was impressed with the staff’s warmth and friendly hospitality.

SeaDream Top of the Yacht barWe proceeded to visit the public area and suites, which all looked fantastic and refreshed. The upper deck with the sun beds and the Top of the Yacht Bar were gleaming – teak has been replaced here as well, and it reminded me of a push South Beach club with thick lounge cushions that invite relaxation.

By the way, one of the amazing experiences on a SeaDream yacht is that you can actually reserve these “Balinese Dream Beds” for a night under the stars. You also receive a set of pajamas with your name embroidered on the first night of the cruise – a great keepsake!

A new Admiral Suite has been added on deck 4 (previously a shop area), increasing the number of suites to 56. This suite is amazing, with a spacious seating area, separate bedroom and large bathroom – it’s my favorite room on the yacht, and truly a great addition!

After our site inspection, the client agreed that this was indeed the right ship for their program. She commented on the warmth of the staff, noting their genuine interest in her event and their obvious passion for SeaDream Yacht Club. She can’t wait for this cruise program to set sail, and honestly, neither can I. Greek Isles here we come via SeaDream II!

SeaDream Yacht Crew

p.s. In case you missed my report on the SeaDream yacht tandem charter, here it is!



A Conference Planner’s Challenge – and Unconventional Solution

Connections are the lifeblood of conferences.

Planners know that in order for a sponsored event to be successful, there must be ample opportunities for attendees and vendors to meet, spend quality time together, build trust and strengthen relationships.

To illustrate this point, we’d like to share a challenge a conference planner faced, and the “elegant solution” that saved the day. The planner needed a venue for her association’s annual conference, but wanted to overcome some stumbling blocks that were issues in the past. Willing to try a different approach, she reached out to the cruise event specialists at Landry & Kling.

Here’s a snapshot of the previous conferences:

  • One day event
  • Vendors have limited time to spend with attendees
  • Some attendees never make it to the exhibit hall
  • Difficult to spend time with attendees’ to learn their real needs
  • Attendees don’t have time to discuss vendors’ products and offers
  • Difficult to build real relationships because of limited time together

Obviously, this association’s one-day event model was no longer working. The Landry & Kling sales associate listened to the planner, and this is what she heard: “Vendors and conference organizers need to spend more time with the attendees.” And so our cruise specialist offered a new concept – one that would solve the planner’s challenge and make her a hero in everyone’s eyes.

A New Model: The Three-Day Cruise Conference

Enchantment of the SeasWe proposed a conference at sea during a 3-night cruise to the Bahamas. Our savvy sales team knew that thinking “outside the box” would bring this planner’s attendees and vendors together and help build lasting relationships (and generate leads for the vendors).

Here’s how attendees and vendors came together:

  • Cocktail Reception on first night of cruise includes attendees and vendors (complimentary)
  • Three Dinners Included – The association could schedule vendors with attendees at the tables rotating each evening (actually, all meals are included with the cruise).
  • A Cruise Ship is a Self-Contained Environment – More time to mingle and network between conference sessions.
  • Days in Port – Those with shared interests can plan activities and share adventures together.
  • Shore Excursions - Vendors could pay for excursions pre-selected by attendees, and include a personal note with tickets. (Examples in Nassau, Bahamas: Organized Golf Tournament, Full day at Atlantis Resort, Rainbow Reef and Snorkel Tour)
  • Event Space – The ship had multiple venues available for association meetings and vendor displays (meeting space and use of A/V is complimentary)
  • Meetings after meetings – Vendors have three days to build trusted relationships (spending more quality time with attendees away from the conference floor).
  • More Entertainment With Less Cost – Actually, no cost! Meals and evening entertainment – including Broadway shows and Las Vegas acts – are included on the ship.

 Additional Sponsorship Opportunities

  • Wine with dinner
  • Special activities or team building event in port or on the ship
  • Special logo gift delivered to attendee cabins daily
  • Special invitation literature delivered to attendee cabins daily
  • Sponsor dinner in Specialty Restaurants
  • Special dessert with company logo
  • Professional photography service (group photo or individual)
  • On-board credit for spa treatment or beverage package

A three-day conference at sea was an “elegant solution” for all

The conference at sea created buzz, boosted attendance, and generated leads. Attendees had more time to enjoy the ship’s complimentary amenities and explore exciting ports of call, while vendors had more opportunities to make solid business connections and nurture relationships with attendees. The shared experiences created lasting memories for everyone. As they often say at Landry & Kling, Friendships made at sea are said to last a lifetime.”

You can read more meeting at sea success stories here.

Need help with your conference or event at sea? Give us a call at 800-448-9002 or (+1) 305-661-1880.


Being Stuck in an Elevator – the Brain Shift

In today’s analytic, results-driven workplaces, you might think “being social” doesn’t play a role in success. But you’d be wrong…

The key to happiness – it’s not what you think

Recent science now proves that our brains are wired to be social, with an urge to connect with others that’s equally strong as our essential need for food and shelter – motivating us to live, play and, yes – even work together.

UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores the ground-breaking neuroscience behind our need to be social in his book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect. Using new brain imaging tools, he’s shown that developing strong connections in our lives is the secret to making us smarter, happier, and more productive.

The implications for meetings?

Building in opportunities to socialize, connect, collaborate and share memorable experiences during business events just makes good sense.

Cruising – the bold and experiential choice

Group on cruise ship deckBesides the cost-savings (dining, entertainment, meeting space and AV included) and travel advantages (visiting different ports of call), the self-contained environment of a ship brings people together in a stimulating new environment where they will simultaneously experience a deeper level of connecting. The following metaphor will make it clear:

Being stuck in an elevator – a metaphor

Recall that time you got stuck in an elevator?  At first you turned inward – frustrated or perhaps angry, preoccupied with your private thoughts or worried about this disruption, avoiding eye contact with others, wondering how long it would take, etc. But then, as it became clear it wasn’t a quick fix, something shifted!

You realized you’d be together with these people for awhile, so you looked around, really seeing each one for the first time. You smiled, said something funny to break the ice, and all of a sudden you were no longer strangers, but fellow-humans sharing an experience. Feeling closer, you each dropped your guard and prepared to make the best of it together, knowing you’d have a fine story to share later.

Now, I’m not saying that being on a cruise is like being stuck in an elevator! So stay with me and imagine — as your ship gets underway, taking you out to sea, away from your everyday life — your brain immediately shifts into a joyful bonding mode, because you know you’re starting and ending together as colleagues, connected in sharing this exciting new experience!  The brain is such a wonderful thing…

You Can’t Build a Rocket by Yourself

The desire to connect and collaborate is fundamental to success – in life and business. As Dr. Lieberman reminds us in this recent TEDx Talk, “You can’t build a rocket by yourself.”


Why Galapagos should be on your must-experience list [video]

A Galapagos expedition is more than just another travel experience – it’s a life-changing adventure. If you’re looking for a destination to truly inspire and motivate your group like no place on earth, you’ll find it here. Watch this mesmerizing video from Lindblad Expeditions – National Geographic and you’ll see why Galapagos should be on your must-experience list.

One minute and 32 seconds of pure enchantment – enjoy!

Learn more about Lindblad Expeditions and what sets them apart.



Pop the cork and release the confetti! [video]

History was made this week as the very first piece of steel was cut for Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer. On July 15th, 2014, construction officially began on what Regent is calling “The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built” at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy.

When she debuts in the summer of 2016, Seven Seas Explorer will establish a new standard for elegant style and service at sea. Sailing with only 750-guests, the ship will boast the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the cruise industry. The ceremonial first piece of cut steel will serve as the foundation for an opulent, one-of-a-kind suite unlike any other afloat.

We are anxiously awaiting more details on this new addition to Regent’s fleet of all-inclusive, mid-sized vessels – another great destination choice for meetings and incentives, and perfectly suited for ship charter! During the steel cutting ceremony, Regent Seven Seas Cruses President Kanal Kamlani said:

Seven Seas Explorer will surpass the current standard in luxury cruising, offering a new level of grandeur throughout the ship from its lavish suites to its elegant public spaces and gourmet restaurants.

Watch the video from the ceremony – can’t you just feel the excitement?

Learn more about Regent Seven Seas and download free planner guides for all their ships.



A Visual Guide to Benefits of Cruise Ship vs. Hotel Conferences [Infographic]

Smart planners are always on the lookout for unique meeting and event venues to inspire attendees and reduce program expenses. Did you know that cruise ships are a great alternative to land-based properties? It’s true – planning a cruise event can save you beaucoup time and money!

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we were happy to find this infographic from Unique Venues Blog. It clearly outlines the facts that add up to big benefits when comparing cruise ships vs. hotels for conferences. Cruise Ships Infographic 6-13

(Note: We did find one discrepancy – with the exception of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, shore excursions are not included. Also, be aware that itineraries can often be customized – but only if you charter the entire ship for your organization!)

Want to learn more benefits? Check out 25 Reasons to Ditch the Hotel and Meet at Sea.

About Unique Venues

Unique Venues is a marketing and membership organization committed to bringing together one-of-a-kind event venues with meeting planners. They represent thousands of non-traditional properties in the United States, Canada, Ireland and the UK. Check them out – they have plenty of great venue ideas!

Need help planning your cruise meeting or event at sea?

Give the Cruise Event Specialists at Landry & Kling at call at 800-448-9002. They’ll be happy to give you a free group cruise consultation!



Do you love your job?

If you’re a Meeting Planner…you probably answered YES!

Coivention South Meeting Trends 2014 coverAccording to Conventions South Magazine’s Trend Watch 2014:

  • 75% of planners love their jobs (wow – that’s way above the national average of 30% reported in Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report!)
  • 42% of planners are optimistic about the future of the meeting industry in the next 18 months (only 19% think it will get worse).
  • 54% say more event attendance is growing (great news for conference planners!)

More Meeting Trends:

Hotel & Supplier Negotiations -When it comes to negotiating, here’s what the surveyed planning pros said hotels and suppliers are willing to discuss:

  • 62% Internet Access
  • 54% Meeting space rental fees*
  • 46% guest room rates
  • 32% Attrition 30% resort fees**
  • 29% F&B*
  • 29% meeting services*

* included during a cruise event
**resort fees not applicable

Meeting at Sea Takeway: According to a recent report in Incentive Magazine, more than 50 percent of meeting professionals surveyed said “price negotiations” was the biggest cause of job stress during event planning stages, and “hidden costs and fees” caused the most stress after events.

You can substantially reduce stress by booking a cruise. With so many inclusions, there’s less to negotiate during planning, fewer suppliers to contract with, and none of the hidden fees that hotels add on. Cross off 4 of the items listed above when you book a cruise!

What you’re investing more money on during your land-based event:

  • 39% F&B*
  • 39% A/V*
  • 31% Programming
  • 19% Off-site events/parties
  • 17% Housing
  • 11% Meeting rooms*
  • 9% Incentives/rewards
  • 6% Transportation**

* included on a cruise
**transportation between ports included

Meeting at Sea Takeaway: With the money you save on F&B, AV, meeting space, off-site events and entertainment during a cruise, you can add more program amenities or reduce your overall event expenses – adding to the ROI.

How meeting & event planners are saving

  • 15% selecting more regional locations
  • 50% seeking second or third-tier destinations
  • 68% willing to be flexible on dates to get best rate

Meeting at Sea Takeaway: More ships are sailing from over a dozen close-to-home ports, and most cruise lines offer excellent rates for off-peak or “soft” sailing dates.

Planners want to work with those who will work with them

Eighty-four percent said finding meeting site rep with willingness to negotiate contracts is extremely important when selecting an event location.

Meeting at Sea Takeaway: Work with a trusted cruise service provider to make sure you get the right ship and best “bang for your buck” from the cruise line. Landry & Kling will leverage their 30+ years of negotiating experience and cruise line relationships to negotiate the best group or charter contract terms and amenities for your event.

Want to learn more about events at sea?

Give the cruise event specialists at Landry & Kling a call at 800.448.9002 or 305.661.1990.


Dreams Come True! Sailing to Paradise on a “Yacht of Your Own”

What inspires peak performance?

Incentive travel is making a comeback, and industry studies reveal the obvious: destination is key to motivation. So we invite you to…

Read the next paragraph and imagine:

Wind Spirit sailing in TahitiYou and your group are on a chic “yacht of your own”, sailing through turquoise waters to enchanting Polynesian islands. You’re out on the open teak deck, watching the passing scenery – jagged green volcanoes, postcard-perfect sapphire lagoons, and tiny “motu” islets. You hear the snap of the sails as gentle trade winds fill the white canvas.

Do you feel the exhilaration?

Now’s the time to celebrate success, cultivate stronger relationships, and create extraordinary experiences. And what better way than by chartering your very own Windstar sailing yacht for a 7-night Tahiti cruise?

What will this new day in paradise bring?

Windstar barbecue on deckSwimming in crystal clear waters? Hiking through a lush rainforest to find a refreshing waterfall? Experiencing the fascinating Polynesian culture?

Aboard Wind Spirit, you and your event participants will experience the enchantment of Tahiti, visiting one island after another and staying overnight in most. After exploring legendary islands (where the big ships can’t go), your group will gather on deck to watch a fiery sunset, then enjoy an exuberant deck party and barbecue under the stars. Crisp white sails billow above them, making this a truly unique and memorable experience.

More highlights of your Windstar Tahiti cruise

  • Four overnight stays, each in a unique island paradise, including Moorea, the inspiration for South Pacific’s mystical Bali Hai
  • Experience drift snorkeling among coral gardens in aquamarine lagoons
  • Sail, swim, and kayak from the yacht’s Watersports Platform
  • Enjoy local entertainment on board and learn native Polynesian dances
  • Celebrate with a festive beach party and gala onboard barbecue

Here are a few adventures that await them ashore:

Moorea, French Polynesia

They might choose to begin their Tahitian experience with a hike into the unpopulated and lush jungle-like interior of Tahiti Nui – an unspoiled world of towering waterfalls, deep flower-filled valleys, large lakes, and colossal green peaks.

During your overnight stay in Moorea, participants can snorkel in the warm lagoon waters, explore the historic sites hidden under a canopy of lush forests, or relax on one of the pristine and secluded beaches.

This fragrant island, known for its abundance of vanilla, offers a glimpse of the traditional, tranquil life of the Tahitians. Your attendees may choose to enjoy a day of snorkeling, fishing, swimming, and coconut picking — then finish the afternoon enjoying a traditional Tahitian motu picnic.

Recognized throughout Tahiti as the “Sacred Island,” Raiatea is rich with fascinating history, legend, and lore, as well as Tahiti’s most significant archeological sites. The rare national flower tiare apetahi, a white blossom with five petals, is found nowhere else on earth. Your participants will be thrilled to find one of these sacred flowers during your overnight stay here.

The undiscovered island of Huahini is one of French Polynesia’s best-kept secrets. It’s known as the Garden of Eden — with lush forests, untamed landscape, and quaint villages. Largely unaffected by the outside world, the beach of Relais Mahana offers sugary sand and a deep lagoon, while Fare Village retains its authentic charm.

Bora Bora
Your 7-night voyage culminates with an overnight stay on “the Romantic Island” of Bora Bora, an island paradise in the South Pacific with breathtaking secluded beaches and candle-lit serenity.  However, there are plenty of activities for adventure-seekers here, such as a shark-feeding expedition on the lagoon. 

About Your Sailing Yacht

Recently renovated Wind Spirit is a sleek, four-masted sailing yacht accommodating 148 guests in a casually elegant style – perfectly suited for private charter! With four decks and over 10,000 square feet of open deck space, your participants will find plenty of hidden nooks, giving them a feeling of being on their own private veranda.

Wind Spirit Lounge

Wind Spirit Lounge

All staterooms feature ocean views, with queen beds, flat-screen TV with DVD player and Bose SoundDock speakers for Apple iPods.

Candles Restaurant Windstar sailing yachtWind Spirit offers your group two main venues for dining: The Restaurant with gourmet, course-by-course cuisine in the evenings, and the Veranda featuring a casual buffet and full-service dining for breakfast and lunch.

Prefer to dine under the stars? The Pool Bar transform by evening into Candles (pictured left), where on-deck dining by candlelight highlights every voyage.

In the evening, The Lounge Bar is the perfect place for relaxing and sharing stories with friends and colleagues. Other Wind Spirit amenities include WindSpa, a casino, water-sports platform, library, pool and hot tub.

Want to learn more?

Download your free Wind Spirit Planner Guide.

Read more about Windstar Cruises, and all their yachts and destinations, including Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean, and Costa Rica/Panama.



Is Your Meeting or Event Ship-Shape?

Wondering if you should meet at sea?

Take this simple 30-second quiz from to find if a  cruise ship is the right venue for your next meeting, incentive travel program or group event.

Click on the screenshot below to take the “Ship Shape” quiz (total of 10 easy questions):

Seasite Ship Shape Quiz









Have more questions about planning a group cruise event? Give us a call at 888-713-1371.


This new entertainment lineup will blow your mind [video]

Royal Caribbean announced the entertainment lineup on their newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, and we only have one word…Boom! Yes, it’s really that mind-blowing. When the ship makes her show-stopping debut in November 2014, Quantum of the Seas will feature an array of first of their kind productions and performances that will leave your group spellbound , including:

  • Broadway smash hit MAMMA MIA! in the Royal Theater, plus
  • MAMMA MIA! After Party, a red-carpet, Broadway-style after party with featured cast members of the show
  • Sonic Odyssey, a sophisticated stage show that take guests on a stunning visual and experiential journey of music, sound and performance
  • Two70′s multidimensional entertainment that fuses Roboscreen technology with live performers, stunning visuals and special effects

Your Quantum of the Seas program attendees will have a choice of entertainment experiences that transcend anything they’ve ever seen at sea…or on land. And you know what’s even more amazing? It’s all included!

We can tell you more about the Quantum entertainment program, but this video clip will let you experience it for yourself. Prepare to be blown away.

Learn more about Royal Carribean Cruises and Quantum of the Seas cruises.