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.

UniqueVenues.com 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 Seasite.com 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.

New! Short Cruise Gems in the Med Now Available

Need a Meeting or Group Event Venue for Late 2014?

MSC Splendida Mediterranean cruiseIf you have a last minute, short program need for late 2014, we have great news! MSC Cruises just announced two new Mediterranean cruise “gems” sailing in November that don’t conflict with Thanksgiving (11/27/14).

MSC Splendida short sailings are:

Nov 16 – 20, 20144 nights – Roundtrip Genoa, Italy
Genoa – Barcelona, Spain – Palma de Mallorca, Spain – Marseille, France – Genoa

Nov 20 – 23, 2014 - 3 nights – Roundtrip Genoa, Italy
Genoa – Barcelona, Spain – Marseille, France – Genoa

MSC Splendida

MSC Yacht Club Butler

MSC Splendida is one of  MSC Cruises’ new-generation “Fantasia Class” ships, featuring the private enclave, MSC Yacht Club. This exclusive “ship within a ship” boasts 71 butler-serviced suites with private concierge, reception area, restaurant, lounge, pool/pool lounge and inclusive beverages. 

Other features of MSC Splendida include Italian-inspired decor, a 16,000 sq-foot spa/fitness center, covered pool with retractable magrodome, four unique restaurants, plus plenty of balcony staterooms and a variety of entertainment options.

Venues for meetings and group events include a conference/board room, a 1,600 seat show lounge, plus several other bars and lounges that can be used for meetings and group events. For more details on meeting space, group dining, and outdoor function areas, download the MSC Splendida Planner’s Guide.

Next Steps

These short gem cruises sell out quickly, so act now to get the inventory you need for your group or charter. Request a group quote, send an email to CruiseAdvisors@seasite.com or give us a call at 888-713-1371 / International: 1-305-432-3002.

Planning a Cruise Event? Why Booking Direct is Not Your Best Choice

celebrity-reflection_aerialSo you’re considering a cruise ship venue for your meeting or group event – great! Now the next decision is how you’re going to book that cruise. I’m still amazed that planners are willing to take their valuable time to call around to multiple cruise lines and try to figure it all out themselves.

They think that “buying direct” is the holy grail, when there are experienced cruise event companies like Landry & Kling who can do it all for them – at no additional cost. Duh. And, if you require additional services beyond ship procurement, we offer convenient one-stop shopping for all your cruise program needs. So read on if you need some reasons to present to your procurement department (or to convince yourself).

1. How do you know what’s out there?

Are you a cruise expert? If not, you wouldn’t be expected to know all the cruise lines and ships that would be a good choice for your program. It’s like buying a house. You put your trust in someone or some company to introduce you to the right opportunities.

Every day we learn about a new ship or even a new cruise line entering the market – with interesting new ships and technologies. There’s a world of great ships and cruising destinations – with a huge swing in price points. We can open that world for you. [Photo above: Celebrity Reflection, courtesy of Celebrity Cruises] 

2. Do you trust an independent source or someone with a vested interest in the outcome?

If you’ve ever bought a car, you know that the salesperson has only one thing in mind – to get you into THEIR car. Sure. they’ll compare their offering to other brands, but you can bet it will always be favorable to them.

At Landry & Kling, our only vested interest is that you have an amazing program. That means we give you the real deal scoop about the differences in ships – and most important to you, the difference in services and what you can expect once you are onboard. We’re on ships all the time, so we know what’s happening with each brand and who does what best. It’s invaluable insight that can make a difference in the success of your program.

3. Do you know what’s negotiable and what’s not?

If you’ve worked with hotels and feel comfortable with those terms and negotiations, that doesn’t mean it translates to cruise ships. This is a new world that includes things like cap points, port taxes & fees, pre-paid gratuities. If you’re thinking of chartering, you can expect terms like irrevocable LOC and lost on-board revenue.

Part of our free service is to help you negotiate terms and get the best deal for you in all areas of the negotiation – not just the price. Our goal is to save YOU money. The cruise line’s goal is to make more money. Who are you going to trust to look after your best interests?

4. You want control.

Terrific– we’re on the same page, because we want you to have control. It’s your program, after all. We’re here to help you think through how your program can and will work on a ship; we don’t drop off the face of the earth after the negotiations are done. You’re in the pilot’s seat – but we’re your parachute.

For example, would you know where to go when you get a “no”? If you can’t get the meeting rooms you need or the flexibility in scheduling that you desire, we can offer “elegant solutions” and help push your requests up the decision-making line.

In the unfortunate situation when a serious issue arises, like a missed port or delay that affects your program, you can rely on us for resources (like local DMC’s, ground transport, etc.) to get you through. We’re your “insurance” for a successful cruise program.

5. You want to be known by the cruise line.

You want to be known as the buyer – as the person making the purchasing choice. And you are – but only with the one cruise line that you’re working with, if you buy direct. If you plan repeat cruise programs (and we know you will!), you will either be committed to working with the one line you’ve created relationships with, or venture out to a new line and start those relationships all over again.

At Landry & Kling, we bring those relationships to you. After 30 years it’s one of the things we’re most proud of – the relationships we’ve developed with all of our cruise line partners, at all levels. We grew up in the industry with many of the folks who are running the cruise line’s today and our relationships open doors – and great opportunities – for you.

6. You want to prove your worth to your company – doesn’t using a third-party sourcing company take away from that?

Baloney! Lots of companies are using third-party sourcing companies to increase their buying power with hotels. You’ll be considered the smart one in the bunch by using available resources instead of wasting your own valuable time.

Throughout the year, we offer training opportunities like webinars, seminars at sea, ship shopping events, and in-port luncheons to familiarize our clients with new ships and destinations. And our long-time clients know that they get called first when we have unique opportunities like inaugural cruises.

Become a Cruise Industry Insider

Working with Landry & Kling gets you the inside view of the cruise industry, making you a better buyer, better negotiator and “in the know” when is comes to executing a successful cruise event

Call us today for a free group cruise consultation:  (888) 930.9165 or +1(305) 842.3410

[Editor's Note: Joyce Landry is the Co-founder and CEO of Landry & Kling.]

25 Persuasive Reasons to Ditch the Hotel and Meet at Sea

When it comes to choosing meeting and event venues, it’s time for the C-Suite to make a Sea-Change.

Ship on the horizonYou’re busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and now you have to plan another meeting or event for your organization. Did you know that choosing a cruise ship venue can save you up to 40% when compared to a comparable hotel property…and it will simplify your planning?

“Sounds great!”, you’re thinking, “but how do I get consensus from the executive decision makers?” If they’re used to meeting at traditional land-based properties, you’ll have to give them a good reason to consider a sea-change.

Here are 25 benefits of choosing a cruise

1. Cost Savings: The average per person cost for a cruise event is $150 per day, based on double occupancy, while a resort meeting can cost up to $500 per person, per day. And cruise programs are more inclusive!

2. Better Budget Control: Meals, meeting space, use of AV, recreational activities and evening entertainment are all included.

3. Less expense for attendees: They’ll appreciate not having to pay out-of-pocket for meals, snacks, room service, valet parking, taxis and show tickets.

4. Ease of planning: You can cross this off your task list – menus to pore over and negotiate, decor to arrange, off-site activities to plan, entertainment to book – it’s included.

5. More bang for your buck: Theaters and lounges feature state-of-the-art sound, light and projection systems and built-in décor, saving you considerable time and money and giving your presentations a greater “wow” factor.

6. A ship is a self-contained environment, fostering relationship-building and encouraging greater meeting attendance and participation. There are less outside distractions on a ship, so your attendees can focus more on the program agenda.

7. Cruises offer multi-generational appeal: Your cruise program will motivate and reward everyone, and simplify your planning for family programs –kids and teens have their own shipboard programs.

8. Superior Service: Ship staff-to-guest ratio is generally three times that of most resorts, so everyone in your group will receive attentive and personalized service.

9. Included activities and entertainment create a built-in spouse program and a variety of options for your group when they’re not in meetings. Kids and teens have their own activities and lounges on ships, making family program planning a breeze.

10. Don’t skip meals or have attendees pay on their own. Meals, snacks – even room service – are included on a ship.

11. An abundance of dining options and ever-changing menus make meals memorable. From elegant dining rooms to intimate specialty restaurants and casual poolside grills, ship dining will please even the most discerning tastes. Unlike hotel banquet meals, guests order “off the menu” in the dining room and enjoy unlimited servings.

12. Special dietary needs? No problem! Cruise ships can accommodate most special dietary needs at no additional cost

13. Welcome Reception included: Most cruise lines offer groups a complimentary one-hour cocktail reception with hot and cold canapes and open bar in a comfortable lounge. Stunning views and decor included, and live entertainment can also be negotiated.

14. International programs purchased in U.S. dollars: Cruises allow you to offer international programs without the financial risk of currency fluctuations.

15. Adventure and convenience included: Your group can visit multiple destinations with comfort and ease on a cruise ship – no extra packing and unpacking. Each day in a new port brings the anticipation of exploration, discovery and adventure.

16. A unique experience on a ship builds company/brand identity loyalty and lasting relationships to deliver a solid return on investment.

17. A secure ship environment, particularly on a full-ship charter, protects company privacy and reduces risk.

18. Humongous Savings on A/V: Ships offer complimentary use of audio/visual equipment including: AMX touch panels, monitors, DVD Players, microphones, LCD projectors, video walls, teleconferencing, plasma TV’s.

19. Wellness Activities: Complimentary use of Health and Fitness Centers with state-of-the-art cardiovascular and workout equipment, some are open 24 hours (nearly all with stunning sea views)

20. Sports for fitness, fun and teambuilding events: Ships feature AquaParks, rock-climbing walls, sports decks with basketball/volleyball/soccer courts, mini-golf, even ice skating, zip lines and ropes courses on some ships! All complimentary, by the way.

21. Blockbuster entertainment options – without spending a dime. No need to leave the ship for spectacular, complimentary entertainment including Broadway shows, cirque-style aerial performers, live music, dance clubs, Las Vegas acts.

22. Close to home: Ships sail from more than two dozen departure ports in North America, so chances are good there’s a port within driving distance, saving you flight expenses and stress.

23. More short itineraries: Cruise Lines are listening to planners and adding more 3, 4 and 5-night sailings, so you can schedule your meetings and still give attendees time to connect with each other and explore new ports of call.

24. Creative meeting spaces lead to creative thinking, new ideas. Sterile hotel meeting room or brainstorming sessions in comfortable lounges with ocean views – which space do you think is more inspiring?

25. No worries about sneaky “hidden fees”. Hidden hotel fees like resort charges (up to $60 per day), mini-bar restocking fees, and astronomical valet parking rates have many planners feeling hotel sticker shock. Your cruise pricing is transparent: Room rate, gratuities, and port fees are clearly outlined in your group quote.

Need more reasons to book a ship?

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!

15 Reasons to Charter with Silversea in 2015

There’s still time to charter your exclusive 2015 voyage with Silversea!

Silver Wind Butlers

Need to get consensus from the C-Suite? Here are 15 compelling reasons to charter a Silversea ship for your next meeting, incentive travel program or special event:

1. Intimate luxury ships sailing to the world’s most intriguing and less traveled ports.

2. All ocean-view suite accommodations, most with private and furnished verandas.

3. A personal butler to indulge every guest with efficiency and expertise.

4. Complimentary world-class dining, including the only Relais & Châteaux restaurants at sea.

5. All on board gratuities included, none expected.

6. Complimentary beverages including fine wines, champagnes, spirits, bottled water, specialty coffees and soft drinks.

7. Complimentary use of show lounge, conference room and other venues for meetings and presentations.

8. Complimentary use of basic audio and visual equipment.

9. Complimentary 24-hour room service.

10. Complimentary fitness center including exercise equipment and instructor-led classes in aerobics, yoga and Pilates.

11. Complimentary in-suite movie channels and film library.

12. Complimentary nightly entertainment.

13. Complimentary 24-hour security (strict guest-only access to vessel and onboard security personnel).

14. Complimentary twice daily suite service with turndown every evening.

15. Fifteen special full ship opportunities to experience Silversea in extraordinary style and value*

SilverseaTheaterBONUS: Remember, when you charter a Silversea ship exclusively for your event, you’ll have unsurpassed security and privacy, plus freedom to customize the ship and entire cruise experience – even the itinerary can be adjusted to suit your program needs!

Sample 2015 Voyages Open for Charter

In the Caribbean

Silver Cloud (147 Suites)
Mar 13, 2015 – 7-nts – Roundtrip San Juan

Alaska Glacier Route

Silver Shadow (194 Suites)
May 28, 2015 – 7-nts – Vancouver to Seward (Anchorage)

Scandinavia – the Baltic

Silver Whisper (194 Suites)
May 26, 2015 – 7- nts – Roundtrip Copenhagen

Eastern Mediterreanean

Silver Spirit (270 Suites)
Jun 19, 2015 – 7 nts – Athens to Piraeus (Athens)

Western Mediterranean

Silver Wind (147 Suites)
Jul 29, 2015 – 7-nts – Rome to Monte Carlo

Learn more about all-inclusive Silversea Cruises.

For pricing and information about all 15 Silversea charter opportunities, please call the cruise event experts at Landry & Kling: 800-448-9002.

The “World’s Best” Cruise Ship Just Turned One!

Happy Birthday, EUROPA 2!

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises MS EUROPA 2, Crew

When Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ EUROPA 2 took to the high seas in May 2013, the 500-passenger ship set new luxury standards on the worldwide oceans.

During her first 365 days, EUROPA 2:

  • Traveled a total of 70,000 nautical miles
  • Popped open approx. 30,000 bottles of champagne
  • Received a 97% recommendation rate
  • Was awarded 5-stars-plus by Berlitz Cruise Guide 2014, making it the highest rated ship in the world!

Europa 2 AtriumThese are just a few highlights of EUROPA 2′s first year – isn’t it time to celebrate with your top performers or VIP group on an award-winning ship?

With 258 suites – all with private balcony, EUROPA 2 is large enough to provide plenty of extraordinary dining and entertainment options for your group, yet small enough to privately charter for ultimate exclusivity and customization.

The 5-star-plus EUROPA 2 is now sailing to some of the most enticing destinations in the world. Learn more about Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Europa 2.