Cruising is one of the world’s most popular vacation options, and it taking a cruise can make for a memorable group trip for your friends. The logistics of organizing a group cruise can be tricky, though, so it’s important to make use of professional help.
Why Cruise Together?
Cruising has become one of the most popular modes of group travel for several important reasons. First, since a ship takes its passengers to different ports of call, guests can unpack once, relax, and still see a variety of countries, major cities, picturesque towns and resort communities, rather than having to pack and unpack repeatedly on a motorcoach or rail tour.
Second, a very attractive cruise package price generally includes not only all transportation and accommodations, but also all meals, entertainment and use of a ship’s extensive recreational facilities. And cruises are available worldwide to an incredible variety of destination areas — virtually everywhere interesting that is accessible by sea or major inland waterway.
Finally, ships today offer an amazing variety of opportunities for relaxation, recreation, sightseeing or individual fun, both onboard and at the places they visit. So fans of history, golf, scuba diving, casino gaming, movies, Broadway shows, surfing, ice skating, shopping, fine dining, fishing, dancing, biking, art and culture, climbing, and many more hobbies can all find fun aboard one vessel.
Furthermore, activities geared to specific age groups, including extensive programs for children and teenagers, mean that everyone in one group can be guaranteed to have a good time, regardless of whether they are 3, 93, or any age in between.
How Cruise Lines Help You
Cruise lines love having groups on board, and they do a lot of things to make their products attractive to you and their travelers. Foremost among these can be significant group discounts on cabins, plus complimentary cabins for you, the group leader, based on the number of paid cabins. As an additional incentive, many cruise lines also offer free shipboard credits that group members can spend on spa treatments, specialty restaurants, shopping and other experiences.
Cruise lines can also help you sell the trip by providing complimentary videos, brochures, fliers and other promotional materials. if you use travel preview parties or other events to promote trips, cruise lines can often supply decorations, posters, prizes and swag to hand out to your attendees.
Many lines also offer “familiarization” cruises and “seminar at sea” programs to group leaders or coordinators that exhibit significant sales potential, frequently in conjunction with an individual professional cruise marketing agency.
Tips for Great Group Cruises
Unless you want to become a professional cruise travel agent, the best way to plan cruises for your group of friends is to work with an experienced professional tour operator or travel agency that specializes in arranging and selling group cruises. In all honesty, the sales staffs at most cruise lines aren’t very well set up to handle the complexity of booking a large group, so tour operators and travel agents that specialize in group cruises know how to navigate the process in a way that you probably can’t do by yourself.
An added benefit is that these high-volume cruise marketers already have the contacts and specialized knowledge to get priority access to the most attractive group fares and special promotions that an that you probably wouldn’t find on your own. Finally, a professional partner will be able to help you earn the best amenity bonuses for members of the group, such as complimentary cocktail parties, shipboard credits, in-room gifts, shore excursions and more.