What’s not to like about taking group travelers on a voyage with MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately owned cruise line?
The planning is certainly easy; with one call, everything from meals to guest rooms to activities, is arranged. There’s also value–when all costs are tallied, a cruise is clearly a better deal than comparable land-based tours. And, for travel planners, there’s the bonus of seeing their travelers, smiling and happy as they discover the charms of Cuba, or Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Still, if you’ve never taken a group shipboard you might be hesitant to give it a try because you feel you don’t understand how things differ from a land-based program.
Wayne Peyreau, regional vice president, sales (U.S.A.) for MSC Cruises, understands the concerns. Here, he covers questions planners often pose and explains how MSC works with groups.
Expect to answer a lot of questions
An MSC planning expert will spend a lot of time on the phone, talking to a travel planner. “We ask questions to understand and identify their needs and wants,” said Peyreau. “Then we can give them options.”
Let’s talk about some of those options
Maybe you’d like a special shipboard greeting for your group or, one evening, a reception on deck. If bonding is the goal, MSC planning experts can come up with fun games or teambuilding contests.
Want your group to stand out? Ask MSC.
Wearing matching T-shirts or hats could help your travelers better connect on board. MSC can help brand a gathering with logoed T-shirts, hats, napkins and banners.
MSC makes it easy to give a cruise a try
A tour planner who has never offered a cruise might be nervous about getting sufficient bookings to qualify for a group rate. That’s why MSC honors a group rate even if a planner markets a trip but doesn’t meet the minimum. “It gives our clients a comfort level,” said Peyreau. “They can promote with confidence.”
Need help marketing your trip? MSC will help.
Marketing is key to a good group booking. MSC has marketing materials that can be customized. It will also share videos, brochures and other materials to inform and excite your travelers.
Varied ships, itineraries fit different needs
Since it began offering departures from PortMiami, MSC has steadily added ships and voyages year round in the Caribbean. Again, this year, the elegant MSC Divina rejoins MSC Seaside, offering several three-day cruises to the Bahamas, which could be a good introductory tour for groups that have not cruised in the past. MSC is developing its own island in the Bahamas, and late this year, a stop there will become a part of many of its cruises. For groups that would rather spend time exploring ports than at sea, the MSC Armonia will sail seven-night Caribbean cruises with stops in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico, before arriving in Havana, Cuba, early on a Saturday afternoon, staying overnight, and leaving at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Meeting expert at your elbow
An MSC planning expert will introduce themselves to planners on board and check in to make sure things are running smoothly. If unexpected issues arise, planners can use a ship’s phone to reach their on-board contact. “You have someone on board your ship making sure you have everything you need,” said Peyreau.
For more information: