When NOT to Charter

There are many advantages to chartering a “ship of your own”, but how do you know if a cruise ship charter is right for your program? It might make more sense to book a group allotment of rooms instead of chartering a ship if:

  1. The sponsoring entity is not in a position to sign an irrevocable letter of credit guaranteeing full payment to the cruise line;
  2. There’s too much uncertainty as to how many people will qualify to participate in the cruise program (You don’t want to pay for rooms that you don’t need, but you don’t want to have more guests than rooms).
  3. Ships that are suitable in size for you to charter are not suitable in other ways (i.e., largest function room doesn’t accommodate your group, destination choice isn’t appropriate for your needs, quality or price not suitable).
  4. Lead time is very short (If the cruise lines have already published their itineraries, cost may be prohibitive to “buy off” passengers who are already booked and move them to another ship).

Best Alternatives:

If you want exclusivity for your large group but have determined that a full-ship charter is not your best option, you’ll be better off booking your group on a very large ship with other passengers, because the function rooms will offer a better fit. For example, if your group of 900 needs to attend general sessions all together, you won’t find a 900-passenger ship with a function room large enough to hold 900.

So you have two options: Either book a larger ship with a theater that seats 900+, or charter a ship for 900 and split your attendees into two function rooms. With the latter option, you can use closed circuit TV to enable all attendees to participate simultaneously in both meeting venues.

Please use Cruise Finder's Search by Ship Feature to identify the ships that have the right number of desired accommodations and appropriate meeting space for your group. You can then narrow your search by checking the dining venues and group dining policies for each qualified ship.