Party of 1,000

PARTY OF 1,000

Create exclusive, lasting memories for your group on a charter cruise.

By Chris Owen
If being at sea for a special occasion is your idea of a great way to relax, unwind, or celebrate, why not bring along some friends? Better yet, why not bring along a whole bunch of friends, say 100 or 1,000 on a partial- or full-ship charter?

Cruise ship charters are becoming a hot cruise choice for family reunions, birthdays, and anniversary celebrations, as well as business meetings and special at-sea events. Much of their popularity comes from the ability that charters have to offer some distinct advantages over individual or group bookings.

You Own the Ship

The best part of a full-ship charter is that much of the onboard experience, from dining to entertainment, can be customized just for you. Even the ship’s itinerary can be set to go where you want to go, on your schedule. This is where occasional short sailings of big ships that are normally on a longer schedule come from: Someone chartered the ship for a few days and the cruise line made the other days into a shorter sailing.

“If it is nautically feasible, we can do it,” says Damian E. Fernandez, director of charters, meetings, and incentives for Carnival Cruise Lines. “Our charters have ranged from overnighting in certain ports of call to dockside charters where the ship is used as a hotel.”

Imagine a destination wedding with your floating hotel not far away, ready to whisk away the wedding party on a custom itinerary designed by the bride and groom. Also of interest might be a family reunion, a big thank-you to those who work for your company, or a fund-raiser for your group or organization.

“We have performed several dockside charters such as the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, and in Jacksonville for the Super Bowl,” says Fernandez.

Picking the right ship can be tricky, especially for smaller groups who should turn to smaller lines such as SeaDream Yacht Club and Seabourn Cruise Line for more intimate options.

For example, SeaDream I and SeaDream II can accommodate up to 112 guests, but it is not unusual for groups to have even less. SeaDream’s ships can be chartered for as few as three days up to many weeks, making the possibilities seemingly endless.

Likewise, Seabourn offers many options as well for small groups. “We’re able to customize an itinerary, from the length of the voyage to the ports on the itinerary,” says Tanya Barnette, director of charter and incentive sales for Seabourn. “But the most important reason why full charters are popular is the exclusivity factor. The only guests on board are the charter client and their guests. It’s as if they have the ship to themselves.”



This is an excerpt only. To read this article in its entirety, pick up the current issue of Porthole Cruise Magazine.