Cruises are ideal for Mice programmes

Depending on the structure of your company, individual travel is often the best option for incentive travel as recipients get to choose when and where they go within the boundaries of the incentive programme. Most people prefer to get away from work, to enjoy the rewards you receive at work.

If part of your incentive programme is an awards presentation or advanced skill training, a full group travel incentive may be your best option. You can create the perfect combination of work and play. Most larger ships have conference rooms comparable to large hotels. Some even have onboard television studios.

Some cruise lines such as Carnival offer certificate programmes where your company buys a certain level certificate as the vacation award. The certificates have some value, which recipients can upgrade for additional amenities or better cabins.

As a qualified incentive buyer for your company, some of the cruise lines have preview programmes. This usually allows you to go for a weeklong cruise at a nominal rate to experience everything your group will experience. During the trip, there will be seminars and meetings with cruise line representatives to discuss your company's individual needs and make the final plans for your trip.

With nearly all the components included in the price (accommodations, meals, entertainment, first-class facilities and amenities), cruises are cost effective with a high-perceived value, compared to either land-based venues or basic individual and group cruises.

A cruise ship gives you a self-contained environment and a captive audience, which provides more networking opportunities than a land-based venue. You can go from a meeting in the ship's state-of-the-art meeting facilities to dinner with clients or employees. Such onboard dining and entertainment means free time is more often used for business networking. Compare this to a land-based venue where customers or employees are more likely to dine and entertain on their own.

With itineraries calling at nearly all destinations around the world, cruise lines safely and comfortably take passengers to sunny islands, historic cities, remote frontiers and awe-inspiring vistas. Many ports are within driving distance, helping you save more on your corporate or leisure event. Cruises also allow you to visit multiple destinations without ever having to repack your suitcase.

Here are top ten reasons to plan a cruise event:

1.   Higher value than resort or hotel venues

2.   Inclusive price

3.   Business and leisure services in the same environment

4.   Flexible destinations, ports, and schedules

5.   Convenient visit to multiple destin-ations

6.   First class accommodations

7.   Most people haven’t cruised, but would like to

8.   Onboard entertainment for all ages

9.   Can be more cost efficient than land-based venues

10. More business networking opport-unities than land-based venues


* The writer is Joseph Lancy D’souza, manager, Mice & Leisure Travel, Uranus Travel