A cruise experience offers the opportunity to explore several destinations in one exhilarating voyage.

Every cruise line and each ship has its own unique features and benefits. Selecting the right ship and itinerary is critical to the success of your program.

Do you want to visit the bustling shopping ports and sun-splashed beaches of the Caribbean, take a sailing ship to the mystical greek islands, discover the underwater secrets of Tahiti or journey through four countries in seven days on the majestic Rhine River?

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CONTEMPORARY

Large and Mega ships which cater to those desiring a wide range of activities and onboard experiences. These include:  Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC and Disney. Ship accommodations range from 2,000 to 5,400 guests. These Contemporary brands offer the widest variety of food (some vessels have up to 24 dining options), fun and entertainment for groups and charters. Because of their size, these vessels call on the largest ports of call in the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe. Contemporary ships are perfect for first time incentives and experienced cruisers alike.

Carnival Cruise Lines
Costa Cruise
Disney Cruise Line
MSC Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean Cruises

PREMIUM

Large (but not Mega) ships offering a slightly more refined experience. This category includes the Cruise Lines of Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, and Oceania. With ships ranging in size from 1,250 to 3,000 guests, these ships deliver the best overall value in the industry. They mix the multiple onboard dining and entertainment options of the larger Contemporary products with the elegance of the luxury brands, crafting an affordable, fun and well-rounded cruise experience. These ships are perfect for group and charter programs. They offer a wide variety of venues for parties and events, as well as providing multiple entertainment and enrichment options.

Azamara Club Cruises
Celebrity Cruises
Holland America
Oceania
Princess Cruises

LUXURY

This category offers the most expensive and upscale of all cruise products. Ships are intimate. Itineraries are unique, and elegance is the status quo. Cruise Lines in this elite category include Sea Dream, Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, and Crystal. You can expect gourmet dining, personalized service, spacious and well-appointed accommodations, luxurious surroundings, exotic destinations in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Alaska and beyond. These ships provide the highest quality experience available on the water at a fraction of what you would spend for a similar program shore side.

Crystal Cruises
Regent Seven Seas
SeaDream Yacht Club
Seabourn
Silversea

BOUTIQUE

Ships in this category are unique due to their physical characteristics (river ships, sailing ships), their relatively small sizes and specialized itineraries. These Cruise Lines include:  Azamara, Ama Waterways, Avalon Waterways, Ponant, Sea Cloud, Oceania and Paul Gauguin. On these voyages you will discover mysterious and off-the-beaten-path destinations such as Tahiti, Japan, Iceland, the Black Sea, the Pacific Rim, the Amazon and the inland waterways of Europe. These ships are perfect for full ship charters where you are only limited by your imagination and sense of adventure.

 
 
european-river-cruise-for incentives.jpg

ALL RIVER CRUISES ARE BASICALLY THE SAME.

Now... before you throw tomatoes at the screen - let me explain . There are a handful of major players in this "space". Crystal, Uniworld, Viking, Avalon, AmaWaterways, Scenic , Emerald Waterways, Amadeus, to name a few. Their mission is to sail passengers up/down the river: Rhone , Seine, Rhine , Danube , Douro - with not much variance in the itineraries. They all include meals. The majority include tours - from basic to more elaborate. A handful include unlimited premium liquor, most of the others include local beer and wine with lunch and dinner. A special few provide an enchanting off-ship evening at a chateau or palace complete with an orchestral or operatic performance, and even champagne and waltzing! We can educate you on which cruise lines include what amenities - and as a rule of thumb, the more inclusions, the more expensive the product. 

you can charter your own river cruise ship

IT'S EXPENSIVE TO CHARTER MY OWN RIVER SHIP, ISN'T IT?

No, it's not. An incentive program on a river ship is generally far less expensive than its hotel counterpart - and far more inclusive. There is a river ship for almost every budget - and ships that range from 50-98 state rooms. Forget price for a moment and look at operational ease . Since everything is included - you can eliminate the need for a DMC. The cruise line handles it all for you: transfers, tours, meals, events. Simple!


RIVER CRUISES ARE FOR OLD PEOPLE.

Well, I am not old and I LOVE river cruising. YES, on a typical river cruise the passengers will be 65+, but they are educated, interesting and active. They are NOT onboard to sit around the pool with a mohair blanket (like you might see on a transatlantic or trans canal cruise). They are taking a European River cruise to get off the ship and discover these fascinating ports of call. True, many of the excursions are "gentle" bus or walking jaunts - but lately river cruise lines have added active and rugged tours, all-day outings, foodie adventures and evening discoveries. Additionally, these ships, although they do have one small elevator and a handful of ADA compliant cabins - are not a handicapped person's fantasy vacation. There is a lot of walking in the local ports of call and many times not in areas well-suited for an elderly passenger. Think cobblestone streets, stairs and uneven walkways. So please take AGE out of it. Do you recall when they said that Alaska was a destination for old people? Think again. And always keep in mind that when you charter - the passengers are all YOURS. You get to create the vibe onboard.

river cruises can be like a floating hotel

RIVER CRUISES ARE BORING.
THERE IS NOTHING TO DO.

Okay, I hear you. You have a point. Onboard, there isn't much to do. Most ships have a small fitness room, a massage cabin, a main bar/lounge, an area for coffee and cookies, some board games, one main dining room and possibly a second option for dinner (where you can go once per cruise), possibly a small pool and an expansive outside deck. Think about it, what does a small boutique hotel of 50-100 rooms have that is any more than what I described above? People don't say THOSE are boring because one can go into town to find activity.  They go outside into ONE town - because their boutique hotel doesn't move to different destinations each day like a river ship does. The hotel doesn't include meals (okay maybe a breakfast buffet) - so you are on your own to find food. The hotel doesn't include tours - so you have to contract for those as well. And at night - your invitees are out and unaccounted for. Now ......your "boutique" cruise ship takes you to several different and interesting ports of call - some quaint and charming - and some quite famous and celebrated. Before I forget -  most river cruise lines bring in outside evening entertainment, so that each night you are being enchanted by talented local artists: opera singers, pianists, dancers, musical theater performers, musicians, etc.  Does that happen in your boutique hotel?  The ships also travel with extraordinarily well-informed cruise directors who are well-versed in the history and culture of the various ports of call.   This is VERY different than the concierge at a hotel who can give you a map, recommend a few restaurants and maybe share some local area insight.

RIVER CRUISES ARE ONLY SEVEN NIGHTS. MY PROGRAM IS FIVE.

Guess what? There is a solution for that. If you charter a ship pre or post season (March/November) -  you can have as few nights as you wish.  And -  several cruise lines have a handful of four and five night itineraries during the season for charter. I know that Avalon and Crystal have some in 2020 and beyond that are well worth exploring.

european river cruise for incentives

RIVER SHIPS ARE TOO SMALL FOR MY EVENT.

Really? Did you know that you can charter two ships to sail in tandem? That means we contract two identical ships, sail them on the exact same itinerary and run your excursions and day/evening events together as if you are one large group. Recently I had the pleasure of chartering two Scenic ships for a group of over 300 guests. All passengers had access to both ships and all food and beverage throughout. One evening, the cruise line created an Oktoberfest event at a beer hall that included traditional food, beverage and entertainment. It was incredible . The cruise directors dressed up in traditional Bavarian garb and created a fun, interactive and LOUD event!   It was so much fun that this client is considering a repeat program.

HOW DO I HANDLE A GROUP VERSUS A CHARTER ON A RIVER CRUISE?

This is the one time where I will need to get a bit "tough" with you. Although you CAN put your small group on a river ship without chartering - I don't encourage it UNLESS you do NOT require any private onboard events. You can most certainly run custom and private shore excursions off the ship - but onboard there aren't enough areas to create exclusive meetings, cocktail parties, meals, etc. The big exception is if you are willing to hold those gatherings  while everyone else is ashore - but you will want to be ashore too!

river cruises are one stop shopping for incentive programs

OUR GROUP HATES CRUISES. WE DON'T CRUISE. WE GET SEASICK. WE NEED TO FLY PEOPLE IN LATE/DISEMBARK EARLY.  

Go ahead.  Throw every excuse at me.  I have heard them all.    There is little to no motion on a river cruise -  therefore no seasickness .  There are no "sea days" or cabotage laws. You can fly people in/out whenever you want.  This is NOT a traditional cruise.  Actually, why look at it as a cruise at all? This is a boutique hotel that happens to float and relocate each day. But if you can't imagine that -  how about this one:  You can use the ship as a hotel and only do a few ports with overnights in each - particularly on the Danube if really all you want is Vienna and Budapest. A European River cruise is more like a European hotel program than it is like a traditional ocean-going cruise. And we haven't even talked about the Mekong River (Vietnam/Cambodia) cruises - which are even more unique - but we will save that for another education session.

Please know that although one European river cruise is similar to the next - there are some very important differences to consider when selecting the vessel that is right for you. There is NO charge for our team of experts to help you choose/operate - and ensure that your incentive on the river is the best one yet!

READY TO FIND THE PERFECT RIVER SHIP FOR YOUR PROGRAM?

Our team of experts are here to assist you, FREE OF CHARGE.
Let's do it! Your next best incentive is waiting.

Shari Wallack, Buy the Sea – shari@buysea.net954.424.8649

 

Updates: All Inclusive Resorts

Contact us and we will navigate the waters to your most successful event.
shari@buysea.net 954.424.8649