8 Trends to Watch in Meetings at Sea for 2018

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The meeting and incentive planners will have plenty of options

Photo by: Sectur Tabasco

Looking to book an event at sea in 2018? With 81 new ocean ships and dozens of river vessels on order through 2026, meeting and incentive planners will have plenty of options. Landry & Kling has pulled together 8 key trends to watch:

1. Bringing the Outside In: With their newest ships, cruise lines are aiming to create seamless guest connections with the sea. Look for design elements like outward-facing furnishings, more indoor-outdoor spaces, infinity veranda accommodations, open-air lounges, and greenery throughout interior spaces.

2. Floating Hotels and Private Suite Enclaves: Increasingly, ships are taking their cues from nigh-end hotels, with luxury bedding and culinary experiences that aim to rival anything found on land. Luxury hotel operator Ritz-Carlton is even launching its own collection of three mega-yachts in 2019, while many lines offer private “ship within a ship” enclaves.

3. Motivating Millennials and Multigen Groups: New options for onboard entertainment and shore excursions are aiming to provide something for groups comprising every generation. U by Uniworld launches next year targeted specifically at 21 – 45 year olds, while on-ship facilities like aqua parks and sports complexes or shoreside adventures aim to offer even more appeal.

4. Technology That Rivals Land-Based: Lines are investing heavily in Wi-Fi and new satellite technology for speedier Internet access, while new mobile apps and wearable devices let guests track luggage, expedite embarkation and debarkation, chat with other guests and more.

Photo by: International Meetings Review

5. Wellness Programming at Sea and Ashore: As planners and attendees strive to incorporate healthy lifestyles during meetings, cruise lines are offering meus for every diet and a number of new healthy lifestyle programs.

6. Authentic, Immersive Destination Experiences: With stronger demand for authentic destination experiences, cruise lines are planning itineraries with longer days or overnights in port of in-depth exploration.

7. Luxury Yacht Expedition Cruising: Luxury yachts are transforming expedition travel with all-suite accommodations, butler service and exotic destination experiences. New yachts to watch are the Celebrity Flora in the Galapagos; Ponant Explorers; and Crystal Endeavor.

8. Unique Meeting Venues Increase Engagement: New ships accommodate business functions with flexible meeting space and complimentary use of AV.

Photo by: Instituto Hondureño de Turismo

Source: Landry & Kling/International Meetings Review

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