August 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Incentive News

Two cruise operators, Los Angeles-based Crystal Cruises and Miami-based ResidenSea, have launched incentive sales divisions in an effort to attract groups.

For Crystal Cruises, the move marks the line’s first aggressive push for group business. “We now have enough ships, and for the first time we’re offering short itineraries,” said Mike von Wittenau, director of groups, charters and incentive sales. The cruise line’s fleet comprises the Crystal Symphony, the Crystal Harmony (each accommodating 940 passengers) and the new 1,080-berth Crystal Serenity.

For 2004, Crystal is offering special weeklong itineraries to the Caribbean, Florida/Cozumel/Nassau, the Mediterranean and New England/Canada, in addition to its traditional 10-days-or-more sailings.

Group sizes can range from 10 passengers to full-ship charters, added von Wittenau.

ResidenSea’s single vessel, The World, is part floating luxury condo and part cruise ship: About 75 percent of its 198 upscale “apartment units” are privately owned by individuals. Some of those units, which range from studios to three-bedrooms, as well as the unsold apartments, are now being offered to small groups and high-end corporate meetings of up to 50 participants.

Group programs can be any length, since incentives are priced by the day rather than per cruise, said a ResidenSea spokesperson. The World is scheduled to sail in many different areas in 2004. Itineraries include Africa, Antarctica, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

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