Cruise Dreams knows that anyone who has ever been brave enough to volunteer to plan a reunion understands that it takes planning and organization to make it fun for the attendees while keeping the planning team sane. Take a family reunion, alumni gathering or special interest group aboard a cruise ship or to an all inclusive resort and the logistics get a bit more complicated. But the satisfaction rate with group cruises or tours is so much higher than just a picnic or dinner dance reunion near home.
Here’s the best way to plan reunion travel.
Step 1. Organizers who are ready to plan something more exotic and novel for a group, must plan early. It gives everyone time to budget for the trip, request time off work, and generally plan to attend.
Step 2. Being flexible can produce wonderful results for alumni groups or family gatherings. Kim Gibbons, founder and president of Cruise Dreams, an agency known for group travel, suggests, “Organizers who are open to unique destinations and have some flexibility on dates will discover some exciting options that are also great, affordable values.”
Step 3. Poll family members or classmates to see if an all-inclusive resort or a cruise that includes meals and most entertainment is preferred. The composition of the group is also an important consideration. Will children be included? How young? This may impact the flexibility of travel dates as well as the type of resorts compared and the cruise ships you considered. Whether it’s a family reunion cruise or an alumni tour to an exotic destination, a consultant needs to know the type of passengers who will travel to make the best match. There is a wide variety of options in cruise lines, ships and destinations. The more information a cruise or travel specialist has up front, the better the fit between the cruise or all inclusive property and group. Experts who are in the know about latest new features shipboard or at resorts, hot new destinations and newly announced savings can put all the pieces together – easily and efficiently.
Step 4. Get help! Some clients worry the services of a professional will make group travel more expensive but the exact opposite is true. Knowledge about the properties, ships, companies and destinations adds a negotiating edge that provides additional value in price and added extras that organizers rarely get booking on their own. And there’s no charge for this service.
There are fewer budget surprises when an all-inclusive cruise or resort is selected. Many of the major cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity specialize in bringing big groups of relatives together with activities planned for every age. Kids in particular are well-taken care of with separation by age with activities they’ll enjoy. More “grown-up” groups can choose cruise ships that cater more to adults or pick itineraries or resorts that are adult only. These are great, not only for corporate incentive groups, but also for university, alumni or special interest groups.
Step 5. Planning is vital and frequent COMMUNICATION with the group is a must! Organizers should make sure they have everyone’s email. Some companies, like Cruise Dreams, have some innovative ways to make keeping in touch with potential travelers in the group easy on organizers! They even help with collecting the deposits, answering questions, pre-planning excursions, etc. Cruise Dreams takes it one step further and includes online planning tools with reunion travel – like a complimentary private group website for the group!
Step 6.Organizers must set deadlines for payments and stick to them. Otherwise, they’ll always be juggling and worrying.
Step 7. See what kinds of “perks” are available for a reunion group. Group pros like Cruise Dreams usually find a way to include upgrades, shipboard cocktail parties or shipboard credit, customized shore excursions or tours, or even fun unique events that will make a group trip particularly unforgettable. All at no additional cost.
Step 8.. Pick an itinerary that leaves some down time as well as group time. Too many ports or too many tempting activities can defeat the purpose of a reunion! Reunions should include “together” time and some reminiscing!
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As a top producer in the field, Cruise Dreams is a specialized travel agency focusing on group travel and group cruises as well as corporate incentive travel by land or at sea. Whether it’s a cruise, full ship charter or a stay at 5-star all-inclusive luxury properties world-wide, Cruise Dreams provides expert advice and savings. For more information, visit http://www.cruisedreamgroupescapes.com or call 1-877-999-4533.Tags: family cruise, family reunion cruise, family reunions, group travel, reunion cruise, reunion travel