We’re all familiar with the famous old adage ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ Personal experience has taught most of us to beware offers that appear too good to be true. That being the well-documented case, is it possible there really could be such a thing as a free cruise?
The answer, surprisingly, is a slightly qualified yes — and it actually could be easier to score this attractive travel bargain than you might think. With no timeshare presentation. No scams. No $500 ‘administrative fees.’ No kidding!
The secret to your potential free cruise actually lies in group travel. Most of the popular cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean offer free berths known as ‘tour conductor credits’ for groups of 16 or more people traveling together. Fill 15 berths, and the 16th person sails free. Luxury lines and off-season travel frequently provide TC credits for groups of as few as 10 or 12 travelers. Note that these numbers are based on double occupancy — while triple and quad occupancy staterooms may be included in the group, only first and second passengers actually count toward fulfilling requirements for tour conductor credits.
The advantages of group travel don’t end with the potential for a free berth. Group rates commonly offer savings off published fares. Group members may also benefit from an array of special amenities. Perks such as special onboard credit, wine and canapes in their staterooms, and free photos are frequently provided to group members. Larger groups often qualify for special meet & greet cocktail parties and other special functions during their trip.
Groups can (and do!) come from just about anywhere. Most people reading this article are part of an affinity group of one sort or another. Each of these could potentially comprise a group. One of the most common groups consists simply of family members or friends who decide to travel together. Church groups, ballroom dancers, business clubs and associations, doll collectors, or Harley-Davidson owners — virtually any type of organizational affinity could form the basis for a cruise group.
With adequate lead time (7-12 months), cruise lines also welcome larger groups and are able to provide a wide array of special services to facilitate full-fledged events at sea. These large groups may consist of 100 to 400 or more staterooms. These groups may have complex needs including seminar & meeting space, special speakers, audio-visual equipment, and even private excursions. Cruise lines are equipped to handle all such requirements and pull off large, complex events quite seamlessly. If your event can be held on land, chances are it can be planned aboard one of today’s exciting new cruise ships.
A group function at sea provides a high fun factor for attendees. No stuffy, boring same-old/same-old here! The family-friendly atmosphere makes a cruise the perfect venue to combine business & pleasure. With most meetings & business functions generally held during the cruise ‘sea days,’ group members are free to enjoy exotic destinations, spending port time exploring with friends & family.
Seamless first-class events — high fun factor — and a possible free cruise. What could be more enticing? Why not start putting together your list of potential group members and give your travel agent a call today? Cruise for free … yes, it’s entirely possible that you really can.
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