How to plan a cruise for a large group is a challenging task for the cruise group coordinator. Cruises have so many activities, and it can be difficult to coordinate. Here is a basic structure to build upon while coordinating a group on a cruise holiday.
Groundwork and Research
The importance of prior research cannot be overstated. You will need to thoroughly investigate and research information like cruise lines available, costs (basic and hidden), cruise liners, ships itinerary, on land excursion tours and expeditions at the available destinations. The groundwork you lay at this stage goes a long way towards ensuring a smooth holiday experience.
Since you will be heading a large group, it is advisable to book well in advance via a booking agent. Booking your trip in advance will allow you to have staterooms close to each other. Ask the agent to make the cruise bookings, payments and group confirmations on your behalf.
Communicate the Plan to the Group
It is vital to communicate the plan to the entire touring party. You will need to provide cruise ship brochures, itineraries and any other relevant information like the contact information for the travel agent and the Internet presence of the cruise line. Be sure to ask for and note any group members' special needs and communicate them back to the booking agent.
Organize Your Group and Payments
You must actively follow up on all members of the cruise group to discuss and address any concerns. Also, make a list of group members who are confirmed and those who have made money deposits for the trip. You will need to put contact information for everyone together and refer back to it whenever needed. Depending on where the cruise is going, you may want to carry a photocopy of each traveler's identification or at least the passport or license number for each passenger.
Additionally you would have to be in active contact with the booking agent to confirm payment for every member on the group. A delay in payments from one member will affect everyone one else on the group because special discounts on staterooms can be revoked.
Pre-planning and Discussions
You will organize a gathering for the group well in advance and use this time to orient the group and finalize any other relevant details about the cruise trip. Clarify in detail about what to bring and what not to bring, the date of the cruise and the time by which everyone should be ready to board. Also provide directions to the port, dock number and the vessel name.
As the group coordinator, you should arrive at the port a couple of hours early to organize the holidaying group and confirm arrival of all the members. Use this time to address any last minute concerns from the group. Once on board, make sure everyone gets situated properly with their luggage. If there is an on-board itinerary, make sure everyone knows when the first group activity or dining event takes place or where the group meeting place is located.
You can use the above specified guidelines and modify them to plan a perfect group trip.