Alaska proving popular for MICE cruises

Development Promotions, which represents a range of cruise companies in South Africa, has noted demand for a wider spread of cruising destinations, including itineraries in Alaska and the Baltic capitals. There’s also been an increase in requests from MICE clients for exploration trips on Hurtigruten, Jane says.

Europe, the Mediterranean and Alaska are currently the most popular MICE cruising destinations, says Lizaan.

Alaska, the Caribbean, USA, Norway and the Mediterranean are Travkor’s most popular MICE cruising itineraries, says Anthea.

Samuel Herman, brand leader of MICE for FCM Travel Solutions, says he has also seen an upswing in cruise bookings. “MSC local cruises are very popular with the budget-conscious market. We have also seen a lot of interest in Asian itineraries. The Mediterranean remains ever popular,” he says.

Ross Volk, md of MSC Cruises, says local cruises, with shorter stays, were popular with corporate clients as it means less time out of the office. MSC’s two-night ‘Cruise to Nowhere’ and its three-night cruise to Portuguese Island are its top sellers for the South African MICE market.

“Delegates also appreciate the convenience of having all restaurants, entertainment and facilities in one venue, with no transportation hassles for moving the group,” he says.

Sweet deal

Cruises International is sweetening its MICE offering with a 5% group account credit on Royal Caribbean International bookings (calculated on the total base fare) for all groups of eight or more staterooms booked with a deposit before the end of March. This credit can be claimed as extra commission for the agent or toward a reduction on the final payment for the group or toward on-board credit per person, team-building events, high-speed Internet, shore excursions, cocktail receptions, beverage packages or speciality dining.

Celebrity Edge’s event areas

Celebrity Cruises’ new Celebrity Edge features unique areas for MICE groups, including a rooftop garden that offers a special area for alfresco celebrations, such as movies under the stars. The venue can accommodate up to 270 delegates. Another special area on the new ship is The Meeting Place – a multipurpose space with a mobile bar and pantry, which allows quick set up of food and beverages after hosting delegates for the day. The venue accommodates 200 delegates.