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Group Cruises Questions and Answers
The More You Bring, The More You Earn
Here's how it works... If you have enough people who are interested in taking a cruise together, then you can earn a free cruise. The cruise line will award a free berth for every so many cabins your group books. This can be as few as five cabins for longer Caribbean, Alaska and European sailings or as many as eight cabins for shorter cruises. There's typically no cap on the number of free beds you can earn, so as long as you keep booking cabins, you group can keep earning free beds.
Here's an example of the number of free beds you could earn if your group booked a 7 Night Caribbean Cruise:
8 cabins (16 guests) traveling = 1 Free Bed
16 cabins (32 guests) traveling = 2 Free Beds (1 free cabin)
24 cabins (48 guests) traveling = 3 Free Beds
32 cabins (64 guests) traveling = 4 Free Beds (2 free cabins)
100 cabins (200 guests) traveling = 12 Free Beds (6 free cabins)
Cruise Lines only award the value of the cruise itself. Port charges, taxes and government fees are not free and must be paid by the group. Each cruise line has its own group leader policy and they may vary depending upon the cruise line.
Free Cruise Berths
What you do choose to do with these free beds is up to you. Here are a few ways our past group leaders have taken advantage of earned berths:
Group Leader Sails Free
If you take the time to organize the group, promote the group, coordinate with group members and make all the arrangements, it is not uncommon for the group leader to keep the free beds for themselves and cruise for free and even earn extra spending money if enough cabins travel. This is agreed upon in advance and is kept confidential from other group members.
Deeper Price Discounts
Some Group Leaders choose to take the value of the free berths and divide it among the other cabins on the group to provide an additional discount. Since the number of free berths depends on the number of cabins that actually sail, the additional discounts are applied as a rebate after the group returns from the cruise.
Onboard Group Escort
Some groups like the thought of hiring an on-board group escort to help coordinate on-board and on-shore activities. Although you may have to pay the escort a fee, the cabin berth is free.
Special Guest Invitation
Some groups use their free berths to invite a guest lecturer or celebrity who may add value to your group cruise experience. This could be a local pastor, radio personality or specialists in your group's field of interest whose participation may encourage others to join your group.
Gifts or Shore Excursions
Some groups take the value of their free berths and apply them towards the purchase of shore excursions like city tours, snorkeling adventures or a helicopter ride. Other groups may elect to provide in-cabin gifts like fruit baskets, wine, bathrobes, t-shirts or caps. The possibilities are endless.
Group Cruises Planning Guide
People whom have common interests enjoy traveling together ("birds of a feather, flock together"). There is no better way to travel than on a group cruise vacation. Cruises are affordable, virtually all-inclusive vacations that offer something for everyone regardless of age group. So if you are planning a family reunion, a shipboard wedding or a corporate seminar, you don't need to look any further than Simple Fun Travels to help you plan your next group cruise.
If your group needs help selecting cruise or getting rates on a specific cruise, please complete our Request a Group Quote form and we will get back with you right away. Click Here To Inquire About Starting Your Group.
What's a Group Cruise?
If you have 16 or more couples interested in traveling together, then you may qualify for group cruise discounts and benefits. Learn more about what makes a group and why you should cruise together.
What is the definition of a "Group" cruise?
The general standard for a group cruise is 8 cabins sailing on a single departure. There are some exceptions to this and your Group Account Executive can provide more information.
Will I get the same or better rates from you vs. going direct to a cruise line?
Our rates are always as good, if not better than, going directly to the cruise line. And more importantly we don't limit your choice to just one line. Our goal is to put you on the cruise line and ship that is right for your group.
How many people does it take to qualify for Group cruise prices and amenities?
Typically, it takes a total of 16 passengers in 8 cabins to qualify for ALL amenities. There are some cases where group amenities such as on board credits will apply to the group. This is why choosing the right cruise line for the group is so critical.
What are the main benefits of travelling as a group?
Aside from the main benefit of enjoying the cruise with friends and/or family a group cruise most often is priced lower (for the same cabin categories) than regular rates. In addition to the rate reduction, most cruise lines offer certain amenities to the group such as onboard spending credit, welcome parties, etc. Your Group Account Executive can work with you to maximize the value of these amenities.
What is a "Tour Conductor" program and how does it work?
The cruise line will generally provide a complimentary berth (not cabin) for each 16 full fare passengers travelling together. The value of this berth is returned to the group leader after the group has sailed (in order to account for last minute cancellations). The amount of this Tour Conductor refund is based on the average cost of all staterooms booked for the group.
Does the entire group have to dine together at every meal?
No, the group may elect to dine together all the time or just at some meals (usually dinner). If the group elects to dine together and they are travelling on a ship that offers early or late dining, then all group members must elect the same time. Or the group dinners can be held in the optional restaurants (at extra cost).
How are payments processed?
Once your group space is blocked, it is a fairly simple process. Each participant will make a deposit and a final payment. All payments are processed via emailed invoice exclusively for each group primary guest. The goal is to create a group program that does not burden the group leader with any of accounting or administration processes.
What about holding special parties or meetings on board?
Absolutely! We can arrange most group events in advance. Meeting rooms are generally free of charge. There are some costs associated with cocktail parties and coffee breaks and these vary on a cruise line by cruise line basis. Most of the medium to larger cruise lines have at least one Group Coordinator on board who will assist you once you board.
Do all group members have to be from the same city?
No, group travelers can come from throughout the U.S. and meet on board the ship.
Who handles the paperwork and the booking details?
The Group team at Simple Fun Travels handles all the paperwork and booking details. You round up the group members and we do the rest. We have designed a program that eliminates a lot of the work that normally would have to be done by the group leader.
Do you provide tools like web sites, flyers and email templates to promote the trip?
We have a very complete set of tools that will make your group departure flow smoothly. The tools include:
A web page personalized exclusively to your group (16 cabins minimum)
Online payment processing for all primary guests via invoice.
Pre-cruise Q & A via online conferencing (optional)
Will our group departure have its own webpage and can members book online?
Yes, each potential group traveller will have access to a web page customized with your details. Deposits and final payments which will be invoiced to each primary guests. You (the tour leader) do not have to hold money or account for payments.
If some members of the group need to fly to the embarkation port, will you arrange this?
Our experience has shown that most group members prefer to make their own travel arrangements using an online service or utilizing reward miles. There is cruise line arranged air available and this can be added as an option. Rates change frequently and since cruise line prices are published in advance, experience has shown that online rates are generally lower than cruise line published rates. Even if group members arrange their own flights, they can purchase transfers from the cruise line in most cases.
Is travel insurance available to group members?
It is available and strongly recommended. We automatically add third party trip insurance to all group bookings. Group members who wish to arrange their own can remove this from the invoice but travelling on any cruise without insurance is strongly discouraged.
What happens if our group falls below the number required to get discounts and amenities?
Each cruise line has different policies regarding this and your Group Account Executive can advise the program offered by your specific line. Generally, the cruise line will honor the group rate but some of the amenities offered such as cocktail parties or onboard credits may be reduced or eliminated depending on the final group count.
Do all group members have to choose the same stateroom type?
No, a variety of stateroom types ranging from interior to suites can be held for your group (subject to availability).
Will we ever see an advertised price for the same cruise that is lower than our group rate?
Yes. From time to time, a cruise line may advertise a limited amount of staterooms on the same sailing as your group at a rate that is lower than your 'group rate'. The rates are generally limited to a few cabins and carry no amenities or other bonuses that apply to your group.