Fact Sheet: European River Cruises as Travel Incentives

by: Luke Kreitner November 4, 2016

River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising: Which Floats Your Boat?

  • There aren’t waves, and you always see the shoreline. River cruisers like this because they can’t get seasick and they feel safe.
  • On river cruises, you’re in port for at least some portion of each day.
  • There’s more forced socializing. Few river ships have room service and, since tables are for four, six, or eight, you dine with other passengers.
  • On river ships, everybody eats at the same time.
  • Everything on the ship is near your cabin. It takes no more than a minute to be where you want to be.
  • Shore excursions are included in the price. On river cruises, guided group walking tours are included, although more in-depth excursions involving buses and admission tickets often cost extra. Few ocean cruise lines include shore excursions in the price.
  • Wi-fi is free. It might not always work in your cabin or when the ship is passing a lock or hills, but it usually works in the lounge. On ocean cruises, by contrast, Internet access can cost $1 per minute and be excruciatingly slow.
  • There are no sales pitches. On river ships and small ocean ships they’re not constantly trying to sell you art, drinks, jewelry, duty-free items, and future cruises. On megaships you can feel like you’re caught in one big floating infomercial.

Meet at Sea

  • “A cruise ship is particularly conducive to productive, memorable meetings because the ship fosters an environment for participation and productivity in an atmosphere of carefree relaxation,” says Christine Duffy, CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
  • “What people are looking for in conferences today is really coming away with new relationships,” says Josephine Kling, president of Landry & Kling, a program management service for cruise groups. “You want relationships; you want a sense of community. You want entertainment, new ideas and a sense of having connected with people so that when you get home you have contacts you can follow up with and new experiences that you’ve had. Cruise opportunities provide that in spades beyond what a normal resort experience offers.”
  • Meetings today are typically short in duration and it may not make sense to book a seven- or 10- day cruise for just a day or two of gatherings. However, ships offer short-term trips as well, from three to five nights, a time frame that makes more sense for many groups.
  • “You have a captive audience,” says Cassidy. “You have everyone in one area. If you go to Orlando or Vegas, those destinations are so big that once people leave a meeting you may never see them again.”
  • River cruises have become more popular recently, both in North America and abroad. They offer in-depth sightseeing at a relaxed pace, and are an ideal option for a charter as a group has the ability to set the itinerary for the desired mix of downtime and business. The riverboats are smaller, so they don’t offer the conference rooms and amenities of a mega ship, but they still work well depending on the group’s needs. River cruising itineraries can be particularly ideal for an incentive travel experience.

The Top 10 Boat Trips to Take Around the World

  • The Top 10 Boat Trips to Take Around the World
    • "Many assume cruises are for open seas or hopping between islands, but river cruises are a great way to experience European cities as they were meant to be seen--by coming into port," says the Herald Sun. "At 1,233 km long, the Rhine River is perfect for cruising with views that include clifftop castles, vineyards, and UNESCO heritage sites."

European River Cruises as Travel Incentives

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About Luke Kreitner

Luke Kreitner is the VP of Sales at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that specializes in helping B2B businesses accelerate growth, increase sales, motivate channel partners and retain B2B customers.