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Frequently Asked Questions About Ship Charters

Need some quick answers to your ship charter questions? Here are the most frequently asked questions about ship charters, including benefits of a ship charter, charter inclusions, cost, finding the right ship for your charter program, and much more! Have a question not addressed here? Contact us!


  1. What is a cruise ship charter?

    A charter is the complete buyout of a ship for private use for a set number of nights, including all staterooms, meals, and function space. Ship charters are most frequently arranged by corporations, government entities, event promoters, travel management or marketing companies, and even private individuals. Occasionally a “partial charter” can be arranged to buy half the staterooms, rather than a “full ship charter” which commits the entire ship.

  2. What are the advantages of a cruise charter?

    There are wonderful advantages of chartering your own ship! For example: Exclusivity – it’s an experience that can’t be duplicated on one’s own. A private charter is perceived as having a higher value, and the security is exceptional – no access for outsiders. You can choose your ports, and customize the entire on board experience. There’s also the added prestige and “bragging rights” for your guests, who have the undivided attention of the entire ship’s staff. Equally important is the camaraderie: everybody on board is part of your event, and you have a captive audience, ensuring you achieve the purpose of your event.

  3. Any drawbacks with a private charter vs. booking my group on a regular cruise?

    Normally when you sign a contract for a ship charter, you’ve bought all the staterooms and you own them – regardless of whether your number of attendees increases or decreases. There may occasionally be an exception but, in planning for best ROI, you number of attendees should be a good fit with your number of staterooms. With a group on a regular cruise, however, as your number of attendees gets firmed up, you can increase or decrease your room block based on your attrition schedule – just as with a hotel– paying only for the rooms needed.

  4. Are there any situations where it’s better not to charter?

    You might be better off booking an allotment of rooms on a regularly scheduled sailing if:

    • You’re not in a position to sign an irrevocable letter of credit guaranteeing full payment and the chosen cruise line is not flexible on this point.
    • Ships that are suitable in size for you to charter are not suitable in other key ways i.e., largest function room doesn’t accommodate everyone together, destination choice isn’t appropriate for your needs; quality or price not suitable.
    • Lead time is too short. e.g. If the cruise lines have already published their itineraries, cost may be prohibitive to “buy off” passengers who are already booked on the ship you want, and move them to another ship.
  5. What does a ship charter cost?

    Ship charter costs are contingent on 7 factors: The ship’s total staterooms, destination and length of cruise, quality/service standards of the ship, cruise date and lead time, and overall market demand. Call Landry & Kling for some ball-park costs based on your specific needs and our familiarity with charter pricing: 305-661-1880 (in Miami)

  6. Are the financial requirements for a charter different?

    Yes. Charters typically require an upfront irrevocable deposit, plus a financial commitment to pay for the entire ship — guaranteed via a Letter of Credit drawn on a bank that meets the cruise line’s approval.

    The charter contract also identifies a specific payment schedule for several additional payments, the last of which is normally due 70-90 days prior to sailing. Occasionally alternative payment plans can be negotiated with certain cruise lines, depending on the nature of the charter, the organization responsible for payments, and their prior track record with events — among other factors.

  7. What’s included in a ship charter?

    Most cruise lines include the following with a ship charter: All accommodations, daily meals, most soft beverages, use of all public areas, meeting/function rooms and A/V equipment, gym facilities, onboard entertainment and ocean or river transportation to ports of call, participation of Cruise Director and his cruise staff to support your program, gratuities and port charges. There are many subtle differences among cruise lines in what’s included. For example, most of the luxury cruise lines also include all alcoholic beverages and many other stateroom amenities. Most riverboats include shore excursions. We can help you evaluate what’s most suitable for your program and negotiate with multiple cruise lines to achieve best pricing and amenities.

  8. What types of ships are available for charter?

    Ships of every size and type are available for charter. For example:

    Type Of Ship
    •    Mega-ship charters:
    •    Large ship charters:
    •    Mid-sized ship charters:
    •    Small luxury charters:
    •    Sailing ships & mega-yachts:
    •    River cruise charters:
    •    Expedition ship charters:
    Number Of Guest
    3000 – 5400 guests
    1600 – 2999 guests
    600 – 1599 guests
    220 –   599 guests
    64 –   312 guests
    80 –   198 guests
    60 –   130 guests
  9. What are the most frequent types of ship charter programs?

    Private ship charters are used for all types of events, especially these:

    • Incentive cruises for sales people, distributors or franchisees
    • Recognition cruises for customers or employees
    • Annual conventions or sales meetings
    • Corporate meetings at sea for strategic planning
    • Conferences, congresses
    • Special interest/theme cruises/music festivals at sea
    • Corporate anniversary celebrations
    • New product launches, trade shows
    • Business networking, forums
    • Executive retreats
    • Consumer product sweepstakes or special promotions
    • Milestone celebrations
    • Worker accommodations or emergency housing
    • Dockside charters (supplemental housing for city-wide events)
  10. What is a dockside charter?

    When there is a shortage of sleeping rooms for a city-wide event in a port city, cruise ships can be used for additional housing. The chartered ship remains docked at the pier and is used as a “floating hotel” for the required number of nights.

    At Landry & Kling, we hold the record for managing more dockside charters than any other entity. See all of Landry & Kling’s dockside charters here.

  11. How do I find the right ship to charter?

    When considering a charter, the first step is to determine which ships are the best fit for your number of attendees/guests and your program requirements.

    What destinations and dates would be most appealing? How many sleeping rooms do you need? What’s your budget? How much function space is needed? It’s a puzzle with many pieces, but Landry & Kling is the only call you need to make. It’s a joy for us to quickly sort through the hundreds of possibilities and piece together the best recommendations for you based on what we’ve learned about your requirements plus our experience with many prior charter projects.

  12. What ships has Landry & Kling chartered?

    Among the ships you’ll likely want to consider are many we’re intimately familiar with. Landry & Kling has operated more ship charters than anyone else – many of them multiple times. See complete list of all cruise ships we’ve chartered since 1982.  See List

  13. Which are the cruise lines with whom Landry & Kling has chartered?

    Your attorney will love us! In representing you, we bring deep knowledge of ship charter negotiations, alternative language solutions and pitfalls to avoid.

    We’ve arranged charters with Silversea, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, Windstar, SeaDream, Seabourn, Norwegian and many others. See list of Landry & Kling’s charters with dozens of cruise lines.  See List

  14. What cruise charter destinations is Landry & Kling familiar with?

    You benefit from the many prior ship charter programs we’ve created in the Mediterranean, Baltic, Alaska, Caribbean, Mexico, and river cruise charters on the Danube, Rhine and Po rivers and many other destinations. See list of Landry & Kling’s worldwide charter experience.  See List

  15. What’s Landry & Kling’s experience with dockside ship charters?

    Landry & Kling holds the record for managing more dockside charters than any other entity, including 5 ships for the Jacksonville Super Bowl 2005, World Cup Cricket in the Caribbean 2007, Summit of the Americas in Trinidad 2009, and RIO 2016 Olympics. See all of Landry & Kling’s dockside charter events.  See List

  16. How much lead time do I need for a charter?

    The earlier the better! Most cruise lines finalize their itineraries about 18 months in advance to begin selling to the public. If you want to customize your itinerary or “carve out” a shorter number of nights instead of the longer published cruises, please contact us even earlier.

    Occasionally, last minute charter opportunities arise – usually at a good price. These “gems” are not published, so give us a call and we’ll let you know if there are any close-in charters available because cruise lines know charters are our specialty and they keep us up to date.

  17. Can I customize my ship charter event?

    Absolutely! Since you “own” the ship when you charter, you have freedom to customize nearly every aspect of the cruise experience: Daily activities, menus, entertainment, custom signage, even scheduling of the itinerary, ports of call and shore excursions can be customized to support your program objectives. We have many creative ideas to make your program unique and memorable – and know what can be negotiated at little or no charge.

  18. What services do you provide?

    Our service includes impartial ship recommendations and expert contract negotiations based on decades of experience. This is our specialty, and we can confidently say no one has chartered more cruise ships than Landry & Kling. You’ll have one of our Cruise Event Managers dedicated to your event, who will serve as your single point of contact for cruise arrangements and for every other aspect of your cruise, as needed. Our menu of optional services includes planning day by day logistics, on-site staffing for program execution, customized website development and online registration, financial management and much more. For details, See Our Ship Charter Services Here.

  19. What could I expect booking directly with a cruise line?

    Each cruise line is well prepared to tell you about their own ships and services, and why they’re the only choice for you. But it’s not their mission to compare and contrast all the best ship options for you or provide an impartial assessment of who’s best suited to address all your requirements. And they can’t truly serve as your advocate in dealing with their company throughout the planning process.

    Nor will they tell you about the less well known (but more exclusive) companies who may be your best choice. And you can’t count on them to negotiate competitively with several lines to achieve best pricing for you– though it’s the cruise line pricing where you can reap biggest savings.

    Unless you have the time to research the industry to identify relevant ships and lines, narrow your choices then call each cruise line for quotes; and unless you know the ins and outs of cruise negotiations and shipboard operations (which differ significantly from hotels), you’re at a disadvantage in trying to do it all yourself. Moreover, you open the door to unnecessary complications and challenges.

    At Landry & Kling, we represent all the lines, but we work for you. Our vested interest is that you have an outstanding program, come back to us for a future program, and recommend us to others. That means we give you unbiased recommendations and the insider scoop about the differences among ships and – most important to you– the difference in services and what you can expect once you’re onboard.

    It’s part of our service to help you negotiate terms and get you the best deal in all areas of the negotiation – not just the price. Our goal is to save you time and money, reduce risk, and assure your success, not only in procuring your ship but also in planning how to make the most of all that’s possible with your cruise.

    And, most important, when you involve us at the start, to source and negotiate your charter, the cruise lines will compensate us separately, so that you don’t have to.

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