Extra! Extra!

Smooth Sailing

Business meetings ship out to sea.

Cruises aren't just for honeymooners anymore. As bigger boats hit the seas, more company meetings are setting sail.

Although the trend is still emerging, several lines confirm that business meetings are one of their most promising new markets. Orlando, Florida, cruise consultant Laura Bennett says while most get-togethers remain affinity groups like the Elk's Club, she's noticed an increase in smaller companies taking cruises en masse.

"Meeting on a ship can be more desirable," Bennett says. "It's great for team- and morale-building."

Cruise line officials list other benefits, too. Rich Steck of Royal Caribbean International says new ships are equipped with meeting and convention facilities offering the audiovisual equipment found in the best hotels.

Another plus: You can turn cruises into working vacations by allowing spouses and children to tag along. But don't worry, many ships offer kid's programs designed to keep Junior happy while his parents work--or play.

Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.

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This article was originally published in the February 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Extra! Extra!.

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