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Smooth Sailing

Business meetings ship out to sea.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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 a writer in Los Angeles and a columnist for "ABC News Online."

Contact Sources

Bennett & Co., (407) 425-6040,

Royal Caribbean International, 1050 Caribbean Wy., Miami, FL 33132,

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