How would you like to gather a group of your fellow Cruise Critic members and do the thing we all love best…take a cruise? It's easy to start planning and promoting your own Cruise Critic group cruise. Just follow the instructions and advice we provide below and you'll be sailing away with a few (or a few hundred) of your fellow Cruise Critic friends! We'll even make it easy to find your group onboard by giving the group a special discount on all Cruise Critic gear. And, you can earn yourself a free cruise by becoming a group leader! Just follow our ten easy steps below to get started.
Group Leader Perks
All Cruise Critic groups must have a minimum of 8 cabins booked to be considered a group and receive all of the group perks. As group leader you will receive one free net cruise fare if at least 8 cabins are sold, and two free net cruise fares if at least 16 cabins are sold. Group leaders will need to pay for their cruise upfront, but will be rebated the equivalent rate per berth for the category which has the largest number of cabins booked. Group leader is responsible for all port charges, taxes and fees. In addition, all group leaders will receive the group amenities and an additional perk program created specifically for our group leaders. Please note that the contract for these group cruises is between Cruise Critic and the Preferred Cruise Agency. Final decisions regarding group cruise amenities, perks etc. are the responsibility of Cruise Critic.
Group leaders will also be given details on bulk quantities of discounted Cruise Critic gear for their group members. If 10 or more of any Cruise Critic logowear item is purchased, the group leader will receive that item free.
Cruise Critic reserves the right to refuse permission to be a group leader for any reason.
1. Pick a Ship and Itinerary
See how many people are interested in joining you by posting on the specific cruise line forum (official cruises only).
Hint: New ships tend to attract the most takers.
2. Select a Month to Travel
Once you have a ship and itinerary selected and an initial group that's interested, attempt to select a month that all can agree to travel.
Hint: The best group deals are offered in May, June, September, October and early November.
3. Contact our Cruise Critic Community Manager
Once you have an idea of how large your group will be initially and the month and ship of sailing, contact Laura (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let her know that you are interested in leading a new Cruise Critic group cruise. She will explain the process to you and will contact our Preferred Cruise Agency to obtain your official quote. After you receive your proposal, and checking with your initial group members, it is full speed ahead! Our Community Manager will create a web page for your group as well as designate your own message board forum in our community.
Hint: Being flexible in sailing date may mean a better price and more amenities!
4. Contact Your Preferred Cruise Agent
Contact your personal cruise specialist at the Preferred Cruise Agency provided to you to introduce yourself as the official Group Leader. At this time your personal cruise specialist can offer additional advice, information and expertise on your choice of cruise.
5. Promote Your Group Cruise
Once you have a Cruise Critic group started, we will create a special page for your group cruise listing all of the information about the cruise including prices and booking information and a message board within our Cruise Community just for your group but open for all to see how much fun you are planning! This is the perfect place to talk about the cruise and get to know each other before sailing, make onboard plans to meet (wearing your Cruise Critic gear of course!), and keep your group informed of important details like deposit and final payment information.
Hint: We'll help you link your message board in your Cruise Critic Member signature, a great way to promote your Cruise Critic Group Cruise. If you create your own Cruise Critic Group Cruise Web site, you can also link that in your Cruise Critic member signature.
6. Remind Group Members to Send in Deposits
Once you have decided to reserve a new group, the Preferred Cruise Agency will make the initial deposit required to hold the allotted cabins. Full deposits for each cabin booked need to be made no later than five months prior to sailing. At that point any cabins which do not have deposits on them will be released. After these cabins are released you may have difficulty obtaining additional cabins if others want to join your group, so remind members to send their deposits in. In some categories availability may be limited, plus, on some cruises all group members will receive additional perks if a certain number of cabins are booked in the group. Encourage your group members to send in their deposits as soon as they have decided to cruise with the group.
Hint: If prices for Cruise Critic a member cruise decrease after booking the group, the Preferred Cruise Agency will make every attempt to adjust the price with the cruise line, however, this isn't to be guaranteed or expected. Please note that the group rate is guaranteed at the original negotiated price for the initial allotment of cabins.
7. Encourage Purchase of Travel Insurance
It's important to remember that there are penalties on a group starting at 70 days prior to departure so please get your group to buy third party travel insurance such as Access America or Travel Guard.
Hint: Third party insurance offers more comprehensive coverage than your average cruise line package. Insurance is based on price per person of actual cruise fare.
8. Plan Some Fun
Plan some group activities during the cruise, or make arrangements to go on some shore excursions together. Decide if you want the group to have a pre-cruise party at a day early to get to know each other before the cruise. If so, the Preferred Cruise Agency can help you plan it at a local port hotel and include transfers to the port the next day, and other amenities.
Hint: This is a great opportunity to wear your Cruise Critic gear and meet all your online friends and take a group photo for our Community Center!
9. Order Your Cruise Critic Gear
All Cruise Critic group members are entitled to receive discounts off any bulk ordered Cruise Critic logowear. Laura Sterling, our Community Manager, (email@example.com) can help you with the details and ordering.
10. Final Payment
Final payments will be paid directly to the Preferred Cruise Agency. Some groups may require the prepayment of gratuities. Individuals can contact your Preferred Cruise Agency directly to make all payments to protect their credit card information. Passengers that are purchasing an air/sea package will have their transfers included from the airport to and from the ship.
Hint: For those that are booking their own air, transfers are available to purchase from about $25 round-trip per person.