Former meetings industry executive Christine Duffy, now the president and CEO of the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA), made big strides toward meeting planners considering cruise ships and river boats more often for their meetings during MPI’s World Education Conference July 28-31 in St. Louis.
During a press conference at the event, Duffy announced that 13 members of CLIA have agreed to host one MPI chapter meeting annually—for each chapter that expresses interest—aboard one of their ships. She also led a session on cruises as viable meeting options and noted that CLIA will be exhibiting at IMEX, taking place in Las Vegas this October. Finally, Duffy noted that CLIA will be hosting groups of planners aboard ships during two industry conferences next year: CLIA’s annual conference, taking place in June in Vancouver; and the SITE Global Conference, which will be held in Orlando in Dec. 2013.
A number of missteps, arguably, by the cruise industry of yesterday left meetings and incentives in the dust but that’s no longer the case, Duffy contends. Many ships now have dedicated meeting space as well as high-end shopping and entertainment options. In addition, cruise meetings provide a great value; on average, they offer 30 percent savings over the typical hotel meeting, she says.
Duffy, a former president of MPI, is no stranger to the meeting s industry. She was president of McGettigan Partners in Philadelphia when it was acquired in 2001 by Maritz, the large meeting and incentive travel management firm, and then rose to lead Maritz as president and CEO for several years, until taking the CLIA post last year.