Here Are All the Cruise Line Group Policiesby Dori Saltzman /
Group policies within the cruise industry are as varied as the cruise lines themselves. While the large ocean-going lines have somewhat similar policies, the rules for group cruises on luxury lines, river cruises and small-ship cruise lines can be widely divergent.
To help you choose which cruise lines you'd like to work with on group cruises, we've compiled the groups-related policies for the vast majority of cruise operators. (These are standard group policies; meetings and incentive group policies may be different.)
Minimum: 5 staterooms/10 guests for European and Mekong cruises | 4 staterooms/8 guests for Africa and Egypt cruises
Maximum: Groups larger than 20 staterooms may require a part-charter agreement to secure specific staterooms.
Holding Period: None. Deposit only holds discount/benefits but does not hold staterooms.
Group Discount: Starts at $250 per person (can be higher on “Enhanced Group” sailing dates)
Deposits Required: Refundable $25 per person/$50 per stateroom
Group Amenity Points: GAP is part of the Enhanced Group Offer that is available on select sail dates. On these dates the standard group discount is combinable with any retail discount and 2 amenity points are awareded that can be redeemed for any two of the following choices: a confirmed Travel Advisor rate for a TA escort, $50 onboard credit per stateroom, a bottle of wine per stateroom, or a box of chocolates per stateroom. | For groups of 35 or more, AmaWaterways can arrange private bus transportation to/from the airport.
Tour Conductor Credits: 1 TC for every nine full fares booked
Commission: Up to 18% group commission on river cruise fare | 12% commission on pre- and post-cruise land packages | 10% commission on travel protection and extra hotel nights | 5% commission on contracted air.
American Cruise Lines
Holding Period: Once deposited, group space is held until final payment. If payment is not made on time, cabins are recalled.
Group Discount: $600 per stateroom, rates are guaranteed for 60 days without deposit.
Deposits Required: Varies by length of sailing: 9 nights or less: $500 per person / 10 nights or more: $900 per person
Group Amenity Points: No GAP | One evening during cruise, group can enjoy a private cocktail hour (group size restrictions apply) | Onboard group meeting space can also be requested.
Tour Conductor Credits: One TC for first 10 passengers, second TC after 24 passengers are deposited
American Queen Voyages
Minimum: 5 staterooms/10 guests
Holding Period: 45 days with deposit
Group Discount: $500 per stateroom or up to 20% off per stateroom
Deposits Required: $50 per person
Group Amenity Points: No GAP | Pre-paid gratuities if paid at the 45 day mark | Custom group excursions are available for groups of 10 staterooms/20 guests.
Tour Conductor Credits: 1 TC for every 10 full fares booked (maximum of 4 complimentary berths)
Minimum: 8 guests
Maximum: 5 cabins or 10 passenger berths until these are filled; additional space can be requested in increments of 10.
Holding Period: 180 days before departure with per person deposits paid
Group Discount: N/A
Deposits Required: $25 per person refundable for TBA staterooms or $250 per person non-refundable for guaranteed staterooms
Group Amenity Points: No GAP | Complimentary prepaid gratuities | Free private cocktail party | Groups of 20 or more can take advantage of one customized shore tour | Groups of 30 or more have access to private guide and/or coach for sightseeing on any Avalon Europe cruise shore excursion and pre/post land.
Tour Conductor Credits: Half a TC for 8 booked guests or one full TC for 10 booked guests
Minimum: Non-contract groups: 8 rooms | Contract groups: 26 rooms
Maximum: Non-contract groups: 25 rooms
Holding Period: 30 days without deposit
Group Discount: N/A
Deposits Required: $50 per stateroom
Group Amenity Points: Points vary by sailing. Points can be used for cocktail parties, specialty dining experiences, in-room amenities, onboard credit, to lower TC requirements, and more.
Tour Conductor Credits: 1 TC for every 8 fully booked rooms (16 lower berths)
Minimum: 8 staterooms
Holding Period: Up until second deposits are due (approximately 120 to 150 days prior to sailing), after which unsold space will be recalled.
Group Discount: N/A
Deposits Required: $25 per person within 60 days of creating group
Group Amenity Points: Point amounts determined by sail date and itinerary | May be used for amenities such as Champagne, chocolate, bath robes, cocktail receptions, onboard credits
Tour Conductor Credits: 1 TC for every 15 full-fare lower berths
Minimum: No-deposit group: 8 staterooms | Deposit required group: 17 staterooms | Galapagos cruises: 5 staterooms
Maximum: No-deposit group: 16 staterooms | Deposit required group: 50 staterooms (without special approval) | Galapagos cruises: 6 staterooms (without special approval)
Holding Period: 30 days without deposit | Celebrity Cruises may contact advisor at any time to review unsold inventory. | Unsold group inventory will be recalled at 150 days prior to sailing for cruises of nine nights or longer or 120 days prior to sailing for cruises of eight nights or less. | GRPX and Group Standard pricing inventory will be reviewed 8 months after deployment. Unsold space will be recalled if there is no activity on group block.
Group Discount: Group pricing is available mostly right after deployment is opened for bookings; average discount can be up to 10% at deployment of sailing.
Deposits Required: $50 per stateroom to hold space | Celebrity suites and higher require 200% deposit at time of group request | Galapagos sailings: $900 per Ocean View stateroom and $1,800 per Suite
Onboard Credit: Group bookings made at least 10 months prior to sailing receive $100 OBC for Inside and Ocean View staterooms, and $200 OBC for Veranda and above staterooms
Group Amenity Points: All groups receive 4 GAP points. Points can be used for onboard experiences, cabin upgrades, onboard credit, stateroom deliveries or gifts, additional discounts, to reduce the tour conductor requirement, bonus commission or marketing dollars, and more. (Excluding Galapagos sailings)
Tour Conductor Credits: 1 TC for every 16 full-fare guests, based on double occupancy. Singles paying 200% of the full fare count as two guests for tour conductor purposes. | Galapagos cruises: 1 TC for every 10 full-fare guests, based on double occupancy, maximum 1 TC per group. Singles paying 200% of the full fare count as two guests for tour conductor purposes.
Minimum: Non-contracted group: 10 guests | Contracted group: 200 guests
Maximum: Non-contracted group: 200 guests
Holding Period: Advisor receives first and second recall dates (timed to set time before departure date), at those dates 50% of any unsold space is recalled unless 50% of the total space has been sold; final recall is always four to six months prior to departure
Group Discount: Groups of 10 or more guest receive a 5% discount off Launch Fares
Deposits Required: $25 per bed for groups of more than 16 beds
Group Amenity Points: Advisors can get highest number of amenity points (up to 10) by blocking space as soon as itineraries are opened for booking; amenity points are reduced as more group space is blocked. Points can be used for onboard credits, cocktail parties, passenger gifts, as extra commission or to lower the TC credit requirement (minimum and maximum group sizes may apply)
Tour Conductor Credits: One TC for every 12 full-fare lower-berth guests
Minimum: 10 guests for European Rivers, South East Asia Rivers and Yacht cruises | 12 guests for Douro River and Russia
Maximum: 90 guests
Holding Period: 30 days if one booking is made within first 30 days after group creation | Up to 60 additional days (based on availability) | Pricing is protected indefinitely.
Group Discount: River: $125 per person + $195 air credit or up to $1,000 savings | Yacht: $150 per person
Deposits Required: Only required with specific category requests.
Group Amenity Points: Only available on designated Bonus river sailings. Points can be used for free air or an air credit, additional fare savings, onboard credit, cocktail party, extended drinks package, bonus commission, or a guaranteed travel agent rate. | No GAP on yacht cruises
Tour Conductor Credits: 1 TC for every nine guests on European Rivers and South East Asia Rivers | 1 TC for every 11 guests on Douro River and Russia | TC varies on yacht cruises
Commission: Starts from 15% for all groups