Over the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to create and facilitate experiential learning workshops at all kinds of venues including outdoor education centers, retreat sites, spas, resorts, hotels and even at the Cincinnati Zoo and Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds. This past week I added, a cruise ship!
I was surprised when the client asked me to facilitate a 3-day leadership retreat for 15 participants aboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas, sailing out of Port Canaveral, FL.
This client had used cruise ships in past with success. The main reasons for this venue was cost and focus. Turns out that when you are out of port and on the sea, cell phone and internet communications are several dollars per minute! The room rate which included meals was very affordable, less than $300 per person for the whole trip.The meeting space was as nice as any I have used complete with all the technological hook-ups and great support from the ship’s staff. You would never know you were on aboard a ship with over 3,000 other people traveling at 20+ knots except for a slight roll when the ship was in rougher water.
On the third day, the ship dropped anchor off shore from Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay, Bahamas. This allowed us to go ashore and take advantage of using the outdoors for a couple experiential learning labs. New scenery allowed for new opportunities to explore.
Participants were truly focused on the work at hand. No eyes dropping to laps to check Blackberrys. As a result, I was able to keep people on task. In the end, I believe the participants got a great value, a great learning experience and had fun. As a facilitator, I walked off board feeling very connected with the participants.