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10 Tips to Help Your Next Private Party Cruise Go Smoothly

Planning a party is no small feat. You’re trying to think of everything you might need and make sure everyone has a great time. Unfortunately, parties can all blend together – unless you try something different like a party cruise.

Having your party on a boat is the perfect way to spice it up and make it original. But there are some special considerations you need to make as well. To help you get your party off the ground, we have a few party cruise planning tips.

Party Cruise Planning Tips

You already know how to plan a typical party, but here are some special tips for your boat party:

#1: Find a Boat Rental Company that is Used to Hosting Parties

Chances are that you don’t already have a party-size boat available, so you’ll need to rent one. Most lakes and coasts have no shortage of boat rental companies. But the trick is finding one that can help you host the party.

Rather than the boat alone, some companies offer serving staff, decorations, and other help for your party cruise.

Don’t forget to look at testimonials and online reviews to see other customers’ thoughts.

#2: Find Out Exactly What You Must/Can/Can’t Bring

If you hire a boat rental company who provides some party help, details are key. Find out exactly what they will and will not provide. The last thing you want is to assume something will be included and then arrive to find out it’s not.

Even if your boat rental doesn’t include any of the party extras, you need to find out what you can and can’t bring. Some boat rental companies have restricted items you can’t bring on their boats. These rules exist for a reason, so learn them ahead of time and follow them.

#3: Consider Planning the Date with Your Guests

The number of guests you have will have a huge impact on your costs – like the size of boat you need. The last thing you want is to put all your money into party cruise planning and only have 30% of your guests attend.

Depending on how formal this party is, consider getting your guests’ input on the date. Come up with several options and survey your guests to find out when most of them are available.

If this isn’t a practical option, give your guests a lot of notice before the party – a month or more.

#4: Pad the Start Time

A unique challenge for any party cruise is that guests REALLY can’t show up late. The boat needs to leave at a specific time.

To avoid guests being left behind, pad the start time on your invitations. If the boat is scheduled to leave at 8:30, tell them they need to arrive at 8:00 or 8:15.

#5: Have Many Activity Options

Every party planner wants their event to be a non-stop thrill ride for every guest. But with a party cruise, your guests can’t leave if they start to get bored.

To keep everyone happy, have a few activity options guests can enjoy. On top of a DJ and dancing, have an area where guests can play cards. If there’s enough space, set up a few games like cornhole or beer pong. Think about who your guests are and what they would enjoy.

#6: If You’re Sharing Costs, Settle it Early in the Planning

Sometimes you’re not hosting the party so much as you’re the planner for a party the guests are throwing for themselves. In this case, you’ll probably all share the costs. This can be a cause for friction in many parties.

The best way to settle cost issues is to decide on a set amount and a set budget at the beginning. Make sure each guest pays their share early. You don’t want to dip into your own pocket or become a collections agent.

And if there’s a set budget everyone has agreed to, do NOT exceed it.

#7: Bring Something for Motion Sickness

Some people are more prone to motion sickness than others. And everyone varies based on the situation. The choppiness of the water, the temperature, and other factors can contribute. Unlike a car, a guest can’t step off the boat for a minute to settle their stomach.

As a host, you don’t want your guests to feel sick for the entire party cruise. It’s a good idea to bring something for motion sickness in case your guests need them. There are pills, wristbands, and more, so try bringing a few options.

#8: Don’t Forget a Theme

In a way, a boat party has its own theme. You can play up the nautical theme, or you can choose another one to incorporate instead.

Depending on the time of year and the party’s purpose, Hawaiian themes and pirate themes are popular on boats. Or, make it a classier affair with an Old Hollywood theme.

Make sure to talk to the boat rental company and find out if/when you can decorate the boat. If you want your guests to dress up with the theme, give them plenty of notice as well.

#9: Overstock on Supplies

For most parties, if you run out of food, drinks, napkins, etc., you can make a quick run to the store. On a party cruise, this isn’t an option.

Bring more supplies than you think you’ll need because it’s better to have leftovers than to run out. For items like flatware, cups, and napkins, keep them packaged until you need them so you can return them if they’re unused.

This also ties into coordinating with your boat rental company. You don’t want to assume they’ll provide something and find out they don’t after leaving the dock.

#10: Consider an All-Inclusive Package

If you’re more of a partier than a party planner, a boat party can still be a great option. Look for a boat rental company that offers all-inclusive packages. Some also offer event-specific options like bachelorette party packages.

This takes away most of the work on your end and makes for a more relaxing party. Make sure you know the details of what is included ahead of time.

The Next Steps to Planning a Party Cruise

If you’re ready to get started planning your boat party, the next step is to start shopping around. Explore the options around you, depending on your nearby bodies of water. If you’re in the Minneapolis area, give us a call to talk about your Lake Minnetonka boat party.

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