Transcend Cruises: Purpose Built for Groups

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Transcend, a new river cruise line, is a charter-only fleet of ships custom built for meetings and incentives at sea.

With an eventual fleet of 12 identical river vessels setting sail over the next 5+ years, Transcend Cruises was developed specifically for group business. “We took the issues that exist today for the charter industry, looked at the full buyout market, and created a cruise line that only serves B2B,” said CEO and co-founder Matthew Shollar, in an interview with Prevue at the recent Seatrade conference where Transcend was announced.  “We don’t sell anything to an individual guest, ever. One hundred percent of our clients are charter clients.”

The first two Transcend ships will set sail in Europe in 2024, with additional ships rolling out yearly. Here’s the skinny from Shollar on how they are uniquely targeted for incentive groups:

Customized itineraries. The ships will operate in about 70 percent of the navigable, western European waterways including the Rhine and Danube rivers. There are no pre-set itineraries, giving groups the option to avoid super busy port days and to choose charming, lesser-known destinations in countries such as Holland and Belgium as well as iconic European ports. “We partner with our clients to deliver a customized experience,” said Shollar.

Customized program length. Planners choose program length as well as ports of call. “You don’t have to book a 7-night cruise for a 5-night program,” noted Shollar.

Identical cabins.  Transcend ships will have 60 identical oversized cabins, that can be converted to 30 luxury suites. “The typical river ship accommodates 150 to 200 guests,” said Shollar. “We dropped that number down to 120. Or,  for luxury programs, 60 guests with a nearly one-to-one staff ratio.”

Enhanced fitness. Transcend vessels will have expansive fitness facilities: 2,600 square feet of indoor/outdoor spa, wellness and exercise space said to be the largest and most comprehensive of any river cruising ship.

Group meeting and dining space. Five separate venues will accommodate all attendees for dining, events and meetings.

Flat pricing model. Transcend’s clearly defined pricing model has no blackout dates or surge-pricing risks. As well, “we pulled back items such as shore excursions, which groups would typically pay for but might not use,” said Shollar. “Instead, planners can customize, with no up-charges if they buy a tour.”

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