– The new Viking Grace cruise ferry, operating between Turku and Stockholm, offers a whole new kind of experience for people on a conference trip, praises the ship’s conference manager Henrik Willstedt.
The premises located on the ship’s conference deck offer a gorgeous view out onto the sea, and the technical equipment is top notch. With its different types of restaurants and bars, Spa & Wellness department and shopping in the largest duty-free shop in the Baltic Sea region, the ship provides excellent facilities for relaxation after the conference.
– Conference trips often last for a day, with the attendees usually changing ships in Mariehamn. They can take Viking Grace when going the other way, and some other Viking Line ship when coming back. Roughly the same number of people come from Finland and Sweden on conference trips, says Willstedt.
Viking Grace, which first took to water in January 2013, piqued the interest of conference organizers already before it was took to service, so that the conference rooms were already sold out for every departure for the first spring, with bookings going all the way up until autumn. The price for a conference trip is about 40 euros per person, including the boat trip, the conference room (complete with coffee and fruit) and a buffet with drinks included. The minimum size for a conference group is seven persons.
Viking Grace’s interior design, with styles ranging from cozy retro to discreet elegance, has received a lot of praise. The diversity of the styles also shows on the ship’s conference deck. There are twelve separate conference rooms in total, and thanks to the movable walls, the rooms can be modified according to the customers’ needs. The conference department, decorated with design furniture, has room for a total of 500 guests, and can accommodate up to a couple of thousand of visitors when used for organizing a fair.
– The conference department’s technical equipment includes WLAN, a speaker system located in the roof, LCD displays, microphones and a document camera. In addition to that, our 200-seat auditorium has a projector and a screen, a wireless microphone, a video camera and a PC projector. The same picture and sound can be presented simultaneously in several different conference rooms, lists Willstedts.
– We have just recently hired a communications technician, whose job is to take care that all of the data systems on board the ship function properly.
There are FirstView information displays on board the ship, too. There is an information display outside every conference room that shows the name of the conference room, the name of the company or group using the room, and the conference times. The company or group using the room can also get their company’s logo or any other information they want on the display.
– The FirstView system has proved to be extremely reliable, and it’s quick and easy for our conference secretaries to update the information on each display via the Internet. There is also a larger display on the conference deck that, in addition to displaying conference information, can also be used as an electronic notice board.
Henrik Willstedt has worked with conferences for Viking Line for 25 years now.
– This job is extremely interesting, perhaps the most interesting and rewarding service job on the ship! This is mainly a day-time job, with work periods lasting a week at a time: seven days on board the ship, and seven days of free time on shore. It’s great for people who have a family.
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