pictureMariposa Cruises talks to Leisure Program Coordinator, Courtney Mayer, who offers party planning advice that takes the stress out of planning and puts you on track to throwing a successful holiday gathering this season.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to throw a holiday party?

When you set out to plan a holiday or Christmas party, the first thing you need to ask yourself is what sort of gathering do you want?  Decide on the style of the event. Do you want a party that`s formal or casual? Are you thinking about a sit-down dinner or a cocktail-style gathering?   The number of guests you`ll invite is another important consideration.  Always start with a guest list to determine the size of your party. Decide on a budget from the outset.  These considerations are a key part of planning the event you want.

Should you throw your own party?

At first the thought of throwing a party can be exciting, but you really have to think about what type of host you are. Do you enjoy planning parties? If you have no problems with the planning, decorating, food preparation and serving, time away from your guests and the big clean up afterwards, then hosting the party yourself can be really fun; especially if you have people to help.  But if you aren’t the Martha Stewart type; if you would much rather hang out with your guests than worry about all the details, it may be better to hire a planner and caterer, or host your party at a venue where all the event logistics are taken care of for you. It’s probably worth the extra cost. If you’re going to go to all the effort to host a party, at least have fun. How you want to spend your time is a really important factor. Why stress over it? Seek out services that will save you time.

Another helpful tip if you’re planning your own party is to consider whether any of your guests have food allergies or diet restrictions and make allowances for that in the catering. Create a festive signature cocktail  or non-alcoholic mocktails for the designated drivers and guests who don’t drink at all. Finally a good host sees that everyone gets home safely with  a designated driver, taxi or public transportation.

How can Mariposa Cruises help with planning a holiday party?

Mariposa Cruises has some great holiday-themed cruises in December. Our ships are all decked out for the season, and our scenic dinner cruises feature a seasonal buffet dinner menu. Small parties under 50 people can join any of our public cruises. For the host, the only party planning involved is calling us to make the reservations! We take care of everything else.

There really is something for everyone! Our Santa Brunch Cruise, for example, is a favorite with families and a really unique way to spend an afternoon together. Our Ugly Christmas Sweater Cocktail Cruise is a 19+ event.  It’s meant to be a fun, informal, cocktail-style event, where everyone can just enjoy themselves.  It’s a great way to spend an evening with friends and get into the holiday spirit.  We also have two cruises on New Year’s Eve to choose from—our traditional Gala Dinner Cruise or Cocktail Cruise. Parties of 50 or more can book a private event on our ships. We offer holiday dinner cruise packages that include just about everything, from a festively decorated interior, full holiday buffet menu, a fully licensed cash bar, DJ, sound system and a dedicated event coordinator to help you with all the details from start to finish.

What are some of the most common requests you get from people who want to arrange a holiday gathering with us?

Right now, with the holidays fast approaching, the most common question I get is “Are we too late to book a holiday party?”  The answer to that is, it’s late but it’s still possible to charter our vessels. With a minimum lead time of 3-5 business days–provided there’s availability, of course–we can still coordinate a great holiday cruise party. But now is definitely the time to put those party ideas into motion.