If a cruise can whisk you away to paradise, why shouldn’t the cruise industry’s largest global gathering do the same? For the second year, Seatrade Cruise Global held its annual conference at the Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center, where the March 13–16 event drew more than 13,000 people to the southern Florida city and its vibrant dining scene, pristine beaches, perfect weather, and seaside activities.
Planning a perfect meeting is easy in Fort Lauderdale, even for return visitors — there’s always a hot new restaurant, venue, or off-site adventure to explore. Here are five ways to make attendees feel they have landed in paradise:
Meet for Happy Hour on Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard, which runs through Fort Lauderdale, serves as the city’s cultural hub. A private food tour, during which attendees taste fresh lobster and coal-oven-fired pizza while learning more about the history of the area, is a fun introduction. Or visitors can try new restaurants on the street, including B Square Burgers + Booze and the Raw Poke Bar. Nearby is the RiverWalk Arts & Entertainment District, which offers more unique venues for planners — like the veranda of the New River Inn or Broward Center for the Performing Arts, where entertainment options include live concerts.
Host Your Meeting in a Waterside Convention Center
The Intracoastal Waterway faces the Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center, where floor-to-ceiling glass walls give attendees panoramic views of crystal-clear blue water. The venue offers 600,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space on three levels, with 2,700 guest rooms with beach or water views nearby. The Center is a mere 10 minutes away from the Fort Lauderdale International Airport and 15 minutes from the downtown arts and entertainment district.
Banish Boring With Fresh, Local, and Innovative Cuisine
Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center Master Chef Jamie MacDonald and his staff provide everything from gourmet box lunches to elegant sit-down dinners for 1,500 guests. For breakfast, enjoy spinach, ham, and Swiss-cheese custard tarts; for lunch, try the chef’s papaya slaw, made from a popular local fruit.
Organize Activities on the City’s Perfect Beaches
Sunrise yoga, long bike rides, beach volleyball — there are countless ways for attendees to soak up the sun on Fort Lauderdale’s 23 miles of beaches. Conference attendees can watch turtles nesting along the shoreline from the top of the Hillsboro Lighthouse, play a round of golf, or try saltwater fishing at Hallandale Beach. Or they can linger at the outdoor cafes or shops lining the Boardwalk, which runs along Hollywood Beach, or hop on a trolley to Arts Park in Young Circle, which offers an array of food trucks, bars, and restaurants.
Live the Good Life on a Yacht Cruise Down the New River
One way to make your attendees feel like a million bucks is a yacht cruise down the New River, where they can soak in breathtaking views of the city’s waterfront while enjoying a drink. For more formal events, touring companies offer private dinner and cocktail cruises.
More information on what Fort Lauderdale has to offer is available at visit Sunny.org/meetings.