South Florida Social Media Aficionados Organize Sea Tweetup
The world’s first tweetup at sea will be missing one key element. Unlimited tweeting time.
Or unlimited tweeting time that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
But that’s life at sea, where bandwidth becomes scarce because it is dependent on a satellite system.
Technology, apparently, has not reached the advancements of cheap global wi-fi.
However, MTN Satellite Communications, the company that owns the satellite, has agreed to provide 30 minutes of free wi-fi to the first 30 people who register for the #SeaTweetup on The NCL Sky - a three-day cruise organized by South Florida social media aficionados departing Miami to the Bahamas on November 18.
Anybody registering after the first 30 registrants will receive 20 minutes of free wi-fi. About 80 people are expected to attend the sea tweetup.
Thirty minutes might not seem like much considering it’s a three-day cruise, but it’s extremely generous, according to Rich Tucker, a social media specialist from North Carolina who runs CruiseSource.us and has organized at least five social media conferences at sea, but not an official tweetup at sea.
“They don’t just give away free wi-fi,” he said. “This is extremely rare what they’re doing. Compared to any other group in the past, it’s more than they have ever done.”
Besides, he said, the idea is to take a vacation from Twitter.
“The idea is to disconnect and relax and get to know the people you’re with,” he said. “When you get on the ship, you’re having so much fun anyway, it ends up being a benefit to not be connected.”
But tweeters who will still feel inclined to access the web, whether it’s for work or to just taunt friends with a tweet, will be forced to pay 75 cents a minute once they use up their free 30 minutes.
And the minutes can quickly pile up considering wi-fi at sea can be extremely slow.
How much money you need
The #SeaTweetup (as it is hashtagged on Twitter) costs $301.32. You can reserve your spot now with a $100 deposit through this link.
You can either pay the rest of the balance or receive a full refund by September 10. After that, cancellations will include penalties.
The cost is variable, which is why the price is listed at $272 on the event’s Facebook page, so it can get more expensive as of this writing.
As is customary on cruises, all meals are included, but drinks are extra. You can also pay extra for high-end meals.
You might also want to bring extra money for the casino, which includes blackjack, poker, roulette and slot machines.
Click here for more details on what the NCL Sky has to offer.
What to expect
The party starts at noon Friday with a Meet and Tweet, then with a scavenger hunt while the ship is docked. Cell phone service will be available, so this will be your time to tweet away.
Then the ship begins to depart at 5 p.m., which is also crucial tweeting time.
“This is one of the funnest times,” Tucker said. “When you have 80 people tweeting, getting to know each other and sailing away from Miami.”
“Then you get all your followers saying, ‘I didn’t know anything about this.’”
You don’t want to be one of those people, Tucker stressed.
Then the ship will cruise throughout the night until it arrives at Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas on Saturday morning where people can snorkel, jet ski or just lie on the beach all day.
Then it’s back on the ship at 5 p.m. for more dining, dancing and gambling, not to mention Twitter presentations.
Then the ship arrives at Nassau Sunday morning where passengers will be encouraged to create their own adventures before attending a two-hour meetup at Señor Frogs where there will be free wi-fi.
And then it’s back on board where the ship will cruise throughout the night and arrive back in Miami Monday morning, just in time for work and reality, which is when you’re really going to want to disconnect.
Here is the full itinerary.
How it all came together
Last year, Tucker was down in Miami for the NCL Epic inaugural cruise. He organized a tweetup at Bleu Moon Restaurant where Alex De Carvalho asked if it was possible to do a tweetup on a cruise ship while it was still docked.
So Tucker started organizing the ship tweetups until Sebastian Rusk suggested a full-scale tweetup at sea.
“I threw out the idea because nobody wanted to leave the ship,” said Rusk, who runs Social Buzz TV.
“It took six months to negotiate,” he said.
Below, Aubrey Swanson, social media coordinator at Kaufman Rossin, answers some important questions on the tweetup.
Photos and video by Carlos Miller
Q & A with Aubrey Swanson of Kaufman Rossin
I’m excited that I am a member of the #SeaTweetup planning committee and that I have the full support from Kaufman, Rossin & Co., a top CPA firm in Florida. My role at the Firm is entirely focused on social media and innovative marketing so it’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of the first tweetup at sea and showcase our innovation and creativity, hence, we’re not your typical accountants. We’re just happy that we’re involved and collaborating with some of the social media leaders of the South Florida community.
What is the current cost and until when?
The current cost for the 3-day/3-night #SeaTweetup is $301.32. This is a variable rate depending on cabin availability. Tweeps interested in booking should put down a $100 refundable deposit which allows them to cancel by September 10th for a full refund or pay in full. Norwegian Cruise Line is also offering a $20 off discount per person for Florida, Alabama and Georgia residents until the end August 19th.
What was your role in organizing this?
I’m one of the 7 planning committee members. We have all contributed to the SeaTweetup planning by suggesting ideas, brainstorming logistics, creating the itinerary and working to organize the BEST cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. It’s involved a lot of note-taking, conference calls, in-person meetings, excel spreadsheets and of course, social media marketing!
How exactly did Kaufman Rossin sponsor the event?
Kaufman, Rossin is fully supporting my role as one of the organizers. The Firm, along with Lit Software, LLC, our joint venture company which created TrialPad for iPad, is donating some giveaways to SeaTweetup attendees as well as providing a projector and projector screen for our Senor Frogs Show & Tell Tweetup in Nassau where we’ll display #SeaTweetup tweets. We’ll also be providing name tags and are working on other sponsorship opportunities.
Are any of the organizers or sponsors getting discounts from what everybody else is paying?
The planning committee has put in A LOT of hard work in making the #SeaTweetup a HUGE success! Norwegian Cruise Line is recognizing our efforts by providing us with complimentary cabins.
What’s the story with the wi-fi?
Here’s the breakdown: The first 30 people to book their spots on the #SeaTweetup will receive 30 minutes of free WiFi, compliments of Norwegian Cruise Line and MTN Satellite Communications. But, that’s not all! Those who book after the first 30 will also receive free WiFi cards in increments less than 30 minutes. And we will also be giving free WiFi cards as prizes in our Social Media Scavenger Hunt, etc!
How many passengers are paid and confirmed?
I’m not able to disclose this information but I will say that spots are filling up fast!
What specials are guaranteed to the group, if any?
We are offering a full optional itinerary as part of the #SeaTweetup. We will be posting a detailed itinerary very soon, but will include: Meet & Tweet, Social Media Scavenger Hunt, Sailaway Tweetup, group dinners, discussions and parties, networking events, roundtable presentation – How Can We Improve Twitter – 15 presenters in 45 minutes, Show & Tell Tweetup, free WiFi and more!
Will people be sharing cabins?
The cabins are double-occupancy. We encourage those who want to attend to bring a family member or friend. For those solo travelers, we’re trying to pair people up – just let us know if you want to go but have no one to room with.
How big are the cabins?
The cabins fit two people but are also equipped with a pull-out couch so you could fit 3-4 people.
What if someone wants their own cabin?
There are single rooms at higher prices.
Who do you think will be hooking up with whom?
Huh??? We’re not playing match-maker! What people do in their private time is their private time…
What if people get irritated with at each other during the cruise (and can’t tweet about it)?
If people get irritated, they get irritated. I want to remind you, this is an entire cruise ship filled with regular cruisers too. Social media people are some of the best socializers I’ve seen so I have no doubts that everyone will mingle with the #SeaTweetup group as well as with regular cruisers. I don’t regularly see people tweeting negatively about other people as it is so I don’t think it would be an issue on the #SeaTweetup. We’re all adults here : )
You Deserve More Than an Ordinary Vacation.
Travel with Miami Beach 411 Today!
The Miami Beach 411 Travel Store is Open 24/7.
10 Comments on
"South Florida Social Media Aficionados Organize Sea Tweetup"