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February 20, 2007

Growth in hospitality on the Thames

Meat and Wool New Zealand teamed up with Silver Fleet/Wood River Cruises recently to give its annual event a different twist.

Every year the organisation holds an event to celebrate the arrival of the new season of lamb, and this year coincided with its 125th anniversary, so it was looking for something a little different.

As the first shipments arrived in this country on the SS Dunedin 125 years ago, Meat and Wool New Zealand contacted the Silver Fleet about holding the function on one of its boats, the MV Silver Dolphin. As they cruised the Thames, guests were greeted with drinks and treated to a spectacular rendition of the traditional haka performed by Ngati Ranana.

“The event was a great success with a turnout of 37 guests, including trade and media contacts, who thoroughly enjoyed the event and gave positive feedback on all elements,” said a spokesperson for Meat and Wool New Zealand.

Commenting on the benefits of river-based events, Kate Woods, design and development director at Silver Fleet, said: “The boats provide a unique venue on the Thames to entertain guests, and offer them the chance to see London from a different angle. Our vessels provide unparalled levels of style and service, and can offer a viable alternative to any five-star, land-based venue.”

The company’s fleet of vessels is able to accommodate both large and small bookings, subject to the style of food service: 40-90 guests aboard the Silver Dolphin, 65-230 on the Silver Barracuda and 170-580 on flagship boat the Silver Sturgeon.

Asked if river events are increasing in popularity, Woods replied: “At present we are experiencing an increase in demand and I would say this is down to the interest in our flagship, the Silver Sturgeon. We are spending £2 million on completely refurbishing the vessel and making it a fantastic 21st Century Luxury Yacht. This only goes to prove that there is a demand for a stunning vessel on the Thames of this size.

“Our fleet is able to cater for many different events, although most of our business is corporate hospitality,” Woods continued. “We do host many award ceremonies throughout the year, as well as fashion events, celebrity parties, concerts and product launches. The boats can be tailored to each event on an individual basis, and the team here goes out of their way to help the client achieve their goals.”

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