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The ultimate holiday party: The best trends and sites win

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Gourmet cupcakes are out, colorful desserts in small shot glasses are in. Widely known as the "it" dessert of 2010, the cupcake is being replaced with the mini "must-have" sophisticated desserts this holiday party season. But that doesn't mean that the chocolate won't be flowing this year as well.

"It is vitally important to know your audience when planning a successful holiday event," said Jim Unger of Hornblower Cruises & Events. "From interactive entertainment to menu choices, some groups are looking for the hottest new thing while others want something more traditional. The key is working with event planners that can do it all."

With more than three decades of experience, the event planners at Hornblower Cruises & Events have seen a dramatic increase in the number of companies seeking professional help to plan innovative and cost-effective solutions for holiday events.

The Hornblower crew takes pride in providing expertise during the entire planning and execution process. From casual cocktail cruises to seated fine dining, anything is possible on the water. Providing even more flexibility when it comes to creating the perfect holiday event, Hornblower offers a unique alternative to a cruise with The Abbey on Fifth Avenue. There's a variety of discounted packages to look over at www.hornblower.com/port/category/sd+DecHolidayEvents.

"We know what trends have passed, what's emerging, what hasn't been done -- and we share this knowledge with our clients," said Unger. "We work with transportation companies, unique gift vendors and more. Taking every facet of the event into account makes the entire process easier for our clients and adds to the success of the event."

With the ability to accommodate small departments of 30 to entire companies of 1,000, Hornblower's boat fleet includes classic wood cruisers and modern yachts, elegantly furnished to create perfect venues for entertaining on San Diego Bay. In addition to seven luxury yachts, Hornblower also operates The Abbey, a beautiful historic building on the edge of Balboa Park.

The holiday party has evolved from a punch bowl in the conference room to companies seeking a novel site with a wow factor, contributing to an event that is truly memorable for companies and their people. Whether your group is looking for customized cupcakes or flowing chocolate fountains, photo booths or karaoke, taking advantage of hot trends or seasoned traditions is easy for Hornblower planners. All it takes is a crew with past experience and an eye for innovation.

Since Hornblower Founder and CEO Terry MacRae purchased a small charter yacht business in 1980, the California-based company has focused on one mission: delivering premier, high-quality dining, entertainment and cruise experiences. Today, the company cruises from seven California port cities and New York City. It also operates two National Park Service concessions and will begin service at the Niagara Falls Gorge in 2014. Guests choose Hornblower for vacations, weddings, corporate outings, galas and more.

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Submitted by Hornblower Cruises & Events

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