Cruise 101: 9 Steps to Plan the Perfect Family on a Cruise Ship!

Courtesy Celebrity Cruises

Plan Ahead of Time

How Far ahead of time?

Plan at least one year in advance. Why? Allows time to:

  • Determine who’s going
  • Figure out their preferences (budget, destinations, dates)
  • Give guests time to budget & plan for vacation time
  • Lock in early booking discounts & perhaps even a great group rate
  • Preferred stateroom types & locations
  • Preferred dining options

Follow the Leader

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen … Is messy

Choose Leaders who:

  • Can take charge by finalizing decisions
  • Are able to help keep details like itinerary & payment deadlines
  • Would not mind managing group communications
  • Are savvy with negotiating to keep the group in check especially if your family has a lot of strong personalities
  • Or skip all of this and read the next point…

Work with a Travel Professional

That’s Easy Breezy Journeys!

Let us do the heavy lifting by doing the above plus:

  • Pinpoint the best cruise for your family reunion
  • Find the most competitive rates or value adds
  • Possibly score other amenities like shipboard credits (the earlier the better!)
  • Manage flight and pre- and post-cruise hotel bookings
  • Create customized events
  • Be a point of contact for your family when it comes to responsibilities like collecting payments and resolving travel-related queries

Communicate Clearly

Communication is Everything

Keep everyone in the loop, but consider the following:

  • One idea to keep everyone in the loop is to collect email addresses and set up a private Facebook group or event page.
  • Take group polls to collect preliminary preferences about sailing dates, ports, & itineraries. (Expert tip: Limit the choices to help maximize results.)
  • A Facebook page os great for announcing who’s going, what activities & excursions will be available to everyone, and outline important details like payment deadlines.
  • Another way is to create a quick monthly e-newsletter documenting the most up-to-date information.
  • You should expect people to reach out with questions and/or feedback.
  • Remember older relatives who may not be tech-savvy, so put somebody in charge of keeping them in the loop on all the details if you use this method.
  • Before the cruise, give everyone the planned itinerary, plus a list of stateroom numbers, so that the family can easily stay in touch aboard the ship.

Keep Everyone’s Wallets in Mind

Cruises are affordable since they include a lot, but budgets MAY vary, and usually do.

Keep the following items in mind for budget:

  • Included: accommodations, meals, port-to-port transportation, & most shipboard entertainment and activities
  • Various room types cost different amounts
  • Beverage packages
  • Specialty dining
  • Excursions/tours
  • Photos, shopping, etc.
  • Transportation to get to the cruise: The further away the cruise departure port, the more expense there will be to get there & hotel the night before.

Choose the Date & Length

Celebrity Millennium ship exterior
Celebrity Millennium Courtesy Celebrity Cruises

Considerations for your Cruise Length & Date

A few things in family life to consider would be:

  • Kids, school, & jobs with a seasonal demand – what dates can everyone travel?
  • Poll everyone to see how long they’d like to go. Usually, 7+ day cruises are on larger ships which equals more activities onboard.
  • You might see more people going if it’s shorter however.

Pick a Port to Depart From

The Port of Departure has a huge impact.

Here are some things to consider for the departure port:

  • Does the budget mean you should be within driving distance?
  • Are they beach lovers or culture fans? Do they prefer island or city hopping?
  • Do they want to see a particular destination? Destinations are only available from certain departure ports.

Select a Cruise Ship With Family-Friendly Things

Bigger ships mean more Amenities on the Ship!

Floating Resorts (cruise ships) offer so much to do now:

  • Swimming pools
  • Fitness Centers
  • Spas
  • Casinos
  • Shopping
  • Libraries
  • Bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment venues
  • Kids Clubs
  • Cooking demos
  • Fitness classes
  • Wine-Tastings
  • Guest lectures
  • Dance lessons

Book Your Staterooms

Choose with Several things in mind

Things to consider when selecting staterooms is:

  • Preference: interior, window, balcony, or a suite
  • Does anyone need connected rooms?
  • Higher than 4 to a room you should book particularly early
  • Budget of course
  • Location on the ship – front back or middle, plus which floor and what amenities would you like to be near?

Whatever your family can afford, wants to do, with enough time and planning it can usually be accomplished!

Ready to plan your family reunion cruise?

If so, Easy Breezy Journeys is here to make it easy for you! Just click HERE to answer a few quick questions and we’ll get started!

Family looking at Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

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