How to cruise with another couple?

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#1
Georgia
1,895 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
I checked on the Family Cruising board to see if there were any threads on this topic, but that board seems mostly oriented to families with children.

I would like to hear from folks who have cruised with one or two other couples (no children.) My husband and I are considering a cruise with my sister and her husband. We all like each other and get along well, but DH and I have never before cruise with anyone, and we wonder about the logistics. DH and I have cruised so far to have romantic get-aways, but have also felt that it might be fun to have some company, as this cruise would provide.

For those of you who have cruised with one or maybe two other couples (relatives or friends), how did you work out things like meeting up, how much time to spend together, cabin choices (proximity or no? adjoining or no?), planning excursions, fixed or anytime dining, communicating with each other, etc.?

I am not even sure what questions to ask, so I will let ya'll fire away with any insight you may think would help us.

The only thing I know at this point is that it sounds like my sister and her husband would not be going on the same sorts of excursions, generally, as DH and I would be -- they seem to have different interests than ours in most ports.

I want to figure out how to spend enough time together without spending too much time together! Needless to say, I want all of our relationships to be as good or better after the cruise than before!
#2
170 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by SeagoingMom
I checked on the Family Cruising board to see if there were any threads on this topic, but that board seems mostly oriented to families with children.

I would like to hear from folks who have cruised with one or two other couples (no children.) My husband and I are considering a cruise with my sister and her husband. We all like each other and get along well, but DH and I have never before cruise with anyone, and we wonder about the logistics. DH and I have cruised so far to have romantic get-aways, but have also felt that it might be fun to have some company, as this cruise would provide.

For those of you who have cruised with one or maybe two other couples (relatives or friends), how did you work out things like meeting up, how much time to spend together, cabin choices (proximity or no? adjoining or no?), planning excursions, fixed or anytime dining, communicating with each other, etc.?

I am not even sure what questions to ask, so I will let ya'll fire away with any insight you may think would help us.

The only thing I know at this point is that it sounds like my sister and her husband would not be going on the same sorts of excursions, generally, as DH and I would be -- they seem to have different interests than ours in most ports.

I want to figure out how to spend enough time together without spending too much time together! Needless to say, I want all of our relationships to be as good or better after the cruise than before!
Hi - we went on a cruise with my mother, brother and SIL (and their daughter) two years ago. And are planning to cruise in August with 4 other couples.

Our 'rule' is that we meet up at dinner, so we have fixed dining. Otherwise, we are all on our own. We choose shore excursions and have some we all want, some only a few do. We know we'll probably run into each other, and make plans during the day, but it's up to each of us.

My best advice is to talk it out ahead of time.

We don't have any adjoining cabins, and we all did guarantees since we didn't care how close we were to each other.
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#3
Alabama
166 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
I have not specifically been on a cruise with others, but have done family and vacations with groups.

Generally, I suggest that you set up one time per day that you know you will want to be together, such as dinner, lunch, cocktail hour, swim time, show time, or whatever you all agree upon. Trying to spend all your time together can be a bit suffocating, and you don't want that on a cruise. If you want to change that around and be flexible from one day to the next, sure go ahead.

I wouldn't necessarily want to be in adjoining cabins, but that depends upon how close you are to each other.
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#4
Edmonton
2,043 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
We have cruised with other couples on more than one occasion. The only hard and fast time we had together was dinner. We didn't all do the same excursions although some were together. For sea days we did some planning at dinner the night before. The girls decided on a spa day, the guys got together in the sports bar for beer. It was all very informal. Some days the only time we saw the others was at dinner and afterwards for a dance or a drink. For us the less structured approach worked well. If you have seen the episode of Duck Dynesty where the family all went to Hawaii together you get a good example of how too much structure doesn't necessarily work out well. Actually just watched a re run of it last night and still laughed.
#5
Loveland, Colorado
1,551 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Our first cruise was with a couple and the DW was a coworker of my DW. It was a very nice cruise but we tried to do too much together. As couples, we have different likes and dislikes and it made for situations where someone felt put upon or was joining in when no desire was there. We have since vacationed with this couple and as we spend more together we have realized we can do everything we want without being attached to the hip. We are then able to report in and hear about each other's day with interest.

Every port has something different so I would recommend being flexible enought to be able to split up when you have different desires in activities, and even meals.
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#6
NJ
7,255 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
We cruise & do other vacations with groups of friends all the time. The secret is to set expectations in advance. Do you expect that everyone will do everything together all the time? Then make that known.

Our preference is that we expect to travel to & from the port together. We also expect that every night everyone will meet at a designated bar for happy hour. Sometimes from there we all go to dinner together, but sometimes we don't. If we're celebrating something special on board we pick the date in advance for the speciality restaurant.

We discuss in advance what excursions people want to do at various ports. Sometimes we do stuff together, but more often than not, we don't.
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#7
SoCal
9,014 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by LH25
Hi - we went on a cruise with my mother, brother and SIL (and their daughter) two years ago. And are planning to cruise in August with 4 other couples.

Our 'rule' is that we meet up at dinner, so we have fixed dining. Otherwise, we are all on our own. We choose shore excursions and have some we all want, some only a few do. We know we'll probably run into each other, and make plans during the day, but it's up to each of us.

My best advice is to talk it out ahead of time.

We don't have any adjoining cabins, and we all did guarantees since we didn't care how close we were to each other.

This is how we've done it, also. We linked for dinner. And we all just planned our own daily stuff. Occasionally, we'd be doing the same things as the others, sometimes not.
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#8
North Carolina Coast!, USA
5,733 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
We have one rule we ALWAYS stick to when we cruise with friends. We cruise every year with a couple we meet on Princess is 2006 and we have done 4 B2Bs with them plus 7 day cruises. During the day we all do our own things. If they are the same things great, if not we talk about our day at dinner. We always tell each other what we plan for the next day and where we'll be sitting during the day, at sea or when we get back. We consider them our 'cruise buddies'. (They live in Flint, MI and we live on the NC coast. Three times they have driven to our house then we go to the cruise together. They have also flown or driven to the port.)Just have everyone do their own thing for a happy cruise.
(A neighbor cruised with her church and hated it because she was asked, more than once, "Why didn't you come with us?"!)
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#9
Kingston ON
6,170 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by Bonnie J.
We cruise every year with a couple we meet on Princess is 2006
Something about them NC people... we also cruise every year with a couple from NC whom we also met on Princess in 2006 (good year). We either fly in together (thru CLT), or meet up the night before for dinner and drinks, and stay at the same hotel pre cruise.

Only one rule with us - no rules. We come and go with or without each other, normally meet for pre-dinner drinks, and most often - but not always - dine together. Have become, and stayed, very close friends this way.
#10
Fredericksburg, va. USA
80,379 Posts
Joined May 2001
Yes...you must allow everyone to go their own way and do their own thing.....you'll find you'll "meet up" when it's convenient....and having dinner together is always nice, but not needed EVERY night, if some of you have other plans!
#11
Las Vegas
10,371 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by LH25
Hi - we went on a cruise with my mother, brother and SIL (and their daughter) two years ago. And are planning to cruise in August with 4 other couples.

Our 'rule' is that we meet up at dinner, so we have fixed dining. Otherwise, we are all on our own. We choose shore excursions and have some we all want, some only a few do. We know we'll probably run into each other, and make plans during the day, but it's up to each of us.

My best advice is to talk it out ahead of time.

We don't have any adjoining cabins, and we all did guarantees since we didn't care how close we were to each other.
I would not even make the "meet at dinner" rule a hard and fast rule. Most of the time we do that but sometimes we want to eat at a different time or sometimes somebody wants to do the extra cost dining.

As suggested, talk it out ahead of time and don't be together all the time.

DON
#12
GTA, Ontario, Canada
32,502 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We did a river cruise with another couple the cabins were close but not next door
Set the ground rules ...we said do your own thing & we will meet up for dinner
if we happen to see you at the same time for breakfast OK
do not plan too much together time
We like to do our own thing in a lot of ports they like to be held by the hand for tours
Just know your own touring style & make it clear that you are not expecting to spend every waking hour with them
#13
Michigan
1,178 Posts
Joined Feb 2000
We have been cruising with a couple from Texas we are from Michigan, we met on CC. The first cruise we did different things and ate together sometimes. After that we now do everything together! In fact we just did a Vegas trip together. I think it is different if you are not family and only get to see each other once a year like we do. Just go with the flow and have fun!
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#14
Georgia
1,895 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Thank you all so much for your insight -- you all seem to have a common view. I did not expect that -- I thought every poster's response would be different! Very interesting, and very informative!

I definitely want to discuss expectations with my sister and BIL. I have a feeling their expectations (well, primarily those of my sister) about how often we four would be together on board will be higher than what most of you describe. Somehow I think that if we simply expected to "meet up" in a random way (except for dinner), our cruise together would not be much different than any other cruise DH and I have been on, where we might accidentally meet up on board ship with someone we had met at dinner or on an excursion. And I am not sure that that is exactly what my sister has in mind if we cruise together. So I think we will set up a few more "dates" (times and places to meet up) than it seems most of you think is probably ideal. This might be a good thing, as I doubt we would do many excursions together. But as many of you have said, I don't want us to try to stick too closely together!

I will take under advisement your expertise, and that of others who may post. This is why I asked those of you who are experienced -- to get some perspective on what you feel has worked, and consider what ideas to bring up when I discuss with my sister. She's not on CC, so I know she won't be soliciting others' opinions.
#15
Ontario, CA (The one WITH the Palm Trees!)
20,993 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
We travel with a group that ranges from 10-24 people for the past 6 years. We have set time dining, otherwise everyone is on their own. We usually end up at the same places but no one is 'forced' to do anything.
#16
Arizona
340 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Last year went on a cruise with SIL and BIL. Their first cruise. We met in the morning went over the plan of the day. There were times we met during the day, tea time, trivia, etc. and we always ate dinner in the MDR together. Excursions, some together and some apart. It was very enjoyable and we are planning another cruise with them this September. I imagine because this will be their second cruise they will be more on their own and we won’t have to do the plan of the day meeting.

We also cruise often with our good friends and we like to have adjoining cabins, that way when we are up and about, we rap on the wall, they rap back and we get our day started. Love to go “night clubbing” each evening and have so much fun together. They like the beach and sun, we like touring so we each do our own thing in ports.

Cruised with 3 other couples once and we only met up at dinner for conversation. Everyone went their own way. One couple hit everything on the plan of day. We were glad we weren’t involved…lol
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#18
California
3,332 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
We have cruised with friends and family. Have a talk with everyone - about what you all expect. Get things settled before you cruise. When we went with SIL and her husband - we let them know they needed to do some research as to things they really wanted to do. Since we are the cruisers we made suggestions as to excursions and the specialty restaurants we wanted to do. Our cabins were really far apart - I had booked guarantees and asked not to be in adjoining cabins.

We did dinner together every night. Happy hour drinks did not work as a meeting time as we did our HH drinking for free in the Diamond or Concierge Lounge (a Royal Caribbean perk for past passengers with enough points. We did a couple of the ports together - it worked out very well getting a lot settled before we left for the cruise.
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#19
Maryland's Eastern Shore
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Joined Mar 2007
We cruise mostly just the two of us.
However, we did take one cruise with my daughter and her boyfriend.
We had agreed to dinner together every night. We also scheduled one excursion together which ended up being cancelled.
No other plans together when we boarded. We ran into each other all of the time. Even ended up on the tender at Half Moon Cay. So, we spent a lot more time together than planned but we were not joined at the hip. Had a wonderful cruise.
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