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Have You Planned A Family Reunion Cruise?


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I am really doubtful that we can make it work, but my cousins from California to Arizona to Texas to Mississippi to a couple of other countries have started talking about trying to cruise together.  I do NOT want to coordinate getting cabins & pricing, etc. for everyone, but I’m not opposed to picking a couple of dates & ships to toss out as options.  (Leaning toward NCL or Carnival, and, probably, leaving from Galveston, New Orleans or Port Canaveral.)

 

For those who have put together a large family group cruise, can you privately message me, if you loved the cruise line & rep that you worked with?  Please and thank you.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, MississippiMom said:

I am really doubtful that we can make it work, but my cousins from California to Arizona to Texas to Mississippi to a couple of other countries have started talking about trying to cruise together.  I do NOT want to coordinate getting cabins & pricing, etc. for everyone, but I’m not opposed to picking a couple of dates & ships to toss out as options.  (Leaning toward NCL or Carnival, and, probably, leaving from Galveston, New Orleans or Port Canaveral.)

 

For those who have put together a large family group cruise, can you privately message me, if you loved the cruise line & rep that you worked with?  Please and thank you.

 

 

I recommend you connect with a TA and ask them to do the planning (it's their job). It will not only put less stress on you, but it will also save you time and money. Group rates (booking multiple cabins), as well as booking with a travel agent with a discount, will often come with a discount. If you were to cruise out of any port, New Orleans will be your best bet. With both Galveston and Port Canaveral transportation is limited, and you have to travel upwards of 50 miles roundtrip which adds up. MSY and New Orleans are within close range and have beautiful hotels in the city!  

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1 hour ago, nascarcruiser said:

Or just have everyone agree on a date, itinerary, and cruise line and then they are responsible for their own booking and travel plans

 

So agree with the above ... by far  the easiest way!  :classic_wink:

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We didn't have a huge group (just grandmothers, parents and grandchildren) but the most helpful thing for me was to plan out the exact private excursions I wanted to take.  Then I printed out the cruise ship's excursions and told my mom she was welcome to join us, or go by herself with the cruise ship (she wouldn't take a private excursion without me).  Most of the excursions we took together, but when I wanted to do something kid friendly that would interfere with sightseeing she wanted to do, we'd split for that individual excursion and meet back up at dinner.  That might be easier than trying to get everyone to agree on what to see.

 

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19 hours ago, nascarcruiser said:

Or just have everyone agree on a date, itinerary, and cruise line and then they are responsible for their own booking and travel plans

This is much more my speed.  I’m happy to help my parents figure their travel situation out, but that’s as helpful as I really want to be.

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10 hours ago, kitkat343 said:

We didn't have a huge group (just grandmothers, parents and grandchildren) but the most helpful thing for me was to plan out the exact private excursions I wanted to take.  Then I printed out the cruise ship's excursions and told my mom she was welcome to join us, or go by herself with the cruise ship (she wouldn't take a private excursion without me).  Most of the excursions we took together, but when I wanted to do something kid friendly that would interfere with sightseeing she wanted to do, we'd split for that individual excursion and meet back up at dinner.  That might be easier than trying to get everyone to agree on what to see.

 

Great idea about the excursions!  We haven’t  gotten far enough in the discussion to even think about what happens on port days. 

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You can call the cruise lines directly and they have groups department just for this reason.

 

We are doing a family cruise in 2 weeks in the NCL Escape and we just hooked up with a group PCC and she helps us with anything we need.

 

You only need 5 cabins and you get a 2 perks even if you only book and inside cabin for the same rate any TA can get you..

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  • 5 weeks later...

     We are doing our 2nd family cruise in 27 days.  We, like you, are from various spots around the US.  We began by narrowing down the best time to go and where to leave from.  Each person/family group books their own and takes care of their own arrangements.  We do try to get the same dining time and have the ability to sit together- the cruise can help arrange that. Some prefer not to do the MDR every night and that is ok too.  We communicate our shore excursions and sometimes book together but everyone is free to do their own thing.  We generally let each other know what each other is doing (both on the ship and off) but don't expect everyone to do the same thing.

     On our last cruise, I arranged a private tour for the entire group in one port.  This time, I announced what I was doing in a specific port and most (14 out of 18) chose to participate.  

    Just try not to overplan for everyone and enjoy your cruise!!

     

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18 hours ago, sandj.1850 said:

 

    Just try not to overplan for everyone and enjoy your cruise!!

     

This is our approach.  We love cruises when traveling with extended family (our next cruise is later this month) because we make it a point to eat dinner together but other than that everyone is able to enjoy events, activities, and excursions at their own speed.  We inevitably end up doing more than just dinner but it's nice that there isn't an expectation for more.

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I have done this once.

The planning portion was surprisingly simple(didn't use a TA, just booked all the cabins online, everyone was responsible for their own transportation to the departure city.)

What was a stressful mess was coordinating activities on the ship. 

So much so that a few of us weren't speaking by the end 😞

 

Now when we cruise, I will offer to set up cabins and such but once onboard I tell everyone my cabin #, excursion plans, and say where they may find me, and that is it. Don't even do a group dinner table. If they wish to come along, fine. But my days of keeping track of everyone and waiting on all the late and confused folks are over. 

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You have to decide which matters most ease or saving money.

 

Easiest: Pick a cruise. Let others know what cruise you are taking, let them decide if they want to join you or not, each family makes own arrangements.

 

$$$:  Either thru a TA or line itself, use your size to get a group discount or extra OBCs.  Also decide if you are looking to get everyone a discount or just yourself.  (sometimes you can get a free cabin as a group leader if you meet a threshold of getting others to book cabins).   

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On 7/13/2019 at 10:12 AM, ed01106 said:

You have to decide which matters most ease or saving money.

 

Easiest: Pick a cruise. Let others know what cruise you are taking, let them decide if they want to join you or not, each family makes own arrangements.

 

$$$:  Either thru a TA or line itself, use your size to get a group discount or extra OBCs.  Also decide if you are looking to get everyone a discount or just yourself.  (sometimes you can get a free cabin as a group leader if you meet a threshold of getting others to book cabins).   

 

I agree.  I put together a group on RC and the group rate is refundable and is significantly less than the regular rate.  Pick a ship and date and let the group department or TA handle the reservations.  Guests book directly with either.  You really don't need to be too involved in planning.  

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I'm marginally in charge of planning a family cruise for my mom's 70th (my mom, my family of 4 which includes a tween and a teen, my two sisters and their husbands with 2 nephews and a niece who will be 4,6, and 7). We're doing Alaska, which my family did 5 years ago, so I already had basic knowledge about the trip. We all agreed on the ship/sailing and I helped them figure out which rooms they might want. My sisters booked their own, I booked for my family and my mom.  I have a Google Doc (shared editing access for everyone) with info about everyone's cabin number, the itinerary etc. Our plan is to have dinner together the first night and maybe pick one other sea day meal (afternoon tea is likely). After that, we are on our own for meals, since it's hard to wrangle a group of 12 with ages from 4-70 to want to eat at the same time!  I'm also sharing our excursion plans, and they are welcome to join us if they like. There is one port where I think we will all do the same, the others will likely be different. Honestly, I think my two sisters and their families will spend the most time together, since the kids are similar in age. My mom will likely ping pong between us. We'll also likely bribe my tween and teen to host the little kids for a movie and room service night in our suite while the adults go to dinner (that way there's no call to fetch anyone from kids club. The littles love the bigs).

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Thanks for all of the suggestions.  After tossing around a variety of dates and ship options, it looks like we might have actually narrowed it down to one sailing that might work for most of our large family.  I feel a little bad that the date conflicts with two individuals, but neither one of them have ever been interested in cruising, and I think they would just complain the entire time on the ship.  (I'm thinking a blessing in disguise that they won't be there.)

 

We have discovered that a large wholesale club is willing to work with us on booking cabins.  If we get enough family interest, and enough cabins, then they will reach out to the cruise line to arrange it all as a group for us.  Nice!  I'm not the one with the club membership, so another relative will be getting all the emails and passing them on, as people book.  (Not complaining one single bit to be able to step out of that responsibility.)

 

As for excursions . . . Not exactly sure how that might work out, yet.

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I"m glad it's likely working out! If your family is tech-savvy enough, I recommend using something like Google Docs or a Google Sheet to organize excursions. You could even assign each port to a different person to research. Put in all the options, folks can comment if they are interested etc. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/31/2019 at 7:45 PM, newcruisefamily said:

I"m glad it's likely working out! If your family is tech-savvy enough, I recommend using something like Google Docs or a Google Sheet to organize excursions. You could even assign each port to a different person to research. Put in all the options, folks can comment if they are interested etc. 

This is a GREAT recommendation!  Thank you!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/1/2019 at 2:40 AM, MississippiMom said:

We have discovered that a large wholesale club is willing to work with us on booking cabins.  If we get enough family interest, and enough cabins, then they will reach out to the cruise line to arrange it all as a group for us.  Nice!  I'm not the one with the club membership, so another relative will be getting all the emails and passing them on, as people book.  (Not complaining one single bit to be able to step out of that responsibility.)

 

There should be a "Tour Conductor" credit going to the organizer in your family assuming your family meets the minimum berth threshold for the cruise line.  That should go to the organizer, not the wholesale club.

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On ‎5‎/‎27‎/‎2019 at 2:46 PM, MississippiMom said:

This is much more my speed.  I’m happy to help my parents figure their travel situation out, but that’s as helpful as I really want to be.

I think a TA is a great idea to coordinate all of this.  If you want everyone in close proximity and want someone to keep you all together as a "group" then I would definitely get a TA to help you.  
If the goal is just you all want to go on the same ship at the same time and you don't care if you are scattered across decks and running about, everyone could do it individually and then no-one would be accountable for tracking it.
Try talking to a TA to see what the details might be.  Maybe that's easy and maybe it's more trouble than its worth.

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  • 4 months later...

My family has done two large reunion cruises in the past 3 years on Royal Caribbean.  I was the main "planner" and we did not use a travel agent.  We leveraged the group reservations line.  I did a lot of research to narrow down the best cruise from a location perspective and got everyone to give me preferred dates.  You will never find a date, location and ship that satisfies everyone, but I got it down to three options and put it up for a vote.  One of the kids will have to miss school and do independent study or miss a sports game, but it has to be majority rules for it work. After I had a specific cruise in mind, I worked with group reservations to place a courtesy hold on a group of rooms that were fairly close together on the same floor.  Some families wanted balconies, some wanted outside cabins and one couple wanted the cheapest inside cabin we could find.   After I put all of the holds on the rooms that we wanted, I forwarded emails with the information to each individual family and they called in to book their room and provide their deposits.  I shared my families plans for flights, pre-cruise accommodations and ground transportation.  A number of us were leaving from the same airport and collaborated, but some of us just met at the port.  We always try to check in together, so we can leverage my emerald status and we can do a group photo and wear a group t-shirt for the picture.  Last cruise, we all wore exactly the same t-shirt and I heard some complaints about it being too-matching.   We have 18 people coming and the ages range from my stepdad who is 71 to my youngest son who is 16.  I found t-shirts here  https://www.customizedgirl.com/s/WestCoastDesignGroup that are customized and can be done is different t-shirt styles and colors.  I found something for each person's personality and ordered different colors, so we will look like we go together without being twins.  That is usually the biggest complaint that I receive from the teens and grandkids in their early twenties, but they love these shirts.  Feel free to copy my idea unless you are cruising the Anthem in April 2020.  😉

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Definitely get a date and ship what works for all...then let EVERYONE book their own stuff....not everyone wants the same kind of cabin.  Let everyone "do their own thing" onboard and in ports.  Very frustrating waiting for the slowpokes (and there are some in EVERY family)...

 

Let everyone be responsible for their own good time.

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