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JenniferHT

Best European Cruise for a MultiGeneration Group

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I'm starting to research cruise options for Europe and need advice on which cruise & cruise line might be best for a 12 person group of that spans from ages 9 - 75.  Fairly active group with no walkers/wheelchairs to consider, if that makes any difference.  Trip would probably be in the summer (late June - early August).

 

TIA!

 

 

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The route matters more than the ship, and the time in port is probably second to route. As to cruise line, there is no one cruise line that is going to absolutely meet everyone's needs, but as an European cruise is really about the ports, and potentially long touring days in ports, the ship or cruise line is fairly low priority.

 

What interests does the group have? Serious history...The Med comes to mind, and the Eastern Med to be specific. 

 

Mixture of culture and history? That probably more aligns with the Baltic.

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My suggestion is a Norwegian Fjord Cruise - if you choose a cruise including Flåm, Geiranger or Olden you can enjoy the scenic sailing from the ship - as well as scenic tours in ports. 
If visiting Lofoten, Tromsø or Honningsvåg you can enjoy the midnight sun in June and a July. 
I did a family cruise including my 94 year old mother in law.

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We went on a Baltic Cruise last May and just like your group, we had a mix of children, adults and seniors in the group. We had varying interests but we were able to find activities and sites to visit that cater to our diverse group. Everyone enjoyed the cruise as well as the different shore excursions we did. There's something for everyone and I think your group will enjoy cruising and touring the Baltic as well. 

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While a Baltic cruise is a good choice, you really cannot rule out a trip around Italy or parts of the Med either.  Another option would be a river cruise.  They carry bikes for those that want to ride in each port, and there are tours and you can do self-walking tours in most places.  Depending on the number of younger people, the bike availability on a river cruise might be of interest.

 

On a regular cruise, with such a large group, you could easily do two different tours in each or many of the ports.   I would strongly suggest that you do private tours as the younger members of the group will most likely get tired of bus tours that go no faster than the slowest member of the tour group.  You can find many private tour options in most of the ports around Europe, and there will be some more adventurous and some less.  Go on the Ports of Call section and look at some different port groupings and see what there is to do.

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Last summer we did a cruise with 8 persons our family, age 1 to 78 . We did a Med ruise to/from Rome on Jewel of the seas RCCL . You can spend a few days in Rome before or after the cruise if wanted.

We had just 1 seaday and stops in Cartagena, Spain, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Ajaccio on Corsica France and Portofino, Italy.

All stops were very interesting, sometimes ahore we just split into different activities. We met before dinner again and there was a to to talk about.

On board were a.o. midget golf, climbing, tabletennis etc. 

I can honestly say each and every one enjoyed it very much!

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For a group of 12 with that age range, I recommend Royal Caribbean.  It's a great cruise line with something for everyone, and great entertainment.  I also recommend looking at Princess.

 

One side note.  I totally disagree with posts that say the cruise line does not matter in Europe.  You're on that ship every day, eating meals, going to shows, taking part in activities, etc.  A good way to ruin your trip is picking the wrong cruise line for your likes.  

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All about the ports ports ports, with such a large group be assured it will result in many different opinions of what is best.   I'd likely not put a European based line as a top consideration, but any large American line IMHO is the most important.   Don't matter how great the meal on the ship is, if the port's are memorable it'll all be a waste, who cares about on board if you don't get Rome for example 🙂

 

Make a list then see what people's desire is if you are doing it democratically.    I planned such a cruise for  5-75 year range across four families a few years ago, in the end I took everyone's input then weight them and then it was pure analysis paralysis, LOL. 

 

Let me remind you once you get the port/cruise decided, good luck with the tours and port planning, that will be even more fun.

 

 

Edited by chipmaster

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19 hours ago, Aquahound said:

I totally disagree with posts that say the cruise line does not matter in Europe.

Very true  - some cruise lines are also ‘very Italian’ like MSC and Costa -  choose an ‘American cruise line’. 

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On 11/15/2019 at 2:55 PM, JenniferHT said:

I'm starting to research cruise options for Europe and need advice on which cruise & cruise line might be best for a 12 person group of that spans from ages 9 - 75.  Fairly active group with no walkers/wheelchairs to consider, if that makes any difference.  Trip would probably be in the summer (late June - early August).

 

TIA!

 

 

 

Since you don't say where you are from, an "American" cruise line may not matter as much to you.  It is easy to assume we are all from the US, but that may not be your case.

 

I haven't had the pleasure to travel to Europe yet, but have heard the Med can get extremely warm during certain parts of the year.  From my perspective that would be when you are looking to travel, but it might be different there.

 

While I'm sure France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc are all amazing ports, I think of them more for history and food.  You know your family, but I'm not sure how great the ports would be for the younger end of the group.  Since everyone is active (healthy) I'm assuming cobblestones/uneven terrain wouldn't be an issue.

 

I would lean more towards a Baltic cruise or something with Fjords.  I think nature would hold more interest than the art or history, while still having opportunity for active excursions.  Weather should be mild then too.  The area might appeal to some in the group too from an entertainment/history aspect with Hans Christian Andersen (Little Mermaid, et al) and Thor/Vikings.

 

I think of most European cruises as being port intensive, so I wouldn't worry much about ship entertainment/bells and whistles since you might be too tired to enjoy much.  I would look at deck plans and overall atmosphere of the ship: does the ship flow well, or does it have choke points and weird layouts that can cause added hassle getting from here to there; are families encouraged to be together, or are children to be relegated to the kids clubs rather than enjoying all the ship has to offer (assuming you all like each other's company).  You will likely all want some space/time apart, but most ships should have spots for this without necessarily needing the extreme "amusement parks" of some ships. 

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I also suggest the Med. Starting from Barcelona, Nice, Malta, a lot of Greek ports and maybe Kusadasi in Turkey. I will always recommend a Mediterranean cruise over any other in Europe. Baltic itinerary is awesome too, but I think kids will love these ports,especially when you can get to some beaches too. The time of the year you chose is great too!

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Do you have an unlimited budget, or do you have to watch costs?

Does everyone already have a passport? Are there any citizenship/visa issues, with anyone in the group?

 

Edited by Dancer Bob

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A group of 12 presents some challenges if you intend on staying together in ports.  You might start off by deciding the ports of greatest interest and then look at the various ships that call at a majority of those ports.   The cruise line/ship is less important if you ultimately plan on a port intensive cruise with few (or none) sea days.   As to the large group you must consider that a lot of the private tour options often involve vans that hold fewer then 12 persons.  So, if you want to book some private tours, you need to be plan well in advance and make arrangements with tour providers who are able to provide a vehicle that can hold your entire party.  Also give consideration to the fact that many European ports are quite a distance from where folks want to go.  For example, the Port for Rome is about 1:30 from Rome.  Florence is over an hour from the nearest port (Livorno) and Paris is more then 2 hours from Le Havre.

 

You might also want to consider spending some pre and/or post cruise days in Europe.  There are many advantages to actually staying in Europe and a pre-cruise visit does take away most of the stress from worrying about delayed flights, lost luggage, etc.  And a few days in Europe assures that you will be over any "jet lag" problems before embarkation.

 

Hank

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The time you are considering is VERY hot in the Med. The weather in the Baltic will be much cooler. If anyone, especially your youngest and oldest group members is sensitive to heat, you might want to consider that. Also, with the notable exception of Berlin, many of the most exciting places to visit are close to the port in the Baltic. A smaller ship would be advisable if Stockholm is important to you, it's quite a way from Nynashamn, where the bigger ships tend to dock.

 

I agree with those recommending private tours. This also gives the group a chance to split up during the day, doing what interests each person most, then coming together at dinner to talk about it. Companies such as With Locals, Tours By Locals, Cruise Ship Excursions Group, AirBnB Experiences, etc. will all have the ability to accommodate varied interests and get you back to the ship on time. 

 

One of the great things about cruising as a group vacation is that you can be together without having to be together 24/7 I have really enjoyed cruising with family and friend groups of 9-30 and enjoying our time apart and together, hearing about each other's experiences. 

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