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Tips for Cruising with Friends


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I searched for this and didn't see any posts that really answered my question, so I hope some fellow CC members can give suggestions.  My DH and I have always cruised by ourselves.  We enjoy meeting new people and doing our own thing.  We invited two couples who are dear friends to cruise with us next year on the Celebrity Equinox.  We have all booked Aqua class rooms - which takes care of dining whew!  But do any of you have any tips for traveling with other couples - fun things to book, ways to ensure some alone time as well as group time?  

 

TIA

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Posted (edited)

I’ve cruise with friends (anywhere from 6 to 43 of us!!) several times. The main 2 “rules” we had were to be together at sail away and to dine together in the evening. Beyond that, no one was obligated to be with the rest of the group. But we all did try to keep the others informed of our plans and would often split apart for various activities that were of interest to some but not others.

 

Sometimes we took excursions together and sometimes not. There were occasions when some decided to dine in a specialty restaurant without the rest of the group but it was always encouraged to inform the group of this so the rest weren’t waiting for the AWOL. Having dinner together was a great way to catch up on the day’s activities when we weren’t together or relive the events of the day when we did things as a group.

 

(NBliving: I live about an hour north of you…depending on the Austin traffic!!)

Edited by gotta cruise again
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Very good advice from Gotta Cruise Again. Just keep it loose, hopefully everyone will play nice and catching up at dinner is a lot of fun. You feel like you are enjoying so much more, living through your friends experiences.

Have a great trip!

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47 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Sounds like a question to ask the friends with whom you are cruising.

As a matter of fact, we have talked about it. I’m asking here because I thought some seasoned cruisers may have some tips or suggestions. 

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48 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Sounds like a question to ask the friends with whom you are cruising.

Exactly this...make sure that everyone is on the same page. Do you want to always do everything together? How much time (on ship and ashore) do you want for just you and how much time for the group? We've traveled with others and flexibility is key, they decided at the last minute to do something else, even though agreement had been reached beforehand.

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Thank you @gotta cruise again great advice.  Your experience is what I’m hoping we experience! One couple has never cruised before so I’m glad you pointed out the sail away. 

I bet we’ve sat in the same Austin traffic before. We love to go up there to eat when we can. 

 

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One time for sail away, we purchased a bottle of bubbly and got a lido deck bar to give us a plastic bucket full of ice to keep the bottle cold. We then could tool around all over the top deck, toasting the vacay all along the way!!

 

If on a Grand class ship with your newbies, be sure to take them to the area on top of the bridge as part of your sail away!! They will love you forever for that experience (and if anyone has long hair, have them bring something to hold their hair back-lol) Don’t tell the group where you’re going, just go and either joy on their faces!!

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21 minutes ago, NBliving said:

As a matter of fact, we have talked about it. I’m asking here because I thought some seasoned cruisers may have some tips or suggestions. 

We’ve cruised with neighbor friends. But, it was only on a short 7 day coastal California cruise. We talked ahead and agreed to do several dinners together and one tour of mutual interest. They had other friends (from LA) onboard and we all did Trivia and O Club events together. It was a good combo of alone and together time.

 

That said, however, I can count on one hand the number of folks I’d want to cruise with for a month +\-. And I know I wouldn’t be on others’ “short list!”

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Separation.  Don't book cabins next to one another or where you can easily see/hear one another from your balconies.  As good of friends as you might be, it's best to preserve your cabin/balcony time as your alone time.  

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We've done one cruise with family, our mom, hubby and me, brother and his wife and daughter.  One cruise with 4 other couples.  Both those were a week.  We also did a 2 week Hawaiian cruise with another couple.

 

Best advice I'd second is talk it out beforehand like you did.  We did the "we'll meet for dinner" as a minimum.  We had planned excursions we all wanted to take, not everyone went on all of them.  It was surprising how often we run into each other throughout the day.

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2 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

Separation.  Don't book cabins next to one another or where you can easily see/hear one another from your balconies.  As good of friends as you might be, it's best to preserve your cabin/balcony time as your alone time.  

Good Advice from Aquahound!

Over the years of sometimes traveling with friends we've found it's good to have a bit  of time alone.   

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@NBliving - this is coming up for me as well next year.  My SO invited a couple to come with us next year on our first cruise back from the COVID break.  Assuming the cruise goes forward, I am hoping we don't become "baby sitters" as this will be their first cruise.

 

My own goal is to adhere to the dinners together rule and for everything else just keep it loose.  My expectation is that we'll end up doing more together than I want on port days.  Fortunately this cruise is in the Caribbean so it will be pretty relaxing for me regardless and I really don't care about the ports too much.

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We usually travel as a couple but have done family cruises with D, Gd and SIL,  S and GF, and D’s FIL. For us , we chose to commit to evening meals together . We had cabins next door to each other with balcony doors open. we discussed what we might be planning to do and said roughly what we might do and where we might be. We were flexible with plans and different groups did different things together such as some staying on board and others going ashore..not necessarily in family groups, just depending on who fancied doing what.

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You have already been given lots of good advice above.

You also said you have talked about "it."

I would say to not only talk about it, but to also agree on the "rules" of the trip.

Have every dinner together every night, or not.  Like mentioned by someone above one or the other might decide they would like to try a specialty restaurant.

Do excursions together or not.  We have traveled with others and have never done all of the excursions together.  There are usually different interest.  Nothing wrong with going different directions on excursions.

 

Again, agreeing before boarding might save any hurt feelings later on.  It should not be up to any one person to make all the decisions..  It is everyone's vacation.  Be flexiable. 

 

Stan

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Last time we cruised with friends, we all agreed ahead of time that we should take some alone time since we are all busy couples and it's always nice to reconnect with your partner. Well they pretty much hung with us everywhere. Luckily they were on a different part of the ship, so that helped.

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Probably best to not over-plan —- like prebooking tours, etc.  Get together for dinner each evening, and go with the flow,  it is likely that different interests will result in different activities. If more than just one other couple, it is virtually certain that folks will want to go their own way from time to time.

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1 hour ago, SelectSys said:

@NBliving - this is coming up for me as well next year.  My SO invited a couple to come with us next year on our first cruise back from the COVID break.  Assuming the cruise goes forward, I am hoping we don't become "baby sitters" as this will be their first cruise.

 

My own goal is to adhere to the dinners together rule and for everything else just keep it loose.  My expectation is that we'll end up doing more together than I want on port days.  Fortunately this cruise is in the Caribbean so it will be pretty relaxing for me regardless and I really don't care about the ports too much.


We have a couple family members that we can no longer cruise with because they insisted staying joined at our hip 24/7!!   We tried and tried to get them to branch out and do things on their own but they wouldn’t.  Heck we even tried sneaking away several times to get a few minutes of peace, but somehow they always found us.  I swear they must have implanted a tracking device on us when we didn’t know it…..😂😂😂

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We have only cruised as a couple and will probably continue with that. If we should cruise with more family or friends I should probably prefer to eat lunch instead of dinner together.

 

The person we spend most time with at home is my wifes sister and if she should decide to join us on a cruise she could be with us as much as she wanted.  

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Posted (edited)

I sail with family quite often.  We set up a spreadsheet before the cruise so people can plan joint shore excursions and other activities.   It is particularly nice for booking private shore excursions.  This prevents having to meet up to discuss plans.   We are the quieter ones so we always book our room on another floor or down the hall.   We do share dinners and  occasionally breakfast.   I think the key is not to expect to be with each other in every port.  
 

I have learned that when I want to get away to simply excuse myself for the restroom and never come back😉

Edited by Mary229
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3 hours ago, NBliving said:

We invited two couples who are dear friends to cruise with us next year on the Celebrity Equinox.

I would not call it an invitation if they paid for their own cruises. Book open seating, if you all want to eat together, eat together.

 

I would never ask anyone to book the same cruise I am on. Put that in bold type if kids are involved. My sister thought a cruise I'd booked sounded so good that she asked if she and a cousin could book it, too. We ended up doing a number of things together, but made no plans to do so in advance, never had to tell them that it was me time.

 

I love Mrs. whogo dearly, but it would drive me crazy to be with her twenty-four hours per day. Joined to another couple by the hip? No way.

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2 hours ago, travelingman said:

Like mentioned by someone above one or the other might decide they would like to try a specialty restaurant.

Anything that involves extra money should be optional - specialty dining, shore excursions , etc

 

1 hour ago, navybankerteacher said:

virtually certain that folks will want to go their own way from time to time

one would hope so, but it isn't a certainty.

 

1 hour ago, sverigecruiser said:

The person we spend most time with at home is my wifes sister and if she should decide to join us on a cruise she could be with us as much as she wanted

Like with most things, the specific people you are traveling with will determine how much you want to be with them on board. 

 

1 hour ago, whogo said:

Put that in bold type if kids are involved.

It really depends on what your situation might be.  If you had similar aged kids it might work out well.

 

1 hour ago, Mary229 said:

We set up a spreadsheet before the cruise so people can plan joint shore excursions and other activities.

Yikes, but probably necessary when organizing a big group.  

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Posted (edited)

Talk prior about shore excursions, dinner times and restaurants, entertainment likes, etc.  If some things need to be prebooked, go ahead and plan in advance.

 

The idea of not having adjacent cabins and balconies can work well with friends, maybe not so much with families & kids.  You don't have to do everything together, and you don't have to avoid each other.  Balance and sensitivity are good qualities.

 

We usually book a few specialty restaurants together and dine in the MDR at the same table with linked reservations.  We've had to compromise at times, so have our traveling friends.  It's never all or nothing.  But sometimes doing an excursion or activity for the 1st time because the others recommend it can be rewarding.  Just don't do something you are totally opposed to just to go along.  Explain why and be firm (Perhaps something like "I get panic attacks snorkeling with sharks" or whatever).

 

Explain, actively listen, compromise and stand your ground when necessary, avoid people pleasing, secret plans, doing everything or nothing  together.  {In other words, have adult conversations..}

Edited by evandbob
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Our very first cruise was to the Med with friends who asked to join us. I had planned private guides in most of the ports, and the friends came on all tours, as well as other people from the roll call.

The 4 of us had some dinners together, and not others...after a day together, it was nice to meet and chat with other people, or be by ourselves.

We remain great friends!

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We often sail with groups of friends or family. Our rule is simple: Dinner is a group activity. Everything else is not. People share their agenda and if other want to tag along, great. If not, see you at dinner. 
 

Trying to coordinate plans for port or a sea day or after dinner ... that’s a path that leads to trouble. 

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