Last week I shared why you should plan a multigenerational cruise with your friends and family. Today I’m going to share some tips on how to organize this seemingly overwhelming task and still love your friends and family by the time you board the ship.
1. Use a Travel Agent with Group Cruising Experience
I am not just saying this because I am a travel agent. When we went on our first group cruise, I was not a travel agent. I used a travel agent with group experience and she made all the difference in the world. A travel agent’s service are FREE the destination/cruise line pays them for booking and servicing their clients. Travel Agents are trained to help get you the best deals and make sure all your needs are met. Most cruise lines will assign you one of their in-house travel agents for group travel anyway because it is too much for a lay person to handle. In my experience, you are better off choosing your own travel agent over the in-house ones. In-house travel agents care more about the bottom line and upselling you every chance they get. Personal travel agents want to make their guests happy and meet their every need.
2. Appoint a Group Leader
Choose 1 person from the group, someone who is organized and capable to be the group leader. They are the one in touch with the travel agent and doing the extra work of regularly communicating with the group. As a bonus, on most cruise lines if you book 16 berths (beds) and/or 8 staterooms you earn 1 free berth. So, the group leader could cruise for free if the group meets the cruise line’s requirements. bonus!
3. Start a Private Facebook Group
A private Facebook group is the easiest way for group members to communicate about the trip. Questions can be asked and answered, information can be shared, plans can be made and everything is in one central location. We also use this group to share photos after the cruise.
4. Set some Ground Rules
Our multigenerational cruise groups have 3 basic rules:
a) We eat dinner in the main dining room together each night. The exceptions for this are if you arrive back late from a shore excursion and don’t have time to dress for dinner, or if you are dining in the steakhouse with your spouse for a special evening.
b) At least one person in each stateroom with an iPhone gets the social media internet plan. This way we can communicate via iMessage. We send out messages like “Ron and I are going to play Sorry on deck 5 at 11am anyone want to join us?” or “We are eating lunch by the pizzaria we have room at our table if anyone wants to join us.”
c) We set aside time before dinner on one night to have a group photo taken. Unfortunately, on our last cruise 1 couple didn’t show up so they aren’t in our photo 🙁
Those are our “rules” This is a vacation, it’s YOUR vacation, you don’t want a bunch of rules to follow. Have fun, go your own way, meet up for dinner and share with everyone else about your adventures. Spend as much or as little time with the rest of the group as you would like.
5. Plan for the oldest and youngest in Your Multigenerational Cruise Group
Cruising with extended family is awesome. My kids loved to cruise when they were young, I couldn’t get them out of the kids camp to spend time with us! Make sure the kids get to plan some of the activities. Also, make sure parents with young kids get a break, and plan this in advance. Maybe mom and dad would love to go zip lining in St Thomas but 5yr old Tommy is too young. This is a great opportunity for grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends to step up and bless this couple by offering to either stay on board with Tommy or take him on an age appropriate shore excursion. Either way you are making memories.
Cruising with senior citizens who may also need some extra assistance is still fun, if it is planned. Maybe Grandpa uses a scooter and get tender off the ship in Grand Cayman but Grandma really wants to go to Sting Ray City with the teenage grandkids. Plan for someone to stay on the ship and do activities with Grandpa so he doesn’t feel left out.
I love going on multigenerational cruises with our friends and family. Yes, it takes a little more work, but the fun and memories are worth it. I always remember to bring the items on my Top 10 Must Pack Cruise Essentials List. If you are ready to plan your cruise Email Me I work with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Disney Cruise Lines and I am excited to help you.