Planning A Group Or Multigenerational Family Cruise

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Cruising is a great way for a group of friends, or an entire multigenerational family, to enjoy a holiday together. The key is to give yourself plenty of time to make the arrangements; plan your cruise carefully, and get it right, and your holiday is bound to be a major hit. Here’s our top tips to help:


Once you’ve agreed to take a cruise, and who’s going on the trip, the key thing is agreeing on a budget for each person. From there you can choose your ship, taking into consideration everyone’s wants and needs. If you are travelling with family, including a wide range of ages from kids to seniors, it’s probably best to opt for a larger, family ship with plenty of facilities and accommodation choices. If you are group of friends, however, there are many more options available to you depending on your budget and your preferred style of cruising.

When To Cruise

Once you have decided on your ship, you need to work out when you will cruise. Unless you are cruising for a specific event, such as a big birthday, an anniversary or the Christmas or Easter holidays, there are plenty of options. Booking well ahead can save you money in the long run, along with considering a cruise during shoulder or the off-season, or taking a repositioning cruise. Another factor to consider, however, is any kids who travelling with you; you may only be able to travel during school holidays, which could make things expensive and the ships busier with junior cruisers.

Where To Cruise

If budget is a concern, and your group is large including kids and seniors, consider booking on a locally based ship to avoid too much travelling, and the expense of flights and pre or post-cruise accommodation. The weather and the season should also be a factor in the overall decision, however. It may be wise to avoid any times when bad weather is more likely, such as cyclone season in Australia, and remember that some cruises only operate at certain times of year, such as in Alaska and parts of Europe. 

Check Prices

Once you have a plan in place, you will need to check around for the best fares. Make sure that the travel agents you speak to, or the cruise lines if you talk to them directly, know you are booking as a group and will require a certain number of staterooms. Mass market lines in particular usually offer discounts, or other perks for large groups including free berths, or a cocktail party during your cruise. Look out for any deals, particularly where kids are concerned, also free upgrades. 

Making Your Booking

Next, you will make the booking. If the members of your group wish to pay separately, make sure the travel agent or cruise line can organise this for you; there will be a deadline to settle up, so ensure everyone knows when this is. At this stage you will also need to organise any dining times if applicable, for example if you are opting for fixed seating and a certain sitting. 

Check, Check And Check Again!

Once the booking is made, double check everything to make sure the right staterooms are booked in the right names, and dining arrangements are correct. These sorts of things can be difficult to change later, especially if the ship is full. With many cruise lines you can access the reservation online, and add various other elements such as shore excursions, specialty dining reservations, and any drinks packages, etc. Make sure your party has the reservation number and the name the booking is held in, so they can make their own additional arrangements, and be aware that adding extras such as shore excursions are usually charged to a credit card immediately.

Joanna Hall


  • 5
    Perfect Timing

    Posted by Annie & Bill on 11th Mar 2019

    I'm literally planning a cruise for my husband and I, our grownup kids, their kids and my husband's father......age span is 2 years to 89 years! This is perfect timing and great advice, thanks.