Planning a Family Reunion Cruise

Getting the whole gang together for a family reunion seems like a daunting task. Take a break from arranging schedules, locking down guests and planning payment options with something to ease the stress: ideal locations. Having a must-visit destination as an option for a family reunion is an easy sell. Guests can use this time as their own vacation as well as catching up with the family. Keep it local to lock in to some nostalgia or head abroad to bond over an international journey.

Some options for your form of transportation, bundle it into your accommodations and, voilà, you have a family reunion cruise. Keep it all together with these tips and tricks for your next family reunion.

Jetting off on the high seas can be a great way to keep the family together while enjoying separate experiences. You have the communal areas of the ships such as bars, restaurants, pools and activities depending on the vessel, but with the added option to head out on your own excursion on land. Enjoy family dinners together and sunbath on the deck while the kids run off with each other enjoying activities throughout the ship.

Begin with a group leader. For larger reunions, each family should have their own spokesperson to avoid the “too many cooks” scenario. Create a Facebook page, family group chat or email chain to stay connected.

Family Reunion Cruise Excursion © Russ Ensley |

Come prepared. Do some research and bring some options to the table. Not too many, just your favorites. Choose your cruise by destination, time length and accessibility for the whole family. Choose something all-inclusive, customizable and destination driven — albeit pricey — like Seabourn and Viking River Cruises, or stick to the larger ships on the open ocean for private beach days and endless onboard entertainment, like Disney Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.

Planning a family cruise can eliminate a lot of the more difficult details of a normal trip. For instance, who pays for what? Each family opting to vacation on the trip pays for themselves on a cruise. Choose your own package and enjoy your own experience. Your meals will be taken care of, no awkward fights, and you can relax and enjoy your time together.

Keep it simple and take advantage of the ship’s offerings. Work with a concierge for more detailed family plans and celebrations throughout your stay.

If the kids want to pair up and play or head out on an excursion, inform the group and see who else wants to go. Everyone can enjoy their own fun while feeling safe with expert cruise ship staff.