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Best Cruise Lines for Family Reunions

Often when people think of a family reunion they picture a barbecue on a hot summer afternoon either at the home of a relative, or for bigger families, perhaps a park or recreation center. Next time you are planning a family reunion, why not go all out and have the family gathering you will never forget on a cruise ship? We’ll share with you why a cruise is a great option for a family reunion, and which are the best cruise lines for family reunions.

Family reunions can be a lot of fun, but anyone who has ever hosted one knows that they inevitably also involve a lot of planning and hard work. You have to find the perfect venue, arrange all the food and entertainment and more. Also, since extended families are often spread across the country and may not live in the same vicinity, hotel rooms or accommodations for family members also becomes a concern. One of the best ways to deal with all these issues is to combine your next family reunion with a vacation where all the meals, accommodations, and activities are taken care of and everyone in the family can relax and enjoy one another. All these things can be found on a cruise ship.

Why is cruising a good option for family reunions?

Finding the perfect cruise for your family reunion is not as complicated as you might think. As the popularity of family reunion cruises has grown, cruise lines have become more accommodating and have gone out of their way to make a family reunion cruise not just another vacation, but an extraordinary event to remember for years to come. Many cruise lines are now offering more activities to choose from both on board the ship and when in port, to appeal to a wide range of ages, as well as providing opportunities to enjoy each other as a family. What better place is there to have professional family photos taken than on a cruise ship or a gorgeous beach?

Spending anywhere from three days to several days together on a cruise can have so many benefits compared to the typical one-day family reunion. There is a lot to be said for the ability to alternate time spent with different relatives and then come together as a family for meals. Cruise ships provide entertainment such as live shows, music, movies and large swimming pools. Additional activities such as rock climbing, video arcades, bowling, miniature golf and even exciting water parks are offered by many new ships. Taking a cooking or exercise class with other family members can be a fun way to bond. Special activity programs designed just for young people can keep the kids and teens from getting bored. Child care options on board are also a bonus to give adults a chance to relax. Shore excursions to beautiful exotic places are a great way for families to enjoy time spent with one another and even share new experiences. Perhaps zip lining, bike riding, kayaking, snorkeling….the list of options goes on and on.  Feeling like you’ve had a little too much family? A couple hours at the on board spa can be a welcome break and stress reliever that you won’t find at most family reunions.

Although it may be hard to beat grandma’s cooking, cruise ships are notorious for excellent dining experiences and great service. Gathering together on the ship every day for at least one meal as a family will provide excellent opportunities for even distant relatives to get to know one another better. The chances are good that no one will be complaining about letting someone else do all the work for a change!

Cruises are an excellent value compared to other vacations since meals, accommodations and entertainment are all included in one price. Individuals can make their own decisions about side trips which may incur extra fees, but are still offered at affordable prices. Individual families can choose staterooms according to their needs and budgets. As an additional plus, most cruise lines offer discounts and added perks for groups including a cocktail party, shipboard credit or bottle of wine per cabin. For larger groups, you can also earn FREE cabins.  Cruises are also becoming more convenient, as there are ports in close proximity to most major cities in the United States.

Now that we have established why a cruise is a good choice for a family reunion, the next question is which are the best cruise lines for family reunions?

The best cruise lines for family reunions that include a lot of children are Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruises.  This is because they offer the most onboard programs for both adults and children of all ages.  For groups of adults, Celebrity, Princess and Holland America are also good choices.

Which one is the best choice for your group? 

Well that depends on various factors. Here are just a few things that may influence your decision.

  • Which port do you want to cruise from?  If it’s Miami or Ft. Lauderdale there are various cruise lines to choose from.  More and more cruise ships are moving to other ports including New York and Galveston, but in ports such as Charleston, Tampa or New Orleans, your options may be limited.  If you can select a port where many of the family members can drive, it could save thousands of dollars in airfare.
  • How long of a cruise?  Again your ship options may be limited if you want a 3 or 4 day cruise vs. a 7 day cruise.
  • What are the ages of the children?  Family programs vary based on the cruise ship. If you have lot of teenagers in the group, then you may want a ship that offers things such as ice skating, sports courts and rock climbing, where younger children are not as picky, and all seem to enjoy the various activities ships have for their age group.
  • Do you want group gathering?  Larger ships offer conference rooms and spacious lounges for large family groups to have private get togethers.  There is generally no charge for using these facilities, as long as you schedule everything in advance.

Whether you are planning a large get-together with lots of relatives, or a more intimate gathering, a cruise is a vacation, a reunion and most important of all–a family celebration–all rolled into one!  There are so many options when choosing the a family reunion cruise. Why not use the expertise of a travel agent that can help you sort through all the details and recommend the best cruise line for family reunions.