9 Reasons Your Family Reunion Should be on a Cruise

by Katie McElveen

9 Reasons Your Family Reunion Should be on a Cruise

by Katie McElveen

Gathering your nearest and dearest for a family reunion at sea couldn’t be easier. That's because cruise ships, with their wide variety of entertainment, cabin types, and dining options, are made for families. The special requests that come with a large group are usually not an issue either. Need a wheelchair or crib? No problem. Gluten-free meals? Got you covered. Fun activities, even on a rainy day at sea? Check. Here are nine good reasons to consider a cruise for your reunion; now all you have to do is design the matching T-shirts.

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Norwegian Breakaway's pool / NCL
Disney Dream's Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom
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1. Ships have a range of cabin types and price points.

Cruise ships have dozens of cabin sizes and configurations, making it easy for different family members to find spaces that are right for their traveling styles — and their wallets. On lines such as Crystal, Uniworld, Disney, Norwegian, Carnival, and MSC you can book adjoining rooms (some of Disney’s include adjoining balconies), rooms with more than one bathroom, and family-sized cabins that sleep up to five passengers.

Families who book on Carnival Vista can choose to stay in Family Harbor, a private area for families that has its own lounge and amenities. And individual family members will find wide range of price points, from suites with balconies to interior cabins, so they can book the cabin they can best afford.

Cruise ships have dozens of cabin sizes and configurations, making it easy for different family members to find spaces that are right for their traveling styles — and their wallets. On lines such as Crystal, Uniworld, Disney, Norwegian, Carnival, and MSC you can book adjoining rooms (some of Disney’s include adjoining balconies), rooms with more than one bathroom, and family-sized cabins that sleep up to five passengers.

Families who book on Carnival Vista can choose to stay in Family Harbor, a private area for families that has its own lounge and amenities. And individual family members will find wide range of price points, from suites with balconies to interior cabins, so they can book the cabin they can best afford.

Norwegian Gem's pool
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2. There’s plenty to do without a lot of planning.

The lineup of nearly round-the-clock offerings that run the gamut from splash parks to high-octane shows means everyone can go with the flow without being bored. It's also easy to gather the fam for a competitive game of table tennis or to watch you and your cousins belt out a karaoke version of “We Are Family.”

The lineup of nearly round-the-clock offerings that run the gamut from splash parks to high-octane shows means everyone can go with the flow without being bored. It's also easy to gather the fam for a competitive game of table tennis or to watch you and your cousins belt out a karaoke version of “We Are Family.”

Crystal Cruises' reception
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3. Help is available.

Group reservation managers can handle everything from billing to early embarkation for elderly family members. And special event staff can set up private dinners in a suite or specialty restaurant (while seeing to it that invitations are delivered to each family stateroom), or create a family dining space in the main dining room.

Group reservation managers can handle everything from billing to early embarkation for elderly family members. And special event staff can set up private dinners in a suite or specialty restaurant (while seeing to it that invitations are delivered to each family stateroom), or create a family dining space in the main dining room.

Family-style dinner at Canaletto
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4. Meals are a breeze.

When the group wants to dine together, large main dining rooms can accommodate everyone. Even the foodies among you will be happy — cruise lines take their food more seriously than ever, and most lines have partnerships with celebrity chefs like Curtis Stone (Princess), Nobu Matsuhisa (Crystal), and Jamie Oliver (Royal Caribbean). 

When the group wants to dine together, large main dining rooms can accommodate everyone. Even the foodies among you will be happy — cruise lines take their food more seriously than ever, and most lines have partnerships with celebrity chefs like Curtis Stone (Princess), Nobu Matsuhisa (Crystal), and Jamie Oliver (Royal Caribbean). 

Princess Cruises' The Sanctuary
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5. There’s privacy when you need it.

Being together is great, but sometimes you need to get away from the group for a little while. Adults-only lounges, spa,s and libraries make it easy to find a bit of quiet. Those staying in concierge-level cabins often have access to private lounges, too.

Being together is great, but sometimes you need to get away from the group for a little while. Adults-only lounges, spa,s and libraries make it easy to find a bit of quiet. Those staying in concierge-level cabins often have access to private lounges, too.

Princess Cruises' Movies Under the Stars
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6. Cruises can accommodate every age.

Cruise ships are known for their creative kids programs and camps, but they’re also terrific for seniors, thanks to handicapped-accessible rooms, elevators, and lots of sit-down entertainment options. Fun for the whole family can found at first-run movies, trivia contests, piano bars, comedy shows, and stellar live performances. Many shore excursions are also suitable for varying levels of mobility, and Celebrity is even certified as Autism Friendly.

Cruise ships are known for their creative kids programs and camps, but they’re also terrific for seniors, thanks to handicapped-accessible rooms, elevators, and lots of sit-down entertainment options. Fun for the whole family can found at first-run movies, trivia contests, piano bars, comedy shows, and stellar live performances. Many shore excursions are also suitable for varying levels of mobility, and Celebrity is even certified as Autism Friendly.

Norwegian's professional photographer
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7. Onboard photographers can capture special moments.

Camera phones are great, but when being in the moment counts — say, your grandmother surrounded by her extended family at her birthday dinner — it’s nice to know someone else is capturing the joy and love for posterity. Plus, the photos are much more likely to be in focus, without any red-eye.

Camera phones are great, but when being in the moment counts — say, your grandmother surrounded by her extended family at her birthday dinner — it’s nice to know someone else is capturing the joy and love for posterity. Plus, the photos are much more likely to be in focus, without any red-eye.

MS Norkapp in Urke, Norway
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8. You can discover your roots together.

Cruise itineraries go almost everywhere around the world, making it easier than ever for families to explore their homeland. For example, families with Norwegian heritage who cruise aboard a Hurtigruten ship can choose to disembark for several days when the ship reaches their ancestral home. The Crystal Private Adventure program specializes in family-heritage excursions that are curated specifically for your group.

Cruise itineraries go almost everywhere around the world, making it easier than ever for families to explore their homeland. For example, families with Norwegian heritage who cruise aboard a Hurtigruten ship can choose to disembark for several days when the ship reaches their ancestral home. The Crystal Private Adventure program specializes in family-heritage excursions that are curated specifically for your group.

Ruby Princess' Crooners Bar
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9. There are great group discounts at sea and on shore.

Group discounts vary by cruise line, but can include free berths and cabins, as well as cocktail parties, drink packages, gifts, and in-room amenities. When in port — and depending on the size of your tribe — you can look into getting group discounts on independent shore excursion, too.

Group discounts vary by cruise line, but can include free berths and cabins, as well as cocktail parties, drink packages, gifts, and in-room amenities. When in port — and depending on the size of your tribe — you can look into getting group discounts on independent shore excursion, too.

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