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How to Plan a Family Reunion Cruise


Tips for Planning a Family Reunion Cruise
If you choose a cruise that stops at international ports, make sure each family member is prepared for onshore excursions with passport in hand.
If you choose a cruise that stops at international ports, make sure each family member is prepared for onshore excursions with passport in hand.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

A family reunion cruise can be a great way to bring people together, but be sure to consider the tips on this page so it doesn't backfire on you.

Start early and shop around. Give yourself time to learn about who you're inviting, and to shop and negotiate with different cruise lines for the best deals. You'll want to make your selection a year in advance of the family reunion itself so those attending have time to budget and plan to attend.

Create a Web page. Why wait to keep in touch? You can start an online social network with family members to keep people informed about the reunion planning as well as to start getting to know each other better before the event. To make your family reunion Web page quick and convenient for everyone, including yourself, choose free social networking sites like Facebook or dedicated family reunion sites like familyreunion.com.

Who are all these people? Get to know the family members you're inviting. You may be speaking to some of them for the first time in many years, if ever! Find out who's married, who's got kids, the ages of the kids, and what they do for careers, hobbies and entertainment. When you call each household, start by introducing yourself, say how glad you are to be in touch and that you're planning a family reunion. Plus, ask what their family unit can budget for a vacation, when in the calendar they could take that vacation and what they think of your idea of a cruise if it's within that budget.

What special needs do I need to accommodate? As you get to know the family members you're inviting, be sure to ask if they have any disabilities or special dietary considerations. If you have an aunt who's wheelchair-bound, a cousin who's diabetic or a grandmother who's legally blind, you'll want to be sure the cruise you choose has accommodations and activities that they can all enjoy. Also, be sure to know what medical staff and equipment you'll have available on the ship, and assure family members they'll have professional help in case of an emergency.