How to Plan a Family Reunion Cruise

More Family Vacation Cruise Tips

What does the price include? Note what's included in the group price and what individuals will have to pay separately on the boat. Typically included are the accommodations, meals, shows, supervised kids' programs, pools and fitness activities. Not included are alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, gambling, shopping, babysitting, onshore activities and tips for the ship's staff. To help with those non-included costs, ask each cruise line about bonus offers that include shipboard credit for each group member.

You're on a boat! A cruise ship is a floating resort, and you could easily spend the whole time never seeing the ocean around you. Even though this is true, you'll have some family members who are apprehensive about being on the boat or about visiting the climate you'll be sailing in. Talk to the cruise line about ways to ease these concerns for those family members.

Don't go overboard selecting the location. A Mediterranean cruise may sound great, but Florida might be a lot closer. If you're asking family members to travel a long distance just to get on the ship, this could be too much extra cost and prevent some family members from coming. Remember that the family reunion is the main reason for the cruise, and select a location to board the ship with the same consideration you'd take when considering a location on land.

Be sure everyone can pass the port. If your boat is stopping at any international ports, make sure every family member has a passport to go on shore. Check with the cruise line about their expectations for passengers and passports.

Know your cancellation deadlines. Some cruise lines require 60 days or more notice for cancelling with a refund, and only partial refunds for less notice. Be sure each family member knows these deadlines.

Let the cruise line help. The cruise line has people whose job it is to make sure your group comes together and enjoys their experiences. Once you've decided a cruise is the way to go, let those people help you get the information out to your family members so they know what to expect. They market the cruise for you, so you don't have to make the sale.

If you'd like more information on family reunions, set sail for the next page, where you'll find lots of related information.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Carnival Cruise Lines. "Cruise Deals & Specials." (April 29, 2010)
  • "Family Reunion Cruises." (April 26, 2010)
  • "What is a group?" (April 22, 2010)
  • Forman, Gayle. "Family Reunion Destinations, 2007." Travel + Leisure. June 2007. (April 22, 2010)
  • Holland America Line. (April 29, 2010)
  • Today. "Plan a 'Destination' Family Reunion." May 4, 2007. (April 22, 2010)