Planning A Future Multigenerational Family Cruise

Planning A Future Multigenerational Family Cruise
There are many reasons why cruises have been a popular choice for multigenerational vacations and family reunions. Cruises are a good vacation value and today’s ships are loaded with activities and amenities for all ages and interests. Cruise vacations give families plenty of opportunities for bonding and making great vacation memories together. Flexible daily itineraries also offer plenty of opportunities for fun, both together and apart.

If you’re planning a multigenerational family cruise, here are ten tips for making your vacation a fantastic experience for every member of your family:

1. Brainstorm and plan your trip together. Travel experts have found that the most successful multigenerational family vacations are those that involve everyone in choosing the destination and planning for their trip. Working together surfaces important information and helps cement the "buy-in" process. Through these conversations, you will learn more about each other's preferences and will be able to plan activities that everyone can enjoy. It’s also important to discuss budgets as well.

2. Start planning far in advance. One of the most difficult aspects of planning a multigenerational vacation is finding a time when everyone can get together. Early planning will give you the greatest chance of coming up with a mutually convenient date, as well as lower group rates and the best stateroom options on ships. It’s often best to reserve staterooms as close together as possible to make family bonding easier. In addition, connecting cabins and family rooms and suites are great for multigenerational vacations.

3. Talk about expectations. Grandparents, parents and grandchildren should take the time to talk about what they're looking forward to about the trip. If family members have specific expectations, such as eating meals together or taking part in certain activities or excursions, make sure to discuss these before the cruise. This is particularly true if one or two members of the group, such as the grandparents, are paying for the vacation.

4. Work with a travel agent. A good cruise travel agent can be a valuable asset in helping you to plan a fantastic multigenerational cruise, plus they can save vacationers considerable time and money as well. Top cruise travel agents are cruise experts, so they can provide professional insights and advice on choosing the best itinerary, ship and staterooms for your trip. They often have access to the best deals and can help you determine which cruise options offer the best value and fit for your family. In addition, trusted travel agents can immediately alert you if your cruise itinerary changes or is cancelled. They can also provide assistance and serve as an advocate if anything goes wrong.

5. Pick the right itinerary. Selecting the right itinerary will depend on a variety of factors, including cruise length and the type of vacation you’re seeking. If you’re looking primarily for a beachy vacation, you’ll likely want a different type of cruise itinerary than one emphasizing culture, history or colder climates. If you’re planning to drive to your cruise, select an itinerary with a convenient embarkation port for your family members.

6. Choose your ship carefully. Successful multigenerational vacations offer something for everyone. Pick a ship that works well for every age group, from the youngest children to the oldest family members. Your cruise travel agent can help. Look for ships that offer excellent kids, teens and family-oriented amenities as well as programs for littlest ones. Also consider the needs of older adults who might be more sedentary or have mobility issues. Ask about the availability of handicapped rooms and the walking distance from your staterooms to the dining rooms. Also find out if there are any adults-only areas onboard where parents and grandparents can relax.

7. Focus on dining arrangements. Meals tend to be an important part of multigenerational vacations. Cruise ships generally offer two set dining options, early seating and late seating. Early dining is often preferable for children and grandparents. Early seating fills up quickly, however, which is another reason for starting your cruise planning far in advance. If specialty dining reservations are desired for a celebration or event, try to make those reservations in advance.

8. Build in private time together as well as time apart. While the goal of your trip is to create shared memories, it's also important to remember that children need time to burn off energy and enjoy the company of kids their own age. Teens enjoy hanging out with other teens and doing activities together. Likewise, parents and grandparents need quiet periods for rest and adult company as well. Cruises are popular multigenerational vacation destinations for this reason. They offer supervised activities and programs for kids and teens, allowing grandparents and parents to enjoy time on their own.

9. Talk about shore excursions ahead of time. Families may wish to go out on their shore excursions separately, meeting back on the ship to talk about the day's adventures over dinner. Others like to do things as a group. If you choose to do some shore excursions together, choose options that will cater to the needs of every family member. If you have your heart set on specific shore excursions, purchase those in advance to avoid disappointment.

10. Set a comfortable pace. Keep in mind each family member's individual preferences for waking hours, activity schedules, dress, dining options, nightlife, and needs for sleep. Plan accordingly. Respect your differences and be willing to bend the rules a little if necessary. Letting the teens stay up later or sleep in a bit might make all the difference in having a great time on your multigenerational vacation.

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