Try a Cruise for a Family Reunion

Plan Ahead

I’m not sure who came up with the idea of a family cruise but as my husband and I had taken cruises before, I was designated to coordinate a family reunion on a cruise ship with 28 people, covering four generations.

Looking back, the first thing I should have done was to sit down and enjoy a nice glass of Sherry to calm my nerves. However, I called the travel agent office where we had previously booked cruises and discovered the girl we had dealt with previously had moved out of state. So, Linda would be our new travel agent. Oh yes, I got to know Linda very well. We booked the cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines and I thought it would be simple from there. Ha!

I put everyone’s name who said they were going on the cruise in the Microsoft Office Excel program. That did work well to keep track of who paid what and when. We wanted to go as soon as all of the children were out of school for the year. What we did not realize is we would be on board on July 4th. That was a big mistake!

The cruise ship was packed, not a spare room available, and it was difficult to find seats for entertainment, etc. This does not happen when you cruise at the end of March of first of April. This made things easier for some of the family. It was all worked out, but like most families I had to push some of them a bit to be on time with their payments, which became time consuming.

Advantages to booking a group

Everyone paid their down payments. The advantage of booking a cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines for a large group is everyone received a $50 room account credit to spend on board and the one (that would be me) doing the booking also got a nice credit. We were excited and went out and bought an inexpensive Nikon Coolpix camera which was wonderful. It was small enough to fit in my husband’s shirt pocket or even in a small purse. We got wonderful pictures of this crazy family reunion and the camera even takes short videos.

We booked early enough so we had several months to make periodic payments which made things easier for some of the family. It was all worked out but like most families I had to push some of them a bit to be on time with their payments which became time consuming.

Carnial Cruise Vacation Pictures

Carnival Cruise Lines ship
Carnival Cruise Lines ship
Just leaving port.  First picture with new Nikon Coolpix
Just leaving port. First picture with new Nikon Coolpix
Some of family ready to explore Grand Cayman
Some of family ready to explore Grand Cayman
Enjoying dinner with grandson from Navy
Enjoying dinner with grandson from Navy
So much fun
So much fun
Adios Cozemel
Adios Cozemel
Looking back as we head home
Looking back as we head home

Help! We need Rooms Close Together

As the cruise date got closer, and we had all paid our money, I discussed room assignments with Linda very frequently. We had this conversation initially but she was not living up to our agreement. I needed one disabled room, and two of the rooms were to have a cot for a child. The biggest challenge was to be located in the center of the ship preferably on the Empress deck or no lower than the Upper deck so those with disabilities could more easily reach various areas of the ship.

If you have never been on a cruise, you seem to do an incredible amount of walking considering you are on a ship. One time Linda called and said the only rooms she could get were on the second deck from the bottom in the back of the ship or we could not all be together. She came up with some other unsuitable areas as well. This is when something stronger than Sherry would have been helpful! The cruise date was close by now and we did not have rooms for 28 people. I was stressed out! I threatened to cancel the cruise. After several conversations she magically found a disabled room in a good location on the Empress deck and one extra room very close by for my husband and me. The rest of the family was close together one deck directly below us. That was acceptable to us.

Fun While Cruising

The cruise was so much fun and each person was able to attend those activities suited for their age and physical abilities. The food was wonderful and the entertainment was good. However, we had a few little mishaps. My nephew brought vodka in mineral water bottles and he tends to get a bit loud when drinking. Several of the people won’t win awards at Karaoke singing either, but we had a blast overall.

You never knew when you would see a relative on any given deck or time and we spent a lot quality time together as a family. I was snapping off pictures left and right. I have all these lovely pictures, thanks to my Nikon Coolpix, which I use as a screen saver on my computer to remember all the laughs and wonderful memories. It was worth all the hassle. However, I will pass the baton as the coordinator if we every plan something like that again, and we have changed travel agencies!

© 2009 Pamela Oglesby

More by this Author

Comments 13 comments

lisakprice profile image

lisakprice 7 years ago from Ohio

Sounds like you had a great time - even with all the stress points. Thanks for sharing.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 7 years ago

Sounds wonderful. That is something I have always dreamed about doing. I cruise, but never with a large group. I loved the pictures. Thanks.

Jessica Horn profile image

Jessica Horn 7 years ago

Sounds like it was a great time! We went on a family reunion for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary & it was fantastic.

Now, we try to think of the next excuse to have a family reunion cruise again...

Carrie DeSha profile image

Carrie DeSha 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

The cruise really was great fun! Thank you for making it happen. You're the greatest, Mom!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 7 years ago from United States Author

Traveling with you was so much fun and I love having all those wonderful memories of the laughter and family time.

Jordan Dill 7 years ago

Your article about this cruise gave me a couple of excellent ideas about planning my family cruise. Thanks so much.

P.S. we have a member of our family who drinks a little and gets loud but he's a hoot

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 7 years ago from United States Author

Yes, the one in our family is a hoot also. Good times follow him around!

oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 6 years ago from australia

Pamela99. Wow, you were a very brave lady to take on such a huge task. Making it all come together and having such a wonderful time with your family. What a beautiful account of your holiday. It was lovely to read. The photo's are great. Thank you for sharing it with us. :) :)

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Thank you so much for your comment. It was fun. We are actually taking just a short 4 day cruise with several family members on the 28th but I didn't arrange this one.

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

you lucky, lucky lady! Take me, take me!!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Habee, Thanks for the comment. Cruises are usually such fun although we just returned from a 4 day cruise that I am going to write about as it was a bit different.

mostewart profile image

mostewart 6 years ago

Thanks for your hub. I wondered how a cruise would work for a family reunion. We have never tried a cruise for our reunions- afraid someone would be left out because of the cost. Sounds like even tho it was a lot of hassle for you it was a good time for everyone else.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Mostewart, It was worth all the hassle. If you plan far enough ahead people seem to be able to afford it because they are paying a little at a time. Thanks for your comment.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article