Try a Cruise for a Family Reunion
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
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