We are trying to plan a cruise for 17 family members and friends. Our group is made up of all of the people listed below by age and cruising experience.
6 year old girl, cruised once on Disney
8 year old girl, never cruised
10 year old boy, cruised once on Royal Caribbean
11 year old boy cruised once on Royal Caribbean
12 year old girl, never cruised
14 year old girl, cruised once on Royal Caribbean
16 year old girl, cruised once on Royal Caribbean
17 year old boy, cruised once on Royal Caribbean
32 year old woman , never cruised
34 year old man, never cruised
38 year old woman, cruised twice, once on Carnival and once on Royal Caribbean
40 year old woman, cruised twice once on Princess and once on Royal Caribbean
42 year old man, cruised once on Royal Caribbean
42 year old man, cruised once on Royal Carribean
56 year old woman, never cruised
58 year old man, never cruised
64 year old woman, cruised once on Royal Caribbean
As you can see we have a very wide range of ages. We think that we would like to go on Royal Caribbean but are open to any suggestions. We would like to go in July or August. Has anybody ever cruised with a large group of family and friends? Is there a way that we can all sit together at dinner or will we have to have several tables? How are the kids groups seperated? We would like to wait until some of the kids are back in school.(All of the children in our group are homeschooled,) Will there still be some kids on board the ships? I think that those are all of my questions for now. Thanks for reading this !!
We just cruised last week and there were 300 kids on board, ages 3-17. The week of Thanksgiving when schools were out, there were 1000 kids of the same ages. As far as I could tell, ours were the only homeschooled kids -- the rest were just away from school.
My husband's business partner was on the same cruise with over 50 family members. First, they got a great deal by booking a year in advance and having a large group, so you could ask a travel agent about that. I don't know where everyone stayed or ate, but I do know they got the conference room the first day for a group get together.
I would bet that you will be at a few tables, but perhaps could request to be in the same area -- the largest tables seat 10, I think.
I suggest going with Royal Caribbean since many of you have cruised with them before and they have a great teen program that starts at age 12. All their ships have rock walls which are very popular with older kids and teens -- and adults too! Per the advice above, you should be able to get some type of group discount and your travel agent will try to get a number of tables together for the same dinner seating.
SOunds like it will be fun. Feel free to ask add'l questions.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
how about the Grand Class ships of Princess? they have really good fun and educational programs for the kids, teenagers have their own space, they have access to the disco, there is an adults only pool & spa area. Lots of programs for the adults to partake as well. Great service. I think its easier to pick your ports, find a ship that goes there, then pick a ship according to what interests you aboard. Have your TA book you a group rate. Tables in the main dining room seat 8-10 - you will need to request to have your tables next to or near eachother.
I'd also suggest Royal Caribbean, one of the "Voyager" class ships. You are cruising with a wide age range, and these ships have something for everyone. All around I think the entire group would be happy on one of these ships.
Thanks to everyone for responding! We still have not decided which cruise line but are leaning towards Royal Caribbean. Many people in our group have cruised with them before and enjoyed themselves. From what I have read they also have alot of activities for a wide range of ages. We are considering a cruise out of Galveston, Texas as it is only 6 hours from where most of our group lives and only 2 hours from the others in our group. Has anybody cruised on the Rhapsody of the Seas? Did you enjoy it? How were the ports of call? Some people, myself included, have never cruised before. Is this a good ship for first timers? How is the childrens program? My daughters are 8 and 12 , will they be in the same age group? How are the age groups seperated? Will most of the children be in the same age group? I also have a few questions about the cabins on the ships. My boyfriend and I would like to have a cabin to ourselves and have my 2 daughters and his 6 year old daughter share a room, can we get an adjoining room? If not are there cabins that will sleep 5 people? Can the three girls even share a room together or will the cruise line insist that an adult has to be in the room with them?
I think those are all my questions for now but I am sure that I will think of more.
Thanks so much!!
You may want to read the article I wrote "Adventure for kids of all ages" which is on this family section. It gives you tons of details on Royal CAribbean's excellent youth and teen program. (what the age groups are, typical activities, etc) The Rhapsody is
a beautiful ship (I've been on its sister ship) and is well equipped for families and kids. All Royal Caribbean ships now have rock walls for those over six years old, which is a fun family activity.
As for rooms, I'd talk to RCI's reservations agents about if adjoining rooms are available. OTherwise, I would not put three girls of that age in a room together for safety reasons.
Hope this helps. Let me know what you decide.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
I read the article that you suggested and found that it answered most of the questions that I had about the program for the kids. I printed the article off and read it to my daughters, they thought that all of the activities sounded like lots of fun and they are starting to get really excited about going on a cruise. My youngest who is very active and likes sports can't wait to climb the rock wall. I called my travel agent today and she said that there are some adjoining rooms on the ship but that they are among the first cabins to be booked, as they are very popular with families. Since everybody will be together for Christmas we are going to try and make a decision this week and then book sometime after the new year. I can only think of one question right now but I am sure that I will think of more later.
Which dining time is better, early or late? The people that have cruised in our group have had both and said that each had its pros and cons. Which time do you like better and why?
Kaylee, we prefer late seating for dinner. It gives us plenty of time to relax in the afternoon, we try to fit in a little snooze. We will order a salald or a sandwich in the late afternoon to hold us over to dinner - hit the hot tub, with plenty of time to get ready for dinner. The kids can always grab a meal at the buffet or bistros if they don't want a sit-down gourmet dinner every night. Its total personal preference.
Sounds like a WONDERFUL family gathering, Kaylee. Seems as though you should get a good group rate. I think you are wise to wait until kids are back in school and it sounds as though you can since the kids in your family are all hsed.
Good luck and keep us up to date on which ship you choose!
CarnivalSensation February 2015
Carnival Dream November 2015
Carnival Fascination April 2014
Carnival Elation March 2011
Carnival Imagination Sept 2007
Carnival Sensation Dec 2006
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 2006
Carnival Miracle Sept 2005
Carnival Glory Sept 2004
Carnival Fantasy Jan 2004
Read your post about planning a cruise with 17 people.
First of all GOOD LUCK !
Secondly, a cruise out Galveston, Texas is something I think everyone in your group would enjoy.
And your plans is for August and Galveston is just right for the kids and the adults.
This port is a small town, with lots to do. If you go into Galveston a day prior your departure
you will find lot do.
With a group that large, you might start thinking of using a private shuttle service to transfer
your group to where ever it is your ship's terminal is located.
We just had a family cruise recently of Galveston, and thats what we did. The private shuttle
picked us up at our Houston hotel and them we traveled to Galveston the morning of cruise.
Write me if I can provide you with more information.