Cruising is an ideal way for a family or a group of friends to take a holiday together, but the key to it being successful is to give yourself plenty of time to make arrangements, and plan carefully. So what do you need to consider? Firstly, once you’ve agreed to take a cruise holiday, and you know who’s going to be in your party, you need to agree on a budget so you can choose a ship to suit everyone’s wants and needs. If you are travelling with a wide range of ages including kids and seniors, opt for a large, family ship with plenty of facilities and accommodation choices. If you are group of friends, however, there are many more choices available to you depending on your budget and style of cruising. Next, you need to decide when to cruise. Unless you are going for a specific event, such as a birthday or anniversary, there are plenty of options on offer. Booking well ahead can save you money, along with considering a cruise during a shoulder or the off-season, or a repositioning cruise. One factor to consider is kids travelling with you; you may only be able to travel during school holidays, which could make things expensive and the ships much busier.
If budget is a concern, and your group includes kids and seniors, consider booking a locally based ship to avoid too much travelling, as well the expense of paying for flights and pre or post-cruise accommodation. Then, once you have a plan, check around for the best cruise fares. Booking for a group will require a certain number of staterooms, which might entitle you to a discount, or other perks such as free berths, or a cocktail party, so check out any deals, particularly where kids are concerned, or free upgrades which might be offered. When you make the booking, make sure everyone in your party knows there will be a deadline for payment, and at the booking stage you will also need to organise dining times if applicable. And finally, once the booking is complete, double check everything twice, including the right staterooms are booked in the right names. Most cruise lines allow access a reservation online, so you can add various services such as shore excursions etc. Make sure everyone in your party has the reservation number and the name the booking is held in, so they can make additional arrangements if need be.