Between long work hours and the miles that separate you, it can be tough to keep in touch with your family. It's not that you don't want to get together with Mom, Dad, and your siblings, but squeezing the entire family into one home for a few days can be tough. How can you spend meaningful time with everyone you love and still get the relaxation and piece of mind you crave?
Thankfully, there's an answer to this question that everyone can get behind: plan a vacation for the group. Cruises make for perfect group vacations because they offer a variety of activities that you can do together, as well as plenty of things that you can experience on your own. And, with three meals a day taking place onboard, you'll have plenty of family meals (none of which you need to cook) so you can spend more time on a lounge chair or exploring a port.
Ready to start planning your family group getaway? With the help of these four simple tips, you and your family will be on your way to the time of your lives:
1. Pick a Time to Discuss the Details
Vacation planning can get complicated, so you'll want to choose a time when everyone can sit together and discuss the details of your upcoming trip. Consider taking time to plan your cruise during the holidays, when most people usually gather in one place. Even if one or two family members can't be present, you'll still have enough to discuss relatives to discuss it with — and you can always call the missing members, or use Skype to get them involved.
2. Have Suggestions Ready
Make sure you are prepared before you open up the discussion. Take a look at possible cruise destinations, locations from which the different ships depart, general prices, and the dates and durations of cruises you'd love. Also, consider where the members of your family live: For example, if the majority of the family lives on the west coast, a cruise out of Los Angeles or Seattle might be best.
3. Discuss a Season and a Date
Present your family with your ideas, and see which itineraries seem most popular. Once you have narrowed down your destinations, settle on a season during which you would like to cruise. Some itineraries may be more flexible than others — for instance, you can sail to Mexico nearly any time of the year, but you can only cruise to Alaska between late spring and early fall. Narrow your options down to just a few before your family disperses.
4. Talk to a Vacation Planner
Keeping all the information you gathered at hand, contact a group vacation planner. With one phone call, you can get the best group prices available, advice on which cruise would be best, and transportation information. You can even make arrangements to celebrate any special occasions — such as Grandma's birthday — during your voyage. You won't need to do anything else to plan a vacation, regardless of how many family members are going.