Private Islands

Cruise Wisdom: Multigenerational Cruising

All in the Family

A multigenerational cruise will keep the whole group happy.

By Cindy O’Neil

Q: My family has been thinking about a family reunion and we would like to combine it with a vacation. Our group will range in age from 2 to 80. Do you think a cruise would fit the bill?
– Helen N., Roanoke, Virginia

A: You bet it would and I’m speaking from experience. As a member of a Brady Bunch–style family, I have tried several types of multigenerational vacations. Hands down, cruises have been the most enjoyable of all because you can spend time together and take time to do your own thing.

Group Decisions

My first multigenerational cruise spanned only two generations, but it was the beginning of my family’s love affair with cruising as a group. On this spur-of-the-moment cruise, my parents, aunts, and uncles chose to dine together. My siblings and cousins opted to sit with other singles. And we also made arrangements with the maître d’ to have a family luncheon in the main dining room on one of the days at sea. We also spent time together at the pool.

The next family cruise encompassed three generations, and this time more effort went into planning the details. After some research, everyone agreed that the ship had to be Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas; at the time, it was the newest and the biggest ship to hit Miami. We already knew that the cruise would offer activities for every age group, and we took advantage of the many different offerings. We learned firsthand about the importance of a fabulous children’s program.

My nieces and nephews were entertained and supervised by qualified childcare workers. The activities ran the gamut from arts and crafts to pizza parties. One morning my sister and her husband woke up and discovered that their 8-year-old son was not in the cabin. After a frantic search of the ship, my nephew was soon found at the kids’ club. When asked why he left the cabin alone, he replied, “You and mom were still sleeping and I didn’t want to miss the scavenger hunt.” Clearly the kids’ programs were a big hit.

The ship, like many others sailing today, had an exclusive adults-only pool area where the parents and grandparents could read a good book or relax in the sun without the constant clamor of kids. Some enjoyed the offerings at the spa, others took advantage of the ice-skating rink and rock-climbing wall. The grandparents had the opportunity to share special activities with their grandchildren, and now, many cruises later, those same kids are grown and married with kids of their own.

Plan Ahead

If you decide to take a multigenerational cruise, you will not be disappointed. But take the time to plan some of the details before your trip. Decide when you would like to be together as a group and when you and your kids will share time alone. Many families choose to get together each evening for dinner, and dining room crewmembers go out of their way to make sure that even the youngest passengers enjoy the experience.
Also, don’t miss the chance to take….

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Photo: Disney

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