Planning a Family Cruise

When looking for a family vacation that has it all, a cruise can be a great way to go. A cruise allows you to combine the variety of sights and sounds on a longer trip through several locales, without the hassles and time-wasting of packing and unpacking, moving from hotel room to hotel room. Instead, let the ship take you where you want to go.

When planning a cruise as a family, here are some important factors to keep in mind.


It’s important to choose a destination that will have activities the whole family will enjoy. Cultural, historical, and exploratory activities can be fun and enlightening, but smaller children will probably tire of these kinds of excursions quickly, and older children and teenagers might become bored or resentful, feeling they are being dragged places they don’t want to go.

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The best way to avoid this is to pick a destination for your cruise that will have appeal to everybody. Beach destinations are popular for this purpose, as the setting offers a wide range of activities for all ages. Simple activities like playing in the sand can be relaxing and fun for all ages, while teens and adults might prefer water sports or exploring the beach. Even if you don’t choose a cruise that’s centered around beach destinations, make sure what you do choose has something to offer everyone.

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Length and Time

Of course, the more people you bring on a cruise, the more schedules you have to coordinate. Parents will have to make sure their children will have time off from school for the cruise, and they’ll have to schedule their vacation days to line up with that as well. Obviously, planning an appropriate length of vacation and time of the year to take the cruise that includes everybody is important.

Make sure you include the time needed to travel to your embarkation point (and then the time needed from your disembarkment to get back home).

Cruise Lines and Ships

Each cruise lines has its own policies regarding and methods for entertaining children. Most cruises will offer an array of services, amenities, and programs that can keep children of all ages entertained, but again, you’ll want to research lines to choose one that best suits you. Beyond any on-board activities, make sure the other amenities will be suited to your family’s needs.

Some cruise lines have ships that have more dedicated family-friendly services and facilities.  Do some research into these.

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Since individual cabins may vary, you’ll want to book an assigned cabin in advance, to make sure you can get the specific arrangements you require. If you’re booking multiple cabins, doing this will also ensure you can get them in as close proximity as possible. Certain cruise ships will offer cabins with adjoining doors, so you can open the space to the whole family; others will offer suites with family discounts.


Pack carefully. Be aware of the ship’s dress code and of any special events you might need more formal wear to attend. Bringing two swimsuits for everybody is a smart idea, not only for emergencies, but because one can dry while the other is being worn. Bring sunscreen for the days, and something warmer to wear for the nights.

Most importantly, make sure everyone in the family is packed appropriately.

If you have any more questions about how to plan a cruise for the whole family, visit for more information and to speak with one of our travel partners.