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Big Family Cruise Answers

    A while ago, I asked the question “Do Cruise Lines Hate Big Families?“. In that post, I lamented the difficulty of finding staterooms that accommodate families of 5, 6, 7, and 8.

    Leslie Richardson of jetsetterscruises.com commented on that post:

    I just came across this article and just wanted to give my input as a travel professional who specializes in family cruises. The cruise lines aren’t neglecting large families – in fact it’s just the opposite. The newer, bigger ships with the larger cruise lines (RCI, CCL, NCL, PCL, DCL) are buildling their new ships with families in mind.

    Large families and multigenerational families are cruising together more now than ever before. The reason the family rooms aren’t available to book online is because there are so few of them on any given ship (and not available at all on older ships) and are capacity controlled.

    Just like rooms that are designed for wheelchairs, the family rooms must be reserved by phone to make sure someone doesn’t book only 5 people in a room designed for 8 as an example. Aside from that, the few family rooms available (as well as connecting rooms) are extremely high in demand so they sell out much earlier than a standard room for 4 passengers.

    My advice is to book early (12-18 months out) and to work with a travel professional who knows what they’re doing. Finally, keep in mind that the newest ships are limited to 7 night cruises…the short 3-5 night cruises typically has older/smaller ships that don’t accommodate large families well. Hope this helps

    So to help you look for cruises for your big family, Leslie suggests looking for newer ships (which are usually 7-night cruises), working with a travel professional, and booking early (12-18 months out). Very helpful information.

     

    View Ships with Large Stateroom and Connecting Cabins

     

    I still wonder why these bigger staterooms cant’ be booked online. As Leslie points out, it’s so a smaller group doesn’t try to book the big staterooms when they are meant for bigger parties. However, when I try to book a hotel room with more people than the room allows, the hotel website lets me know that I’ve exceeded the room’s capacity.  I don’t see why a cruise line’s site couldn’t disallow someone from booking a large stateroom without entering the correct minimum number of passengers.

    I also think many of us don’t want to bother a phone representative when we’re just window shopping. Not having gone on a cruise before with my family, I’d like to get a ballpark figure so I can start saving. I don’t want to have a conversation with a phone rep only to have me yell “holy crap! how much?!” when we get to the cruise total.  I’d prefer to do this in private by myself online! 🙂

    In the end is it is nice to know that cruise lines are building ships that accommodate big families, blended families, and multigenerational travelers. Although I think more progress is needed so that this type of stateroom is built in more quantities for each cruise ship.

    For your convenience, we’ve teamed up with CruiseCompete.com to help you plan a cruise vacation. When you sign up for a free account, you can select a cruise and let independent agents compete to offer you cruise deals. Compare offers and then contact agents directly for more information or to book.

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    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa is the mother of four including twins. She is the owner of SixSuitcaseTravel, a travel site for big families of 5, 6, 7, 8. She enjoys helping other big families build life-long travel memories. Her family's travel bucket list includes Washington, DC (done!), Yellowstone (done!), London, and anywhere in the Caribbean.