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Woodlin Mar 23rd, 2010 06:06 PM

Large Family Cruise
We would love to take our children and grandchildren (18 total) on a Mediterranean cruise next summer. Obviously, we can't do a luxury ship without winning a lottery! Any suggestions or advice--or warnings concerning ships. We are looking at a seven day on RCCL. Any other thoughts? Ideas for good deals?

triathlete Mar 23rd, 2010 08:34 PM

CruiseCompete has a special service for competing quotes on large family cruises. You get up to three responses from agents specializing in groups. See:

Luv2travel15 Mar 23rd, 2010 09:18 PM

Hi Woodlin,

Wow, that's wonderful that your family could all go on a cruise together. It does take some planning to coordinate everything for that number of people. A friend of mine took her family of 15 on a Med cruise a couple of years ago and I helped her plan some port excursions w/ tour guides that I have taken private tours with when we go on cruises. It worked out very well for them doing this and they saved some money by not booking ship excursions.

You can call RCCL and ask to speak to a vacation planner who can assist you with cabins, air, etc. I have used Cruise Compete myself for bookings but not for that number of people. You may want to try and find a good travel agent who will coordinate the entire trip for you. If you book your air w/ the cruise line then they are responsible if anything should happen while on your cruise. This did happen to my friend also and everything was taken care of by the cruise line.

My other advice would be to see if you can book a longer cruise than 7 days if you are going to the Med. I always say that 2 of those 7 days will be lost traveling and you are only going to be on the ship 5 days. You will also be dealing w/ jet lag. There are some great prices out there for Med cruises.

Are you planning to fly in the day b4 your cruise departs? I would also suggest that you do this because of the long distances involved and the possibility your flights get delayed, etc. It does happen all the time! This would help alleviate some of the jet lag, time changes, etc. especially where you will have grandchildren with you.

It is an expensive proposition for 18 but it is also a wonderful opportunity for everyone. My favorite cruises have been to the Med.

Rome is a wonderful place to visit as there is so much history there. Seeing the Colosseum, Vatican, St. Peter's is an awesome sight for anyone. Your grandchildren would enjoy it there.

Good luck. I would be happy to give you names of tour guides, etc. if you are interested. Summer is also high tourist season so you need to plan your trip with that in mind.

You might also check out the Cruise Critic boards as there is a wealth of information on cruises by cruise ship lines, destinations, etc., then click open the "Boards" category at the top of that page.

Eschew Mar 24th, 2010 02:17 PM

You have to define "luxury" a little better as the price dfference between RCCL and Celebrity is minimal. RCCL owns both crusie lines anyway. Celebrity is a bit more upscale. Assuming you have younger children, with 18 people, you will be looking at anywhere from 6 to 9 cabins. Most TAs should be able to get you a good group discount.

Woodlin Mar 24th, 2010 07:17 PM

Thanks for all the quick replys! We have a great travel agent that we have used for years--part of Virtouso, so she gets us very good deals. We will definitely fly in a day early and hopefully will stay a couple of days after. The real problem is getting that many people together for that many days. We considered renting a place in Italy, but that might be even more complicated--rental cars, guides, meals,etc. The eight grandchildren are ages 2-20, so a cruise seems more practical. I think what I need to know is what ships you would recommend or not recommend. We (my husband and I) usually go on smaller ships, but they are more geared toward adults. I have read lots of reviews of different ships (cruisecritic, cruise-mates, etc.) and I guess I just wanted to hear what this board says.

Eschew Mar 25th, 2010 10:16 AM

RCCL is definetly a good choice for activities more geared towards the younger generation. Not that Celebrity or Princess has nothing to offer for the kids, they do, just not to the same degree as RCCL (like rock climbing wall etc)
My personal preference is either Celebrity or Princess. They offer a bit of everything and relatively kids friendly.

Princess has a small ship in the Mediterrian (700 passenger) and that maybe an option if you like smaller ships. It's small enough and not like the 2000 - 3000 mega ships. With that said, the megaship definietly offers more in terms of activities for the younger generations.

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