Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Is it possible to find the perfect location for 25 people?

Is it possible to find the perfect location for 25 people?

Dec 28th, 2004, 09:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 249
Is it possible to find the perfect location for 25 people?

My grandmother wants to take the extended family on a trip for her 85th birthday in July or August. Her initial idea was a Caribbean cruise but I think that a cruise would be hard to coordinate. We are trying to coordinate schedules for 25 people, so I suggested just renting a house/cottage/condo for a week and people can arrive and depart as their schedules permit. She's open to the idea, but we're having a hard time with picking a location.

She liked the cruise idea because there would be such a variety of stuff for everyone to do. She likes to shop and visit museums. Some are big fans of the beach/snorkeling/SCUBA. There are a lot of kids (ages 1-12), but one family with no children.

I had been thinking Disney, but I'm not sure it would appeal to the couple with no children. I'm also not sure that July/August is the best time to be there.

SO - we're looking for that perfect destination where everyone will be happy...is there a such thing?

If it helps, people would be traveling from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, LA, Norfolk (VA), and Greenville (SC).

TravelingMom is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,399
You will fry in Disney July/August. Average temps are in the low 90's, too hot for the parks and I don't think Grandmom could take it.

I can tell from personal experience the cruise idea works very well. We just did a trip with a cruise for 17 in Oct. Everyone gets to do as much or as little as they want, you unpack once, and the value for the $$ is terrific. The family all gets together for quality time at dinner. The more adventurous ones get to do things while some stick around and hang out on the boat. Everyone is happy. Not to mention I think it would be the least stressful for Grandma, she can retire to her room whenever she feels like it (this was great for 76 year old dad). Hope this helps and have a great vacation
travelinwifey is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 372
An Alaskan Cruise!! Just did this in July of 2004. Planned it for 26 people (friends & family). Used a travel agent so I didn't have to worry about money, etc but I took care of the rest of the coordination. A cruise is great for a group because there is something for everyone to do and Alaska is beautiful. I've done a couple of group cruises now and Alaska was by far the best choice we've made. Pam
PamT is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,360
Hi TM,

25 people in one house is really brave of you... 2-3 homes would be more realistic...

My first thought was that the cruise really fits well... are some of the family just unable to make a committment to certain dates?? Maybe just set the date and ask everyone to try and make it. If it's a priority, then they will.

Outer Banks, NC was my second thought... not as much for so many to do together beside hanging out on the beach... and transportation around would be much effort.

I agree w/ grandmother... and if that's what she really wants to do, go for it. We took my MIL on a cruise before she passed on, and it was one of the highlights of her life.

Whatever you decide, happy planning and enjoy every minute w/ her... time passes so fast.

makai1 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 526
... Guess I'll comment on the above two suggestions

After reading the first reply (travelinwifey), I thought to myself, "Oh no... not a cruise - I wouldn't want to do that and I'm not sure everyone else in your party would either."

Then after I read the second reply (PamT) suggesting a cruise to/through Alaska - I thought, "Gee, that sounds perfect."

Alaska is the only cruise this no-to-cruising kinda' guy would love to take. Go figure.

I would suggest the mountains - but it appears that much of the family is already from that type of area and might desire different surroundings.

The beach is always perfect!

~Best Wishes to an awesome family gathering.

Paul is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 249

It's not so much that people don't want to make a commitment but that they are unable to because of jobs. I would love to do a cruise (never been on one!), but my husband would not be able to join us at all since he doesn't have enough vacation time. Other family members have similar constraints, so I was thinking that picking a location would allow those people to just come for a long weekend.

I've spent time in the Outer Banks in the summers and I enjoy it, but I think Grandma is looking for more activity...
TravelingMom is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,360
Are hotels a possibility?? Chicago is wonderful in the summer... tons for everyone to do.

Also, Door County, WI is a great summer destination. You could rent a home... lundquistrealty.com or stay in Fish Creek at the Evergreen Condos - they are managed by homesteadsuites.com

Just a thought...
makai1 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Let me start by saying I HATE CRUISES. But for what you're talking about, I'd even give in. It is the ideal thing -- no one stuck doing the chores and housecleaning, cooking and cleanup, etc. Lots of activities for all. And the best part is you're all there together as much as you want to be or able to go your own way. Yep, I'd even agree to do a cruise this way.
Patrick is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,449
Given the restrictions on time, sounds like the suggestion to rent a house at the beach is the best one.

Given that people are coming from multiple destinations certainly someplace with good direct air transportation would be a plus. The Outer Banks and the Jersey Shore (to rent a house I'd suggest maybe Longf Beach Island) come to mind.

I've had some experience planning a trip for a large group as we went through this exercise for my parent's 50th Anniversay. If you're lucky, your relatives will be amenable to whatever you (or Grandma) ultimately decides. If you're like most families, you'll get various "helpful" suggestions from family members based on what they want.

The phrase I used when planning my families trip was "this is for the greater good." Some wanted more nightlife, some less, more sports, less sports/more beach, etc, etc. Sounds like the house rental will be the option that makes sense for the most people.

Good luck.
Ryan is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,356
With the time restrictions of some of the participants, that makes the cruise thing not work.

Renting a (0ne) house for 25 people seems unrealistic. What about a destination with several condos? Something like a Mariott Vacation club type thing, where everyone could be together, but there would be enough kitchens & bathrooms & space to go around and plenty of activities & leisure time to allow for differing tastes?

Hilton Head Island could be nice...you have beach, pools, nature activities, golf...resort atmosphere but better chance for comfortable accomodations for all.
tpatricco is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,944
1/ it's gramma's plan, so let her decide.

2/ She happens to be right.

3/ If some relative can't make gramma's 85th birthday party, he doesn't deserve the cruise anyway.

Build in a couple of days on shore before or after the cruise, and then the slackers can fit in at least a short visit with the old lady.

Vancouver -- starting point for Alsaka -- is a great place for the kids for a couple of days, too.


BAK is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Posts: n/a
Renting a house would probably insure that part of your family will not be on speaking terms by the end of the week.

Who cooks?
Who cleans?
Who's in charge of the arrangements?
Who's bringing linens?
What if it rains?

A house is a good idea only if you can stand each other for a week. My family would kill each other.

I also think a cruise would be a good idea. Call a travel agent, block the cruise and let everyone else make their arrangements. You'll get comps with 8 or more cabins and I would arrange for a free scheduled cocktail reception/party for grandma's birthday with the freebies or an upgrade for grandma.

I'm doing the same thing for Mr.GoTravel's 50th birthday so I understand your situation.
Dec 28th, 2004, 11:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 170
Based on the posts above I am convinced a cruise is the way to go.

If time is a factor you may want to look into Carnival's 4-day and 5-day cruises out of New York City. Ships sail to New England & Canada.

It is not as spectacular as Alaska but could be a good compromise and the weather should be delightful in July & August. Prices are reasonable too. I know two families with children that did this trip and greatly enjoyed it.

For any of the folks that have more time off maybe you can arrange events or get togethers in NYC before or after the cruise.

Good luck!
screen_name is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 372
One other comment on the comps you get for more than 8 cabins booked. We took the $ amount comped and divided it over each room we had secured, so each "couple" (or cabin) had a credit on their sail account for drinks, shore excursions, souvineers, etc. Worked out wonderfully. I agree that if I had to spend a week with my family in a house, we'd never live to talk about it. But on the cruise even the family members that get on my nerves were not on my daily "excursions"
PamT is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,559
I could not IMAGINE renting a "vacation" house with our 25 assorted family members, that sounds like my version of hell. Who is going to shop and cook and clean and launder?

I ditto the cruise idea. There are shorter-than-a-week cruises down the Mexican coast but Alaska sounds the best.
vivi is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 961
my dh and I go to WDW regularly (we're going in January!) and we have no kids - there are plenty of things to do for adults!
radiofanatic is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
Someone else asked a similar question a while ago not starting out with the cruise idea and I recounted a story I'd heard about a family that didn't want to go on a cruise but was sort of forced by "Dad." They had a surprisingly great time.

I agree with GoTravel and others who say staying in a house-even several houses- will not be as good as a cruise b/c of cooking and cleaning chores.

So I think your options are finding a short cruise (maybe a long weekend) that everyone could make OR selecting a place where you could all stay in the same hotel/inn etc. Cruisecritic.com might be worth a search for short cruise options. Also, there's a cruise board here. Don't know how active it is. While Alaska may not be an option for a short cruise for east coasters, Canada and/or New England might be.

You don't indicate whether there are budget constraints. One place I can think of with enough to keep different people busy with also decent weather in July/August is San Diego. There are no shortage of hotel or condo facilities where you could all stay.
mclaurie is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
I've not been able to find that other thread, but if you do a search for large family reunion, there are lots of ideas for locations in the southeast, Hilton Head, the outer banks, Bermuda, the Greenbriar etc.
mclaurie is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 86
Cruise would be the easiest to coordinate with an agent but the dilema of vacation time for everyone is a toughie...how about an all inclusive (not for me) spot in Mexico so the work thing is out of the way? Also, the July/Aug is perfect for a northeastern trip...maybe a Boston thing or possibly New York...lost of museums and stuff to do. If the 25 people are coming and going at different times, a house could work but that is a WHOLE lot of relatives in a small spot??!! I really feel the birthday girl should pick though, if I was 85, I would definitely get my way! (hehe)
cesta is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,256
My extended family does the beach house thing every two years, and there's never been a problem. We've only rented more than one house on one occasion because there simply wasn't a big enough house available.

It's all very simple--one of my mother's 4 siblings is responsible for planning the dates, picking the venue, and renting the house.

Whoever gets there first goes out and buys staples. As everyone arrives, they put a set amount of money in a kitty for the staples. Each family cooks and cleans up one night, everyone is responsible for their own breakfast and lunch, and we go out to a nice dinner one or two nights. As long as you don't have a family of total slobs, it's easy enough to keep the place relatively clean, as you're only there for a week. And you can either give up your cleaning deposit or pay someone to come and clean once the week's over. It's really not rocket science.
Ann41 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:59 PM.