By Tara McClure, Agent with Magical Moments Vacations
Magical Moments Vacations has seen that multi-generational cruising is a popular travel trend, allowing families to vacation together, with something to interest and entertain everyone--and we’ve worked with many families to help them plan cruises for extended family groups.
Here, MMV agent Tara McClure shares some insights and information about multi-generational cruising, and even shares some feedback and photos from her clients.
You are sitting around the table with your family, of all ages, and you are thinking about what type of trip you can all go on together and enjoy.
Your kids are begging you to go somewhere with a beach, and a pool, and a lot of kids their age (so they can run off and you never see them again and you don’t have to spend a lot of time debating where they can go and not go without an adult present).
Your parents are wanting to do something that includes sightseeing and activities that interest them, but still spend time with their grandkids.
And you want to relax, make some memories, and see a lot of different places all at the same time.
Sound familiar? If these are your current or future travel thoughts and you are thinking about a trip that would be fun and enjoyable for all different ages and interests, you should simply “Pass Go” and head straight to cruising!
Multi-generational cruising is one of the most popular ways to vacation with friends and family of all different ages, relationships, and interests for many reasons. The main thing we hear over and over again as the best reason for this is because cruising has something for everyone.
How does this play out for real? Well, if the grandparents want to go dancing or win some money at the casino? Great! Sign them up for both. If the kids want to go to a kid’s club movie night and eat pizza? Cruising is perfect for that. If the parents wish to sit out on the balcony and listen to the waves lapping and hide from the world, participate in an art auction, or go to the spa and relax with a massage and enjoy a wine tasting? Cruising is once again the answer.
There are so many things to do, and places to enjoy on the ship! Plus, there are many shipboard activities to learn about different things (like a whiskey class) or enjoy an adult or family-friendly comedy show. And these are just the things to enjoy while at sea. Then, add to that the list of excursions for every port and the options are too many to count! The best part about choosing an excursion for a multi-generational cruise (or any cruise) is you can choose based on everyone's desired activity and mobility level.
So, if you all want to stick together then you can do a Family Adventure with a moderate activity level such as an Animal Preserve and Sanctuary in Roatan Bay Islands, Honduras.
Or if you have someone with limited mobility and they want to go along with the group, you can all go together on a bus tour of the island and see beautiful beaches, get out and explore a fun arts and crafts store (do not worry-- it is handicapped accessible and that has already been checked out for you!) and take a great photo in front of the oldest Methodist Church in Roatan.
Do you want a party? There is a great beach party all ready for you at Tabyana Beach and you can have a snorkel too. Or you can spend the day relaxing at a beautiful private oceanfront resort and access to all their amenities including the private beach and infinity-edge swimming pool.
Let’s say you have chosen to go on a cruise to Alaska. This is a beautiful and very popular choice for multi-generational groups. Alaksan cruises offer an incredible array of options at all the different ports. For example, you can decide to go as a complete family group to explore the misty fjords at the Ketchikan port via a luxury sightseeing vessel. But if some more adventurous souls want to test their limits and go on a Rainforest Zip, Skybridge and Rappel Adventure then they have that option too. And at the end of the day you all meet back at your ship for dinner and lots of sharing of your experiences.
OR you can choose to stay on the ship and enjoy the open amenities or less crowded pools while most people are out enjoying the port. I personally have done this myself and more than once. I send all my people that I am cruising with off on fun excursions and then I do a quick switch and wave goodbye. I then spend the day quietly, on my balcony, with room service, a fruity daiquiri and a good book, relaxing and congratulating myself on once again planning a great trip for everyone.
How do you find the right cruise line and ship for your multi-generational cruise? Well, first you should talk to your Magical Moments Vacations travel agent, as they will ask you some questions about what is most important for your family and friends on the cruise, what everyone enjoys for activities and what sort of ports you may want to visit.
It is the goal of most cruise lines to be able to entertain people of all ages and accommodate everyone from the little ones to the oldest in your family and for all to have a great trip. All cruises do have a minimum age for infants though, so check with your Magical Moments Vacations travel agent, if you have an infant wanting to cruise with you (an average age requirement is 6 months). There are other restrictions for cruises, such as you need to be less than a certain number of months pregnant (each cruise is different so check with your travel agent).
I wanted to share with you the experience of a multi-generational family that I have worked with over the last few years. They have enjoyed two multi-generational cruises and have another scheduled for 2021. The Lancaster family began their multi-generational cruising about two years ago with the parents, Susan and Frank, and son Max, age 14 (at time of travel) cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line on the Breakaway on a 9 day Scandinavia, Russia and Baltic round trip sailing from Copenhagen. This ship ported in 6 different ports and they enjoyed an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia.
When asked about this cruise, Susan and her family had so much to share about the trip:
“It was ideal to see so many countries and have a “home base” onboard. Our son loved the teen club and made friends with kids from all over the world. We appreciated that all the tricky parts of international travel (visas for Russia, transportation in Estonia, etc.) had been taken care of by Norwegian and Tara. A favorite memory from that trip was sailing under the amazing Oresund Bridge, that goes from Denmark to Sweden. Our son’s favorite memory was Rakvere Castle in Estonia.”
When they returned from that sailing, Susan knew that her and son Max, now age 15, wanted to take a cruise that would include Susan’s parents Tom and Sara, as well as Susan's sister Catherine, her friend David and her 17-year-old daughter Sara. This group was very excited about this idea, and after chatting for a few minutes and researching some options we settled on a fantastic 4-day cruise with an overnight in Havana, Cuba.
Since cruising and visiting Cuba had just begun the year prior, we were all excited. I had personally just returned from a research cruise to Cuba and had my notes ready to make their trip memorable. This cruise departed and returned from Port Canaveral, FL. In addition to the overnight stop in Cuba, the Norwegian Sun also stopped in Key West, FL for a day of fun, music, adventures and of course Key Lime pie.
One thing that came up and does often on multi-generational cruises, was some mobility concerns the grandparents had for both getting on and off the ship and then again at port in Cuba and Key West.
Because I had been to Cuba, I knew that was a tad difficult because Cuban streets are cobblestone and were a bit rough. Taking this issue into consideration, we were able to secure the best excursion for them and make sure there was someone there that could help in Cuba.
Of course the cruise line was more than happy to assist them getting on and off the ship and they had many helpers.
Unfortunately, the day they went to dock at Havana was the exact date this port was closed to the USA and the ship was denied entry. So, the Norwegian Sun turned and went elsewhere and the Lancaster family had a great story to tell. But, of course the ship and the Lancaster family were able to pivot and find another port. The ship got them set on some new great excursions for this new port and they had a great cruise, with lots of laughs. And the best part is their next cruise in 2021 is being paid for by the future cruise credits Norwegian offered the family for their inconvenience. Win, win!
During the cruise itself, the family all loved going to Hemingway's Saloon and Sloppy Joe's in Key West to hear live music, and enjoy great food. They also LOVED meeting for a drink at the bar at the very front of the ship and timed it perfectly at night for the sunset. Watching the colors change minute by minute is still a favorite memory.
Susan told me from the beginning that their family had always done multi-generational trips and that they had done many different kinds of trips over the years, but they found the perfect solution for everyone after trying cruising. They found their forever fit. When I asked Susan what made her keep coming back to cruising with her whole family, she said because they had something for everyone and her family usually split up some during the day and had great adventures and then met up every day for a meal. She wrapped it up perfectly and said
"We love making shared memories, and the best part of the day
is the evening meal when we can talk and laugh about our day."
Though there are so many great cruise lines, the Lancaster family chooses Norwegian Cruise Line because of their clean, spacious rooms, excellent food and choices, the environmental focus of the cruise line, the wide variety of excursions that appeals to all ages and interests and their beautiful common areas on the ships.
When asked about future cruising plans for things already on the books and future thoughts, Susan wrapped it up perfectly:
"We love the freedom and ease of cruising as a way to see the world.
We are looking forward to cruising again, when the world is safer
for the crew and the passengers."
I know there are so many ready and waiting for that beautiful day.
From Left to Right: Mother and Daughter Memories to Keep Forever, Sisters Enjoying Time Together, Family Making Memories
If you are thinking of a multi-generational cruise or a cruise with friends,
please reach out and let a Magical Moments Vacations agent help you
find the perfect cruise for your family & friend group.
We work with a broad array of cruise lines and can help you
find just the right ship and itinerary for your multi-generational cruise.
You can request more information or a quote and an MMV agent
will be happy to talk to you about your interests and find the perfect fit.
About the Author
MMV Agent Tara Scott McClure has from a young age, had a love of travel and a huge passion for new places and things to see and do. She helps her client plan everything from short weekend trips to Asheville, North Carolina to expedition cruises to Iceland and everything in between...including multi-generational cruises! She prides herself on her concierge services and will help you plan all steps of your itineraries and even include the best dining tips in the area. She specializes in all types of Cruises, Theme Parks, Caribbean, Europe and so much more. She hopes to share her love of travel with you and your family.