12 Multi-Generational Cruise Mistakes Families Make and Must Avoid

multi-generational cruise tips & mistakes

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Planning a multi-generational cruise can be a dream come true for families looking to create lifelong memories together. With grandparents, parents, and children onboard, a cruise vacation offers a great opportunity for bonding across generations while visiting new destinations.

However, taking a multi-generational cruise can present some unforeseen challenges. A successful multi-generational cruise requires careful planning and consideration, from choosing the right cruise line and itineraries to managing expectations and schedules.

In this post, I share 12 mistakes made on a multi-generational cruise. Whether you’re an experienced cruiser or a first-time cruiser, these mistakes will help you easily plan your next multi-generational cruise.

12 Multi-Generational Cruise Mistakes

1. Don’t Plan Last Minute

A multi-generational cruise vacation requires a lot of time and planning. Planning in advance is essential to ensure the perfect multi-generational cruise experience.

Planning the cruise months is a great way to secure the right cabin, itinerary, and coordinate schedules. Furthermore, organizing the travel logistics can take time and be costly if you book flights.

By planning your cruise at the last minute, you may face several issues that can jeopardize your plans. Plan your cruise at least one year in advance to avoid any potential issues.

2. Picking The Wrong Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean Icon of the Seas

When it comes to multi-generational travel, the choice of a cruise ship is crucial. It’s important to select a ship that not only caters to the needs of the younger kids and teenagers but also provides a relaxing and enjoyable environment for the adults.

A ship that strikes the right balance between fun and relaxation is the perfect choice for a multi-generational family vacation. Furthermore, you’ll want a cruise ship with various activities, onboard attractions, and family-freindly entertainment.

Choosing the right cruise line and ship is not just a decision, it’s a game-changer. It can make or break your vacation, shaping the memories you’ll create with your loved ones.

So before you book your cruise vacation, take the time to ensure the cruise ship is a good fit for the whole family.

3. Not Consulting The Various Family Members To Get Their Input

Before booking a cruise, it’s important to review a few important details with your family. The itinerary, date, cabin options, ship choice, and cruise line are essential decisions that can make or break your cruise vacation.

Getting everyone’s input before anything is booked is a great way to ensure smooth sailing and an enjoyable cruise experience. The last thing you want is for a family member not to enjoy the itinerary or the cruise ship.

4. Not Being Clear On Who’s Paying For What

Virgin Voyages drinks

It’s not uncommon for the older generation to pay for all or part of the other family members’ cruises during a multi-generational cruise. For instance, if it’s an anniversary trip, they may decide to gift this cruise vacation to the whole family.

In other cases, everyone may pay for the cruise independently. The important part is that everyone is on the same page about what is being paid for so they can budget accordingly.

Although the basics are included on a cruise vacation, some extras still cost money. For instance, Wi-Fi, beverage packages, the spa, specialty dining, and excursions all cost extra. Everyone being on the same page about what is and isn’t being paid for is a good way to avoid any potential confusion.

5. Don’t Feel Like You Have To Do Everything Together

how to plan a big family cruise

A big mistake on multi-generational cruises is expecting everyone to be with each other at all times. However, the good part of a cruise is that there is something for everyone, which allows for space.

It’s important to acknowledge that spending every waking moment with your family on a cruise ship can be overwhelming. Recognizing the need for personal space and time alone is not only okay but also essential for an enjoyable multi-generational cruise experience.

It’s important to establish ground rules prior to your cruise vacation to set the expectation of how much time everyone will spend together. Whether it’s meeting up for dinner every night, spending port days together, or watching the evening shows as a family, it’s important that everyone is on the same page.

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6. Not Using a Travel Agent

Since a multi-generational cruise has many moving parts, having a travel agent is a good idea. If you’re traveling with 10+ passengers, using a travel agent will make your life much easier.

A travel agent will help you choose the right cruise ship with cabin arrangements, find the best pricing, and answer any questions. Using a travel agent will make planning your multi-generational cruise vacation a breeze.

7. Not Creating a Facebook Group

Creating a Facebook group is a great way to keep everyone in the loop. In this group, you can share updates on the cruise, message each other, and share photos from the vacation.

Furthermore, sharing updates before the cruise is a great way to get everyone excited for their upcoming family vacation.

8. Not Taking Advantage of the Kids Club

Cruise kid's club activities

One of the beneficial aspects of a cruise vacation is the kids’ club program. The kids’ and teens’ clubs are not just fun but also a secure environment where you can confidently leave your children.

Of course, spending time with the whole family is an important part of a multi-generational cruise. However, leaving the kids at the kids club is a great way to give the parents and grandparents time to relax.

Furthermore, the kids’ club is an absolute blast, and your children won’t want to leave. As someone who has been cruising since I was a kid, the kids club was always the highlight of my cruise vacations.

Related: 10 Cruise Experts Share Their Best Tips for Cruising with Kids

9. Not Communicating Onboard

A big multi-generational cruise mistake you’ll want to avoid is not communicating onboard. Whether setting up a family group chat or meeting every morning for breakfast, it’s a good idea to communicate with one another so everyone is on the same page.

Discussing the dinner plans, excursions, and what everyone does during the day is a great way to coordinate schedules. With so much going on throughout the cruise, it’s a good idea to look over the activities and plan your days accordingly.

10. Not Reserving Dining Times

main dining room freedom of the seas older cruise ship

Since it’s hard for cruise lines to accommodate large groups simultaneously in the main dining room, reserving dining times in advance or even booking early dining is best. A mistake that certain multi-generational families will make is going to any time or open dining as a group.

This makes it extra hard on the dining staff and crew members, and you may be stuck waiting for a long time before a large enough table opens up to accommodate the whole family. Instead, speak to the Maître d on the first day of your cruise so you can arrange a dining time that works for the whole family.

Related: 13 Cruise Main Dining Room Tips All Cruisers Need to Know

11. Avoid Flying in the Day of Your Cruise

airplane flight

Instead of flying in on the day of your cruise, fly in the day before your cruise. Flying in on the day of your cruise vacation can lead to a stressful embarkation day or even missing your cruise.

Flights can be delayed or canceled due to mechanical issues, weather, or circumstances beyond your control. However, you can manage any unforeseen circumstances by arriving a day early.

Additionally, flying in the day before your cruise allows you to avoid the stress of rushing from the airport to the cruise terminal. Instead, fly in a day early and book a hotel to make the most of embarkation day.

Related: 17 Rookie Mistakes First Time Cruisers Should Avoid

12. Not Getting Matching Cruise T-Shirt

A fun way to make your multi-generational cruise more enjoyable is to get matching t-shirts. Matching t-shirts is a huge part of cruise culture, and many families cruising together will bring them on their vacation.

Whether it’s a fun slogan or an inside joke, consider getting matching t-shirts to improve your multi-generational cruise vacation.

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Final Thoughts on Multi-Generational Cruise Mistakes

Well, there it is, the multi-generational cruise mistakes you’ll want to avoid making before your next cruise.

Planning a multi-generational cruise can be rewarding, yet it certainly does come with its own set of challenges. By avoiding these common multi-generational cruise mistakes, you can ensure the cruise vacation is enjoyable and stress-free for the whole family.

Careful preparation is key to selecting the right cabins and itineraries, managing logistics, and considering each family member’s needs.

Have you ever taken a multi-generational cruise? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


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Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer has been cruising with his family since he was four years old and has been on more than 30 cruises. As a frequent traveler, Ethan shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like from a young person’s perspective. Ethan also writes about men’s fashion, travel and college advice on the website WhatToWearMen.com.


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