Group Cruise Tips

Golden PrincessWhether you have planned a group cruise before or not, the following advice will help keep all your attendees busy and happy.

The following tips apply to all types of group cruises.

If you’re looking for specific advice on a type of group cruise, click on any of the following:

1. Family Reunion Cruise Tips

2. Wedding Cruise Tips

3. Class Reunion Cruise Tips

Plan Ahead

We can’t stress this enough. Plan at least a year ahead of time. Get a meeting together with several people on the planning committee and get things started as early as possible. Not only will you get the lowest group cruise rates, you will also get the best rooms, and the best cruise ships. We can’t say it enough… Plan ahead.

Departure Gates

Before you finalize on a cruise ship, make sure you decide on a departure city. The location of this city has to be easy to get to for the majority of your attendees. Not only will more people attend the reunion if it’s easy to get to, but it will cost less too.

Book Airfare And Cruise Separately


While packages work great for individual travel, they don’t always work out when it comes to groups.

Because individuals in your group will have different departure cities and times, the cost is sometimes higher for group airfare (It can be lower if everyone in the group is traveling at the same time and from the same destination e.g sports teams that travel).

The best advice we can give is to book your group cruise together and let everyone in worry about their own airfare.

Time of Year

Every destination has a peak and off peak season. In the case of group cruises, you want to avoid going when it’s in the middle of peak season. Not only is the cruise ship extremely crowded, so are the destinations. Plus the group cruise rates will be much higher than what you would pay at all other times of the year.

The best time to plan a group cruise is either at the beginning or the end of peak season. Your attendees can still enjoy great weather, less crowded beaches, and ships that aren’t completely full.

Include Everyone

Make sure the survey includes both ship based activities (Rock climbing, broadway shows, ice skating etc.) and on shore excursions. Once you have the votes, post the results on a website or on a facebook page for everyone to see.Every one of your attendees is going to want to do something different on the cruise ship as well as on shore. In order to figure out what works activities work best for your group, send out an email survey or post one on your website.

Plan to have a group activity daily and leave enough time in the day for people to plan other activities as well.

Group Cruise Rates

When getting group cruise rates, it’s best to get quotes online from multiple vendors. Not only do you get better rates, it’s also easier to compare the quotes side by side. Here is how to get group rates from different cruise lines.

Once you have the quotes, make sure to compare amenities offered as well as the free nights you may earn. Cruises will offer groups free credits to spend on the ship, a welcome party, cocktail night etc. so make sure you know what you are getting before you select one.

Web savvy planners

Carnival Dream in CozumelMake sure to have someone in your group create and maintain a website for the cruise.

The website should be easy to update so everyone in your group can access the information for themselves.

By creating a web page, you’ll avoid answering the same question over and over again.

If you website has a message board that allows your group to interact with each other online, that’s even better. If not, then create a facebook page for the group cruise and let people voice their thoughts there.

Group Dinner

One of the perks of group cruises is that you’ll be seated as a group for dinner. Insist that everyone in your group meet for dinner every night. The group dinners allow everyone to catch up and share all the fun activities that others should do or avoid doing the next day. Plus, with everyone there, you can go over the schedule for the following day so everyone is on the same page.

If you plan ahead of time, your group will get discounts on excursions as well. You can plan group tours at any of the ports of call on your itinerary. Discuss the options on the website and take advantage of the lower prices.


When planning for excursions, don’t select a group activity for every port of call. For example, if your cruise is visiting two islands, then plan a group tour on one and leave the other for individuals to plan themselves.

Mini Tips

  • There are cruise ship photographers all over the place so take as many pictures as you like with your group. Only buy the ones that you want.
  • Bring several decks of cards to play with during downtime. Preferably poolside…
  • Daytime is playtime – Leave the day open so people can explore the various activities on the ship. Get together at dinner to go over tomorrows plans.

What should you read next?

Read about how to save 25-50% off cruise prices when you book as a group

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