Help Me Plan A Family Reunion At Sea!

Courtesy walterpowers/myBudgetTravel
Do you have any advice on planning family reunions at sea?

Growing up, I was the resident contrarian at my house, and nothing brought out this tendency more than family vacations. My parents took us to Washington, D.C., to meet one of our senators and get a tour of the Capitol and I insisted on a side trip to, of all places, the Pentagon. (Sorry, I was a little boy. And I lost that argument, by the way.) Two weeks on Martha’s Vineyard? I was perfectly content to skip drop–dead–gorgeous South Beach and read Bleak House in a comfy chair at our rental home.

So, when my siblings recently suggested that we attempt a “family reunion at sea,” booking a cruise that would include my parents along with all of their adult children, significant others, and grandkids, I was the one who raised the annoying questions: Seriously, all of us? On a boat? Where? When? How?

It occurred to me that my favorite travel experts, Budget Travel readers, could slap some sense into me on this topic. Have you ever organized—or even just attempted to organize—an extended–family cruise? I’d love to hear your success stories: How did you get the ball rolling? How did you accommodate special needs like handicap access and dietary restrictions? How did you manage to keep the seventy–somethings, the preschoolers, and everyone in between literally and figuratively onboard?

And, of course, my inner contrarian is just as interested in hearing about the quirky, unexpected, and, as we say in BT’s True Stories section, just plain bizarre.

—Robert Firpo–Cappiello


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