Cruise tips

  • Be sure you know your cruise line’s policies about cruising while pregnant, otherwise you could be turned away at the pier; most cruise lines do not allow travel for mothers-to-be who are farther along than 24 weeks.
  • Most cruise lines have a minimum age for children to sail; minimum ages range from 3 months to 12 years, depending on the cruise line.
  • Some cabins have been specially designed to sleep four or more.
  • Special suites also are available for the disabled and folks who want more room and luxury amenities.
  • Purchase a travel insurance policy. On some policies, optional pre-existing medical coverage is available within 14 days of initial deposit. With many people involved in a family reunion, there is a chance something could happen that would require one or more members to abort the get-together.
  • You will need a passport to disembark from the ship. Some countries require a six-month expiration period for all passports.
  • Cruising is an easy reunion to plan. Seating everyone together for meals is no problem. Ships arrange special events (sometimes for free), private cocktail hours and photo sessions. And they all give discounts. The standard tends to be one person free for every 14 to 16 cabins.
  • The biggest challenge is finding the right ship. If you’re couch potatoes, you want a destination like the Caribbean. If everyone’s active, think about Alaska.
  • Ask your cruise specialist about the ship’s atmosphere. Ask your specialist about everything. Cruise agents book nearly all cruises and they know the ships. Three- or four-night sailings are popular because they cost less.
  • All cruise lines are accustomed to handling groups, though a few have attractive selling points for big families. Some offer points that can be used for a private cocktail party, poker chips, or photo sessions with a pro. Some arrange onboard scavenger hunts and trivia contests. On some you can earn extras such as unlimited soft drinks, free snorkel gear, movies and 24-hour buffets.

Should you book cruises early or late?

Cruise travelers who know exactly where and when they want to go, and on what ship, typically book six to 24 months in advance so they can travel on the cruise they want. Book early if:

  1. You can only travel on specific dates
  2. You are traveling with a group
  3. You want to take advantage of special early booking savings. Anyone who requires an accessible cabin also should book early to ensure one is available.

If you can book early, you can hold some cabins without names, allowing time to gather enough people. Put your cruise on vacation lay-away and make manageable monthly payments. You can cancel or change plans within a certain timeframe and receive a full refund, minus a change or cancellation fee charged by most agents.