Booking a holiday for any family can be stressful – but none more so than a large family. Not only do you have to worry about finding something everyone (even the grumpy teens) will enjoy, there’s also the added pressure of cost.
The good news is that cruising can help you tick all the boxes. Today’s cruise ships are packed full of activities and entertainment for every age group. And there are ever-increasing options for large groups and families that don’t necessarily blow your budget out of the water. It all comes down to strategy.
Here are five ways to find affordable cruises for large families:
Look for the all-inclusive fun
Finding a way to entertain lots of people can be expensive, so you need to find the cruise ship that offers the most fun for free. Cruise lines like Carnival, P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean are known for packing the most family fun into their ships, without hidden charges. For example, a cruise fare on Royal Caribbean includes the Adventure Ocean youth program, Fisher Price playgroups, DreamWorks Experience, shows, rock-climbing, ice-skating, mini golf, nightlife and family-friendly dining.
If you’re traveling with a family of five, six or more, your challenge is to find a stateroom that’s comfortable yet inexpensive. Family suites or staterooms are wonderful, but they come with a price tag. Surprisingly, a better budget option is two staterooms connected by a private door. So you can spread over one large space with the bonus of two bathrooms and separate sleeping areas. These interconnecting staterooms do book up quickly though, so it pays to move fast when you find a cruise you like.
You could also book staterooms that are adjacent or opposite. This is a great option for families with teens – just be sure you give the adults the ocean view!
Check for discounts
For cabins that can accommodate up to four people (quads), cruise ships sometimes offer deals, such as free or discounted rates for the third or fourth passengers in one room. This provides significant savings for larger families, as you can spread the cost over a couple of rooms. Also look for deals like bonus onboard credit and reduced deposits. When you’re booking for a large group, every extra dollar in your pocket will add up!
Book super early or last minute
If you already know you want to book a family cruise, start planning early. This will make sure you get the best for your budget, not only for the cruise itself but all the added extras, like hotels and flight connections. But you can also get some great deals last minute – so keep an eye out on the cruise websites, sign up for newsletters and “like” their social media pages.
Explore onshore independently
On-shore excursions will bust your holiday budget quicker than you can say “bon voyage!” The best way to explore ports of call as a large family is to look outside for lower-priced tours or simply explore independently. Just make sure you’re all back at the ship in plenty of time for departure!
Take a look at the cruise deals on offer now and start planning!