Congratulations on your decision to take a family cruise vacation!
Yes!... It's possible to book a cruise cabin for a family of 5 or more, despite what you've been searching online. We travel agents do it all the time so allow me to share some insider tips with you starting with some basics.
Let's start by saying there are no wrong answers here when it comes to planning your next family vacation.
One of my favorite activities that I look forward to every day is answering all of the "ASK MOM" questions that appear in my inbox. This week I came across a very thought provoking question that I'd like to share about family vacations with three kids...
Family villas are available all over the world...Caribbean, U.S., Europe, Central America, South Pacific. Whether it's on the beach, in the city or high atop a ski slope, if you're considering a vacation spot that you'd like to visit with your kids, chances are there will be a villa there waiting for you.
Finding the right home away from home for family of 5 vacations can be a bit confusing. Technically we call it family of 5 but if you have 3, 4 or more kids, your family doesn't "fit" into a "normal" hotel room or cruise cabin.
Two is company, three is a crowd! This is certainly true when it comes to planning family of five vacations. Most hotels define a typical family as “two adults sharing one hotel room with two children under the age of twelve”. Hotels then use this definition to structure their prices and create occupancy rules. When you take the time to read the very small print in hotel brochures or on their websites you'll see a line that reads - “BASED ON DOUBLE ADULT OCCUPANCY”. This means the basic hotel room price is based on at least two adult people sharing one hotel room. Hotels also base their maximum occupancy rules on this definition meaning that each hotel room will only be allowed to hold a maximum of two large and two smaller bodies. Remember these two important points...maximum occupancy and pricing because their are very important as I explain later on....
When your third little bundle of joy enters this world, your family suddenly become a family of five. Your family now consists of two adult parents and three children. All is wonderful with the world until you all try to go on vacation together. Now your family of five suddenly doesn't fit the typical hotel's definition of what constitutes a family. When it comes to maximum room occupancy, your family doesn't fit into a standard room any more because now you have one extra kid. It doesn't matter whether you can all sleep in one king bed, bring sleeping bags for the floor or if your youngest can still fit in the dresser drawer. According to most hotel and pricing rules, you are simply NOT allowed to all stay in one room....Sorry but this just ain't happening.
But wait - it gets worse...
It seems the more kids you have, the more you NEED a vacation. It also seems that the more kids you have, the more difficult and expensive it is to find affordable large family vacations. Why is that?
Parents often request more than one hotel room from us when making their family hotel reservations. It may be that they have 3 or 4 children and need a family of five or six hotel room. It could be that they have young children with early bedtimes and they want a separate space so that the kids can sleep undisturbed. They may have teenager and need an extra bathroom for sanity sake. Mom and Dad may be looking for some "adult" time and "need to ensure extra privacy for themselves so that their family vacation can also become a romantic escape."
I used this gentle explanation once during a consultation with a hotelier. He wanted my opinions while desinging blue prints for construction of his family friendly resort. I could tell he just wasn't grasping what I was trying to say. Finally I was forced to spell it out for him and I said..."Listen, you need to build more connecting rooms because parents want to have sex while on vacation and do not want to worry about having their kids watch." Brutally honest and perhaps a bit too graphic, but at least my honesty got more family connecting rooms from that hotel chain that are now available to parents in need of a great vacation!