Family Vacation Tips

Large Family Cruises

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 28, 2012 11:48:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

large Family Cruises

(Updated Jan. 2019)  Yes...there are plenty of cruise cabins that will fit a large family of five, a family of six...even a family of eight! Large families actually have several different options when it comes to selecting a cruise ship cabin. Often the type of cabins larger families need will not show up on the big online, book-it-yourself cruise websites. These websites certainly do not explain all of your cabin choices or double check different pricing options to be sure you're getting the best deal. This is why it's very important to work with a Vacationkids family cruise expert. We understand all of your options available for family of five cruise cabins and beyond. Our staff can easily make your reservations saving you time, money and frustration. In addition, we offer perks and exclusive deals in addition to our great service.

Generally your cabin selections are going to be based on the following criteria...

  • Your preferred destination - Caribbean, Alaska, Europe
  • The lifestyle needs of your family - Luxury cruise, infant care, mobility needs...etc
  • Sailing dates and availability
  • Your family cruise vacation budget.

Generally smaller groups of 5-8 passengers cruising together have three different sailing options open to them. It is important to note that not all of these options are available for every ship, sailing date or cruise line. This is why flexibility if important. We have done our best to give you the good news and the bad news associated with each of these different options. Hopefully this will aid the grown ups with their grown up cruise planning discussions. We also included some specifics on cruise lines and ships that have more options open for larger families.

large family cruises

1. Family Cabins

The good news Most of the friendliest family cruise lines do offer cabins that will allow 5 or 6 passengers to stay all together. Sharing an inside or outside cabin is certainly MOST ECONOMICAL option for any family wanting space for up to 6 passengers. First and second passengers pay a higher amount, but, third, fourth and fifth passengers sharing the same cabin pay a much lower rate. This is especially true for families of teenagers when you compare it to a land based resort vacation. Hotels generally charge kids over the age of 12 full adult fare and most will not allow them to share the same room with their parents which leads to safety or separation concerns for parents. Cruises do not have age restrictions when it comes to cabin passengers. This makes these cabins a real money saving, worry-free vacation option for families.

This picture is just one example of how the cabins could be configured....there is a king bed for parents, an upper birth or bunk above a fold out sofa that sleeps two. Other rooms sleep 6 may offer a king bed for parents, a fold out sofa for 2 and bunk beds. Please know it may not be safe for young children to sleep in upper births or bunks. Older teens may not fit comfortably so ages and sizes do matter when it comes to comfortable sleeping arrangements.

The bad news This option can be too much togetherness for some families. Sharing one cabin together means all passengers much share one small bathroom. This option can easily become a nightmare if you do have to share one with three teenagers. Bear in mind if a rollaway bed is required for the fifth passenger then your cabin space will be severely compromised...basically there will be zero room to walk about your cabin. These cabins are the best money saving option for families with teens but its physically much easier to share a small cabin with younger, smaller kids.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW!!! - Cabins that allow 5 or 6 passengers to share the same cabin are capacity controlled. This means that just because these cabins are showing up as available for a certain cruise doesn't mean the cruise line will automatically allow you to sail with 5 or 6 passengers. Cruise lines keep a watchful eye on the number of passengers with reservations for a particular sailing date. They do this for the comfort and safety of all passengers. Cruise line can suddenly decide at any time to limit the number of people sharing any specific cabin. This is how the cruise lines control passenger population on all their cruise ships. This is why we say if you want everyone to share the same cabin you MUST plan ahead and book your cruise EARLY to avoid disappointments. This will also help you get the best pricing too!


2. Adjoining or Connecting Cabins 

The good news This is a great compromise for families sailing with up to 8 passengers. With this scenario, you do get two full cabins AND TWO bathrooms. With this option you can mix and match cabin categories. For example Mom and Dad can elect to stay in an oceanview stateroom and confirm a less expensive inside cabin right across the hall for their teens. For younger families you can confirm connecting cabins which means your two cabins share a door in between.

The bad news - This option is a bit more pricey because you will need to pay the more expensive first and/or second passenger rates for your family's second cabin. Also, because you have two cabins, you will have two separate entry/exit doors. From a security standpoint, it may be a bit more difficult for parents to moniter two cabin exits instead ofjust one. We warn this as much for sailing with toddlers as we do for families sailing with teens.

Every cruise ship on the high seas offers adjoining or connecting cabins throughout most stateroom categories. Some ships offer more than others so once again, flexibility and early planning are key. On cruise ships you do have the option to purchase your exact stateroom in advance. Here it's best to work with one of our Vacationkids Family Cruise Experts who are most familiar with ship deckplans and can offer your family the best options for adjoining cabins.


3. Family Suites

The good news -Family Suites are a popular way for families of of five up to families of eight to share the same stateroom accommodations. These are luxury staterooms which come with generous space and walking room. Some cruise lines offer specific services and extra amenities with this category of suite like early embarkation & disembarkation to save your family time waiting in line. These suites usually have at least two bedrooms and most offer 2 bathrooms allowing for more privacy for parents and space for children. Generally suites also offer a living room type seating areas and balconies conducive to family gatherings.

The bad news- The pricetag and availability. These are certainly the best option for a big splurge or celebration vacation. Just know most ships only offer a limited amount of family suites per ship. Family suites are in high demand and are usually the first staterooms to sell out, ESPECIALLY for spring break and holiday sailings. Just like the other cabins geared for larger families, once again family suites are capacity controlled. Another reminder...parents you need to book these rooms in advance to avoid disappointment.

This is just a short list of options for our most requested, family friendly cruises for larger families looking to sail together. There are even more choices available. If you have a REALLY big family or want to invite friends to come along and join all your fun, There are even more perks when it comes ot family cruise groups.

Your Vacationkids cruise expert will use all this information to focus on the best cruise options out there for your family. We love working with big families because big families always means big fun, and here at Vacationkids....we love big fun!


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Topics: Family Cruises, Family of 5 Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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