The mere thought of getting together for a family reunion can strike terror into even the most stalwart of human beings. Don't get me wrong. We love our families -- but usually we prefer to do that loving from afar -- often several states afar! Even so, there is something inexplicably appealing about getting together with our relatives every once in a while for a reunion.
When that urge strikes (and believe me, it will strike), you've got to be prepared with a plan of action. If you mention the idea of a "family reunion" to your family members without a plan, you'll most likely end up with mayhem on your hands. The next thing you know you'll have relatives camping out on every square inch of your floor, piling your sink sky high with dirty dishes, and making executive decisions with your remote control. In addition, you'll become far too acquainted with the health problems and bodily functions of some of your senior relatives (Who knew that toenail fungus was so prevalent?).
So, what's the plan of action? You've got to head off those pesky relatives at the pass and make sure they never plan that family reunion at your house. What's the alternative? You've got to plan your family reunion on a cruise ship!
Cruise ships are the perfect setting for a family reunion. This is neutral territory, so people don't feel they are imposing on others. It levels the playing field and takes away the control that can sometimes come into play when reunions are held on a family member's "turf." Plus, the best part is the cruise line does all the work -- the cleaning, the cooking, and the entertaining. All your family members have to do is relax and enjoy their time together. Plus, lest we forget to mention one of the most important factors -- the variety of activities onboard the ship and at the various ports of call is a perfect fit for groups who want to do some of their activities together and some separately. In other words, you're not trapped in "family reunion" bedlam the entire time. You can take a breather at one of the many bars or lounges onboard your ship, catch a current movie in the ship's theater, put on your dancin' shoes for the disco, try your luck at the casino, or simply hide out in your stateroom and order complimentary room service.
If your family group has children, traditional reunions can be horrible experiences for kids! You know what I'm talking about -- the endless "remember when" discussions they overhear about things they're too young to understand, the frequent rebukes for running through the house making too much noise, and the obligatory playing with the dreadful cousins. Yikes! What kid would look forward to that? But, tell a kid they're going on a cruise ship with a miniature golf course, a pool, a sports court, an ice rink, and a really cool kid's activity program, and they won't grumble about having to endure a few hours of interaction with the relatives.
Most cruise lines offer attractive rates for groups -- and some offer special packages specifically for family reunions. With their all-inclusive approach (meals and entertainment are included) and hassle-free planning, booking your family reunion aboard a cruise ship is the only way to go.
Because there are so many cruise ships in the water these days, it can take a huge amount of research to determine which ship and itinerary would be the best match for your family's reunion. So, before you plunk down the dough for a family reunion cruise, make sure you've consulted with an experienced travel agent -- preferably one who specializes in group cruises. The service is complimentary (agents receive their commission from the cruise line) and you'll save yourself a lot of time and hassle.
Tracey Amino is the CEO of Sapphire Cruises, originators of the Home Cruise Party for family reunions and groups. Be sure to visit her site at: Sapphire Cruises