Holidays with the kids and the kids' kids is all the go, writes Tiana Templeman.
Multi-generational cruises are more popular than ever before, with grandparents embracing the opportunity to spend quality time with their adult children and grandchildren. Feeling guilty about not keeping up to date with what your siblings have been up to? Going on a cruise together provides an ideal way to reconnect.
Cruising with extended family is also the perfect way to celebrate milestone events such as a significant birthday or special wedding anniversary. Instead of travelling across the country to a relative's house for a family get together it can be easier, cheaper and a lot more fun to book a cruise and mark the occasion with a memorable holiday.
Planning a successful multi-generational cruise involves taking into account the expectations of different generations (and, usually, different budgets) and combining these to create an enjoyable trip for everyone. There are some things you'll need to consider before you book your cruise.
Agreeing on where to cruise to and from is the first decision for most families. Aim for a departure port that is convenient for everyone and doesn't cost too much to get to for those who live further away. Travelling long distances can be challenging for older travellers and parents with young children. A departure port that suits these family members is a good choice.
An itinerary with easy-to-access ports is also worth considering as boarding a tender boat while juggling a walking aid or a squirming toddler can be tricky. Carolyn Spencer Brown, of independent online travel site Cruise Critic, suggests multigenerational families should pace themselves on port days. She recommends choosing just a few places to fully explore and adopting a more relaxed pace at other destinations to keep things fun and avoid fatigue.
Splitting up on port days can also work well. Although the main purpose of this type of holiday is to spend time together, the key to keeping things happy and peaceful is also having time apart. Sharing your adventures at the end of the day is half the fun.
When it comes to agreeing on a ship, your choice will probably come down to budget. Mainstream lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Dream Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines offer a good choice of cabins at different price points, ranging from solo staterooms to balcony cabins and spacious suites.
There is no need to rule out luxury lines if you are travelling with kids, provided everyone in the family can afford to splurge. Some lines such as Crystal Cruises have an excellent children's programme and offer "kids sail free" deals on select voyages.
If you are after a ship that will please everyone, megaships tend to favour itineraries with ports that allow docking and offer enough facilities and activities to keep kids of all ages (and their parents) entertained. However, it is easy to lose track of each other on these larger ships which can be a problem. Or not, depending on how well you and your family get on.