The Complete Guide to Booking a Group Cruise [2020]

How can you get a group discount on your next cruise? Let me show you how.

The Complete Guide to Booking a Group Cruise [2020]
Sunset Cruise Ship

You would agree that group travel is special. And trust us, a cruise is the best way to do it. Coordinating with everybody's taste, interests, and convenience, all at once is difficult. But with cruises, you can put everybody's budget, interests, and comfort all on one single plate.

Plus, you do not need to unpack every time you arrive at a stop. See, ease multiplied!

Believe us, if you are planning group travel, go for a cruise vacation.

Here is a complete guide on how to book a cruise for group travel. Though this guide covers everything in-depth, if you still have questions, pop them in the comments section. I will surely answer them.

So, first, let's see the benefits of a group cruise over other travel options.

Table of Contents

  1. Why is a cruise your best group travel bet?
  2. Technically, what is called a group cruise?
  3. How to go about booking a cruise for group travel?
    1. Choose a group leader
    2. Deciding on a cruise
    3. Be an early bird
    4. Research about the discounts on your chosen line
    5. Use emails instead of phone calls
    6. Form a calendar
    7. Planning shore excursions
    8. Arrive early
    9. Stay together or be in your own space
    10. Communication on board.
  4. Conclusion

Why is a cruise your best group travel option?

Some points that suggest that cruises are the best group travel mode are:

  1. People with different tastes can choose their own activities. Those who want to party can dance till the wee hours. Those who want to chill in the bar can do that—no need to force anybody in doing a single activity.
  2. Differing budgets are sorted as well. Different staterooms and suites can be booked for every budget-type.
  3. Cruises can accommodate travelers of all ages. They have activities for all age groups.
  4. There is no need to spend every single moment together. Just hang out together when you want to and enjoy privacy and flexibility at other times.
  5. You can accommodate people with differing eating habits as well.
  6. Lastly, you get many complimentary gifts like beverage packages, cruise credits, discounts, etc. on group travels.

Indeed, what else do you need? You got all you need to stay together and still have space. After all, it is your vacation too.

Technically, what is called a Group Cruise?

Well, anytime you collect your friends, extended family, or even your colleagues to go out on a cruise is a group cruise.

But to avail discounts and facilities of group cruise of various lines, you need to fulfil specific criteria. You need to have at least 16 people. And you need to occupy at least eight staterooms. If you meet or exceed these criteria, you qualify as a group cruise.

But do check with us about this criterion. For it might differ for your line.

How to go about booking a cruise for group travel?

Undoubtedly, the idea of a group cruise is fascinating. But arranging for one requires planning, coordination, and research. So, here is a guide on how you would go about booking one for your friends or family. We assure you by the end of this article; you will be planning like a pro.

So, without further ado, let's start:

#1: Choose a group Leader

Every group needs a leader. He/she takes the lead and does most of the research, planning, bargaining, communication. The leader takes care of stuff like deciding on which cruise to go ( with everybody's opinions), coordinates the payments, books shore excursions, and whatnot.

Everything is a mess without a group leader. But you may be thinking, what are the perks of being a group leader? Well, it is a noble cause. Haha.

But on a more serious note, lines do appreciate your pains. And they reward you with shipboard credits, a free cabin, and many other perks. The perks also depend on the line you choose to cruise with.

#2: Deciding on a cruise

Once you got your leader, it's time for the first challenge: Zeroing in on one cruise line. As on family cruises, people involved are of various ages and interests. With friends too, they have different priorities.

You can either have a democratic way of arriving at a decision or simply let the leader choose.

Most of the time, it has been seen that they let the leader decide because they do not need to research.

This decision is a rather complicated task. But believe us, once you have chosen one, this is half the battle done already.

#3: Be an early bird!

IT IS Essential!

Make your booking as early as possible. Early booking is a necessity in cases when you need interconnected or neighboring cabins.

It is all the more needed if you want the best cabins on a new ship. Or even if it is the holiday season. You can understand that it is hard to get cabins of your choice in such situations.

But anytime you are ready with your requirements, you can book your travel through We offer you an excellent interface and resource pages to help you guide you through this process. 

Request a Group Cruise Quote

#4: Research about the reviews and discounts of your chosen line

Every cruise line has some attractive deals for people on group travel.

Read reviews from experienced travelers so that you can plan for them in advance.

There is a lot to do. You can consider hiring a travel agent. But they are unnecessary. You are your own best Travel agent.  Plus,  we are here to assist you. 

Recommended Reading:

8 Great Reasons Not To Use A Cruise Travel Agent

#4: Use emails instead of phone calls

This one sounds like trivial advice. But believe us, this is vital.

We are all humans. Miscommunications can take place. Or we may miss out conveying a piece of info to someone. Or they might even forget that info!

To avoid all such commotions, you must have a written record of everything. Also, it is easy to cc everybody some info than telling everybody separately over the phone.

Also, when it is on email, they can anytime check any particulars they are forgetting.

What's more, you can set up a website, a Whatsapp group, or something else, too, to be doubly sure that communication flows.

After all, you do not want anyone from your friends or family cruises pouting because you missed relaying critical info.

#5: Form a calendar

Forming and sending a calendar is a good move. Most people tend to forget deadlines. The deadline for filling passenger information forms. The opening date of shore excursions, or payment deadlines, and so much more.

If you have sent out calendars, the task becomes so much manageable!

#6: Planning shore excursions

Shore excursions are again a tricky issue. Many times it is hard to agree on doing the same activity.

So here is an easy approach to avoid conflicts. The 'superhero' group leader needs to step up once again! The leader needs to convey what he feels like doing on the shore excursions. Now, everyone who is OK with the plan is added to the list. And those who don't agree can be on their own.

Insider Tip: If you have many people agreeing on one plan, you can hire a private independent tour. This tactic can help you save some money.

#7: Arrive Early

Be it business cruises or family cruises, it is better to arrive early in the port city. You can use this day as extra time if your flight gets delayed or some similar mishap occurs.

You can also use this extra time to have a bash with your fellow cruisers. Dance, party, and catch up with each other. And make this a memorable start of your journey!

You can also discuss the meeting schedule for the next day.

#8: Stay together or be in your own space!

Cruises are best for group travel because you can have the best of both the worlds. You can be together when you want and chill by the pool at other times.

If somebody plans a casino night, not everybody has to be a part of it. Instead, if you are up for a date with your partner, you can very well do that.

But still, it will be good if you could all meet once at some point during the day. Many groups have dinners together. This way, you can be connected and feel like a group vacation.

You can also share your stories at dinner time and get to live so many experiences all at once.

#9: Communication on board

Onboard communication is a tough job. Cellular companies charge you fortunes and cruise packages are also not very lucrative. Especially when on family cruises, you need to communicate a lot, so get walkie talkies. Take our advice. You will not regret it.

If you want to know more about communication over cruises, here is a guide for you!

Cruise Line Apps


We hope you found our complete guide useful and are now all set to embark on your cruise!

Offering a crux, we would like to say that appoint a leader and make bookings early. So, that if you have to make any changes, you have time at your bay.

Thank you for reading the article. If you found it useful, share it with your friends, so that they can get an idea too.

Happy Cruising!