Solo vacationing is out, Group vacationing is in.
It can never be said that vacationing isn’t a fantastic adventure and loads of fun but it becomes much more fun if you go on a group vacation. This will add extra adventure, excitement and even some bonding! It could also mean shared costs… but that’s not an over-riding priority.
When I say group, I mean family members, fellow club members, friends, or even work colleagues. No matter what the size of the group, or the age of the group members, your vacation will surely be one for the record books… one to remember.
Organising a vacation just for you should be quite simple most of the time but it can be lot harder than you can imagine. Lots of problems can crop up and you need to be up to the task and flexible to avoid a vacationing disaster. Done properly, a well planned vacation that goes smoothly from start to finish will give you a fantastic feeling of accomplishment.
Let’s talk about cruises. They are arguably the most difficult holiday to organise.. especially for a group. There are many pitfalls to being a cruise vacation organiser… so lets review what you need to do to make the cruise run smoothly.
You first need to select a reliable travel agent who specialises in cruise trips. He/she will have encountered most problems before and will be able to guide you effortlessly when you start to organise your cruise. Check the travel agent is insured! You never know!
The travel agent and yourself will then go through researching cruise ships, transport to and from the ship when arriving and leaving the ship, and for shore trips that are part of the overall vacation. You need to know your group when starting this. You are going to have to fulfill most of your groups requirements so prior knowledge of your group is essential. When the type of cruise has been selected, and the needs of your group have mostly been catered for, then you look at the price range of the cruise shortlist.
Having done all the research, and selected a cruise that suits most needs of all the group, sign up for the cruise. At this point its an imperative that you keep a copy of the travel agents contract with you. Also ask for and study the insurance package. Make sure it has everything covered. Keep a copy to hand. Have a detailed copy of the cruise trips itinerary, any accommodation reservations, and as much other information as you can gather. Too much is way better than too little!
Regarding the shore trips we just mentioned.. make sure you have complete copies of all arrangements, time, dates, transport, seating etc. If this is a little bit too much for you, as you also want a vacation, ask another member of the group to take charge of this when you are on the cruise. It will free up some more valuable time for yourself.
A point to mention here.. Cruise liners shore trips can sometimes be joined by people not part of your group or the cruise. Make absolutely sure that any shore trips you organise for your group is only for your group and for no-one else… unless you want them to join in. This also applies to on board activities too. You must make sure that, if you want to take part in group member activities only, you are able to insist on it being for group members only. Most liners provide security to ensure its passengers have the privacy they have asked for.
Ok. If you have organised a vacation for a large group, some special conditions can be applied to your holiday contract. One very major condition is the availability of a large seating and dining area where group members can site, eat and chat in private.. especially handy if any problems arise and some privacy is needed to effectively sort things out.
On board meals can present problems if not properly organised at the outset. When arriving on board, and you being the organiser, you contact the person in charge of Restaurant Bookings. Discuss with them the size and needs of your group including special dietary needs and even seating arrangements should some have special preference of who sits next to them. Plan for all eventualities in this area as most problems arise at meal times in the first few days of a cruise.
Finally. Collect together contact details for every group member. This is important in case of a problem that others should be made aware of. A detailed list of the groups cabin numbers will also be handy in case you need get a hold of them urgently and they can’t be seen immediately. Ships crew may be busy at the time you need to find someone, so having their cabin numbers will expedite matters.
With all of this done, you will have organised an exceptional cruise for you and your group, and you will have all the time you need to enjoy yourself because problems should be non-existent. Just sit back, look at the joy in your groups faces and enjoy the best vacation you have ever had.