Tips for a Creating a Great Ladies Cruise Experience with Friends
I recently went on a cruise with friends. It was the most fun I have had with friends in years!! It was the planning and awesome ladies that made it such a success. Below I will share my tips so that you can plan your own ladies cruise and make memories to last a lifetime!
- Have one person in charge of contacting the cruise line and taking charge of the reservation process. My friend Laura Lemonade is a travel guru and her willingness to help with the booking process was such a gift to our group. She called the cruise line and was able to reserve a block of rooms together for a certain time period. Our group was provided with confirmation numbers so we could call and use our own credit cards to book our rooms within this block. There was a time frame for this, and whichever rooms were not booked by the deadline they were then released back to the cruise line for general booking. The biggest benefits of doing this were locking in a good rate and having our rooms together on the ship.
- Plan far in advance. We began our planning process about a year in advance. This gave our group plenty of time to make arrangements for our kids and households. It also allowed us to get the block of rooms together. If we had waited until 3 months prior to the cruise then the chances of us getting a block of 8-10 rooms together would not have been likely.
- Plan the cruise with people you like and want to spend time with. If you plan a cruise and only kinda get along with the people then you aren’t going to be able to fully enjoy the cruise together. Part of the reason for doing a cruise is to partake of the meals and onboard activities together. If the people you are thinking about traveling with drive you bonkers after an hour, then doing a cruise may not be a great idea. My cruising group was my book club ladies. We are a low drama (or could even be said no drama) group of ladies. We get along well and the group is made up of ladies who are willing to step outside their comfort zone, try new things, and be fun and silly when the time calls for it! For example, we decided before the cruise to do an evening gown night and a fascinator evening. Those who wanted to join in did, those who didn’t feel comfortable didn’t have to! No pressure on anyone, but almost everyone participated in both evening themes, because why not? We also decided to do the 80’s night on the cruise ship, so we all ordered 80’s clothing or accessories on Amazon. It’s fun to do these things. Just because we are mostly moms in our 30’s/40’s doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. Choosing a group that is willing to dress up (or down or go with a theme night) certainly makes things more fun and interesting. We may have only made it till midnight one night, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and we sure did! We just started our party and fun earlier than most because we all have internal clocks set to wake up for jobs and school on a regular basis quite early.
- Plan an excursion for your group in advance. We booked the package through the cruise ship to go to a private beach for the day. It included meal and drinks. It was a great way to do this and included the transportation. Our group had so much fun together! No worries about booking things and people not getting into the same excursion. We booked months in advance, and our lovely cruise planner Laura Lemonade made sure everyone knew about the specific excursion and how to book it.
- Plan to do stuff together on the cruise ship. Each evening we had an itinerary from the cruise ship of all ship activities for the following day delivered to our rooms. I would go through the itinerary and before I went to bed each night I typed up a list of our next day’s activities. I sent out the list to our group via our group chat. We used Facebook group chat, since we all had a technology package from the cruise ship so we could be connected while on board (and to communicate to our families back home). The activities were optional. Nothing was mandatory in our group. I created the list so that people would know where to find our group throughout the day and nobody would ever feel left out. I wanted to make sure we had options for fun, time together creating great memories, and everyone knew where to find the majority of the group throughout the day. I selected major highlights from the cruise itinerary such as the shows, our dinners, comedy shows, 80’s night deck party, etc. If you go on a cruise ship take advantage of all the activities and entertainment included!! It is what makes cruising so much fun! Lisa (my cruise roomie) was selected for a game show one night and got pulled up on stage. Most of our group was there to see it and cheer her on! It was a blast!
- Contact the cruise line in advance to ensure that you all are seated together at dinner. This also means your group needs to firstly select the same dinner time. Most cruises offer an early and a late dining option. Our group chose the early dining option, which was 6:00. Laura then contacted the cruiseline to make sure that all of the rooms booked for our group would be assigned to dining tables together. We ended up at one big table together, which was perfect!
- Dress alike for your cruise ship departure. It makes it easy to spot your group as they arrive. It also makes the group feel like they belong together. Many groups coming aboard had matching t-shirts. If you know me, you know I am not really a t-shirt person unless I am going to bed or doing yard work. Our group opted for matching Lilly Pulitzer scarves. We did it on a Target budget. We got them when Target had their annual designer sale. We scored enough scarves for our entire group. They were easy to spot in a crowd and were lovely!
- Celebrate! If you have birthdays happening in your group during the cruise or very close to cruising time, then plan to celebrate the birthdays on board. You are already having dinner together, so just bring some decorations (including a little cake topper to put on their dessert), ask the staff to put a topper on the dessert, and then sing happy birthday! We did 2 birthday celebrations on our cruise. They would be the ones in the photos with the crowns on. Celebrating their birthdays made the cruise even more festive and fun!
- Take all the photos! They offer so many photo package options and opportunities to have your photo taken like a gazillion times while on the cruise. Do it! You never know what pictures are a score. Only buy the ones you love. So take plenty, so you find some to love. It is all about capturing those memories!
Bonus tip! Plan a scavenger hunt. Our lovely cruise planner Laura made it happen for our group! She planned an amazing scavenger hunt that we started as soon as we got on the ship and she explained the rules. The hunt went on until the final full day on the ship. We were scored according to our completed activities on the scavenger hunt. My roommate Lisa and I were the winning team. It was the Karaoke singing, her being pulled up on stage for the game show, and scoring the photo with the captain that pushed our score over the top! It was so much fun doing the hunt and Laura gave out sweet prizes to the entire group!! She is amazing beyond words!!
Best friends’ ladies cruise ever!