Cabins, like this one on Carnival, offer more space for families.
Families at sea have become a very large and important segment of cruising. In particular, multigenerational vacations and family reunions have become big business.
The cruise lines have responded with a range of family-friendly changes, however it is in accommodations that passengers have seen the most dramatic shift, both in new ships and major renovations.
There are still many staterooms aboard today’s ships with space for a third or fourth passenger, and many lines are offering free or dramatically reduced rates for these. Sofabeds, cribs and upper bunks may be brought in for families sharing the same stateroom, with additional beds often curtained off to create privacy.
However, the number of ships offering connecting staterooms and suites has grown dramatically in the past five to 10 years. Family suites have features including multiple bathrooms; bedrooms with access only through the main sitting area; and televisions with DVD players.
With a large family group, huge suites and villas sleeping eight or more become quite affordable, and these may have private Jacuzzis, butlers, in-room dining, private pools and gardens and special privileges in dining and entertainment. Another creative tactic that is often utilized for family-reunion groups is booking one couple or family in a balcony stateroom or large suite who then hosts the other members of the group booked in lower category rooms. As guests, they can enjoy the private perks of the suite customer.
In addition, most lines have increased the storage in their staterooms, upgraded their bedding and added family-oriented programming to in-cabin entertainment options, as well as books and music for younger cruisers.