Group Travel on a Cruise
Cruises can easily hold 3,000 or more people. Therefore cruise lines have different criteria for what is large enough to consitute a group, to get special priviledges.
For many cruise lines, you need to get 8 or more rooms in a batch before they start to consider you making up a group. Many families naturally travel in groups of 3 or 4 cabins - that is not unusual at all. In fact on my last cruise purchase we bought 4 cabins at the same time, and if anything we were ignored :) If you do get up into the range of 7 or 8 cabins, though, it's well worth contacting the cruise line to see if you get any benefit for that.
If the ship is one that normally sells out, then don't expect a lot of attention. If you hadn't taken those rooms, they would have sold anyway, and probably to people with fewer demands :) You will of course want to be located near each other and in a location that you desire.
However, if you're going off season, when the ship would normally have problem getting sales, then you're in luck. The cruise line should be quite happy that you are helping them out, and offer upgrades. If you get more than 8 cabins, you may even earn a free cabin (albeit a tiny, cheap one of course) for whoever the declared "leader" of the group is. If you manage to get 16 or more cabins booked, then you may in fact get 2 free cabins. It's all up to discussions with the cruise line and making sure that you press your advantage, if you have one.
Remember, cruises don't HAVE to give you benefits. They do want your business, if the ship is going to be empty. So choose a low-volume time, and start your negotiations early. That way you have time to go work with another cruise line if your first choice doesn't meet your needs.
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