Cruise Ship Tips

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Should you cruise with friends?

should you cruise with friends

Friends make everything better, right? They’re there for us when we’re feeling down, they throw us parties for our important life events, and they babysit your kids when you need a night out. They send holiday cards and post pics of their daily life, we all smile and giggle and cherish being ‘together’, right? Naturally, you’d think that vacationing with people you enjoy spending time with would make sense. Let’s take a closer look at this topic – should you cruise with friends?

Vacation Style – Expectations

People have very different and varying degrees of vacation styles. Some people are perfectly content laying on a beach for the entire day, soaking up the sun and reading a book. Others prefer going on active excursions, such as snorkeling or zip lining. Some like to take a guided scenic tour, taking in the history and scenery of wherever they are. Cruising gives people the opportunity to do as much or as little as they want to do. If you and your friends decide to take a cruise together, it’s a very good idea to discuss beforehand people’s expectations of each other. Are you OK with breaking off from the group to do an excursion solo if nobody wants to get off the beach? should you cruise with friends

Cruise ships are very large and have a TON of stuff to keep you entertained. Your friend wants to eat at the main dining room, then take in the magic show. You were hoping to dine in the specialty restaurant then dance the night away in the nightclub. Should you split up – or compromise? Some days you may not even see each other if you have different itineraries – are you good with all that space? Or do you prefer to plan your activities all together every day? Talking about these things beforehand really helps.

I’ve vacationed with friends before and trust me, you will learn a LOT about each other that week. Expectations are different. Feelings can get hurt. Having a rough idea of what everyone in your group hopes to get out of vacation is key. Knowing your friends and how they like to vacation is important to a relaxing, drama-free cruise.


Money and friends typically don’t mix, but this is an interesting topic to me because cruising can be done on a variety of budgets. Cruise ships have all sorts of price points for their staterooms, ranging from interiors to executive suites. When choosing to cruise with friends, you can book whatever level stateroom you can individually afford. Once on board, there are many activities you can enjoy together that don’t require an up charge.

Even in the ports you visit, you don’t have to book a pricey excursion – you can go off on your own and explore for free if you want. Cruise lines offer excursions in all price points, but you don’t even have to participate in those – you can literally just walk around, take in the sites, go shopping, enjoy the beaches.. your choice. Just make sure to get back to the ship on time, or it’ll leave without you. Yes that happens.. but that’s a whole other topic!

should you cruise with friends
hot tubs are always more fun with friends!

Cruising offers you levels of opportunity and it’s up to you to decide if you want to upgrade your experience. Friends want to get a spa pass but you think it’s too pricey? That’s OK, you don’t have to.. you can use the hot tubs on the lido while they hang in the spa. But know you won’t be together during those times. Same with dining in specialty restaurants. You want to book a reservation for the steakhouse on board? Its an extra charge and your friends aren’t into it. No big deal if you don’t care about spending every meal together. If that kind of togetherness is especially important to you, you should converse about this before the cruise and get on the same page.


I touched on this earlier in the post but I wanted to give it some more detail. On a traditional vacation with friends, you may agree to stay in the same hotel. Perhaps you stay in the same room even. Or you decide to book a house through airbnb or another home sharing site. This means that even if you have separate bedroom spaces, you are never really apart from each other the entire trip. Double that if you take a road trip.

Now, we all love our friends of course.. and that’s why we spend time with them. But we don’t live with them. Well, maybe you do live with them as roommates– and that is a perk then because you know how to deal with each other already. Or maybe it’s not a perk, as you drive each other crazy and thats why you need a vacation.. and if that’s the case, you probably aren’t going together.. and if you are, you probably want your own space. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Cruises are great for this because you can book your own cabin, apart from your friends. you always have a “home base” to retreat to when you need that alone time. you can congregate on the lido deck and participate in the parties, dine with friends, dance and party at the nightclub, even book excursions at port together.. but at the end of the day (or the middle of the afternoon, if you wish!) you can retreat back to your private stateroom and take a nap, read a book, recharge. Cruising with friends can be great because you can still be social when you want, but can always retreat away for some alone time too.

Should you cruise with friends?

Its a topic that I could go on and on about. I have cruised with friends and family and my husband. We have an idea of what our vacation is going to look like in our heads before we get on board.. and once the cruise is in full swing, we quickly realize that our expectations are very different than other people’s – even our closest friends and relatives. Everyone is different, and when on vacation, we all have very different definitions of relaxing, what we feel our money is worth being spent on.. some people want to participate in every workshop, demonstration, class, game, activity.. and some of us prefer to sit by the pool and drink cocktails, eat from the buffet only every day or gamble the day away in the casino.

The Carnival Fun Times and a towel animal 🙂

We are all different people with different wants, needs, interests and expectations. And we’ve all paid our money to live out our “dream vacation” – not considering everyone else’s “dream vacations”. Booking a cruise with friends and family can be a great idea, super fun and awesome and all you expected it to be. But that doesn’t always pan out that way. Some people shouldn’t vacation together.. but that’s up to you to decide. Plan accordingly!

I’d love to hear what you guys think about this topic. Please feel free to share your stories and thoughts with me. Anything worth mentioning about cruising with friends? I’d love to hear your perspectives. Thanks and happy cruising! -Kate





13 Replies to “Should you cruise with friends?”

  • Hi Kate. Thank you for this wonderful article on cruising. I think everyone is different, some people go on cruises for romantic reasons. They might want to reconnect with their partner, or find a new one, friends could get in the way of this. Others do it for adventure, who better to it with then your friends. I loved reading your take on this. All the best . Jim

  • Kate,

    Thanks for your thoughts on cruising! I have never taken a cruise (yet), but have always wanted to, and have done research on it for that reason… for me, cruising with those dearest to me is what would make the trip special and worthwhile… but I too am of the thinking, just because you go on a cruise with friends or family doesn’t mean that every waking moment or excursion needs to spent together… one should make room and plan for both… Great article! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Blakey, I encourage you to look even further into cruising, and to possibly book a cruise soon! It is a super fun way to vacation. I hope I can help, let me know if there is another topic of discussion you’d like to hear about! I’d love to share my own experiences to help you plan a fun cruise. Cheers!

  • Great post with lots of great points. Is it best to find friends who are on the ‘same page’ as I am when it comes to cruising? Or do you think it ads to the adventure and memories if you go on vacation together but choose different activities like not dining together?

    • I definitely feel that cruising with friends adds to some adventure because if you go with an open mind and your friends want to do something you’ve never done before, you just might try it too. And you might love it! So really it’s all about attitude.

  • Wow! I never even considered this! It is an excellent idea to plan and organize before getting on the boat. I have only been on two cruises with my husband and kids. I am not sure if I am up to go with friends, but if I ever did, I would take your advice. There is nothing like having your own space to retreat in, that is for sure!

  • I was wondering about the budget as you said I generally spend way more money when I am with my friends. However I can use these tips to save some money.

  • I think it’s a great idea to cruise with friends as long as you follow the tips you have here. For me, I like privacy and quiet at night to sleep.
    Depending on your friend or friends their budget may be different than yours. So this is something to consider because you probably want to do the same things together on the cruise.
    Excursions are another thing to be on the same page with. You may want to go ashore and they don’t or vice versa.
    In any event as long as you plan and know beforehand, it can be a very rewarding experience!

  • Hi Kate, I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve been thinking about a cruise for a little while now, with another family. We’ve holidayed together before including sharing accommodation and having separate accommodation and so far it has worked really well. I think that’s because we’ve always said to each other that we just do whatever we feel like and then no-one gets offended or hurt if we do happen to split up and do other activities. Because a holiday should be just about doing what we feel like. Not doing something out of obligation. Now I feel like backing my bag and going on a cruise!

    • Sounds like you have a great group of friends to holiday with! It’s good that you all let eachother do what makes you happy, not just going along with we eachother out of obligation, where is the fun in that, right? Nobody wants to be the grump, tagging along because they feel they have to.

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