Let's face it, some families live in each other's pockets and love it, while others prefer a little distance. But parents, especially, like to get the whole gang together once in a while. Also you might be hosting the step-kids for the summer.

What venue you choose for these occasions makes all the difference, because all families consist of introverts (people who like lots of space and time alone), and extraverts (people who can't stand to be alone). And there may also be some who aren't crazy about someone else in the family. (It happens.) Going on a cruise offers some great advantages.

1. There is plenty of space to spread out in, or get lost in (LOL).

A big cruise ship is defined by tonnage, which refers to space, not weight; 70,000 and above is "big." This comes out to about 960' feet long, and let's say 11 decks (up and down). You do the math as to square footage. The last one I was on, I needed something from my sister and spent 2 hours trying to find her with no success. You can scatter in the morning and agree to meet for lunch or dinner.

2. There is something for everyone on the ship.

A large cruise ship can offer gambling, dancing, shows, hot tub, swimming pools, spa, beauty salon, brudge and Texas 42 tournaments, several dining rooms, Internet cafe, numerous bars (coffee, liquor, sushi), card room, cigar room, library, skeet shooting, rock climbing, singles activities, AA meeting, religious services, speakers, shopping ... the list just goes on and on. There are good bonding activities too. Our family won the Trivial Pursuit contest several times on our last cruise - a joint effort.

3. There is something for everyone on land.

Let's face it, not everyone likes to do the same thing, and happy people get along a lot better. The excursions offered and endorsed by the cruise lines are myriad and offer something for everyone. Your group can split up and do as they please. In an Alaskan port, for instance, some of you may go on the helicopter ride, while others may prefer the salmon bake, the lumberjack show, a bus ride to look for bears, a trip to a glacier or dog mushing camp, or simply shopping in the port. When you meet back on the ship for dinner, you can all share your experiences.

4. You can get off by yourself.

There's always your room. Then there are numerous private nooks and crannies on a ship. One of my travel companions likes to find a quiet place on deck where she can read, all by herself.

5. You can mix and mingle with lots of other people.

Cruises are an extraverts' delight as well. If you're a "people person" you'll be delighted. Last cruise I was on had 1800+ passengers, and nearly as many staff and crew. People are relaxed and sociable, and you can find new people to talk to just about anywhere. Around the pool is a favorite socializing venue, as well as in the various bars.

6. You only unpack once, and no cars to hassle.

This eliminates an incredible amount of stress. Last cruise I was on, when we got back to port, we all headed for a family wedding 4 hours away and the "fun" began - wrong car available at the rental place, someone lost the keys, we couldn't find the motel, this one wanted to stop all the time and this one got mad ...

7. Exercise opportunities!

One of the best ways to work off stress is to exercise, and the average cruise ship these days has running decks, weight and exercise rooms, Yoga classes, exercise and dance classes, a basketball court and more.

8. Speakers!

I have spoken on many cruises, in the area of self-help topics but there are also port lectures, history, culture, etc. The topics are interesting and a nice break for at-sea days.

9. Other learning opportunities.

If it's one thing that unites people, it's learning something new. Cruise ships offer dancing classes, photography and arts and crafts, etc. If it's one happy group, it's the people in the arts and crafts classes! Some speakers are "destination" or "port" lecturers, and talk about the things you'll be seeing on-land. There are also general educational topics like astronoy, physics, history and so forth.

10. A cruise happily accommodates all age groups and conditions.

Cruise ships offer children's programs that will keep your kids happy for as long as you like. They are also extremely accommodating to people in wheel chairs, people with various disabilities, and people who have special dietary needs. There is a doctor on board.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn, Life Coach, cruise speaker, http://www.susandunn.cc . Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc . Susan is the author of How to Speak on a Cruise and Travel the World for Pennies (see http://www.webstrategies.cc/Acruise.htm). Susan offers individual coaching and trains and certifies coaches worldwide, in an affordable, fast, no-residency program. Email for information and free ezine.