Family Reunions

My family uses pretty much any reason they can find to get together and hang out. I’ve attended the usual family functions – christenings, weddings, graduations – but we’ve also had shindigs for the birthday of my aunt’s Mustang and my grandmother’s VW Beetle; sunrise at the beach; relatives visiting from far away; twice, my grandparents won small sums in the lottery, which prompted family trips to Disneyworld for all the kids and grandkids.

July 4th has always been the must-attend party for my father’s family. It used to be held in my great-grandmother’s backyard – I carry with me a picture of her at one of these parties, offering whoever was behind the camera a carafe of wine. As the family grew, we rented out some guy’s backyard. I know this sounds strange, but it was a serious backyard – huge pool, barbecue pit, volleyball court, several picnic tables, and lots of space for all the kids to run around. Oh, and it had a screened-in cabana where my grandfather, dad and uncles would play poker all day.

They didn’t have a July 4th party this year, though. I would not have been able to attend, but it makes me sad to think that on that day, my family was scattered around the country doing their own thing when they really wanted to be together, eating and laughing and remembering.

I don’t love the term “family reunion” – it doesn’t fit either side of my family, who see each other all the time. But my recent obsession with all-inclusive vacations got me thinking about they’re actually the perfect venue for family get-togethers.

And then, voila! I receive a press release from CruiseCompete that plans just these types of events – on cruises!

Now, I realize that this idea isn’t for every family. There are people I know who would rather jump overboard than be with their family in a contained environment in the middle of the sea for several days. But for my family? They’d LOVE IT.

I’m going to include some of the selling points from the press release, because they’re right up my alley:

  • No Worries – On a family reunion cruise, there is no cooking or cleaning to worry about – just relaxation. Plus, the weather is usually warm and pristine. Once everyone’s bags are unpacked (some lines may offer to do that, too!), the ship’s crew does the rest.
  • Children’s Programs – For parents who may want a break from their children – and vice versa – most of today’s cruise ships offer plenty of structured and supervised recreational programs for kids ages 3 to 17. In addition, special lounges and nightclubs for tweens and teens abound for the younger generations of families to hang out in supervised settings – no parents allowed.
  • Food Galore – There are more food and dining choices on cruise ships than ever before, catering to people of all ages and tastes. Cruise ships still have their formal dining rooms, but most also feature more casual restaurants, grills and poolside dining options – plus 24/7 room service. Specialty restaurants, founded by some of the world’s most famous chefs, also are found on many cruise ships.

Yes please! For families who have fun together, I think this is a great idea.

Oh, and the picture? July 4th, 1976 – I’m seated on the pool’s edge, in a blue and white Snoopy bathing suit, squinting into the sun. The dame in the green top and Jackie-O pearls is my great-grandmother; my parents are just in front of her, rocking their fabulous sunglasses.

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