Deciding where your family is going to spend a week together on vacation is kind of a big decision. Not only do you have multiple opinions to worry about, but you also have multiple people coming up with ideas and who have individual needs. For the person trying to please everyone, there is a lot of pressure to get it right. But you don’t want your vacation to be stressful. You want to be able to park and cruise in Miami with as little effort as possible so you can relax and enjoy yourself. We’ve decided to try and make that a little easier for you by providing you with some helpful tips on how to pick the right cruise for everyone involved.

First Things First

You need to look at what kind of people will be joining you on your cruise. A cruise ship designed to cater to families with small children, like Disney, is not going to necessarily be able to meet the needs of a family with college-aged children or a group consisting of mostly adult couples. You should also do your best to figure out if your group has any special needs or interests. If you know your family is going to want to take as many land excursions as possible, then that is something your ideal cruise ship should have. On that same note, if your family is a big mix of interests and you know they will most likely split up and wander off to find their own adventures, you will want a ship with a lot of options. Another big factor that will help you figure out which line is right for you is the size of the cruise you want to take. On a bigger boat, you will probably have more to do but run into fewer of the same people. On a smaller boat, you might find another family that you just keep running into, which could be a lot of fun (assuming you like them). If you’re not much of a people person, a bigger ship could provide the anonymity you’d like (but it also means that there will be more people around you in general).

Down to the Practicalities

Once you have an idea of what kind of cruise you’d like to take, you need to look at the boring, real life stuff like time and money. A huge factor in picking any cruise is how many days you can afford to be away. If you have all the time in the world, say you’re retired or you can work on the water, then your options are a little wider and you could park and cruise from the Port of Miami for several weeks (as long as your budget allowed). If you’re bringing children along or you only have so many vacation days, a shorter cruise might fit in better with your life. The other big reality factor is money. If you have a tight budget, you can still have an amazing cruise on a line like Carnival. (They offer some ships with rates for as low as $399 a person.) If you can afford to splurge a little bit, then the cruise line’s prices aren’t really going to factor into your choice (at least not as much).

The Most Important Thing

The most important thing to remember when you book your cruise, or any vacation for that matter, is why you’re going. If you’re going to relax, pick something with spas and places to lay out in the sun. If you’re going to create memories with your family, then pick a line that has activities you all can enjoy together. Don’t let the lines sell you into something that isn’t quite right. With a little bit of research and some patience, you can find the right fit. Before you know it, you’ll be parking and cruising out of Miami with the family in tow on your way to one awesome vacation. It’s your cruise so pick the one that feels right for your lifestyle, your budget and your family.