The etiquette/other issues of suggesting a cruise with a child's friend? (Warning- long)

Cheburashka

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
I could use some advice.

My son will be 17 when we sail our 3-night on the Dream in February, and I'm considering mentioning our cruise to his best friend's mother, to gauge whether she has any interest in them joining us on the cruise. I've never invited anyone along on a cruise before who I didn't pay for (we brought Grandma along once, on my dime). In this case, I don't really want to pay for them, partly because it would require a separate stateroom for 2 or 3 people (my son's friend and either his mother or both of his parents) and that's too much for me to comfortably afford. I could afford to pay for just the friend to come along and stay in our stateroom, but this boy hasn't been the most comfortable spending the night at our house (he's high functioning autistic and so is my son btw), so I'm not sure if that would really work for him. Here is a little background info about us:
  • These boys are truly best friends and have been for more than 5 years
  • I am on close terms with the friend's mother- we can talk about anything in our lives and have a warm, caring bond. largely due to the shared experiences of coping with our sons' disabilities
  • The mother is a housewife with no other children and would have the time to go on a cruise if it didn't conflict with other plans
  • The father is more distant but amiable, and he works full time so might or might not be able to go
  • The family travels regularly, especially to Florida (family, beach, Disney World, Universal), but they've never been on a Disney cruise (I'm not sure if they've been on any cruise)
  • Their whole family (and ours) is fully vaccinated, and they aren't nervous about going out and doing things with other people despite Covid
This family could definitely afford the cruise if they wanted to go (they're doing better financially than I am), but what one is willing to spend on a trip is such a personal decision, I don't want to assume that they'd be comfortable paying for a Disney cruise, since they aren't cheap. This is a 3-night cruise in mid-February, so it's about as cheap as Disney gets, however. I've got concierge booked, but wouldn't expect them to do likewise at all. I was thinking it could be great if I could snag a cabana, and have us all hang out there on our Castaway Cay day (my treat).

My son has been suffering greatly for the past several months from an ear disorder that the doctors haven't yet been able to diagnose or treat (work in progress), and the only time I've seen him really happy lately is when he's with his best friend (tragic, as he used to be such a happy go lucky boy). He decided not to go on vacation during spring break because of this, and I've also cancelled our summer vacation plans as a result of his anxiety and depression related to his disorder. Next February will be our first trip (we're going no matter what), and I'd like for him to really enjoy it and find it special even if his ears are still causing problems, which I think he will if his best friend comes on this one. His friend still genuinely enjoys being with my son, too, and I'm sure he'd (& his mom, if she wanted to go) would really enjoy the Disney cruise.

Long backstory- sorry. Thoughts on if/how I should bring this up with his friend's mom? Pitfalls to avoid from those who have been there? I think it has the potential to be a very special and joyous trip for everyone involved, but I want to be careful in how I suggest it and not be rude or presumptuous in any way, especially since money is involved.
 
Last edited:

squirk

Saw what you did and knows who you are.
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
I could use some advice.

My son will be 17 when we sail our 3-night on the Dream in February, and I'm considering mentioning our cruise to his best friend's mother, to gauge whether she has any interest in them joining us on the cruise. I've never invited anyone along on a cruise before who I didn't pay for (we brought Grandma along once, on my dime). In this case, I don't really want to pay for them, partly because it would require a separate stateroom for 2 or 3 people (my son's friend and either his mother or both of his parents) and that's too much for me to comfortably afford. I could afford to pay for just the friend to come along and stay in our stateroom, but this boy hasn't been the most comfortable spending the night at our house (he's high functioning autistic and so is my son btw), so I'm not sure if that would really work for him. Here is a little background info about us:
  • These boys are truly best friends and have been for more than 5 years
  • I am on close terms with the friend's mother- we can talk about anything in our lives and have a warm, caring bond. largely due to the shared experiences of coping with our sons' disabilities
  • The mother is a housewife with no other children and would have the time to go on a cruise if it didn't conflict with other plans
  • The father is more distant but amiable, and he works full time so might or might not be able to go
  • The family travels regularly, especially to Florida (family, beach, Disney World, Universal), but they've never been on a Disney cruise (I'm not sure if they've been on any cruise)
  • Their whole family (and ours) is fully vaccinated, and they aren't nervous about going out and doing things with other people despite Covid
This family could definitely afford the cruise if they wanted to go (they're doing better financially than I am), but what one is willing to spend on a trip is such a personal decision, I don't want to assume that they'd be comfortable paying for a Disney cruise, since they aren't cheap. This is a 3-night cruise in mid-February, so it's about as cheap as Disney gets, however. I've got concierge booked, but wouldn't expect them to do likewise at all. I was thinking it could be great if I could snag a cabana, and have us all hang out there on our Castaway Cay day (my treat).

My son has been suffering greatly for the past several months from an ear disorder that the doctors haven't yet been able to diagnose or treat (work in progress), and the only time I've seen him really happy lately is when he's with his best friend (tragic, as he used to be such a happy go lucky boy). He decided not to go on vacation during spring break because of this, and I've also cancelled our summer vacation plans as a result of his anxiety and depression related to his disorder. Next February will be our first trip (we're going no matter what), and I'd like for him to really enjoy it and find it special even if his ears are still causing problems, which I think he will if his best friend comes on this one. His friend still genuinely enjoys being with my son, too, and I'm sure he'd (& his mom, if she wanted to go) would really enjoy the Disney cruise.

Long backstory- sorry. Thoughts on if/how I should bring this up with his friend's mom? Pitfalls to avoid from those who have been there? I think it has the potential to be a very special and joyous trip for everyone involved, but I want to be careful in how I suggest it and not be rude or presumptuous in any way, especially since money is involved.
I think if you're not prepared to foot the bill for the kid, maybe you shouldn't bring it up. At best, it might come off as presumptuous in terms of what you think you know about their finances. Even if the family is doing better than you financially, there could be a myriad of obligations and concerns going on "behind the scenes" that you just aren't privy to.

Could you downgrade from concierge in order to be able to afford the second stateroom on your own?

Or maybe instead, you just extoll how great DCL is, and how much your son has enjoyed past cruises, and leave the door open - "If you guys ever wanted to try something like that, we'd love it you'd join us on our next cruise on X date. Just throwing it out there."
 

BlueBayou

Following the magic
Joined
Sep 18, 2004
Maybe say something like... "After this challenging year with COVID - have you thought about having a relaxing getaway? We are going to book a Disney Cruise. We looking at dates X Y, and Z. And I thought your family might what to coordinate a trip with us. I think our sons would have a great time together. And one thing I love about a cruise is there is so much to do. We would be able to do stuff together when we want to."
 

Cheburashka

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
I think if you're not prepared to foot the bill for the kid, maybe you shouldn't bring it up. At best, it might come off as presumptuous in terms of what you think you know about their finances. Even if the family is doing better than you financially, there could be a myriad of obligations and concerns going on "behind the scenes" that you just aren't privy to.
Yes, this was definitely a concern of mine.
 

Cheburashka

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 25, 2020
Maybe say something like... "After this challenging year with COVID - have you thought about having a relaxing getaway? We are going to book a Disney Cruise. We looking at dates X Y, and Z. And I thought your family might what to coordinate a trip with us. I think our sons would have a great time together. And one thing I love about a cruise is there is so much to do. We would be able to do stuff together when we want to."
That's a good idea of how to mention it.
 

Travel60

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
I'd just say very casually "We're doing the Disney cruise..(identify). If you think (other child) would enjoy it, y'all might want to see if you can book a reservation on the same cruise. The boys would love being together." I wouldn't mention concierge unless they seem interested and ask about rooms. They wouldn't have to be concierge for the boys to hang out would they?
 

  • EXCLUSIVE - Dreams Unlimited Travel Gift Basket!
    Book your Disney Cruise Line vacation through Dreams Unlimited Travel and receive an exclusive, complimentary Gift Basket. This Gift Basket is a result of client feedback as well as posts from DISboards.com; we call it our “What you didn't know you needed on a Disney Cruise Kit”.
    Click Here for Details

  • Cheburashka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    I'd just say very casually "We're doing the Disney cruise..(identify). If you think (other child) would enjoy it, y'all might want to see if you can book a reservation on the same cruise. The boys would love being together." I wouldn't mention concierge unless they seem interested and ask about rooms. They wouldn't have to be concierge for the boys to hang out would they?
    Right. The concierge aspect would only be beneficial in terms of me probably being able to rent a cabana for us all to use, and for me to request a good table for us at dinner (I assume we'd request to sit together at dinner). They couldn't join us in the lounge or anything like that.
     

    CamColt

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 7, 2000
    I'd just say very casually "We're doing the Disney cruise..(identify). If you think (other child) would enjoy it, y'all might want to see if you can book a reservation on the same cruise. The boys would love being together." I wouldn't mention concierge unless they seem interested and ask about rooms. They wouldn't have to be concierge for the boys to hang out would they?
    Perfect!

    I know when we have traveled with our neighbors, both times it started out with me and the other mom chatting about our trip and honestly, I'm not sure if I said you guys should come, or she said, we should come, or what but it just happened very casually and then snowballed, LOL! There was never any implication they wouldn't be paying for themselves.

    If it gets down to the planning process or even if she wants to look into it, I would point out, "this is what we have booked, but there are all different price levels of room categories, you can book whatever fits your needs best".

    Good luck!
     

    smadath

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 7, 2014
    I'd mention it to the mother very casually, and make certain she knows there are no expectations. I know for our family, having the time and money to go on a cruise would not matter one whit because there is no way my DH would go on one. He's fine with vacations, as long as they're on land!
     

    robinb

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 1999
    I would simply mention it the next time you see her. Tell her when you’re going and offer to set her up with your TA for pricing.

    Will both boys still be 17? It would be their last time attending the kids clubs if they’re into that kind of thing.
     
  • Cheburashka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    Will both boys still be 17? It would be their last time attending the kids clubs if they’re into that kind of thing.
    Yes, they would both be 17. That's a good point. My son has never been into the clubs because he's socially anxious, but with his best friend there, he might actually enjoy trying out the amenities.
     

    auntlynne

    Aunt Lynne
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2008
    @BlueBayou pretty much nailed it. Honesty, “we’re cruising, my son has a great time with yours, if you’ve ever thought about or would be interested in a cruise vacation, the boys could do stuff together.“ But definitely have at least his mom in his cabin, from the sounds of it. If she shows no interest, then let it pass - that’s when it would get awkward - if you pushed.
     

    Cheburashka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    Sounds great, everyone. I'll tell her about our plans & when we're going, and talk it up a bit. If she shows a genuine interest, I'll say that it would be nice if the boys could vacation together. Her response to that would decide what would or wouldn't happen. But no, I would not push.
     

    winterwhite

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 26, 2013
    I just think it’s pretty presumptuous - it’s one thing to decide on dates, etc together but you’ve basically planned everything, are concierge to boot, and are just dropping it in their laps as something they should want to do with you.

    some people really hate cruising, but I know I would feel awkward if a parent of one of my child’s friends dropped a whole regimented vacation on me with a breezy “oh you should think about joining us! Would be so fun!”
     

    Cheburashka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    I just think it’s pretty presumptuous - it’s one thing to decide on dates, etc together but you’ve basically planned everything, are concierge to boot, and are just dropping it in their laps as something they should want to do with you.

    some people really hate cruising, but I know I would feel awkward if a parent of one of my child’s friends dropped a whole regimented vacation on me with a breezy “oh you should think about joining us! Would be so fun!”
    It's a good thing I'm not inviting you. :rolleyes2
     

    Starport Seven-Five

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2019
    I just think it’s pretty presumptuous - it’s one thing to decide on dates, etc together but you’ve basically planned everything, are concierge to boot, and are just dropping it in their laps as something they should want to do with you.
    Really depends on the type of people they are. We have family members who are perfectly fine having no input on their vacation itinerary and outsource everything to others (TA or family member). We also have family members who are control freaks and want to be involved in every aspect of the planning.

    We're closer to the "control freak" side so we would never tag along if invited to someone else's vacation. Our thought process is if we're spending a lot of money and using precious vacation time... we want to be doing what we want. :)
     

    princesscinderella

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 27, 2011
    We have planned cruises with friends and never did they expect us to pay the bill. If their son was staying in your cabin as your guest that’s a different story. In your case I agree that that’s probably not a good option. I would definitely just bring it up in conversation with his mom and say we booked this cruise and if you guys are interested in sailing too it would be great that the boys could experience it together since they are such good friends. It’s no pressure and either they are interested or not. If it conflicts with school time that would maybe be a factor. We always planned spring break ones together while all the kids were off. I think it sounds like a great idea!
     

    Wendy Darling CA

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 22, 2012
    We have a 16 year old and simply asked his best friend's parents if he could join us. We were honest about the cost and that we could not afford to pay for their son. They discussed it and are allowing him to join us. We gave them room price and airfare. We plan to cover excursions or anything additional for him. We were even able to get the boys their own inside stateroom for about the same price as 4 to a room, as we have a verandah. They boys are very excited about the trip AND having their own stateroom.
     

    Joe Brig

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2018
    It may come off as if you want your son to have a friend on the cruise, but you want the mother to pay, travel, and watch the other kid when he is not entertaining your son.
     

    Connect

    TODAY'S HEADLINES

    Book your Disney Cruise through Dreams Unlimited Travel and receive a Shipboard Credit and an Exclusive Gift Basket!



    Top