Cruising with teens is an entirely different animal than cruising with other adults or with young children.
Teens are in a weird, in between stage of their lives where they aren’t really children anymore, but they aren’t yet adults either.
What Makes Family Cruises with Older Kids Unique?
This leads to a feeling of not belonging on some trips.
They’re either too old to enjoy the rides, attractions, and programs that are geared towards the younger kids, or they’re too young to enjoy the adult activities.
This can leave them feeling at a loss for what they can do, where they can go, or simply make them feel out of place in general. These tips for cruising with your teenage children will help you pick a cruise line that makes teens feel comfortable and accepted.
What to Consider when Cruising with Teens
There are a few things to consider when you have a teen and you’re planning a cruise.
You’ll want to take cruise demographics into account from the start. You’ll also want to research ports of call, programs on the boat, and consider accommodation arrangements, just to name a few. So let’s dive in.
First things first. You want a cruise line that is geared towards family cruising.
These cruise lines offer ports of call that are fit for the entire family, and they often have programs in place for both younger kids and teens. For example, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean have excellent teen programs, and an overall boat demographic that ranges from young to old, offering opportunities for kids of all ages to make friends.
Conversely, cruise lines like Holland America are geared more towards adults. One of my favourite ships so far for travel with teens is The Harmony of the Seas. Norwegian has some amazing teen friendly cruises too.
Speaking of programs, not all of them are created equal. While many cruise lines offer youth and child programs, it’s important to do your research. Some ships offer child and teen programs, while others have a more general program which makes for a day of teens doing crafts that are geared for a younger group.
Any parent of teens can tell you that that won’t be a good time for them. The best thing to do is head to your prospective cruise line’s website and take a look at what they have to offer. They’ll generally have a good overview of their programs.
Excursions and Ports of Call
Another thing to consider when cruising with teens is excursion opportunities and ports of call.
Some cruise lines are more family-friendly than others. It’s important to choose a cruise line that offers excursions which are suitable for the entire family.
Good excursion choices are those that offer the chance to explore towns and their surroundings or those that offer fun adventure activities like beaches, snorkeling, and assisted scuba activities. Ships with huge waterparks and teen lounges are wonderful, and also look for that type of thing in the excursions packages. Atlantis is perfect for teens and travel with teens. What you don’t want is an excursion or port of call which only has adult-centric activities like shopping or nightlife.
This one is based purely on the level of trust between you and your teen and of course price tag too. If you have a teen who has shown him or herself to be trustworthy, you might be able to go with two basic rooms for accommodations. If you don’t have that same trust level, or you’re just worried about security in general, a suite or other such larger setup may be the answer for you. Research your cruise line options to ensure that they have the accommodation setup that’s right for you.
Do Your Homework and Cruising with Teens can be a Blast
Cruising with teens can be a ton of fun as long as you do your homework. It’s important to remember that even on vacation, teens are coming into their own. They ‘re trying to figure out how to be adults and looking for a little extra independence to spread their wings a bit. It’s important to book cruises that allow them to feel that sense of self while simultaneously offering a great experience to the rest of the family.
So remember, cruise and travel review websites are your best friend when cruising with teens.
Cruise line websites can tell you what programs are offered, and review websites can tell you how they stack up.
Do your research and happy cruising!