Teens are notorious for being hard to please (no offence guys). They hit a certain age and suddenly everything becomes ‘boring’ and ‘lame’. Family holidays become harder to plan as your awkward offspring become less and less willing to follow your itinerary and more set on doing their own thing (let’s admit we all got to that stage at some point)– but mention a ‘kids’ club’ and prepare for a potential tut or eye roll in response.
The good news is that, with the right ship, a cruise holiday can get a rather cool thumbs up from even the most holiday-phobic teen.
But which is the right ship?
Read on for that much needed information from www.CRUISE.co.uk: the breakdown of the best ships for teens…
Norwegian Cruise Line – Freestyle
Norwegian Cruise Line‘s Freestyle cruising already has a headstart as it sounds like the kind of cruising that teens would love to do, like freestyle breakdancing or skateboarding. A Norwegian Cruise aims to push the boundaries and break the rules with freestyle cruising – perhaps they have a teen on their development team…?
A freestyle cruise is about options – think flexible dining (suggest formal dining to your teen, not sure how keen they’ll be), interconnecting family friendly cabins and a wide variety of entertainment and attractions.
Teens will love hanging out at Entourage, the NCL teen programme, where sports, workshops and themed events are on offer to tempt them away from hiding behind a sunlounger at Mom and Dad’s ‘embarrassing’ swimwear. The Entourage Lounge itself is a teen haven, with flat screen TV’s, PS3’s, air hockey, pinball, vending machines, juke box and more. Like the coolest common room ever.
Norwegian Cruise Lines also makes a splash in the waterpark area with freefalls, racing slides and on the aptly named Epic, the only plunge slide at sea! Then there’s the partnership with Nintendo, meaning teens can play the new Wii U on the big screen (and when we say big, we mean big – the screen is two stories tall!).
Some of their ships even have bowling alleys, just don’t get your hopes up for an invite to play once your teen has made friends onboard.
The NCL Epic, Breakaway and Getaway are worth special mentions if you want to keep your young teen happy on a cruise.
Princess Cruises – Royal and Regal Princess
Royal Princess and its brand new sister ship, Regal Princess, are taking their claim to the teen market throne with the Remix lounge areas for 13 – 17 years olds.
One thing that stands Princess apart is that teens have both an indoor and an outdoor chill out space, where mocktail parties held to tunes spun by the Remix DJ are a hot ticket.
Don’t worry, you can still have some family fun with the facilities that aren’t so teen-specific: a batting cage, laser shooting range and huge sporting areas complete with volleyball, tennis, basketball and golf driving range. If that lot can’t get them to look up from their iPods, we don’t know what will.
As one of the biggest family-friendly ships in the P&O fleet, Ventura has lots going on to keep teens out of trouble (cruises can show them the way!)
The teen club, H2O, has its own massive lounge area called Decibels where they can hide from the boring oldies (yep, sorry that’s you).
The DJ decks provide the music and the consoles and table football provide the fun. Throw a few teens into the mix and you have a group of new BFF’s to keep your post-cruise phone and internet bills nice and high.
Carnival – Dream Class and Sunshine
Choose a cruise on a Carnival ship and you could raise a smile from even the most unwilling teen.
From the Burger Joint to the Shake Spot there’s enough casual dining options to fill those bottomless pits. Then throw in video arcades, WaterWorks waterparks and a 3D thrill theatre (on Breeze), plus the SportSquare (on Magic, Breeze and Sunshine) where they can get active on high ropes, mini golf, table football and loads more and you can guarantee you won’t hear a single ‘I’m bored’ onboard.
But wait, there’s more!
Carnival has one of the best teen clubs on any cruise liner because they divide their teens into two age appropriate camps, Circle C for 12-14’s and Club O2 for 15-17’s.
This means that activities and facilities are better tailored to your teens – as any parent knows, there’s a big difference between a 12 year old and a 17 year old!
Carnival even runs teen only shore excursions, giving the kids a ‘get out of jail free card’ when it comes to yet another sightseeing trip with mum and dad.
Royal Caribbean – Oasis and Quantum Class
The Royal Caribbean megaships really are mega.
Show any teen a FlowRider surf simulator, 3D theatre, rock climbing walls, zip line and ice skating rink and they’ll prefer this ship to home.
The seaside pier-style Boardwalk on Allure is a pretty special place to hang out with donuts and a milkshake too, although they won’t admit to wanting a go on the carousel!
Royal Caribbean is another cruise line that splits its teens into two age groups, with both groups having their own cool lounge and fun programme of events including karaoke contests and toga parties. The sports courts and H2O waterparks are also awesome and active teens will be in their element.
Allure and Oasis are both teen friendly choices on Royal Caribbean but don’t forget about the new Quantum and yet to launch Anthem of the Seas, which will boast the largest indoor activity space at sea – SeaPlex, where teens will find bumper cars, roller-skates, a basketball court and a circus school, all set to the sounds pumping out of the SeaPlex DJ booth.
Whilst you can’t force your kids to have a good time on holiday, putting them in a confined space with (literally) a boatload of amazing ways to spend their time could see them leaving their stubborn mindset at home and opening their eyes to the versatility of a cruise.
If they’re enjoying themselves that means that you can do the same in the ship’s spa/on the sports deck/in the casino or doing whatever else it is that you dreamt of doing through all those family friendly package holidays of year’s passed. Just don’t mention any potentially patronizing words like ‘kids’ or ‘club’ and a great holiday can be had by all!
Booking a holiday for a family can be a hard task. If you need a hand comparing the different features each ship has then you might want to cast an eye on our handy guides below which compare the facilities ship by ship, letting you make the best decision possible for your family.