7 Tips For An Awesome Cruise With Teens

7 Tips For An Awesome Cruise With Teens
Cruises are one of the most popular vacation choices for families with teens. Today’s family-friendly cruise ships are filled with awesome teen clubs, thrilling attractions and high-energy activities. Exciting shore excursions add to the appeal. If you’re planning to take a cruise with teens, here are seven tips to make your family cruise vacation the best ever.

1. Involve your teens in vacation planning. Making all family members part the vacation planning process is key to a successful vacation. This is particularly true for families with teens. According to a recent HomeAway survey, 87 percent of parents in the United States and Europe involve their kids in family vacation destination planning. It helps to generate excitement about the vacation and helps kids to get more out of the experience. It also helps to surface specific vacation expectations, along with insights on activities teens would enjoy.

2. Get your expectations in line. Understand that your teens won’t want to be with you constantly and plan your vacation accordingly. Set times when you expect teenagers to be with you, such as meals and certain family activities. Make sure you and your teens have reviewed these and understand your expectations before booking the cruise.

3. Do your research. Pick a cruise ship with lots of teen-friendly activities. Teens tend to be miserable when they’re bored, both on land and at sea. If your teen likes to be physically active, look for cruise ships that offers a wide variety of activities, such as bowling, rock climbing, ropes courses, surfing, miniature golf, and basketball courts. Also check out the age categories for the teen programs on the various ships you’re considering. Cruise lines have different ways of grouping teens. It’s helpful to talk with a knowledgeable cruise travel agent to get their insights on the best ship for your family.

4. Choose the right itinerary. Cruise lines offer a wide variety of destinations and itineraries from which to choose. Select one with plenty of port stops and lots of exciting onshore excursions, adventure tours, and water sports activities that will appeal to your entire family’s interests, including your teens. Discuss shore excursions options in advance and try to avoid selecting too many with early morning departures.

5. Opt for extra family room. While some families choose to remain in the same cabin, others purchase connecting cabins or two staterooms to give teens some separation and more room to spread out. This arrangement also allows parents to have an easier time dealing with late-rising teens and enjoy some alone time. If you do purchase two cabins, get an extra key card so that you can enter as needed to check-in or wake them up in the morning.

6. Set the rules in advance. To avoid having your cruise turn into a vacation nightmare, establish the rules in advance and be prepared to enforce them. Let your teen know when you expect to see them at meals, discuss activities in which you expect them to participate, outline your budget - including any restrictions on cell phone and Internet usage, set a firm evening curfew, and ask them to let you know where they are while onboard. It’s important to stay in touch. Many parents use an in-cabin dry erase board or texting to communicate with their teens on the ship. Review cruise line rules or codes of conduct with your teens and make sure they’re being observed.

7. Let your teens sleep in late. Nothing makes teens happier than being able to relax on their family vacation and get up late. The 24-hour dining options on cruise ships make it easy for everyone. If you have a shore excursion that leaves early in the morning, remind them about it the night before and arrange to wake them up in the morning with plenty of time to spare.

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