Nobody wants to be trapped at sea with a bored, cranky teen — especially his or her parents. Luckily ships have plenty on board to keep this hard-to-please age group properly amused. Here are few things to consider when cruising with someone in the 13-to-17 crowd.
Look for ships that offer stimulating recreational activities and dedicated spaces for teens to hang out away from the style-cramping watch of adults. The programs are even better if they're further divided into younger and older age groups — for example, 12 to 14 and 15 to 17 — so kids can take part in activities with their peers. Fun options may include pool parties, sports tournaments, and DJ classes.
Good Picks: Check out Disney Cruise Line's Vibe program, Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean programs, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Circle C and Club O2 programs.
Your teenager may have a teeny-tiny attention span and a surfeit of energy, so the bigger and bolder the onboard attractions (and more challenging the physical activities), the better. Some cruise lines boast exciting ropes courses with planks and zip lines; others offer a hodgepodge of all things sport: basketball courts, ice skating rinks, rock climbing walls, and surfing simulators.
Good Picks: Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas' skydiving simulator and SeaPlex facility, with a trapeze school and bumper cars, are a lot of fun. Carnival Cruise Line's SkyCourse ropes courses, WaterWorks park, and Twister Waterslide offer plenty to do. And Norwegian Cruise Line is another good choice, with ropes courses, mini-golf courses, and waterslides on their three newest ships: Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Escape.
Good luck getting your teen to sit through a two- to three-hour dinner without getting fidgety or pulling out his or her personal electronic device. The more savvy option? Casual grab-and-go eateries open around the clock, where he or she can nosh with new friends (who, by the way, are much cooler than you) before darting off to the swimming pool or the video arcade.
Good Picks: While most large ships have a buffet, some ships have other great fast casual options. Carnival Cruise Line’s Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina, for example, are two of the best at sea.