Cruising with Teens; Here’s the Scoop

Little kids may appear to have the advantage on cruising with dedicated children’s programs, but tween and teens also have spectacular programs that are geared for their ages. You won’t have to worry about them being bored while they are hanging out with their new friends. With these six tips, you can make sure your older child enjoys cruising as much as they did when they were little.

1. Show up for the Meet and Greet

The first day of cruising is not the like the first day of kindergarten, but parents do need to quickly stop in and finalize all the check-in paperwork for your teenager. Yes, even if they are 15 years old and are really embarrassed to have you bring them to the event; the counselors want to do last-minute parent approval checks, for food allergies and basic medical care, before letting your teen in the group. This safety procedure takes less than five minutes, and then you can escape back to your favorite show.

RELATED: Carnival Helping At-Risk Teens Through the Power of Music

2. Pay Attention to Open Times and Locations

11 a.m. dodgeball will not be in the main meeting room; it will traditionally be held on an upper, open floor. This and other information you can find out from the schedule of events for your teenager. It is important to note that teen activities are not held all day long like they are for little kids; the teen activities often open around 12 p.m. or later on port days.

3. Pre-Schedule Your Teenager’s Curfew

“Aww, Mom!! Why can’t I stay up to 1 a.m. for the dance party?” you might be hearing on day two of your cruise. Each parent knows how late their children can stay up safely, so it is crucial to pre-schedule your teenager’s curfew before the cruise to ensure you won’t have a grouchy teen the next day.

4. Age-Appropriate Games and Movies

Sitting on a lounge chair and reading a book is probably not your teenager’s favorite activity, so most cruise lines offer an X-Box, PlayStations, Wii, and movie times to keep your teenager engaged during the slower times of the sea days when most adults are in shopping seminars and trivia.

5. Late Night Snacks

What are parties without snacks? On themed nights, your teenager might be treated to chips and salsas, popcorn, and sodas! One cruise line even made Strawberry and Piña Colada smoothies for their events. These fun little perks of being an older child are what makes cruising so much fun.

6. Themed Nights and Dance-offs

Can your child bust a move? With dance-party nights and occasional group classes offered by the ship’s professional dancers, teenagers have a fun option of learning a new dance. Some cruise lines even allow the kids to show off their new skills on the final night of the cruise. Watching your child do the Whip and Nae Nae with 12 of his friends can be a memory to last a lifetime!

-Johanna G.

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!