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Top 5 cruises for teens


Traveling with teens who may feel like they’ve outgrown family vacations can make any trip a challenge, high school students often want their own space and the ability to explore freely and enjoy time away from their parents or siblings. A cruise can be one of the best ways to allow teens their freedom without completely sacrificing time with family. The cruise ship offers teens a space to hang out with their peers in cool spots designed just for them. When teens roam the ship, they can grab snacks as they like or buy soft drinks or juices with their room key without needing parental approval, and whether your teen is extroverted or more reserved, they’ll likely make new friends while on board. Also, thanks to today’s technology, friends can actually keep up with each other after the trip is over. For cruise news, reviews, and tips, sign up for the TPG Cruises newsletter. Their parents and adults can enjoy peace of mind that their children are not too far away. Also, parents are likely to appreciate the ease of vacation planning with a set cost for accommodation, food, and entertainment, as well as a pre-planned itinerary—exciting ports of call that are perfect for banishing boredom. Plenty of cruise lines offer great programs and activities for teens, but there are a few that go above and beyond. Here, we call up the top five cruises for teens: Royal CaribbeanThe Social 100 Patio is Wonder of the Seas’ teen hangout. MICHEL VERDURE / ROYAL CARIBBEAN With 26 cruise ships and more on the way, Royal Caribbean lures travelers with its mega-ships, including the world’s largest, and an abundance of onboard attractions and entertainment, many of which will appeal to teens. For our daily newsletter, the fun begins in the Teen Lounges, which are decked out with video games, board games, and plenty of seating to chat with new friends. A dedicated teen bar distributes soft drinks and juices, and teen club advisors run supervised activities, such as themed parties and sports tournaments. These events are a great icebreaker for shy teens looking to meet others, with the youth staff on hand to encourage introductions. Older kids are grouped by age, 12-14 and 15-17, allowing programming to be more tailored to preteens and teens. day or make it a meeting point for their new friends, then leave to hit the pool deck, sports court and waterslides on their own. The best Royal Caribbean ships for teens are in the Oasis class, which is among the largest in the world. This includes Allure, Harmony, Oasis, Symphony, and Wonder of the Seas. On these massive ships, teens can enjoy onboard activities like mini golf, lots of water slides, a 10-deck dry slide called The Ultimate Abyss (on select ships), FlowRider surfing simulator, zip line, arcade, ice skating, climbing wall Rocks and Laser Tag Related: 5 Best Cruise Lines for Families Families will appreciate these ships’ fun-in-the-sun destinations, plus onboard attractions. For example, Wonder of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, sails from Port Canaveral on seven-night Caribbean cruises. These itineraries include teen-friendly eastern Caribbean ports like St. Maarten and St. Thomas, where sandy beaches and snorkeling are popular, and western Caribbean ports like Roatan, Honduras, which offer adventures like off-road jeep rides and zip lining. Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, is likely to keep teens happy with its huge water park, selection of beaches, water sports, and plenty of barbecues. Due to its club-like hangouts and active onboard attractions, NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINENorwegian Cruise Line is another great cruise option for teens. Most of the ships in the fleet have a teen-only space, the Entourage. Here, teens have their own space to hang out, play games, and participate in activities planned by the counselor. Note that the new Norwegian Prima does not include Entourage. Instead, teens share club space with Splash Academy, a program for younger kids, with supervised teen activities taking place around the ship. The Norwegian Breakaway-Plus-class ships are among some of the line’s most teen-friendly ships. Norwegian Encore, for example, lets teens roam around the rooftop go-kart track, which juts 13 feet above the side of the ship. Outside there’s also Encore’s Atlantis-themed laser tag game, where teens can form teams and play against it. each other. In the Galaxy Pavilion, they can challenge each other through virtual reality games, or try out an escape room on the plane. Do (like the Galaxy Pavilion and go-kart track) cost extra and aren’t cheap. If this is an issue with your budget, save a little extra money or encourage your teens to share the cost. Norwegian company Encore sails to exciting destinations around the world. This year, the ship sails from Miami to the Caribbean from January through April, spending one day on each cruise on its private island, Great Stirrup Cay, before sailing to Alaska from May through October. Wildlife spotting, kayaking, and glacier trekking are all part of the fun. Carnival Cruise Line: For budget cruises with teens, the Carnival Cruise Line is perfect. With plenty of included dining options, free activities, and hangouts beyond teen clubs, teens will find plenty to love—and parents don’t have to worry. Breaking the bank to keep everyone happy. On board, teens can enjoy a wealth of programs at Circle C, the tween club for kids ages 12-14, and Club O2, for teens ages 15-17. Counselors in these spaces plan themed dance parties, sports and video game tournaments, as well as movie evenings for the young ones, and thrill-seeking teens will enjoy the Excel Ships class, which includes Mardi Gras, Celebration Carnival, and the upcoming Jubilee Carnival. On the two existing Excel-class coasters, teens can hop on the BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster, zooming around the ship’s upper deck at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Twister and a heart-pounding drop slide. Teens can prove their bravery on the ropes course as they walk on a plank that hovers high above the sea. Both water stations and a ropes course are included in the total cruise fare, though the BOLT price is currently $15 per person per cruise. Teens can also relax at Summer Landing, located at the back of the ship. Here, they can gather on oversized couches to watch sports on multiple TVs. Table games like foosball and shuffleboard are also available here, as are free self-serve ice cream machines. When gluttonous teens get hungry, they can head to one of the many built-in restaurants like the BlueIguana Cantina, Big Chicken (created by basketball star Shaquille O’Neil) and Jizz’s Burger Joint (by celebrity chef Guy Fieri). Carnival Celebration and Mardi Gras sail to the eastern and western Caribbean from Miami and Port Canaveral, respectively. Cruises on both ships usually last seven nights, although there are both shorter and longer sailings. In the eastern Caribbean, teens can explore ancient forts or sample local cuisine, while in the western Caribbean port of Cozumel, they might enjoy taking a cooking class or visiting ancient Mayan cities. Disney Cruise LineEdge tween club on Disney Wish. AMY SMITH / DISNEY CRUISE LINE Although Disney Cruise Line is known as a cruise line for families with younger children, don’t discount it as a vacation option for families with teens. The ships offer spaces designed specifically for older children, where they never have to see a costumed character (or their parents). Disney ships feature two themed spaces for teens and teens: Edge, which is for cruisers ages 11-14, and Vibe, for ages 14-17 Teens will especially love the Vibe in Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, where they can play games or hang out with friends Refresh for hours in the pool or on a designated outdoor deck with loungers. A special bar where they can order juices or soft drinks, the latter free for all cruisers on Disney ships. Edge in Disney Dream and Fantasy looks like a city loft, and wows tweens and teens with its video game stations, lit dance floor and cool photo booth. Fun fact: On these two ships, Edge is inside one of the lanes. (Don’t worry—it’s not a run-of-the-mill track!) In both Disney Dream and Fantasy, kids can ride around the ship on the AquaDuck, a water coaster that pops up the side of the ship and through the funnel, and they can also collect their new friends and play Midship Detective Agency. This interactive game takes the cruisers around the ship to find clues in the “enchanted” artwork and help solve the mystery. After family dinner, teens can head to the on-board movie theater where first flicks from the array of Disney studios like Marvel and Star Wars are shown. Currently, Disney Dream and Fantasy depart from Miami and Port Canaveral, respectively. Most of the sailings on these two ships will stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, where teens can enjoy alone time at Teen Hideout, where counselors plan a full day of activities, which isn’t a bad deal for parents, either. A short tram ride from the Teen Hideout stop, Serenity Bay is the adults-only island beach where mom and dad can get some rest and relaxation. DAVID SPIEGEL/LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS/FACEBOOK Expedition cruises are great for teens interested in nature, science, and photography. If this sounds like your teen, one of the best options is Lindblad Expeditions, which partners with National Geographic on family-friendly programming called National Geographic Global Explorers. On every expedition to Alaska, Baja, Galapagos and Antarctica, teenagers can take part in such excursions. Activities like getting their “driver’s license” in the zodiac, snorkeling among sea lions or kayaking alongside penguins. National Geographic field educators plan and lead activities, and can answer any questions teens may have in a way that is accessible and understandable. . Field teachers are also there to encourage teens to step outside their comfort zone to experience the world around them. On board, teens can learn how to take documentary photos and videos from a Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo coach, and use those skills the next time they get off the ship. Ships offering the new National Geographic Global Explorers program include the National Geographic Islander II, which sails to the Galapagos Islands year-round; National Geographic Resolution, which goes to Alaska and Antarctica; and National Geographic Venture, which is sailing to Baja Mexico. Families should note that the excursions deviate from the typical cruise experience. These expedition ships are small and usually carry less than 200 guests. Teenagers may not find much in other kids their age, and on these flights, the destination is the main attraction, with a bit of entertainment on board. Since these ships sail in remote areas, the ship’s Wi-Fi signal may not be strong enough for teens who want to access their social media accounts. Teens can experience the experience alone, with their families, or with new friends they meet on the plane. But whichever cruise line you choose, cruising with teens is a great vacation the whole family can enjoy. Parents can let their teens roam freely around the ship, teens can feel some independence in hanging out with their peers, plus, after a day away, your family may find a new way to bond by getting together at dinner and sharing the day’s adventures. Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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