Cruising With Kids – All Kids In Deck

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best family vacations with teens

Think you can go an entire vacation without hearing the question made famous by kids all over the world: "Are we there yet?" It's possible with modern cruise ships and kid-friendly itineraries. These roving resorts make traveling to the destination half the fun.

Disney launched the first family-friendly cruise ship in the mid-1990s; this endeavor inspired a tidal wave of cruises the whole family can enjoy. Today, family-friendly cruises are experiencing the biggest growth in the cruise industry. There isn't a cruise ship being built that lacks accommodations for children of all ages. So find your sea legs, jump on board and take your family on a vacation they will remember for a lifetime.

Cruising with Youngsters

Children have a way of expressing what older generations keep bottled up inside.perhaps this is why a squeal and laughter of an overjoyed child is so fulfilling. Bringing youngsters along on a cruise adds vibrance to your vacation and unity to the family. There are some benefits for the kids too.

Today's cruise ships offer a wide range of activities to keep children active and entertained while learning and growing. Cruising is an excellent way to expose kids to different cultures and subjects. What better place to teach kids about aquatics, marine biology and the people of the Caribbean Islands than on the ocean in the Caribbean?

Many cruise lines make it easy to bring little tykes along with a full itinerary of kid-friendly activities. They offer supervised amenities like day-camps, pool parties, cartoon movies, crafts and competitions. Your kids will have a riot making new friends during these events. Some ships provide parents with pagers so you're always close at hand for any unexpected situations.

Cruising with Teens

Finding a vacation that you and your teenager both enjoy can be nearly impossible, but the cruise lines are working on it. Today's mega ships come complete with highly-trained, outgoing teen counselors that can guide your teen through a number of high-adventures and learning experiences. Snorkeling, rock climbing and educational tours are just a few of the activities teens may experience while on a cruise. Some ships even have entire areas set aside for teens to mix and mingle. These hot spots include dance floors, computer labs, cafes and non-alcoholic bars.

Here are a few things parents can do to ensure teens have the time of their lives:

  • Sail during the summer and school holidays when teens aren't dealing with the stress of missing school (as if any teen stressed over missing school). Traveling in summer means there will likely be more teens onboard.
  • Encourage your teen to go to teen clubs even if they think it will be silly. They're guaranteed to have a good time.
  • A cruise is an excellent opportunity to broaden your teen's education. Before embarking on your cruise, get some books on the ports of call you're going to visit and read them together.
  • Encourage your teens to enjoy the local tastes, sites and sounds by trying different foods, attending folklore presentations or picking up local music CDs.
  • Check on age divisions before sending your teen to each activity; your teen may not be happy snorkeling with a bunch of pre-teens.

    Cruising is a fabulous way to rebuild family relationships that might be on the rocks (or capsizing) during teenage years.

    Here are some tips on choosing the right cruise line and ship that will keep your teens and younger children sailing high:

    Choosing a Cruise Line

    Look for newer cruise lines; they tend to have bigger, more elaborate centers for kids of all ages (even big kids, like you).

  • Look for ships that offer family stateroom options, like a family suite or connected cabins.
  • Keep in mind that some cruise lines have programs year-round while others are only seasonal. Before booking a cruise, make sure counselors will be on board and children's programs will be in place.
  • If you're planning to shop during your cruise, look for ports that have kid-related activities and check them out together.
  • Consider price breaks. Some cruises let children travel free or at a reduced price if two adults are staying in the cabin.
  • Find out which youth activities are included in the cruise package price or if they cost extra, so there are no surprises.
  • Some cruises only offer formal dining at tables for two-this doesn't suit young children. Choose a ship with some casual eating options.

    References

    Cruise Company of Texas: Cruising with Children. (2005).

    Staub, Molly Arost, GrandparentsMagazine.net: Cruising Vacations with Grandchildren. (2005).

    Kelly, Jake, EzineArticles.com: Kid-friendly Cruises. (2005).


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