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Cruising with teenagers: a survival guide

Cruises and teens. Many thoughts may be running through your mind right now, but rest assured: it’s a winning combination. There are teen clubs to unleash them in, adventure activities to wear them out on and space aplenty so they feel relatively independent (and you do too).

Here are some options to get you started.



Best times to go cruising with teens?

School holidays are a clear winner in this arena - you have a way to keep your teen(s) entertained throughout the break and you get a holiday too. You’ll want to suss out the weather at your destination, though, to make sure that it’s part of your holiday plan. Head here to see the best time to travel weather-wise.




top cruises for teens

With a bundle of age-appropriate activities, you can breathe a sigh of relief as you grab a cocktail. Here are some of the best cruises to keep your teens entertained, and you sane.


carnival cruises

Carnival Cruises

The Carnival Spirit and the Carnival Splendour are a veritable teen dream. With the biggest at-sea waterpark in Australia (Carnival Spirit), teen-only excursions, internet and social media packages. The kids are sorted. Plus, they haven't forgotten about parents either.

Read MoreWith Serenity Adult Only Retreat, you can escape the kids and indulge in some quality alone time. There's everything you need to relax, recharge and reconnect with your partner: hammocks, day beds, spa facilities and a nearby bar. Sounds amazing, right?



Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian cruise Lines

The Norwegian Joy is another teen go-to. There’s a go-kart track that spans two decks. Plus it has virtual reality experiences, mini-golf and laser tag. Norwegian Star, Norwegian Jewel (which travels to Australia) and Norwegian Joy also have a hang-out space called Entourage so the teens can escape the old folk and stay entertained with people their own age. And with a range of bars, lounges and spa facilities, there's plenty on offer for parents.

Disney Lines

disney Lines

Disney Dream’s AquaDuck is another top contender. It’s a heady hybrid between a roller coaster and a waterslide that arches over the water at one point in its epic journey. Or, Disney Magic’s Marvel wonderland has the AquaDunk (“dunk”, not “duck”) - a high-speed waterslide that spans three stories. Either way, there’s some fast-moving fun to be had. There’s also the Vibe club on both ships. It’s for teens over 14, which has its own dance parties and karaoke, as well as other teen-oriented activities. Unfortunately, Disney does not travel down under, but check out the departure ports.


Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas could suit the more outdoorsy teenager. Select ships offer trapeze school, ice skating rinks, surf simulators and rock climbing walls, so even the most active teens are covered. There’s also ‘Johnny Rocket’s’ for a burger hit and a speedy internet connection. Or, if your teen is into a spot of pampering, the Oasis-class ships have a the teen-specific YSPA spa area.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises also have a lot to offer on the adventure front. Their Pacific Explorer, Pacific Aria, Pacific Eden, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Dawn cruise liners all cater to adventure-loving teens with zip lining, rock climbing walls and waterslides. There’s also HQ+ for teens between 14 and 17-years where they can chill out with other teens. Plus, parents can relax in The Oasis - an adults-only retreat that's available across most of the fleet.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises takes things to another level with the Rock the Boat Party that lets teens glam it up with their friends. They can even opt for a makeover beforehand. There’s also dodgeball, basketball, air hockey and video game tournaments, dance parties and movie nights to keep those teens happy and harmonious. And when it’s time to chill out, The Beach House, for 13 to 17-year-olds, is a meeting place designed just for teens. 


Tips for Cruising with teens

As you can see, your teen will be well taken care of on many cruise lines. But we still have a few more tips to keep the waters smooth.

price tags

Tip #1: Check out prices and packages
This can help contain any costs associated with teen activities. Some activities are free, and some cost money, so it’s best to know what fits within budget.


Tip #2: Different cruise liners have different age clusters for programs
Have a look across the board and see what makes sense for your child. For example, will they be happier in a 14 to 17-year group or a 12 to 15-year group?


Tip #3: Prep your teen for what’s in store
In fact, include them in the planning. Let them see the (whittled down) options and make some decisions so they can take some ownership over the trip.

cruise ship

Tip #4: Some cruise liners are BIG
Make sure you have rules and guidelines in place (e.g. meeting times and places). Have strategies in place in case they want to get in touch with you and mobile costs are too high (e.g. some cruise ships offer onboard apps with built-in instant messaging).


Tip #5: Don’t forget to create experiences together
Make time to do things as a family, including on-shore excursions. Don’t lose sight of the fact that it is a family holiday.

separate room

Tip #6: Consider a separate room for your teen
They'll get their space, you'll get your space. And if you’re worried about anything, many cruise lines will offer a spare key (for those spot-checks). 

young kids

Tip #7: Bringing the younger kids, too?
If you have younger kids, head to our Guide to Cruising with Babies, Toddlers and Young Children page.




Common questions about travel insurance

  • Are my kids included on our 1Cover travel insurance policy?
  • Do we need family travel insurance and the cruise pack?

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