5 Tips for Cruising with Teenagers

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I’ve gone cruising with teenagers multiple times, and I can summarize what I’ve learned with 5 points:

#1 The best thing about traveling with teenagers is that they are big enough to carry their own luggage

I’m kidding, of course, that’s the second-best thing. The best thing is that they are old enough to go anywhere you can go, so if you’ve dreamed of the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Alaska or even more exotic destinations but held back while the kids were young, now you can go for it.

#2 Teens need more space

It’s a little-known fact that the Second Law of Thermodynamics, namely, that all systems tend to spread out and become disorganized, actually refers to a teenager settling into a cruise cabin. Any triple or quad cabin will work for families with one or two younger kids, as the kids will appreciate the coziness, but teenagers need more space and privacy. Space costs money, so here are some considerations for parents who are willing to pay to get more.

Beyond the standard triples and quads, options may include mini-suites, suites, family suites (holding 5 or more passengers, on some ships), adjoining cabins (two cabins with a private connecting door, on some ships), adjacent cabins (next door with no private connecting door) and cabins facing each other across a hall (one oceanview or balcony and one inside).

Check cruise prices on Cruise Direct.

Tips for Cruising with Teenagers | Cruising with Teens #travel #cruising #family #teenEvery sailing is different with respect to cabin options and availability, so you should confirm details with your Vacations To Go cruise counselor before booking. In general, you will find that mini-suites are a little larger than the largest regular room and may have a curtain to separate two sleeping areas. Suites and family suites are much larger than regular rooms and may have separate TV viewing areas, tables or desks, as well as curtains or even doors to separate sleeping areas. A suite may be as large or larger than two standard rooms combined and may be more or less expensive than two rooms. I advise you to compare both options on the sailing you are interested in.

If prices are similar, the main considerations in comparing a suite to two rooms are comfort and privacy. A large suite will have a spacious feel and will accommodate the entire family or new friends in a sitting area. Separate rooms will provide more privacy, but less ability to track your teens’ comings and goings.

If you are considering two rooms, keep in mind that adjoining rooms and adjacent rooms allow you to monitor the level of noise emanating from your teens’ room at night, while cabins across the hall from each other will not.

One final note, adjoining cabins, and family suites are in short supply and in very high demand during the summer, spring break, and at Christmas, so I recommend booking 4-6 months in advance in order to have the best odds of getting one. Click here for a complete list of ships with adjoining cabins, and click here to see a list of ships with family suites.

#3 Teens may not buy-in upfront, but they’ll enjoy it when they get there

Every spring, I scour thousands of cruise departures on our website and research ships, itineraries, and ports to identify the ideal summer vacation. Then, I send up a trial balloon to see how quickly and vigorously it is shot down by my son, who consistently claims he would rather stay home and hang out with his friends.

Despite his protests, we cruise every year, and at some point during every cruise, he admits he is glad that he came. He has never been ready to leave the ship at the end of a cruise.

#4 Teens need more freedom from you than you need from them.

The enlightened parent wants to cruise with a teenager in order to enjoy a great family vacation and to explore the world together.

The enlightened teenager may have a different goal for the cruise, for example, to get as far away from one’s parents as is humanly possible, and stay there.

Fortunately, a cruise allows an easy compromise. Whenever possible, we choose active shore excursions that we can enjoy as a family. Onboard, we let our son set his own agenda — with a curfew and an occasional check-in.

#5 Any ship will do

The bigger, newer ships will have more teens, more teen facilities, and more planned teen activities. However, it’s been my experience that teens need this structure less than young children — they’ll find a way to meet each other and have fun, with or without special programs. So choose your cruise based on the quality of the ship, the itinerary, and the price, and don’t worry too much about teen programs.

Being the parent of a teenager is almost like nearing the end of a great cruise: I’m amazed at how fast it’s gone by, not ready for it to be over, and thankful to have been along for the ride.

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Alan Fox

by Alan Fox

Alan Fox is the Chairman & CEO of VacationsToGo.com, the world's largest seller of ocean-going cruises and river cruises. Vacations To Go was founded in 1984 and offers vacation options for every interest, from cruises and escorted tours to all-inclusive resort vacations and African safaris.

4 Responses to “5 Tips for Cruising with Teenagers”



Nice report i agree with! It’s better to travel with teen than with childs – cause they are physical and in mind more adult 😉

Josefina Argüello


After years of traveling with two teenagers, I’ve learned how to plan a great vacation for both me and my hard-to-please off-spring. 

Thanks for the post!

Josefina – Durango Mexico



Hey Alan! Hope you doing well.

Really great post, you have succeeded to point out best points related cruising with teenagers. These are the most important things to take into consideration while planning cruse vacation with teenagers. Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂



Fascinating article and something we hadn’t thought about. We crsuie a lot and taking our grandchildren on a cruise is our aim when they are teens. Thanks for the tips.

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