Top tips for cruising with teens

Top 12 Tips For Cruising With Teens

These 12 best tips for cruising with teens will help make your family cruise vacation even more enjoyable.

Your teens will love cruising, especially if you follow these cruise tips. A cruise is the vacation choice of my teens, and has been for years.

12 Top tips for cruising with teens.  These tips are important to know before booking your famiy cruise vacation.

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Top 12 Tips for Cruising With Teens

Be sure to read through them all as number 12 is definitely the most important tip for cruising with teens – critical actually.

1. Include your teen in the planning

Your teen may enjoy your family cruise vacation even more if they are included in the planning.

If you have your cruise vacation narrowed down to 2 or 3 options, present the itinerary highlights and the ship highlights to your teen and ask them for their opinion.

Another area the kids an be involved with the planning are the shore excursions. Maybe even let them choose what the family does at one of the cruise stops (ports).

Tip #1 of 12 for cruising with teens.  Tip #12 is crucial to an amazing family cruise vacation.

Some teen friendly shore excursion posts:

2. Set a budget for your teen

Decide ahead of time if your teen will have charging privileges on their cruise card.

If you do allow them charging privileges, set a budget with them.

On the cruise ship there are shops, some food venues that charge a fee, and most drinks have a charge.

Be sure they understand how much per day you are allowing them to charge and for what. Most cruise lines have an app that allows you and them to monitor their onboard spending.

3. Consider connecting staterooms

The 2nd bathroom is such a major benefit when cruising with teens. Connecting staterooms are definitely something to consider for your family vacation.

4. Purchase the cruise ship onboard chat

Most major cruise lines have their own app that in addition to having the daily schedules, menus, and your onboard acount, it also has the option to purchase the onboard chat feature.

The cost of the onboard chat feature varies cruise line to cruise line but is often around $5 USD per person for the entire cruise (not per day).

The app itself is free to download and you do NOT need to purchase an internet package to use it or the chat feature.

We used this on our last Carnival cruise and to be honest it was hit and miss, but still worth the $5/pp.

Be sure to download the app ahead of time.

5. Go to the teen club meet and greet

Most major cruise lines have teen programs and a teen hang out lounge for teens aged 17 and younger.

The first day of your cruise (embarkation day) there is usually a meet and greet scheduled.

I suggest having your teen attend that first meet and greet. It’s their best chance of participating in and enjoying the cruise teen club.

If they wait and go a day or two later it can be more intimidating for them. They may feel that everyone already knows everyone else and that friend groups are already formed. While more outgoing teens will be able to join in no problem, others may be more hesitant.

More top tips for cruising with teens

6. Create a message center

Create a message center in your stateroom either as a back up to the onboard chat app or instead of if you don’t want your kids having their phones with them on the ship.

Tips for cruising with teens - create a message center in your cabin.

If you do have connecting cabins, be sure to keep the connecting door propped open during the day so everyone can access the message center.

7. Consider a beverage package

Another tip for cruising with teens is to purchase the soda package or if your cruise line has it (like Royal Caribbean) the non-alchoholic drink package.

This can save you money and is more convenient. Win-win.

This saves your teen from having to check with you to buy a drink, monitor how much they have spent on drinks each day, or if they don’t have charging privileges they would otherwise have to find you each time to buy them a drink.

TIP – Buy the drink package ahead of time, it’s almost always cheaper. Sign into the cruise line website often to check for sales.

Posts related to cruising with teens:

8. Bring a cruise approved power bar

Electrical outlets in a cruise stateroom are limited. Bring a non-surge protected power bar or power strip for extra outlets.

There’s a good chance everyone in the family has one or more electrical devices. You don’t want to hear arguing about who’s phone needs to be charged first.

It is important to note that not all power bars are allowed. It must be a cruise approved non surge protected power bar. Anything else will be confiscated.

Cruise Power Strip No Surge Protector with USB Outlets - Ship Approved (Non Surge Protection) Cruise Essentials in 2023, 2024 & 2025

9. Consider a WiFi package

Whether we like it or not, it is important to teens to stay connected with friends on social media. Consider purchasing a cruise wifi package.

If you want to limit their time on their phones or want to save money, consider putting the internet package on your phone. Allow them to log into their social media accounts on your phone a couple times a day to stay connected.

10. Bring a reuseable water bottle

There will be a water and ice dispenser in the buffet restaurant.

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Bottle with Flex Cap 20 oz

Bringing a water bottle on a cruise is a great money saving cruise tip.

11. Bring a portable charger

Anker Portable Charger, Power Bank, 10,000 mAh Battery Pack with PowerIQ Charging Technology and USB-C (Input Only) for iPhone 15/15 Plus/15 Pro/15 Pro Max, iPhone 14/13 Series, Samsung Galaxy

And now the most important tip when cruising with teens

12. Pick the right ship!

The right ship is crucial to a fun family vacation. Nobody wants to vacation with a bored teen. A bored teen is no fun for anyone.

Luckily there are lots of amazing ships to choose from. The newer, larger cruise ships have more amenities and activities that teens will love.

Choose a ship with:

  • Lots of amenities (preferably free)
  • Amazing food options (preferably inluded in the crusie fare)

Some of the amazing amenities you can find on a cruise ship that teens will love are:

  • Waterslides
  • Ropes course
  • Mini golf
  • Ice skating
  • Laser tag
  • Bungee trampoline
  • Race track
  • Roller coaster

Amenities vary greatly ship to ship and cruise line to cruise line. Some of the older, smaller ships may only have a pool and ping pong to keep your teens busy.

The Bolt roller coaster on Carnival Mardi Gras
Carnival Mardi Gras Bolt Roller Coaster (additional cost).
Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

In our opinion, the best cruise lines for cruising with teens are:

Posts related to cruising with teens: