If you're a teen who's debating on whether to leave the 'life at sea' to your parents and younger siblings, you may be about to miss out on the adventure of a lifetime. Modern cruise ships are action-packed, and you'll likely find dozens of cruisemates your age to help you party the week away.
Your teen years can be a fast and furious time... you're juggling school or college with work, time with family and friends, and time to just do the things in life you personally enjoy. So when it comes to what little leisure time you have for yourself, you want to make sure that you make the most of life when you get the chance. You may wonder, 'Do I really want to spend a week at sea?'
The answer to that question should be 'Why wouldn't I?' In this post we'll try to lay down the facts on teen cruising, and help you to ditch the thoughts that may keep you away from the party of the year! Here are some of the things that may give teens the wrong impression about cruising:
I Don't Want My Parents, Brothers and Sisters Shadowing Me.
You've made it to your teen years. You're just beginning to get a little space, freedom, and the ability to make decisions for yourself. Why would you want to be jammed up with your parents and younger siblings trailing you all week?
Well, the short answer to that is, it doesn't have to be that way on a cruise vacation. In fact, a cruise is one of the few vacations where family members can easily go alone, in opposite directions every day, especially during days at sea. Unlike land-based vacations, where family members are often all sharing one car to get around, with a cruise vacation there are dozens of different places to go and things to do onboard at any time.
While you may be sharing a stateroom to sleep in with family members, once you're awake, you'll likely all find different things you want to do once you leave the room. Your brother or sister may want to head for the video arcade. Your mom may want to catch some sun on deck. Your dad may head for the gym (or the ice cream machine). And you may want to catch a movie in the theater, take a few laps around the rollerblading track, or hit the dance floor. And because all of these things are within walking distance from your stateroom, you don't even have to share a ride with your parents!
So no, a cruise vacation doesn't mean you have to stay under your parents' thumb, or that you'll be shadowed all week by your siblings. Actually, a cruise is one of the few vacations that allows the exact opposite to be true, since everyone can do their own thing every day. Keep mom and dad happy by meeting them for meal times, especially dinner at night. That'll give everyone a little bonding time on a regular basis, and you can all catch up on what you did every day.
Aren't Cruise Vacations for Old Folks? My Social Life Will Stink For that Week.
Uh... no. The population on the average cruise ship is not that much different from what you'd find on the average city street. In fact, you'll find that there are activities and places onboard the average modern cruise ship that cater specifically to teens.
This video, taken aboard a Disney cruise ship, highlights some of what teen life is all about on a modern cruise ship.
There are activity directors that arrange events for teens on board. You'll likely find dozens of cruisemates your age to hang out with. There are even teen dance clubs. And if you want to keep up with your social life back home, just go to the internet cafe and jump on Facebook. If you have a laptop or netbook be sure to bring it... many modern cruise ships even offer wi-fi in your stateroom!
Who Wants to Be Trapped Aboard a Ship For a Week? I'll Get Bored.
Not hardly! On a modern cruise ship, there are probably more things to do each day than you physically care to do. And no, I don't mean shuffleboard (but you can do that too). Each ship offers different amenities, but don't be surprised to find things like video arcades, movie theaters, multiple swimming pools, waterslides or even mini water parks, rock climbing walls, rollerblading tracks, ice skating rinks, mini-golf courses, basketball courts, teen dance clubs, zip lines (okay, I'm out of breath), and more!
You don't have to 'be bored while onboard' unless you want to. In fact, with this much going on, you might want to make it a point sometimes to find a beach chair on deck, and just chill out with your IPod for a while. That way, you'll save some energy for the dance club or other activities on deck that night.
Shore Excursions Sound Boring. I'm Not Into Visiting Historical Places in Other Countries.
While it's true that some excursions involve bus travel and sightseeing at historical locations, cruise excursions can be as action-packed as you want them to be! Want to go parasailing? How about swimming 20 feet underwater with sea life while breathing on a SNUBA system? Want to go jet-skiing? You could drive your own jeep, dune buggy or ATV down a jungle trail.
There are tours where you zip-line through the tops of trees in a jungle, and excursions where you'll rappel down rock walls inside an ancient Mayan cave. Shore excursions don't have to be boring. In fact, the only thing that may limit you is how much activity and excitement you personally want, and how much of a chicken you are!
In short, here's the deal. Taking a cruise vacation with your folks and other family members doesn't have to cramp your style. In fact, it's one of the few ways you can take a vacation and still keep your independence while away. You'll still be able to hit the internet and keep up with friends back home, and you'll have the chance to make new friends your age onboard, from all around the world. And you definitely won't have to worry about getting bored, unless you want to, because you can party and play all week.
You'll probably look back to that week as a time when you made some cool new friends from faraway places, experienced some new things, and saw sights in other worlds that many of your buddies back home may never see. So what are you waiting for? Start packing!