Teenagers. There’s no light-hearted activity they can’t infect with their morose angst, eye-rolling disdain or hormonal roller-coasters (and that includes roller-coasters). It gets to the point that even planning a family holiday becomes a cringe-in-advance exercise as you picture all the ways they could ruin it – moaning about lack of mobile coverage at the campsite, how uncomfortable the motel sofa bed is, how the theme park is too babyish…
But a cruise? There’s nothing about floating around on the ocean your teenager won’t love. Guaranteed.
The sweet taste of freedom
One of the most excruciating things about being a teenager is how annoying your parents are – telling you what to do, where to go, what to pick up. That’s why a cruise is perfect: because it’s all safe and self-contained, your teenagers can roam the ship at their leisure – without an adult in sight. You might occasionally meet up for a family meal at an agreed time – but really the whole cruise can be an exercise in teenage freedom.
If there’s one thing better than spending all day playing games, it’s playing games on a fun cruise ship! When all the sunshine and frivolity get too much, and your teens need to retreat indoors, they can do digital battle with their new mates, aim for high scores or just … hang out. The added bonus? It’s open 24 hours a day.
Slip sliding away
One of humanity’s greatest inventions is an enormous tube filled with slippery water, which allows us to barrel through a downhill loop at heart-pounding speed before we emerge into a sunlit pool of fun. Your teenager might scoff at first, but after their 11th time down the Green Thunder Waterslide, they’ll be true converts. We should also mention the Dive-In Movies: where your teen and his or her new posse of friends can enjoy the latest blockbusters. (Don’t talk it up too much – let them think they’ve discovered it … and look surprised when they mention the free popcorn.)
Food, glorious food
All those hormonal outbursts and growth spurts require extra fuel, which is why 65 per cent of teenage conversations are about what’s for their next meal (the other 35 per cent are about things that are unfair). With 24/7 food options available – burgers, Mexican, 24/7 pizza and ice cream and more – even teenagers with enormous appetites will complain about being full. They’ve got to complain about something, right?
Throughout our ships there are areas specifically for the exclusive use of teenagers. There’s Circle “C” for freshly minted 12- to 14-year-olds, who can hang out, watch movies and play games. When they hit the older 15 to 17 zone, there’s Club O2, which is similar – but also includes teens-only pool parties and karaoke. Watch them pretend it wasn’t fun to belt out some new song you’ve never even heard of.
And the worst-case scenario? You’ll be having too much fun to notice their bad attitude.