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Families

There is no better holiday on this planet for multi-generational families than cruising! Cruise lines which offer great facilities for children and teens, also offer private suites and evening entertainment for adults.

The best ‘family’ cruise lines offer age specific facilities and activities for children over the age of 2 years old. Most will also offer baby-sitting facilities for children under 2 years old.

Children over 2 years old and under 12 years old

These children are the most easy going cruise passengers and are well catered for on the following cruise lines:-

  • Royal Caribbean Cruises
  • MSC Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises

Teenagers

Teenagers, those hard-to-please opinion leaders, are in hot demand by the cruise industry.  This age group is one of the travel industry's most demanding. And it's no secret that an unhappy teen can create a messy imbalance even among an otherwise happy family.

As such, a handful of cruise lines are creating special programs, facilities and amenities for the teenage cruise traveller. Highlights of these include:

  • Teens-only discos, lounges and sun decks.
  • Shore excursions geared (and limited) to teens.
  • Youth spa programs on several lines that now offer treatments such as mother/daughter facials, father/son massages, spray tans and pedicures.

Families with both teens and younger siblings will want to select a ship with a solid children's program, so the entire clan will be happy.

Speaking from experience, here are our picks of best cruise options for families with teenagers.

 

Energetic Teen and Looking-For- All-The-Comforts-Of-Home Teen...........Royal Caribbean Cruises
These ships are literally floating playgrounds with features that include an ice skating rink, rock-climbing wall, miniature golf course, full-sized basketball court and dedicated teen facilities. If the kids are looking for fuel, we heartily recommend a pit stop at either Ben & Jerry's or Johnny Rockets.
One big plus is that Royal Caribbean's youth program divides teens into two groups. Navigators (tweens, 12- to 14-year-olds) are wisely separated from the Teens (15- to 17-year-olds) for activities like Karaoke, toga parties and sports tournaments. Parents are banned from The Living Room, Back Deck and Fuel -- the teens-only facilities where teens can drink mocktails and dance the night away (until 2 a.m.).

Eco-Adventurer Teen .........Landblad Expeditions or Celebrity X-plorer.

Two hundred years after Charles Darwin's famous voyage of the Beagle, the Galapagos archipelago remains amazingly pristine, a place where animals are still unafraid of people. This region offers unforgettable adventures, where passengers meet marine iguanas and giant tortoises, penguins and sea lions, boobies and albatrosses.
Survival of the fittest isn't an issue aboard these ships. After a day exploring the wild and rugged islands, teens (who incidentally are treated as adults rather than a subset of a cruise line's youth program) will return to a comfortable ship and cabin. Naturalists lead daily excursions via four Zodiacs which make it possible to access landfalls and cruise alongside reefs. The ship carries wetsuits and snorkeling gear, key for playing in the water with curious sea lions. Even on these small ships there are two Internet stations for remote emailing.
Be aware: Reaching the Galapagos takes time and money, with flights to Quito, Ecuador, and then on to Baltra Island in the Galapagos.

 

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