Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Parents of teens know they can be tough customers. Cruise lines address the potential grumpy factor with organized activities and surprisingly hip teen lounges for socializing – some even with outdoor hangout areas and teen wading pools.
Some teens may still sigh at the "organized" factor, but not for long. Wow your teen with these awesome cruise ship attractions.
  • Thrill Theater: On Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Breeze, this 24-seat theater gives you a 3-D movie/motion simulator experience that includes moving seats, blowing air and squirting water, as you watch films such as Ice Age and Speed Racer. Teens will love it, so buy an all-cruise pass (the best deal). Six-day Western Caribbean cruise from Miami.
  • Walk The Plank: Dare your friends to walk this narrow platform, which actually goes eight feet off the ship. It's part of the ropes course on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Breakaway or Norwegian Getaway. A harness is required. The course also has 40 other fun (though perhaps not quite as scary) challenges including a zip track. Seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise from Miami on Norwegian Getaway
  • Simulated surfing: A dozen Royal Caribbean ships provide opportunity to catch a wave on a freestanding, 40-foot-long FlowRider wave pool. If you need tips on how to hang ten (and avoid wipeouts), you can book a private lesson (for a fee). Your friends can cheer your attempts from the stands. Seven-day Western Caribbean cruise on Oasis of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale.
  • Beach retreat: Cruise the Bahamas or Caribbean with Disney Cruise Line and you'll stop at the line's private island, Castaway Cay. There at the secluded Hide Out, teens age 14 to 17 can enjoy the white sands and turquoise sea sans parents and younger siblings – though they may be tempted away by such activities as beach volleyball, kayaking, biking and water cannons. Three-day summertime Bahamas cruise on Disney Dream from Port Canaveral.
  • DJ Classes: On Carnival Freedom and Carnival Paradise, teens can take classes in spin-n-scratch designed by DJ Irie, the official DJ of both Carnival Cruise Line and the Miami Heat. Shipboard spinmasters do the instruction – on topics from reading a crowd and picking a song to why you'll want to wear headphones on your shoulders. Fees are involved, though there's also a free intro course. Seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Galveston.
  • Teen spas: Princess Cruises is among lines with a teen spa program. At the Lotus Spa, those ages 13 to 17 can book YSpa treatments including a Fabulous Fruity Facial. Get a mani and pedi while you're at it. Fees are involved. Four-day West Coast cruise on Star Princess.
  • Racing waterslides: At the expansive waterpark atop Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, teens can race each other on a pair of side-by-side twister waterslides, called The Whip. There are also twin, multi-story Free Fall slides, where you plunge feet first and super fast. Screaming and getting wet is part of the fun. Seven-day Bermuda cruise, from New York on Norwegian Breakaway, from $849.
  • Real watercoaster: On Disney Cruise Line's Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, whirl in a translucent tube around the top deck and through your ship's smokestacks on a real, 765-foot coaster. You will want to keep your eyes open because for a few seconds you actually whip over the side of the ship, with a glimpse of the sea way down below. If you miss the view the first time, do the ride again, and again. Seven-day summertime cruise Eastern Caribbean on Disney Fantasy.
  • Simulated skydiving: RipCord by IFLY indoor skydiving is one of the biggest "wows" you'll find on a cruise ship. Teens under age 18 need to be accompanied by a parent to do it, but it's worth it. You get instructions, suit up and enter a translucent vertical tunnel to fly – in wind so intense your cheeks wobble. The experience is on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. Seven-day Bahamas cruise from Bayonne, New Jersey

  • Extreme shore excursions: Take your teen on a cruise to Alaska and get their attention not only with glaciers and whale spotting but also with such activities as an off-road ATV challenge (you have to have a driver's license to get behind the wheel). Seven-day Alaska cruise on the Westerdam from Seattle.

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