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Carnival Cruise With Teens

Article By:  Claudia Laroye

Our teenage son lobbied to choose our family’s vacation for this year’s spring break. He had two proposals: go on a cruise or visit the Caribbean. Since my husband and I loved our Alaskan cruise and we had always wanted to visit the Caribbean, our teen didn’t have to do too much convincing. Much to our son’s delight, we booked an Eastern Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines for our family holiday. Here’s what to expect when you embark on a Carnival Cruise with teens.

Carnival Cruise with Teens

Fun ships, indeed!

Carnival Cruise has a reputation for fun and free-spirited adventures. Our ship departed Miami packed with families, college students and young people. It was a ‘carnival-like’ atmosphere, celebrating the Caribbean sun and spring break. It’s a popular cruise line with families, young adults, and the young at heart. They have FunPoints to collect, FunShops on board, and offer a Great Vacation Guarantee. Carnival is that sure you’ll have fun and enjoy your cruise holiday, and they really want you to come back again.

Carnival's Teen Hangout: Club O2 (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Lines)

At Sea teen clubs

Our teenager was able to cut loose, relax, and socialize with the many other teens on board. As with other age groups, Carnival offers an activity club for teenagers – Club O2 – on all of their ships. For the 15-17 year old set, Club O2 is a teen-only hang out space; no adults allowed. It’s a great place for kids to break the ice and meet each other, without any parental pressure or interference. Parents have to sign a consent form to allow their teens to come and go as they please, but once they’re in the Club, you may not see them for several hours, or until the next morning.

There is a daily itinerary for Club O2, ranging from Karaoke and dance and trivia-themed parties to island excursions. Kids can join in as they wish; the structure is loose and just hanging out is encouraged. The Club was a hit with our teen, who met some great new friends with whom he spent time exploring the ship when they weren’t doing specific activities.

For the younger teen set (ages 12-14), there is the Circle C club. The C stands for ‘chill’ or ‘cool’ and the club includes activities such as dance and pizza parties, games, outdoor movies, and scavenger hunts. The Circle C is supervised by fun-loving counselors who want to ensure that the kids have an awesome time.

Teen-pleasing dining options abound aboard a Carnival ship

Teen-pleasing dining options

Teens will find plenty of totes tasty dining choices on board a Carnival ship. Our ship, the Carnival Liberty, boasted Guy’s Burger Joint (fabulous fries), the Blue Iguana Cantina (delish fish tacos), a 24-hour pizzeria (with surprisingly tasty pies), self-serve ice cream, a late-night deli, Cherry on Top candy store, daily buffets at breakfast and lunch, and several dining rooms for more formal or anytime dining. Our casually formal dinner time offered the chance to connect with our teen over a family meal together before he headed out for a night of fun and adventure.

Waterslide fun on Carnival Liberty (Photo: Claudia Laroye)

Other Carnival fun for teens

Many Carnival ships have a wide variety of teen-friendly activities to pump up the fun. Our ship offered a water slide, while other ships have a more extensive Carnival Waterworks, such as the Speedway Splash on the Carnival Sunshine.

There Seaside Theatre is where to go to watch cartoons, classic TV shows plus comedies and action movies—complete with free popcorn and blankets. Or watch movies from the pool or one of two hot tubs in the middle of the ship!

The Punchliner Comedy Club offers a rotating roster of comics that perform several shows nightly, including at least one ‘family-friendly’ show in the early evening that teens would definitely enjoy. The big stage shows by on-board entertainers and special performers may also be a teen draw. Ours wasn’t keen on the musicals as much as he was spellbound by the hypnotist, who showed off his skills at getting people to do anything and everything.

Caribbean Carnival cruise with teens

Why cruise with teens

Traveling with teens presents challenges that are very different from when you traveled with little ones to grandma’s house. They like to eat a lot more (cha-ching), sleep in, share strong opinions, and can be…shall we say…surly and not the most talkative traveling companions. All-included food aboard a cruise ship presents a definite budget bonus to parents of teens. If you and your spouse and younger children want to sit by the pool or hit the breakfast buffet, you can sneak out of the stateroom without having to wake a cranky teen. The ability to split up and pursue varying activities and come together over a family meal in the evenings may prove a good way to keep the eye-rolling to a minimum too.

Teens are able to explore a contained environment while cruising. Our teen really enjoyed that sense of freedom, even to just eat pizza at midnight while trading jokes with friends (and keeping an eye out for young ladies too, I’m sure).

Traveling with happy teenagers is much preferred to the alternative; it’s worth the time and effort to work with them and plan out a holiday that will meet their needs, as much as your own. Who knows? Away from the pressures of school and work, a relaxed cruise vacation just might draw you and your teen closer together!

Have you ever taken a cruise with teens? What did they enjoy the most? Share your comments below!

Source: Claudia Laroye from TravelMamas.com

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The Most Unique Cruise Ship Features!

Cruise.9Back in the golden day of cruising, travelers could barely believe their eyes when they stepped aboard a luxury cruise liner and found fully equipped gymnasiums, relaxing Turkish baths, and even well stocked libraries and outdoor, European-style cafes. Of course, all of these features, and indeed much, much more, are pretty standard across the board now, with most of us expecting high-end restaurants, shopping malls and casinos at the very least when taking a cruise. With the bar being well and truly raised, cruise companies around the world are seeking out new features that will make their ships stand out over all others and what the industry is starting to see on the newer ships, and on those that have been recently renovated, is a level of excitement and a level of utter luxury that has simply never before been seen at sea.

North Star, Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

The North Star, which features aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel scheduled to set sail in 2014, is the first of its kind in the North Star, Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbeanworld. Suspended by a rotating arm-style mechanism attached to the ship’s uppermost deck, the glass-encased gondola can only be described as a blend of the capsules of the London Eye and the glass elevator in the Roald Dahl classic. Holding up to 13 passengers at any one time, the North Star gives unrivaled 360-degree views over the vast ocean, from a 300 meter high vantage point. Royal Caribbean wanted to create a new feature that would simply be irresistible to travelers, and based on the 6.8 million annual visitors to the Eiffel Tower, and the 3.65 million people who ride to the top of the Empire State building each year, it seems that high viewpoints are right on trend. There’s just something about the perceived breathtaking sights that travelers cannot say ‘no’ to. It’s anticipated that the newer ships of the Quantum class will also feature a similar attraction.

Movies Under the Stars, Grand Princess, Princess Cruises

Movies Under the Stars, Grand PrincessOutdoor movie screens are becoming quite common on newer cruise ships as more and more cruise companies aim to make use of the great weather, particularly throughout the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and around the Australian coast. However, none are quite as spectacular as the ‘Movies Under the Stars’ screens on many of the Princess Cruises vessels. ‘MUTS’, as it has become known, debuted on the Grand Princess and, with a screen measuring 300 square feet, it is now one of the largest outdoor movie screens in the world. Located poolside for the ultimate in atmospheric impression, the screen shows up to 7 recent Hollywood blockbusters each day, along with sporting events, concerts, and kid’s films. Utilising state-of-the-art technology, the screen can be seen and heard even in brilliant sunlight and against the sounds of the ship’s engines, so you get excellent quality all of the time. The latest edition to the fleet, Royal Princess, unveiled an even larger screen towering over the open deck space.

Virtual Balconies, Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Balcony cabins are a great choice of accommodation that give you the chance to gaze out over the ocean from your own private space. Virtual Balconies, Quantum of the SeasIt’s an especially good option for those taking a romantic cruise, to enjoy the intimacy of watching the ship sail along the water’s surface together. Sadly, balcony cabins don’t always fall within the holiday budget, but all that is about to change. Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, features 373 ‘virtual balcony’ cabins, which include 80 inch LED screens stretching from floor to ceiling of an indoor cabin. What’s even more impressive is that these virtual balconies display real-time images of the outside, both at sea and in port. You can even turn the screen on and off as you please, so if you’re trying to have a little nap in the day, just switch the screen off for instant sleep-inducing conditions. Virtual balconies are expected to be rolled out on other Quantum class ships, as well as Navigator, Voyager, Adventure, and Explorer of the Seas, and it’s estimated that they will revolutionise cruise accommodations to a point where indoor cabins become the most popular rooms on the ship!

Marco Pierre White Room Restaurant, Ventura, P&O

Marco Pierre White Room Restaurant, Ventura

Love him or loathe him, Marco Pierre White has become a household name in the UK, and his culinary skills cannot be questioned. Marco lends his name to not one but four different restaurants across a number of P&O vessels with The White Room aboard Ventura considered by many to be one of the finest speciality dining venues at sea. The menu is varied but has a definitive European theme, with French-inspired chicken coq au vin, Italian risotto, and, of course, the obligatory snail side dish. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the man himself, who frequently steps aboard to whip up some mouth-watering cuisine and ensure that standards are being maintained. He’s even been known to offer on-board cookery lessons for children, helping to teach them about good health, good nutrition, and the finest of foods. If you’re keen to dine at a celebrity chef restaurant on board, try to reserve a table when you embark, as these restaurants do book up quickly. If you’re traveling in a suite aboard Ventura then you will also have exclusive use of this superb dining venue for breakfast each morning, should you wish.

Cruising is evolving to a point where it is almost unrecognisable from the days of the 1920s and 30s when simply a good meal at sea was considered to be an amazing feat. As more and more ships are being designed and constructed, we’re starting to see features, activities, and attractions that were once never mere pipe dreams now becoming spectacular realities. Bumper cars, skydiving simulators and the worlds most talented performance artists are just some of the additional features we can expect to see on ships in the near future.

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