Taking a cruise with teenagers is a great way to enjoy new experiences with the people you love. As people who have been on a few family trips, however, let us remind you of how difficult things can be. Sure, everything is going fine for about 80% of the time, but you’ll eventually run into some difficulty with the kids wanting to do something different from the adults or the oldest teenager not agreeing with the younger ones. This kind of tension can take the wind out of your sails on any otherwise-great vacation. What’s the key to successfully taking a cruise with teenagers? We’re glad you asked.
Make Teenagers Part of the Decision Making Process
Sometimes when planning a vacation, you have the temptation to herd your kids around like cattle. “We’re going to eat at this place, at this time, then we’ll head over and do X.” It’s your prerogative as the parent to make plans for your family, but why not throw a bone to the kids every once in a while? When someone is allowed to contribute to the decision making process, you’re bound to get more cooperation in the future. Cruises have a number of choices to make, from activities to excursions and beyond. If there are two parents and two kids, you can each take one teenager and do something you each find exciting. If you’re feeling more parliamentary, you can vote each day on what the family as a whole is going to do. No judgement here if you choose to give the adults double the voting power. What you want to avoid is having children who feel dragged from location to location. Cruises are supposed to be fun, so let the kids have a say in the matter.
Give Teens a Little Space
The teenage years can be tough on parents, as kids gain more independence and grow into soon-to-be adults. No longer are your kids yearning to hang out with you and receive piggyback rides. Instead they want a little space and the ability to live their own lives. If you want to keep them happy during your cruise, your going to have to give them a little space. We’re not saying you have to let them freely roam Grand Cayman all day, but allow for an hour or so here and there to enjoy some freedom.
You’ve done this parenting thing for a while now, so you know that with new independence comes certain boundaries. If have the ability to use your phones while cruising, then make sure your teenager is able to keep in touch with you. Set parameters for what is off limits and what is okay early on in the trip. You remember what it was like to be a teenager, so try to make sure your kids know what is acceptable. Even with some boundaries, your teens will appreciate a little freedom.
Forced Fun = No Fun When Taking a Cruise with Teenagers
Sometimes we try to force people to engage in behavior that doesn’t make sense to them. Maybe you can recall taking your small child to the doctor when they needed shots. How well did telling them to stay calm play out? The same thing happens when your spouse says “Don’t be mad, but….” It’s hard to force yourself into a positive emotion sometimes. All of that to say, try not to be the overeager parent who is constantly telling their kid to have fun. Even as an adult you’ve been to a party where the host wants to corral her guests into certain rooms of the house during an allotted time. It’s not a good feeling for adults or kids. While it’s okay to take ownership of your vacation by planning activities, don’t be your family’s drill instructor all week. Allow for breathing room in the schedule so that no one feels as though they’re being pulled in a million directions during the whole cruise.
Remember You’re on Vacation
Since you’re not going to be the “fun police” during your trip, what will you do? Have fun, of course! The whole point of going on a cruise is to try new things, see exotic locations, and have a generally amazing time. Taking a cruise with teenagers is less successful when you never let your hair down. Put away any work you may have brought with you and take it easy on the overplanning. This is a time for fun.
Since you’re dealing with teenagers, you know there are only a few years left where you’ll all be together as a family unit. Take advantage of that time by fully embracing the vacation lifestyle. If they see you having a ball, it’s going to make them want to get in on the fun too. Introduce your teenager to new activities and open up with them during this week. By making this the best vacation ever, your kids will never forget the time they had.
Let Them Each Know You Care
One of the absolute best things you can do for your kids during your cruise is to remind them of the love and support they can find at home. Don’t overdo it since, as we’ve previously mentioned, teenagers need a little space to be themselves. We do encourage you to use this time to strengthen the bond you have with your children. They may not realize what you’re doing at the time, but they will be ingrained with the knowledge that their parents care for them as individuals. How can you do this? By simply talking with them and encouraging them as they take in new experiences, you’ll find opportunities to grow together as a family. What this does not look like is constantly telling them you love them and how cute they look. That’s a one-way ticket to Awkwardville for a teenager. Simply play it cool, be intentional, and you’ll find that bonding experience in no time.
We wish we could give you a more step-by-step guide into how taking a cruise with teenagers is easy, but truthfully, each kid is unique from the next one. When we break down these tips, we see that teenagers want to be respected as individuals who are nearly adults and granted freedoms that reflect that status. Only you know your teen, so you’ll have to take it from there and find what keeps your kids happy on vacation. We hope no matter how you play it, your time taking a cruise with teenagers is a massive success for your family.
Premier Cruises is one of the best names in family vacations. From tours of Israel to Caribbean cruises, we have all kinds of amazing trips featuring some of the biggest names in Christian music and entertainment. Find out how you can join us for the vacation of a lifetime by clicking on the link below.