Disney Cruising with a Teenager!

By Elizabeth Schaaf

I’m frequently asked if Disney Cruise Line is right for teenagers. Absolutely! In fact, I’ve only ever cruised Disney with at least one teenager in tow. On our first cruise, our oldest was 15, and he was less than interested in meeting characters and the like. But the minute he stepped on board, there he was, playing with his little brother in the Oceaneer Club during Open House, hanging out at the pool, and just loving watching the water go by. Even now at 20, he still loves being on a Disney Cruise!

Disney caters to multiple age groups onboard. In fact, teens have their own space called the Vibe, which is open to those ages 14 up to age 17. It’s a great and fun space designed for entertainment and chill time. There’s even a coffee bar offering coffees and smoothies! Not only does the space offer independent options like sunbathing on the private deck or playing video games on a 103″ television, but there are also structured, scheduled events as well. Just check the Navigator for daily offerings and times.

When it comes to Port Adventures, Disney offers so many different ones! From more sedate, quiet tours around town to four wheeling to the beach, there’s a little something for everyone, even that hard to please teen. Funny enough, some of my teen’s favorite adventures have been the ones I didn’t think they would like as much! On one cruise, I thought the star of the show would be a slide down the side of a mountain in St. Maarten, when the most popular excursion turned out to be just enjoying a beautiful beach in St. John. I also like to have my teens learn a bit about our port stops as well, whether it be through reading or even just watching a YouTube video about the city, so that they can appreciate it all the more when they are there. 

Here’s my top 5 tips for planning a teen friendly cruise:

1. Get your teenagers involved in the cruise planning. Let them choose some of the onboard activities and shore excursions so they will feel more engaged and excited about the trip;

2. Encourage independence: While it’s great to spend family time together, also allow your teenagers some freedom to explore the ship on their own. Be flexible with the schedule and allow them downtime or the chance to explore an activity they find of interest;

3. Have an outgoing teen? Let them check out the special events geared towards their age group, such as themed parties, movie nights, and game tournaments. Cruises can be a great place for teens to meet new people;

4. Stay connected with onboard messaging: Disney Cruise Line offers a convenient onboard messaging system through the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app that makes it easy for teenagers and parents to stay in touch; and finally

5. Capture the memories: Encourage your teenagers to document their experiences by taking photos, keep a journal, or perhaps draw art that reminds them of their activities. It’s a great personal souvenir!

DIsney Cruise Line isn’t just for young kids – it’s for everyone, even teens. Be open to their suggestions and interests to make the Disney cruise a memorable experience for the entire family. The next thing you know, you’ll be cruising again and again.

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