Set Sail On These Six Best Cruises for Teens

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Family Adventures, Traveling with Teens

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Ahoy, teenagers and parents of teens! We know the usual landlocked family vacation can get so tiresome, but we have the answer. A sensation-filled cruise that meets the entire family’s needs. Imagine an enormous, floating resort with endless food, pool decks, and, most importantly – no chores. Sound like heaven? That’s because it may well be the next best thing. Here’s a carefully curated list of the best cruises for teens…  and their parents too. 



best cruises for teens pin


Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas: For the Adrenaline Junkie

Zip-lining, surfing, and rock climbing all in one day – without having to trek across the globe! 

The Symphony of the Seas is like the Swiss Army knife of Royal Caribbean cruises for teens. It’s got everything. Zip lines. Glow-in-the-Dark Laser Tag. Water slides. Broadway shows.  There’s even an ice skating rink on board. Yes, ice skating. On a boat. On the sea. Forget board games (although the ship has them).

Watch family members try surfing and (maybe) fail epically on the FlowRider surf simulator. Guaranteed laughs for all! (Yes, yes, kudos for trying because that is how we learn! It’s still funny, though.)


Boy playing at waterpark on ship - best cruises for teens

We have invented waterparks on cruise ships that sail on water. Shutterstock

Norwegian Breakaway: For the Artsy Fartsy

The name Norwegian Breakaway fits it like a glove. Break away from the mundane and dive headfirst into the world of neon bowling, Broadway shows, and interactive art installations. 

This cruise ship has a water park for younger siblings and one for older kids too. There is a three-story sports complex with a basketball court. Sports tournaments will provide teens with a not-too-awkward way to make new friends.

The Norwegian Cruise Line puts family first with spacious suites and four different youth programs. The teen club is called Entourage and offers “modern, digital, and inclusive options” for 12 through 17-year-olds.

Older teens and young adults will love the spa options, which include a salt room and a thermal spa. 

The colorful ship décor provides an excellent backdrop for those hilariously awkward family photos where Dad thinks he’s in an 80s rock band. Plus, the dance parties make for some unforgettable “Remember when you danced like that?” moments. (FYI- there are complementary dance lessons onboard!) Just encourage those teens to forget their phones before hitting the dance floor. It will be like the 1990s – anything goes!


Don’t Miss: Top 10 Vacation Spots for Teens in the US


Disney Fantasy: For the Kid at Heart

“Aren’t we too old for Disney?” said no one ever. The Disney Cruise Line is one of the very best cruise lines for family vacations in North America. Period. And the Disney Fantasy is a teen dreamboat.

Disney Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, which is reserved exclusively for  Disney cruise guests. Teens, there is a beach area reserved just for 14 to 17-year-olds aptly called The Hideout. This place is built for teens to have a great time.

Many of the cruise destinations present port adventures that are designed for the entire family. One favorite is the family scavenger hunt; it’s so popular that it has inspired many bloggers to create their own versions

Unleash your inner child with themed dinners, epic water slides, and character meet-and-greets. Teens have their exclusive club, The Vibe, a perfect place where this age group can lounge, play video games (which may lead to epic video game tournaments), and dance without any prying “grown-up” eyes. It’s their Disney Wish come true!

Challenge your siblings to a game of “Who Can Make Mickey Laugh First?” 


Hint: Dad jokes surprisingly work wonders on anthropomorphic mice.


DON’T MISS! Why The Disney Wish Cruise Is A Teen’s Dream Come True


Family silhoutte jumping for joy in front of cruise ship - best cruises for teens

When mom doesn’t need to make dinner we all jump for joy! Shutterstock


Carnival Vista: For the Social Butterfly

Carnival Vista is the lead ship in the Carnival Cruise Line Vista class. She has an IMAX theater, mini golf, and sports courts (basketball, volleyball, and Dodge Ball!). Best of all, she has the Club O2, which is designed especially for teens to hang out, dance, and play video games. They even offer a cruise-style prom! No wonder Carnival won the best cruise ships for teens in 2017.

Need a laugh? Dad’s jokes not cutting it? There’s a comedy club on board. After a show or two, dad will have enough material to ensure he is the funniest person at the dinner table… or at least he’ll think he is.


family frolicking on beach - best cruises for teens

Just casually running off the cruise ship onto the beach. Like we do. Shutterstock


MSC Seaview: For the World Traveler

This isn’t just a ship; it’s a floating city. Between stops at world-renowned ports and excursions, there’s the chance to learn new languages while soaking in the hot tub, sample authentic cuisine, and interact with fellow teen travelers from across the globe at the Teen Club. MSC Cruises are a perfect blend of culture, adventure, and, of course, sunbathing.

Make a fun game out of trying to decipher the ship announcements in different languages. The resulting interpretations can range from poetic to downright hysterical.

Now, embarking on a cruise doesn’t mean the family will be adrift without Wi-Fi, looking like the cast from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” by day three… or two. Most ships do offer connectivity packages. 


girl snorkeling in turquoise water - best cruises for teens

So this is what my screensaver looks like in real life! Shutterstock


Sun Princess: For the Tireless Explorer

This is the newest ship in the Princess Cruise Line. Princess Cruises has thought of everything from the top deck that is home to a ropes course, Breeze Rollglider (forget about roller coasters!), an infinite tilt wall, and a splash pad down to The Underground Teen Lounge. 

The Underground Teen Lounge hosts dance parties, board game nights, and even movie marathons. They will also find virtual reality games and outdoor movie nights onboard.

Younger teens will enjoy The Neon Grove Tween Club. They will find a similar experience as the teens, but with a younger audience in mind. 


Girl taking selfie on cruise - best cruises for teens

Just cruising and taking selfies. #CruiseLife



Set Sail Already 

There are so many good reasons to opt for a cruise instead of a land-legged vacation, but my teenager’s favorite reason happens to be the food. The endless dining options happen to be a major selling point for teenagers. My 13-year-old often reminisces about his summer cruise with his grandpa to Iceland… because of the endless hamburgers and fries. We are hopeful that with time the memories of the hamburgers and fries will fade and the memories of seeing an iceberg will rise to the surface.

Cruises make excellent family vacations for all age groups. Whether family members are adrenaline junkies, artists, socialites, or Disney fans, there’s a cruise out there for everyone.



best cruises for teens pin


Steffy McCourt is a mom to three active and awesome boys, two budgies, one cockatiel, and a mischievous corgi. She is currently an ELA Teacher On Special Assignment in Plymouth, Michigan, and she is a freelance writer for parenting magazines, education websites, and meditation apps. She has an MS in Educational Leadership from Butler University and a BA in English from Indiana University.