Every parent of teenagers knows that feeling when you start to wonder exactly how long your children will keep wanting to come on holiday with you. As they grow up, they naturally develop their own tastes, likes and dislikes (and even more naturally, these will tend to be the exact opposite to yours), so agreeing on a holiday destination (and indeed, persuading them to dump their mates and come on holiday with you) is never easy.
Enter, the Caribbean cruise. Here’s why:
Teenagers generally love their parents (they hide it well, admittedly), but they don’t want to spend every minute of every day with them. On a cruise they can go off on their own. You know (roughly) where they are – they’re not going to get into any trouble and there are always loads of very nice staff around in case of an emergency. ‘Go on, disappear for the day and maybe meet us for a bite to eat later?’ is music to most teenagers’ ears.
Got to the stage where a cocktail, dinner and maybe a show is about all you can muster before wanting to hit the sack? Yes, me too. Happily on cruise ships, most of the teen clubs carry on entertaining your offspring into the early hours, and the over 18s can hit the nightclubs, sports pubs or even take in a late film and wander back when they fancy it.
On our latest Caribbean cruise, we started off having dinner en famille. By day two, one of the boys had met a girl and went off to have dinner with her. By day three, they’d met a bigger bunch of friends and preferred to head off with them to get burgers. During the day, they congregated in hot tubs and pools together, or headed off for a game of basketball or a coffee, laughing and chatting. They still keep in contact with the friends they made now. I said hello to one of the girls just the other day when Sam was chatting to her on Skype. Both the boys thought this was one of the best things about the cruise: their new ‘cruise family’.
4. Peace of mind
Cruise ships can be pretty huge, but with ship’s phones or WiFi it’s easy to stay in touch. There’s no worrying where they’ve got to, no panicking about who’s driving on a night out, just sweet, blissful relaxation. US cruise ships don’t allow drinking unless you’re over 21, so that worry is taken care of too.
This one’s a no brainer: ‘hands up who wants a holiday in Barbados?’ will probably elicit some pretty vigorous hand waving. Now try: ‘hands up who wants a holiday in Barbados, Guadeloupe, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Grenada and Tobago?’ See? Works like a charm.
There’s such a sense of adventure with cruising – you’re Captain Jack Sparrow (or, you know, Keira Knightley), and you’re on the beach of your very own treasure island – crystal, turquoise sea, white sand – even the odd jetski (okay so maybe Captain Jack Sparrow didn’t have one of those, but you know what I mean).
So there you have it. Cruising with teenagers: it’s the future. You heard it here first.