I was on the Carnival Victory and Carnival Legend. On both ships, the teens (16 ish) looked like they were having about as much fun as having nails stuck in their eyeballs. They looked incredibly bored. On the Victory, teens were riding the glass elevators all night for entertainment.
We traveled without our kids, but my teenage kids told me that they had a friend who was on the same cruise we were on (at the same time). And while they were excited at sailing time, they spent most of the 8 days pretty bored.
I can't speak for other cruise lines, but Carnival does not appear to be aimed at teenagers. Yes, they have teen lounges and discos. But they don't appar to be "cool" for teens. And most of the other entertainment is aimed at older people.
Obviously you can't generalize 100%---some teens will be fine, but I've been told that a cruise is not the best vacation for a 16 year old. And from my observations, this appeared to be correct.
YOU want to find LOTS of teens!! Book during a public school vacation week. Last Feb 2004( President's Day week), the Triumph carried 3000 passengers, of which the cruise director reported there was well over 900 kids. My 14 year old was hanging out with a group of 25-30 teens that somehow found each other within the first couple of days. There were several other teen groups that week, and I guess you find your nitch.
You can't always tell by looking, though. Teens seem to spend LOTS of time trying to look cool and bored.....
My son's experiences have been that most teens don't show up for the "events", but they seem to find each other on board. Of course, we did not sail during the summer or school breaks.
Carnival Elation March 11
Carnival Imagination Sept 07
Carniival Sensation Dec 06
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 06
Carnival Miracle Sept 05
Carnival Glory Sept 04
Carnival Fantasy Jan 04
i've been on 4 carnival cruises and i had a wonderful time each time, although sometimes it was a smaller, closer knit group than others...but i've always had at least 10 teens onboard that I hung out with...thanksgiving is also a super busy teen time....there had to be about 75 teens that i met alone on that one.
Last year we sailed on the inspiration. My teens had a great time. This year we went on royal's empress of the seas. My daughters felt that this cruise had better teen activities (organized). They would go back on either in a heartbeat.
Carnival is great for teens! There was always something for us to do! They had many activities including karaoke and fear factor. All which we participated in. I know there were a little over 800 or 900 teens i believe in August on it, and we all had a great time.
We took our l6 year old daughter on the Conquest this year and she had a blast meeting other kids. She had found friends the first night. We went in late July and some of the kids are still in contact with her. You know long distance and IM.
I would go when kids are out of school though.
Then there is the ulgy cruise for teens. I know two 17 year olds who went on the 2003 Legend 8 night western Carib the second week of January, and were BORED silly. That cruise had a total of less than 10 teens. The cruise was almost exclusivly elderly people. If you are looking for an age group, you shoud think about when they would probaby cruise. Families with kids and teens book heavily during public school vacation weeks, and the fares are allways peak that week, both for the cruise and the airfare. Check out the cruise fare and air fare for President's Day week (Feb. 20, 2005). There is never a bargain that week!
we sailed elation this summer with our 16 & 19 yo daughters. they had a great time meeting other teens. they did not use the teen club at all. they said it was mostly the younger teens (13-14). they spent a lot of time in the jekyll & hyde disco and at karaoke. they had dinner with us every night and went to the shows. they even did a video one evening, giving a tour of the ship and interviewing some of the people they met.
each of our girls have also been on school cruises, which they also enjoyed.
I definitely agree that you have to research for the best time to take teens. We went on the conquest the first week of February and there were hardly any teens onboard. Our son is 20 so he was okay to hang out with us but our daughter was 16 and was fairly bored. She went to the teen meet and greet but there wasn't anyone there. Spoke to the girl in charge of teen activities and I don't think it was possible for her to be any less enthusiastic. The disco looked like it could have been fun had it not been deserted. She still enjoyed the cruise but would have had more fun with some people her own age.