I posted this on RCI's Cruise Line forum but thought that I'd get the opinions of Carnival people too!
We just cruised Explorer of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean and had a blast. Our 13 year old son loved it but was disappointed that there weren't many kids his age on the ship. I realize that one problem was that we went while school was in session so our next cruise is going to be the Western Caribbean during Spring break in 2006. Our son will be 14. I was thinking that Carnival might have more kids his age on board but was warned that because our cruise will be during Spring Break we might encounter too many party driven college students getting drunk. Since we've only done one cruise I thought I'd ask those who have seen it all. Should we stick with Royal Caribbean or book with Carnival?
We cruised last year with our children on the Inspiration and had a great time. So much so me and the kids are going again this August. It was a 7 day cruise and while there were other children on board I didn't feel as though the ship was overun with children. I also didn't see a lot of "party animals". While there are those few who will overindulge no matter what, they were few and far between. I've cruised both Carnival and RCL. While we've had a great time on both line I prefer Carnival for room size, food and activities and RCL for service. Having said that I haven't cruised the Voyager class ships on RCl which I understand offer a lot of activities for teens. I posted a review of our Inspiration cruise on this site under reader reviews if you want to take a look.
Hope this helps and if you have any questions feel free to email me. Just put cruisemates or carnival inspiration in the subject line so I don't delete it by mistake.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
I would worry more about graduation cruisers than Spring Break cruisers. Spring breaks are different everywhere. My college age daughters just had their spring break, University of GA is this week, Auburn University in a couple of weeks, Ga. Tech somewhere in there.....................high schools do it different times too. No matter what cruise you go on, there will be some party animals and they might not all be high school and college age. Seriously, we cruised with our daughters 6 out of our 7 cruises, three of them Carnival. Even though they were older teens, there weren't a lot of them and my girls thought the teen program was "lame" and they just formed their own group with one of two others. The teen scene on any cruise ship is a little lacking I think. It's hard to please that age group.............My girls personally hated Royal Caribbean, love Carnival.........
I think both lines will have tons of kids cruising during spring break. Not sure of the college crowds, but I would think they, too, might be on both lines during spring break, although they might tend to sail on the shorter trips, due to the cost of cruising.
Anyway, we're getting ready for our 3rd cruise on Carnival with our boys. We sailed the Elation when they were 11 and 13, the Inspiration when they were 13 and 15 and are going on the Conquest next; they will be15 and 17. They had a great time on our previous cruises and we expect the same on our next one. If you choose Carnival, especially one of their newer, bigger ships, your son will have a great time.
If your son is interested in "scoring" I would highly recommend Carnival...we saw several youngsters being amorous around the ship (twice at the basketball court around midnight)...more disturbing were the 40 something ladies who were dancing seductively with kids that had no business being in the disco...
War Mrs Robinson
Carnival has an age restriction in place. Guests under 21 cant book to sail, without someone over 25 in the cabin.
That said.. spring break (or any school vacation times) you'll find lots of "youngsters" on all the cruise lines. But, on Carnival and RCI how wild the party gets is pretty dependant on how good parents are at their job of parenting.
Last year.. think it was a New Years cruise, kids ran pretty rampant, and were throwing furniture overboard. This caused a curfew to be put in place by the Captain.
Obviously the parents of these kids must have been elsewhere.
I don't know about "separate" teen centers, but both Carnival ships we cruised had teen centers that my son loved. I'm pretty sure the younger kids weren't allowed in the teen center on the Glory. They had a smoothie bar and seating area that was quite large. The teens hung around, listened to music and gobbled smoothies.
The arcades were for everyone and adjoined the teen area. Teens *are* hard to please and most of the teens on both cruises found each other and hung out - playing ping pong, the arcade, shuffleboard and just being teens together.
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 a gree. teens are hard to please. i think they find their own little groups and things to do. i would think any organized activities for teens has to be extremely creative and really cool to keep them interested. i am not sure what we as adults think is super for teens, is not necessarily what the teens think is super nowadays. i raised two girls who are grown and now teach early teens and believe me, they think they are so grown up and have all their own ideas about what is really cool and what is not. the programs for the younger children i would think will be mu;ch easier to present and keep an interest in.
my personal opinion about which cruise line: any teen would love a cruise period. the only ones i would be skeptical of would be the really formal lines like princess, crystal, celebrity and sometimes rcl. those lines, from what cruisers i know have told me, is they really cater in every way and teens do not care about that.my daughters friend went last year on rcl and they took their 8 year old son. he loved the kids program a nd they never saw him. however, she said also there were loads of older people and it was a little stiff and too formal. they ate few meals in the dining room because of this.
i would say everyone i have talked to, with teens, who did carnival has nothing but rave reviews about the cruise. our neighbors with three kids ages 12, 14, and 16 have gone back to back one summer to the next carnival then RCL and their kids loved both. they told me they were the awsomest vacations they ever went on. the one kid i think liked carnival better. hope this helped. hey, it is a cruise!!!!!!
I've heard it's all of the larger ships (Conquest class) that have separate teen centers; and the others still have teen programs, just not a dedicated hang out. However, the OP says his son will be 14, so he won't be in the teen group anyway (on Carnival, it's 15-17). He will have many activities to choose from at Camp Carnival, though.
We cruised Febuary Presidents Days school vacation week both 2004 and 2005. The Triumph 2004, had 900++ kids up to age 18. The Valor 2005 had 600+ kids sailing. School vacation weeks have more kids than a lot of unsuspecting seniors are accustom to.. Teens on board roam in large groups(5-20), but in general are very well behaved. By the way, the cruise lines know when the school vacations are, and always have peak prices. You will never find a bargain fare that week!!
While you should find that CCL has a great program and activities that appeal to kids, mostly on the newer ships, I still have to say that RCI and Disney have the better programs and RCI has same great activities for kids from 14 to 18 yrs old.
hey, i'm 13, and i absolutely ADORE ccl. I have traveled on 6 cruises with them, and loved each of them... there were some drunks over our christmas and 4th of july cruise. but mostly, no need to worry. there are numerous activities for my agegroup, and a lot of the same kids my age.