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Djcarolina December 5th, 2006 07:53 PM

The Teen Cruising Guidebook Part 1
Hey guys, I thought i'd write something that everyone especially our new cruisers could use to answer some of their questions before they ask them in the forum. This also provides a 1 stop shop for many first timer questions.

1. What do these signs mean “X, RCCL, RCI, CCL, PCL, DCL, HAL, NCL??
~ These are common representatives for the major cruise lines. X for Celebrity, RCCL for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, RCI for Royal Caribbean Interntational, CCL for Carnival Cruise Lines, PCL for Princess Cruise Lines, DCL for Disney Cruise Line, HAL for Holland America Line, and NCL for Norwegian Cruise Line.

2. What are these Teen Clubs I hear about like Fuel, Cub O2, Optix, The Loft and The Stack?
~ These are special nightclubs onboard select ships that are designed just for teenagers. On some lines like Carnival for instance the clubs are open only to teens ages 15-17, ad on other lines they separate teens into 2 age groups, usually 12-14 and 15-17. Club O2 is the name of Carnival’s teen club program and is implemented on every ship and most ships have a specially designated club, others, a meeting place. Fuel and Optix are the names for the teen nightclubs/discos onboard Royal Caribbean’s ships and vary in size from ship to ship and class to class. Most RCI ships also feature a separate teen facility called “The Living Room? which is a cool venue for just hanging, reading magazines, watching music videos, or just chilling with your newly acquired. The Loft is Holland America’s version of the teen club and is very similar to those of other lines. The Stack is Disney’s rendition of the teen club and is contained in 1 of the 2 smokestacks on Disney’s classic, but retro style ocean liners. All of these clubs are staffed with cool, friendly and usually young directors who are there to organize activities such as scavenger hunts, hot tub parties, excursions and all kinds of fun. These directors usually also double as a DJ when the lights go low and the dancing begins!

3. What should I wear?
~ Its always good to be yourself, and wear whatever represents you best! Don’t go out and buy a new wardrobe just for the cruise, because, chances are what you are wearing now is just coming out as a hot fashion statement where some of your new friends live! So you’ll be ahead of the game! Formal nights vary by ship. Some ships such as Royal Caribbean but especially Princess, HAL and Norwegian require upscale attire for formal night. This could include, but is not limited to a tie and jacket to a tuxedo for guys and a cocktail dress to a formal gown for ladies. Some other ships like Carnival, take a more relaxed approach to their formal evenings. On these ships a collared shirt and slacks or khakis is acceptable for guys and casual resort wear for the girls. During the day people wear everything. If you are on a Caribbean itinerary, pack shorts and short-sleeved shirts because it is going to be warm in the Caribbean pretty much year round. I would always, however, pack at least 1 sweatshirt or light jacket in case of rain or other inclement weather.

4. Will I meet other people my age?
~ OF COURSE! Your on a cruise with usually 1-3 thousand other people! There is always a decent amount of teens from every age bracket onboard every ship from all major cruise lines. The high times in the year, as I stated before is during the summer when, on some large ships, there may be as many as 500 or more teens. The fall and winter are usually the slower times except for holidays. And spring break is of course way up there on the cruise time list.

5. What are these islands: Castaway Cay, Coco Cay, Labadee, and Half Moon Cay I cant find them on a map?
~ These are all special, private owned islands that are reserved exclusively for use by passengers of your ship, based on the cruise line you are traveling. Castaway Cay (Pronounced Key), Bahamas is owned by Disney Cruise Lines, Coco Cay, Bahamas and Labadee Hispaňola, are owned by Royal Caribbean and Half Moon Cay is owned by Holland America Line, a line owned by Carnival Cruise lines, therefore Carnival and HAL ships are granted access to this island. Nearly all islands provide a complimentary barbeque lunch and staff less than 100 full time island-dwelling employees. Most islands also must provide a reverse osmosis plant to provide fresh water and a generator for electricity. These are usually the highlight of the trip as they offer the beauty of the Caribbean without the hassles of other mainland islands, ridden with outside tourists.

6. What is a tender and do I have to pay for it?
~ Occasionally ships do not have the luxury of docking right on the mainland either due to the ship’s size or shallow dock waters. When this occurs, the ship must anchor off of the mainland and guests must use “tenders? or small boats capable of handling 100-500 passengers to bring them to shore. The tenders are provided by, checked and cleared for safety and reliability by your cruise line. The tendering service is complimentary whenever required.

7. What is a sail and sign or fun-pass?
~ Many ships now use an electronic card system to allow passengers ease of mind onboard their vacations. These cards are issued at the pier and are usually used as a cabin key, charge card, and boarding pass. Some common names for these cards include Seapass (RCI), Funpass or the newly instated Sail & Sign (CCL), and the “Key To The World? onboard Disney Cruise Lines. When you are issued this card, It usually is checked several times before you board the ship and also has a picture ID added sometime either before or soon after boarding. When you are issued this card ALWAYS KEEP IT WITH YOU! It is essential to being allowed to board and disembark the ship.

8. Food?!
~ Food is a very important part of every cruise and after you cruise once you will see what I mean. Many ships have a main dining room and several alternative resturants such as The Windjammer, Johnny Rockets, Jade, Portofino, and Chop’s Grille on Royal Caribbean, and Paolo on Disney Cruise Line. The main dining room usually serves upscale 5 Star cuisines nightly with a wide array of choices and an ever-changing menu. There are occasional formal nights on every ship when more formal attire is required. The standard for dinner is Resort Casual, slacks or at least jeans for guys with a collared polo or gold shirt, and for ladies a cocktail dress and anything below that except shorts. The specialty resturants such as Chops, Portofino or Paolo usually require a coat and tie and offer an extended menu for a nominal fee per person. In general the food in these restaurants tends to be a step up even from the formal/main dining rooms. The Windjammer, Windows on the Seas, Seaview Café, and Beach Blanket Buffet are all examples of another dining option on every ship. These all are casual restaurants that have no dress code other than that no swimwear is allowed in the evening. They serve a wide variety of casual foods such as burgers, deli selections, hot sides and deserts. Finally there are specialty options on some ships such as Johnny Rockets at Sea, Jade, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Sorrento’s Pizza. All of these offer unique menus with their own twist.

9. So its after dinner and I don’t want to go to the teen club, can I get into the adult club?
~ Typically, No. The adult clubs are generally monitored heavily by security and although it might be possible to slip by, its just not worth the risk and embarrassment. Also many ships now have your age either on the outside of your boarding card or imprinted in the barcode so that when scanned by security at the club entrance, your age is revealed and you are not allowed access. Also, Usually you wont find anything in the adult clubs that you wouldn’t find in the teen clubs. The adult clubs are just filled with parents dancing the same way as we teens do… icky!

10. Can I drink on the ship? What is the drinking age?
~ Many ships do not allow teens to drink onboard even with their parents consent. New maritime laws have also changed the drinking policies on many ships. Right now the standard for all Carnival or Carnival Owned Ships is that the drinking age shall remain 21. Royal Caribbean used to allow guests 18-20 to have beer and wine but have since revised their policies as part of the GVP (see 11). The drinking age now for all RCI and RCI owned ships is 21 for ships sailing from US ports and 21 from non US ports. This will be updated should anything change.

11. What is the Guest Vacation Policy? Is There a Curfew?
~ The Guest Vacation Policy is a new program developed by Royal Caribbean International and enacted in mid 2005 to provide guests onboard their ships an enjoyable and safe experience. The policy is stated during the boat drill* (see 13) and is upheld well. It consists of but is not limited to: No horseplay, foul language or fighting, simulated or real. No smoking in public areas not designated for smoking including all public lounges and restaurants unless otherwise noted. Do Not Throw any items overboard. Do not smoke in guest staterooms. There is a curfew that applies all teen passengers age 17 and under, that after 1:00am they must be in a cabin, accompanied by a parent or guardian or in a designated Adventure Ocean activity. This policy can be extended or retracted at any time by the ships master.

12. What is the Save the Waves© program?
~ The Save the Waves© program is a program devised by Royal Caribbean Intl. that is designed to preserve, protect and maintain our precious and valuable oceanic ecosystem. This simple program consists of designated refuse containers placed around the ship to keep passengers from throwing refuse materials overboard and damaging the ecosystem. Please observe this program on Royal Caribbean and all ocean liners, It is vital to the preservation of our oceans!

13. What is the boat drill? Do I have to go?
~ The boat drill is a mandatory drill for all passengers and crew that occurs approximately 30-45 minutes prior to sailing. This drill is required by national maritime law and is conducted in accordance with the United States Coast Guard. All passengers must attend! Just go as if you don’t you will hold everyone else up while they search for you. When you hear the signal which usually consists of 7 short blasts followed by 1 long blast over the ships horn, whistle and internal alarm bell system, go directly to your stateroom, gather your lifejackets and any essential medication and proceede directly to the muster station assigned to you as designated on your stateroom door and lifejacket. There will be green signs in the hallways directing you to your muster station. In the event of a loss of power, low level lighting will be activated guiding you to your muster station. When you arrive, put on your life jacket which is equipped with a whistle and a saltwater-activated light, and wair for further instructions from your muster station’s safety team.

Thank You For Taking The Time To Read This, I Certainly Hope It Has Answered Any Questions You Might Have. If You Have Any More, Feel Free To Contact Me Personally VIA PM or at

Kristina99 December 5th, 2006 08:03 PM

This is a very useful addition to our forum!! Im sure first time cruisers are very appreciative of your hard work in putting this together!! I am too! Thanks Ryan!!

Kris <33

I_Live_4_Cruises December 5th, 2006 08:04 PM

Nice job! You summed up a lot of questions right there! Excellent info, you should write a book! :D

Ewokdude December 5th, 2006 09:06 PM

Nice Work DJ!

One thing though about attire. RCCL and NCL do not have too much of a formal dress code. Lines like HAL and Celebrity have a "fancy" dress code.

You might also want to send this to Paul Motter to be posted on the front page of cruisemates!


Djcarolina December 5th, 2006 09:16 PM

Actually, RCI has a lot more formal dress code than ppl think especially on the voyager and freedom class ships. lots of ppl wear tuxes and gowns

Ewokdude December 5th, 2006 09:28 PM


Originally Posted by Djcarolina
Actually, RCI has a lot more formal dress code than ppl think especially on the voyager and freedom class ships. lots of ppl wear tuxes and gowns

On the Monarch the dress was not very formal, Jacket and tie was as formal as it would would get. I do not remember seeing any tuxes.

NCL isn't formal at all. They have the freestyle dining which gives you a choice to dress up or not, and from the reviews I have read, nobody gets too formal on the optional formal night.


Djcarolina December 5th, 2006 09:33 PM

yea i suppose not now that they have freestyle cruising.

Jenn87 December 5th, 2006 09:56 PM

Awesome guide.

This may not be the right place to ask this, but....

I was wondering for the teen program, if people usually participate in it for the whole cruise or just for the first day? The last time I went on a cruise (just over 2 years ago), I had the attitude that I didn't want to be in a program that told you what to do, so I didn't go in it, but plan to for my next cruise. Also, if I am in the age group for 15-17 year olds, will many 17 year olds go to the teen program or is it usually filled with 15 year olds? (I know it may vary by cruise).

thanks :)

Kristina99 December 5th, 2006 10:41 PM

ryan..another thing...for #11 and the curfew....mention that its only for RCCL ships.

Jenn....some people will just go on the first day to see what kind of teens are there...make a couple friends, and just hang out with them and not participate in the organized activities. And it def varies by cruise ahow many 17 y/os will be there, depending on how many are on the ship. but when youre 15-17, age doesnt really matter you all hang out together (but if i were you, i would want to know how many 17 y/o guys were going to be there haha)


girl_next_door December 5th, 2006 10:51 PM

first off, on NCL we felt like the only ones in formal attire. usually they only have a selected restaurant only offering formal and even in that restaurant it was more of like a sun dress type thing rather than like a prom dress which i was wearing.

and jenn.. all t he itmes i've been on a cruise, i only participated in the activities on the first night and after that no one did it anymore. i hated them and would rather just mess around with all my friends than to do a set activity. we tried it like twice and it was like the least fun thing we did.

and all the times i went to the teen stuff there were more 15 to 16 year olds rather than 17. but we walked around the ship and met more people including 17 year olds. but our group consisted of ages 14 to 17. when you think about it you would think like oh i dont wanna hang out with someone younger than me but once your on a cruise age doesnt really matter at all. i loved the 14 year olds i hung out with just as much as the 17 year olds. *i was a little above the middle age of the group, it was about a month to my 16th birthday

lsclaf26 December 6th, 2006 07:21 AM

yeah bri is right. the teen group is more geared toward 15-16 yr olds and alot of the 17 year olds dont come (in my expierence) but def go to the first night to meet people. it will be worth it!

Djcarolina December 6th, 2006 01:45 PM

I guess i'm just weird then cuz i usually do all of the stuff. Mabye its just because i've been there, done that so many times that i like it cuz i know how to win em all! Lol but yeah definetly go the first night. And i've found that most of Carnival's ships really do have cool programs and its totally relaxed and the clubs are wild at night. RCI, ehh sometimes not so much. And Alex it is mentioned that the curfew is or RC, cuz its part of the Guest Vacation Policy bullet which i stated that that was a RCI thing. I'll clarify tho, just for u! lol

I_Live_4_Cruises December 6th, 2006 02:15 PM

Carnival does get crazy! I can't wait, this will be my first cruise in the 15-17 year old group considering I haven't cruised in over a year and a half! haha, I'm so excited!

Great points though everyone about the meeting and teen activities as well as the formal attire and curfews. With all this info put together someone can make some kind of really nice report for Paul Motter. This would be really helpful for first time cruising teens!

girl_next_door December 6th, 2006 02:31 PM

i didnt do any of the activities on carnival. but there werent many teens on mine.

Kristina99 December 6th, 2006 04:30 PM


Originally Posted by Djcarolina
I guess i'm just weird then cuz i usually do all of the stuff. Mabye its just because i've been there, done that so many times that i like it cuz i know how to win em all! Lol but yeah definetly go the first night. And i've found that most of Carnival's ships really do have cool programs and its totally relaxed and the clubs are wild at night. RCI, ehh sometimes not so much. And Alex it is mentioned that the curfew is or RC, cuz its part of the Guest Vacation Policy bullet which i stated that that was a RCI thing. I'll clarify tho, just for u! lol name is Kristina!! not alex!! haha


Jenn87 December 6th, 2006 06:39 PM

Thanks for the replies. I know there are lots of 15 year olds on this board, who would be awesome to hang out with, but if they are like the 15 year olds at my school :shock: well its awhole other level. Especially guys at that age. Though I guess I can't say much, cause I can be pretty immature myself sometimes :oops: :D

Some of the activities sound like a lot of fun at the teen program, though it seems like there is so much too do, and not enough time!

I_Live_4_Cruises December 6th, 2006 08:04 PM

There's definitely NEVER enough time! lol (if that made absolutely any sense Jenn). Cruises are so fun and go by sooooo fast, but that's part of the thrill of a crazy week of hanging out, partying, dancing, and doing stuff you don't do at home and then you have to come back to real life.

Djcarolina December 6th, 2006 08:27 PM

Sorry i didnt type that one. Lol thats wat u get for being lazy and not doing things urself. Sorry Kristina! lol

girl_next_door December 7th, 2006 04:51 PM

i'm 16 and a junior. but i actually do hang out with sophomores in my school. and a few freshman but not many. and usually if i do hang out with them its like a big group of my sophomore friends and my junior friends. i dont hang out with that many seniors.

Kristina99 December 7th, 2006 04:57 PM

im a sophomore and just about all of my friends at school are also sophomores....a couple freshmen and a couple juniors. no seniors haha. but then my cruise friends range from 13 years to 20something now haha.


girl_next_door December 7th, 2006 05:01 PM

yea i basically hate the seniors at my school

Kristina99 December 7th, 2006 05:04 PM

oo that sucks. but whatever cuz youre friends with people in every other grade and they are going to be gone soon as it is!!!!


I_Live_4_Cruises December 7th, 2006 06:59 PM

haha.... my friends range from freshmen to seniors and I'm a sophmore. :D

lsclaf26 December 7th, 2006 07:41 PM

yeah im friends with a variety of people. i love the juniors and i love some of the seniors. some are SO annoyin but w.e and i have a few frosh friends...not too many. there too quiet!

BubblyTink December 7th, 2006 09:07 PM

Im a senior and I am pretty flexible with who I hang out with. I have friends in all the high school grades and can usually be friends with anyone in like the 12-20 range, just depends how I feel at the time.

NYorkbabyy08 December 7th, 2006 09:40 PM

I'm friends with mostly peopel in my grade(juniors). I'm friends with a few softmores. I love some of the freshmen. Mostly like 5 that were old neighbors or snowboarding buddies. and One senior im good friends with I have a lot fo older friends and senior friends in other schools and towns. from work. why i'm i telling you guys this. doubt you care lol.

Djcarolina December 7th, 2006 09:54 PM

Imma junior and i'm friends with pretty much all grades from freshies to seniors with most of my friends either being Juniors or Seniors. The sophomores are ok but are the most overlooked grade level in the school. And the freshmen, again theyre ok but are usually either too quiet or reall slutty and think they're the shizz, when in fact we're laughing at them not with them! Hah o well I guess we were all a little crazy at that time ehh.

Ewokdude December 7th, 2006 11:27 PM

Im a freshman. I hate most freshman at my school, I mostly hang out with sophmores and above. My girlfriend is a sophmore too. Freshman basically suck haha..


sharpshoota2468 December 7th, 2006 11:57 PM

at home i usually hangout with people my age or close to it (16-17) and older. majority of my friends are 18+ same on cruises

SuperGreg December 10th, 2006 03:44 AM

That curfew on RCCL is gonna get on my nerves!

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