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6 best cruises for teenagers that are actually cool

The phrase “bored to death” doesn’t exist on these teen-friendly cruise lines.

Teenagers can be some of the hardest people to please. They’re at that time in their lives where the worst thing in the world is to be seen with their parents. So being stuck with the family on a cruise ship can seem like a nightmare.

If that’s the case with your teen, then turn their frowns upside down with the plethora of activities on these cruise line.

They offer everything from wicked waterslides to teenage lounges, so they won’t have to “hang” with you if they don’t want to.

1. Carnival Cruises

High schoolers get to be independent onboard and onshore with Carnival Cruises' specially designed teen-only shore excursions.

Some cruises have stacks for teens to do onboard on their own, but when the ship docks it's likely they'll be moaning and groaning about having to do boring tourist stuff with the folks. Not with Carnival. This cruise has supervised shore excursions exclu

  • Teenage lounge? Circle C for 12–14 year olds, O2 Club for 15–17 year olds
  • Teen activities: Dive-in movies by the pool, sports deck, WaterWorks, Hasbro – The Game Show
  • Teen-only parties? Occasional pool parties

Go to Carnival Cruises

RCL ship view from the top

2. Royal Caribbean

With its award-winning youth program and separate youth clubs for kids and teenagers, pleasing everyone in the family is a breeze with Royal Caribbean.

The kids will be happy to know that inside the teens-only lounge, there are no set activities or programs. All there is are spaces to hang out, games to play and parties to attend. If they choose to sit in a corner and twiddle their thumbs, that's their p

  • Teenage lounges: Yes
  • Teen activities: Teen spas, video arcades, rock climbing, DJ academy
  • Teen-only parties? Yes. Theme dinners, pool parties, teen-only nightclub

Go to Royal Caribbean

Bungee jumping in Norwegian

3. Norwegian Cruise Lines

Dedicated family cruise packages and unique activity programs is only the tip of the iceberg for teens sailing with Norwegian.

If artistic and fun is your teenager's style, then Norwegian is the perfect fit. On top of its supervised hangout space, which is filled with video games, music and movies, the liner offers activities from sports and music jams to circus tricks and graffi

  • Teenage lounge? Yes
  • Teen activities: Music jams, balloon sculptures, graffiti workshops, circus skill workshops, acting workshops, dodgeball, soccer, swimming
  • Teen-only parties? Norwegian hosts supervised College Night, White Hot Party and Glow teen-only parties

Go to Norwegian Cruise Lines

Teens playing videogame

4. Celebrity Cruises

From dedicated XBox stations to GoPro movie projects, the tech-savvy iGeneration is bound to flip when they get wind of the interactive experiences that await them on a Celebrity Cruise.

The fun begins once they get their hands on the console. From there they can participate in gaming theme parties and tournaments against their peers. They also have a private hangout space where they can make friends, play sports and chill.

  • Teenage lounge? The X-Club
  • Teen activities: iTake GoPro video projects, Cooking@Sea, gaming time
  • Teen-only parties? Celebrity Cruises hosts late-night teen-only dance parties

Go to Celebrity Cruises

At MSC Cruises

5. MSC Cruises

Teenagers aren't kids. Fact. So MSC doesn't treat them like they are. Instead the cruise line gives them the freedom to play it their way.

MSC offers a teens-only club space, which is open until 11pm, as well as activities such as sports, video games and spa and hair treatments. Teen-only events include a white teen party, MSC flashmob and formal night.

  • Teenage lounge? Yes
  • Teen activities: Sports tournaments, dance contests, teen spa treatments
  • Teen-only parties? Yes. Includes a white teen party, formal night and special Generation Dinner

Go to MSC Cruises

Kids playing instrument in P&O

6. P&O Cruises

Hailed as the Best Family Cruise Line by Out And About With Kids magazine in 2014, P&O Cruises caters to all members of the family with four dedicated kids clubs to suit various ages.

For tweens 11–14 years old, the place to be is HQ. It's the ultimate chillout space with movies, video games and karaoke sessions. For teenagers 15–17 years old, there's HQ+. It's a more adult version of HQ that features a movie-making studio and teen jam

  • Teenage lounges: HQ and HQ+
  • Teen activities: Jam bands, movie-making, movies
  • Teen-only parties? No.

Top teenage friendly cruise features and which lines have them:

If your teen things cruising is for an older crowd, just refer to this list of teen-approved activities you can do onboard ships. Depending on the line and package you book, they're not all included in the cruise fare, so we'd recommend checking with the line directly to see if there are any extra costs associated with the activity.

ActivityCruise line(s)
Zip lining/Flying Fox
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
Laser tag
  • P&O
Rock climbing
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Carnival
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
Segway obstacle course
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
Ropes course
  • P&O
Indoor Skydiving
  • Royal Caribbean
Dodgems/Bumper cars
  • Royal Caribbean
Ice skating
  • Royal Caribbean
Basketball court
  • Carnival
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
Video arcade
  • Carnival
  • Royal Caribbean

Importance of cruise travel insurance

Family holidays are expensive enough and a lot of work goes into planning the perfect getaway - especially when it comes to hard-to-please teenagers. You shouldn't need to worry about any added expenses or stress if your trip doesn't go according to plan.

Getting cruise travel insurance can cover you in more ways than just a regular travel insurance policy, including cover for missed shore excursions, cabin confinement and even medical evacuations if an emergency happens on board. Having the right cover will also come in handy if something were to happen to anyone in your family on the holiday - not just your teen.

Top teenage-friendly tour deals and flights


Hot deals on selected experiences

Enjoy huge discounts on selected day tours, attractions, cruises, and other activities for the whole family at Experience Oz. Limited time offer. T&Cs apply.

As low as $29 on Australia tours, sightseeing and cruises

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Up to 84% off Carnival Cruises from Brisbane

Discount applies on brochure price of select Carnival Cruise vacations. Valid on select 3- to 7-night Carnival Cruises departing Brisbane on select dates for 2024. T&Cs apply.

Only glass roof vessel at Piopiotahi / Milford Sound

Available for travel on select dates and locations. T&Cs apply.

2-hour cruises on Gem of the Sound

Available for travel on select dates and locations. T&Cs apply.

Guaranteed window seat on Fly Cruise Fly tours

Available for travel on select dates and locations. T&Cs apply.

Free tea and coffee on all cruises

Available for travel on select dates and locations. T&Cs apply.

Up to 55% off select family trips and adventures

Available on selected child-friendly activities and adventures at TourRadar. T&Cs apply.

Up to 45% off Australia and New Zealand cruises

Available on select dates in 2023 with Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and more. Sample rate is for a 3-night cruise with Carnival Cruises.

Sydney whale watching cruises from $75

Selected whale watching tours in Sydney available from May to November at Experience Oz. T&Cs apply.

Written by

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie Yip was the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for a range of travel publications including Thomas Cook Magazine and Showpo. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and has visited over 50 countries (and counting). She has a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge of travel and helping consumers stretch their travel cash while on holiday. See full profile

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