We recently went on board Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas cruising through the Mediterranean. We met up with the YouTube Stars "The SlyFox Family" on board and interviewed them on the Today's Mama Podcast. You can hear some of the cruise highlights on that interview HERE.
5 Reasons a Cruise is the Best Way to See Europe With Your Teenagers
The first time we took our older two kids on a cruise they were 6 and 7. It’s been 8 years and they are now 14 and 16. (insert crying emoji here)
(On the Boardwalk on Oasis of the Seas, 2010 vs. On the Pool Deck of the Symphony of the Seas, 2018)
They still talk about the little friends they made in kids camp (Adventure Ocean) on their first cruise on Oasis of the Seas. Their little buddies were from the UK. They met kids from all over the world and I think it’s one of the best parts about cruises for kids. They get to see new places, but they also get to meet new people.
Fast forward eight whole years and an even bigger more amazing ship (The Symphony of the Seas) and we had the chance to hop on board their Mediterranean cruise . . . um . . . so . . . YES, of course we did.
I was a little worried this go around because I realized my kids were so much older and I also realized they probably wouldn’t want to participate in any of the kids programs. Until we were on deck 15 one night and passed the teen group on the basketball court. They wondered what games they were playing, where all the kids were from, and what they were missing out on.
They planned to hit up the Royal Caribbean Teen Club (without any prompting from me).
That got me thinking about teens on cruises and what I’ve loved particularly about this cruise. So if you are looking for the best cruise for teenagers, here's what Royal Caribbean does right!
Listen, we all know Caribbean cruises will always pass the test, but EUROPE. I feel like my kids are at an age where they can actually appreciate what they are seeing and that they’ll be able to find it relevant. My 16-year-old has World Civilizations this year and my 14-year-old isn’t far behind. They’ve been able to test their Spanish skills in Spain (and they have been found lacking).
I can’t think of a better introduction to Europe than a cruise to peak their interest and curiosity. The day excursions are fabulous and they still get to return to a ship packed with activities and swimming pools and all the food and amenities they could need.
Compare and contrast to that time back in college, wandering through youth hostels and having zero context for the places you were traveling. Don’t get me wrong, both experiences have something to offer, but let’s be honest, for a family trip - a cruise just takes so much of the hustle out of the travel (and hopefully gives my people a little context and experience for their own adventures in the future).
Here are the stops on Royal Caribbean's Mediterranean itinerary:
- Day 1: Barcelona Spain
- Day 2: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- Day 3: Provence (Marseilles), France
- Day 4: Florence / Pisa (La Spezia), Italy
- Day 5: Rome
- Day 6: Naples
- Day 7: Cruising
A few excursion highlights:
Royal Caribbean Teen Club
There's so much to do on board and the Teen Club always has something going on. You can find the Teen Club on Deck 15 Aft. They've always got games, activities, and of course parties. The party themes for the week we were on board were:
- Fuel Party
- Masquerade Party
- Glow Party
- Warehouse Party
- HUSH! Silent Party
- PROM Party
Here are just a few of the activities that were on the schedule: ping pong competition, soccer, scavenger hunts, capture the flag, karaoke, Amazing Race, Life Raft Challenge, bigger and better games, dodgeball -- you name it, they've got it planned.
You can learn more about the teen program (and the kids programs too) HERE!
My kid's advice? Be sure to have your kids go on the first night when everyone is new. It's easier to get to know kids in the beginning than towards the end of the week when everyone has all ready spent time together.
On Board Activities For Teens
This is the stuff my kids weren’t really interested in when they were 6 and 7. Back in the days of Adventure Ocean (the kids under 12 program) they were absolutely pumped about all the kids program had to offer and less interested in some of the other activities on the ship. Totally different this time - there has been so much more that we’ve enjoyed together on board:
- Mini Golf
- Escape Room
- The Abyss Slide
- Shows (The onboard entertainment is amazing)
- Laser Tag (This is the one thing we didn't get to and I wish we did)
- Flow Rider (Check out the wipeout below!)
I feel totally comfortable letting my kids explore the ship on their own. They could take off with their room key (attached right to their wrist) and kill some time whilst I peacefully took a nap.
I didn't even need to worry about them losing their key!
(here I am modeling the nifty stateroom key bands)
One of the best things about a cruise is that as a mom I don't have to think about food EVER. Everyone can find something they want at any time of day. We all know teenagers are hungry (and growing) so it was almost a challenge between my two kids as to who could eat more. (But guess who was the only one who gained weight by the time we came home? You guessed right. ME.)
- The Main Dining Room: We've been on board several Royal Caribbean cruises and the menu has always been amazing in the main dining room.
- Windjammer Buffet: This is the open just about all the time can't fail stop if someone is hungry. They always have a variety of international foods on board s well (because you are usually cruising with people from all over the world).
- Room Service: Yep, that's included too (might I recommend the cheesecake?)
- Symphony of the Seas Specialty Restaurants: There are a few restaurants on board that do have additional costs associated. Here's what's on board Symphony of the Seas: Hooked Seafood (we each got a whole lobster)IzumiChops Grille (of course we all got steak, but their desserts were also amazing!)Wonderland150 Central ParkJamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver (Go hungry - it's A LOT of food and SO good!)Coastal Kitchen
We were able to try Hooked, Chops and Jamie's Italian -- ALL amazing. I've heard Wonderland is a must (adding to my list of what I need to do next time). Really - you can't lose wherever you end up.
We're ready to go back!
You can check out a few more highlights on our Instagram story HERE!
P.S. Ice Cream.
Always the ice cream. Available ALL the time. I've lost count of how many cones they had. If you ask them their favorite thing about any cruise -- they'll say ice cream. Unlimited ice cream is still any kid's wildest dreams come true.
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