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Long story short, I am the guardian for my 13 year old niece and thinking of going on a cruise with my DH and niece on NCL's new ship Breakaway. I have been on several cruises and enjoy them very much.
Never having cruised, nor vacation that matter, with a child (or tween in this case) I am not sure what to expect. My hope is that she will love the teen center and I will enjoy some adult time.
One concern is because she is 13 she can come and go in and out of the teen center on her own. She is a young 13 so this worries me. Any advice? Suggestions? Looking to hear from other parents out there about their experience with their tweens.
When you board the youth staff will be positioned somewhere in your path to discuss the youth program and give you the list of activities. Once you board you probably will want to explore the ship and take a peek in the teen center. There will normally be a counselor there to welcome you. The teens will be there in the evening for the various activities. I have a feeling she'll meet people there- in the video arcades and the hot tubs and pool. So she'll find her way. If it's too much for her- she'll hang out with you more but encourage her to give it a try.
Remember to take a notarized letter allowing her to travel with you. If you are the legal guardian call your travel agent of cruise line to make sure you have the necessary paperwork. http://www.ncl.com/downloads/docs#traveldocs
You'll also need a copy of her birth certificate with the raised seal or a passport.
Past cruises: Norwegian Pearl Pacific Coast 5/3/2014 My Birthday! Celebrity Solstice Alaska 5/8/2014Enchantment of the Seas 12/6/13 Bahamas, Grand Princess Alaska 7/19/13, Celebrity Solstice California Coast 5/13, Serenade of the Seas Western Med (1/4/13)Celebrity Summit Bermuda(8/12/12),Celebrity Infinity Alaska 7/6/12
Caribbean Princess New England (8/11), Holland America Maasdam New England (6/11)Celebrity Equinox Norway (7/09), Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas (4/09) Grand Princess British Isles (08) Holland America Zuiderdam Greece/ Turkey (08) Oceania Regatta Caribbean Southern Caribbean (08) QM2 Transatlantic (07) Celebrity Millenium Western Med (7/07), Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Eastern Caribbean(4/06), Disney Wonder Bahamas (8/05), Celebrity Constellation (4/06), Sapphire Princess Alaska (5/24/05) Celebrity Millenium Transatlantic (5/1/05), NCL Spirit Eastern Caribbean (3/05), Celebrity Galaxy (10/04), Carnival Victory (6/04), Celebrity Zenith Bermuda (10/01), Celebrity Zenith Eastern Caribbean (4/01),NCL Dynasty (12/00) NCL Sky Alaska (7/00), NCL Wind Alaska (5/98), Crown Princess Pacific repo (5/98), Royal Sovereign of the Seas Bahamas (10/97), Costa Victoria Western Caribbean (3/97), Crown Princess Alaska (6/96), Vera Cruz Christmas (1981), Holland America Volendam Christmas (1980), Holland America Veendam Christmas (1975).
Upcoming cruises:Celebrity Constellation 8/9/15
Last edited by rebeccalouiseagain; January 30th, 2013 at 06:29 PM.
If you are concerned about her traveling alone back to your room, you can have her call you from the youth center when she is ready to leave. Then you could either come meet her or simply wait in the room for her. When my kids had sign-out privileges in AO, we always required them to call first, use the stairs (no elevators) and they had to stick together. Since she'd be alone, you might want to come meet her when she is ready to leave.
The important thing is that you always know where she is and she knows how to reach you or find you. We never had much luck with walkie-talkies, but phones are usually easy to find and you can call to the room or the teen center. Definitely set some rules for her safety - no going into anyone's room, bringing anyone into your room, don't take food or drink from anyone, etc.
When my son was that age he didn't want to be in the teen program (he prefers to do his own thing - my girls love the kids' programs), but he did enjoy some of the other activities - ping-pong tournaments, trivia, etc.
She'll probably love the youth center and will make some new friends!
How's your daughter's sense of direction? One thing might be to make sure she understands the ship's layout and how to get from the teen center to your room before you let her go. You can have her practice the route if you want. You can also try letting her go out a little on her own in your home town before vacation to give her self-confidence and learn to be a little more savvy. Is she comfortable asking for directions or help? Maybe try reading the book "Free Range Kids." I did, and realized that when I was younger, my friend and I used to walk to the drug store to buy candy - at age 9! We walked to school on our own (in small groups) starting at ag 6. But yet I was hesitant to give my kids the same freedom. Started out slow, but they've built up trust and gained more freedom and everyone's comfortable with it.
This is around the age we started cruising with DD (she was 12). We found it best to go the the Teen program the first night, when no one knows anyone. They usually do some activities to help the kids get to know one another. She is still in contact with one of the girls from this first cruise (She is now 17). Cruising is a great way to spend family time, with just a hint of alone time.
July 1992 - Alaska - Regent Star
November 2006 - Bahamas - Disney Wonder
November 2007 - Western Caribbean - Grand Princess
November 2008 - Eastern Caribbean - Eurodam
November 2009 - Eastern Caribbean - Eurodam (dove the Wall)
August 2010 - Alaska - Golden Princess
January 2011 - Southern Caribbean - Westerdam
July 2011 - Eastern Caribbean - Caribbean Princess (Girls only!)
November 2011 - Western Caribbean - Crown Princess
November 2012 - Eastern Caribbean - Emerald Princess
March 2013-Western Caribbean - Crown Princess
January 2014-Western Caribbean - Carnival Dream
May 2014 - Western Caribbean - Carnival Legend
October 2014 - Western Caribbean - Caribbean Princess
July 2015 - British Isles - Royal Princess