Cruise with 13yr old Girl

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48 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
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.

Timonium, Maryland
3,943 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
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.

You'll also need a copy of her birth certificate with the raised seal or a passport.
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209 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
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!
Midwest America
613 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
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.

You can also have her sign a cruise contract. Here's my favorite thread with examples:
Pennsylvania and Florida
1,244 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
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.
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2,912 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
If she's a young 13, you probably won't have as problem. It's the 13-year-olds who think they're grown up that are likely to get into trouble.