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Cruising with teens - which cruise line do you like best? (14 yr old girls)


DukeASUGirl
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I'm my daughter's Girl Scout leader. They're in 8th grade now, and it looks like roughly half the troop intends to quit before high school, so we're planning a big blowout end-of-Girl Scouts trip this summer. 7 girls and we haven't decided yet how many adults, but it looks like 4 are interested. So that's 11 people - which would work out to three cabins (4 in two of the cabins, and one will have 3).

 

The intention is for the girls to afford this entirely though cookie sales and whatever other fundraising they can do this year. We've been selling cookies since kindergarten, and while we've spent a lot on badges, activities, and a trip to Camp Surf in San Diego a couple of years ago, they really aren't much interested in badges anymore. They mostly just want to hang out and do community service, which we can do for free. So we really haven't spent much in the last year because they really just want to save for a cruise.

 

We live in Phoenix, and it looks like our budget will be roughly $650-800 per person. We had a big planning meeting last night, and they are really leaning towards a 4-day cruise to the Bahamas, which unfortunately will really add to the costs because we have to fly across the country first. I'd been hoping to steer them to a Baja cruise so we can drive to the port, but my own daughter said "We never go anywhere but Mexico!" and the other girls were totally jazzed about Florida and the Bahamas, so I guess we'll have the girls host some Parents Night Out babysitting events this year to raise extra money.

 

Sorry for the long backstory.

 

Anyway, when they pitched the idea, they looked at Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas. With airfare at its current rate (and I do think we can do better based on what day we book, what kind of sale we hit, etc), it will be about $900/person all-in which is definitely outside our budget unless we REALLY hustle (but the older they get, the busier they get, so I doubt they have time to sell as many cookies as they've done in the past) or families agree to pay the difference in cost.

 

This morning before school, my daughter jumped on a discount site to check all the different brands, and discovered that Celebrity is currently running a really good sale, which would save about $150 per person, bringing us down to roughly $750/person on Celebrity Reflection, which is in our target zone. She also found that Carnival Conquest would be a little over $800/person all-in with airfare. (I do think we can do better on airfare if we book at the right time, so all these prices should go down a bit.)

 

So my question is this...which would you recommend for teens? We will have six 14-yr-old girls, and one who will still be 13 (albeit almost 14), and it will be right when school lets out at the end of May.

 

Choices:

- Celebrity Reflection - goes to Key West and CocoCay (right in target budget range and least expensive using current pricing, but looks to have the least amount of amenities that would interest teens)

- Carnival Conquest - goes to Nassau and Princess Cays (about the top of our budget range, seems to have a decent amount of amenities interesting to teens)

- Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas - goes to Nassau and Cococay (about $100 more per person beyond our budget so would require more fundraising or parental buy-in, but seems to have the most for teens to do)

 

 

Edited by DukeASUGirl
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For a group of teens, forget Celebrity.

I would consider Carnival, Royal Caribbean, or Norwegian. I'd also look at newer ships than the ones you are looking at.

 

Also keep in mind the rules about traveling with non-related minors. As an adult, you will need to be in the cabin with them (at least on paper).

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If price is a concern, also look at MSC.  Their ship out of Port Canaveral will be doing 3,4&7 day cruises.  From Miami, Magnifica will have 4 day cruises on May 27 and June 3 to Nassau and their private island, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.  They sometimes have kids sail free offers, where kids under 17 sail free in a cabin with two full fares.  EM

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On 10/23/2023 at 10:32 AM, Essiesmom said:

From Miami, Magnifica will have 4 day cruises on May 27 and June 3 to Nassau and their private island, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.  

 

It will basically need to be a May 27 sailing, because too many girls have their dance recital on June 2 for us to even consider a June 3 sailing, and once it goes really any further into June then we compete with summer travel basketball season and rehearsals for musicals.

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We're loyal to Royal still as we're almost Diamond. My kids have always loved these ships as there is a ton to do for kids and teens alike.  Is anything leaving out of Texas that you could do?


Freedom was our kids first cruise. You can't go wrong with that class or Oasis class.

Edited by Vs1023
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On 10/26/2023 at 10:55 AM, Vs1023 said:

 Is anything leaving out of Texas that you could do?

 

Unfortunately, no. It has to be a 4-night cruise, and has to leave either in late May or early June. That's literally all that fits in anyone's schedule, so it could only be out of Los Angeles (to Baja/Mexico) or FL.

 

And the girls already said they don't want a West Coast/Mexico cruise. They'd be okay with Caribbean Mexico, but don't want Pacific Mexico.

Edited by DukeASUGirl
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Which means you don't really have a choice except FL.  L.A., Galveston and other west coast options only do the "Mexico" mexico trips so for Caribbean you need to look at FL but also know that there are a few that go out of New York and New Orleans but not sure they do the 4 day itineraries, worth a look though....

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15 minutes ago, butterfly4108 said:

Which means you don't really have a choice except FL.  L.A., Galveston and other west coast options only do the "Mexico" mexico trips so for Caribbean you need to look at FL but also know that there are a few that go out of New York and New Orleans but not sure they do the 4 day itineraries, worth a look though....

I couldn't find anything 4-day on Orbitz other than FL, LA, or San Diego. (LA or San Diego of course would be "Mexico" Mexico as you called it). I could try other websites, but I suspect every other port are basically 7-day.

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Yes, I also did a search and 4 day is a hard one other than FL....Sorry if I offended by calling it "Mexico" mexico, that's just what MY kids call it.  Nothing negative meant by it....  I'm Mexican myself from Los Angeles so believe me nothing was meant! 😄 

Edited by butterfly4108
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No, it was actually a good description. And living in Phoenix, I think these girls are tired of those cities because "that's the only place we ever go" according to my daughter.

 

But yeah, we're left with LA departures unless we fly to FL, and they seem to want to avoid those itineraries. So I guess airfare it is. Sigh.

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IMHO, your looking at "holiday weekend" cruises due to time constraints. The atmosphere onboard will be a bit different, probably not something suitable to a bunch of teenagers.

Also, IMHO, I wouldn't fly from Phoenix to Florida for just a 4 day cruise. 

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1 hour ago, Essiesmom said:

There are short cruises out of Tampa, and New Orleans…but a lot of them go to Cozumel, which is…Mexico.  EM

Honestly I'd be okay with Mexico. The girls seem adamently opposed however, but I bet they're more opposed to West Coast Mexico, and less so to Caribbean Mexico.

 

I didn't see any out of New Orleans however, so maybe they don't do the short cruises in May from there.

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19 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

There are short cruises out of Tampa, and New Orleans…but a lot of them go to Cozumel, which is…Mexico.  EM

I wouldn't fly just to go to Cozumel.  It's totally fine, but not worth a flight by itself.  Costa Maya had a nice excursion to the ruins with Native choice and then lunch cooked by Mayan grandmothers (not sure that's an option on a 4 or 5 day cruise but the girls might just prefer  a beach day, which is fine for Cozumel but you don't have to fly for that)

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  • 4 weeks later...

After all their complaints of not wanting to go to Mexico... 

 

We decided to save the $400+/person on airfare, so roadtrip to LA it is! This means it will be a Baja Mexico cruise.

 

Looking at either Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas (4-night to Catalina and Ensenada) or Carnival Firenze (5-night to Cabo and Ensenada). We're leaning towards the Firenze, because Cabo is definitely a draw.

 

Planning to book it today, so hopefully we come to a consensus soon!

Edited by DukeASUGirl
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