Cruise Vacations

The most teen-centric and fabulously cool cruises for families right now

Last updated 11th August 2023

Planning a vacation with teens can be tricky. If there isn’t enough to entertain them 24/7, they will claim boredom and your trip “the worst vacation ever.” Cruise lines are offering a way for parents to seem cool again, offering teen-centric fun, as well as activities the entire family can enjoy together. Here are eight tried-and-tested cruises that are purely and simply, start to finish, teen-centered.


1/8  Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

It’s almost a given that the largest cruise ship afloat would be the one to exceed even the wildest teenage expectations. This is the boat with a 10 story dry-slide called Ultimate Abyss: The tallest at sea. (It’s dry because that tested infinitely more terrifying than wet!) White-knuckle thrills aside, there’s also a full size basketball court, round-top-deck-running track, an ice rink and a rock climbing wall on this top teen cruise option.

Big Kids Clubs

Harmony of the Seas’ Teen Lounge for 15 to 17 year olds is staffed by teens too, so it’s the coolest hang-out space on board. Your teens will like 3D cinema; pool parties; resident DJs; mocktail bars; games zones and the chilled, clubby vibe.

Teens Like

A 10-story-tall zip line; FlowRider surf simulators; a full-sized sports hall with basketball and volleyball courts; Ultimate Abyss – the tallest waterslide at sea; Splashaway Bay top deck waterpark; Cyclone and Typhoon waterslides; climbing walls and Supercell, the boldest waterslide at sea.


2/8  Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise Line

Trying to identify Norwegian Cruise Line among all the others vying for your attention? They’re the ones with the work of art hulls and Breakaway has one of the most extravagant commissions yet. Admittedly that’s probably an enormous, “so what,” once you’re on board, but it’s an indication of the company’s attention to detail and they don’t miss a trick when it comes to teen cruises.

Big Kids Clubs

Norwegian Breakaway’s teen club is called ‘Entourage,’ designed like a grownup space but declared an adult-free zone.

Teens Like

Top deck Aqua Park with five multi-story waterslides, 40 challenge rope course (largest at sea), three-story high sports complex, The Plank (Yes! You walk it!), and Dolce Gelato.


3/8  Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruise Line

Award-drenched Carnival Vista is the ship with SkyRide top-deck cycle track. Definitely a bit more theme-park than an average bike ride, this cool track is unique to Carnival Vista and scores high with competitive teenagers.

Big Kids Clubs

Club O2 is committed to giving 15 to 17 year olds freedom to hang out and just be teens with other teens, think pool parties, DJs and relentless selfies.

Teens Like

The aforementioned SkyRide, Circle C and Club O2, top deck Twister Waterslide, SkyCourse rope challenges, Sports Square, IMAX Cinema, dodgeball court, and basketball court.


4/8  Anthem of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Anthem of the Seas isn’t the biggest in the Royal Caribbean fleet, but as far as packed with teen attractions goes, there’s nothing quite like it sailing at the moment. Take RipCord iFly for starters, a skydiving simulator with all the cool, floaty bits and none of the sheer terror. The NorthStar 360˚ viewing capsule is hydraulically lifted above the ocean for best sea views on land or sea. And, Anthem even has an onboard fairground, in case all other thrills fail.

Big Kids Clubs

Hang Out for 15 to 17 year olds comes as standard on Royal Caribbean cruises, but Anthem adds in Late Hours, too: Teen-only and from 10 p.m. until the wee small hours (parental discretion required, naturally).

Teens Like

RipCord iFly, NorthStar, FlowRider surf simulators, and SeaPlex with full size courts, fairground, roller rink, floating DJs and Dog House hotdog diner.


5/8  MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises

If first for everything’s a pre-requisite with teens, Meraviglia launched in June 2017 and is the biggest, shiniest and best of all in the MSC fleet. A sneak preview of how good shows: F1 race simulators (only ones at sea), full-size bowling alley, sports courts for every court sport, and the Polar Aquapark – claiming to be the most intricate ocean going waterpark yet.

Big Kids Clubs

Meraviglia’s day-to-night teen club for 15 to 17 year olds has its own cinema, nightclub, gaming zone and snack bars.

Teens Like

F1 race simulators and full-size bowling alley (both cruise firsts), SportPlex amusement park, Cirque du Soleil at Sea (another first), TV Studio live entertainment, and Kaito Sushi Bar.

6/8  Costa Diadema, Costa Cruises

Minimalist teens might find Diadema’s love of all things shiny a little tough to take. But if they can get past the glitz, it’s the boat with Laser Maze and Laser Shooting, Grand Prix Simulators, 4D Cinemas and a pool deck with retractable roof and three-deck-high movie screens.

Big Kids Clubs

Teen Club for 12 to 17 year olds sounds broad spectrum but it’s one of the few cruising at the moment with a full-vacation, age-specific activity program. DJ Dinners and Midnight Swim Parties work in a bit more cool for older teens.

Teens Like

4D Cinema, interactive Laser Zone, kitsch on-board art gallery, top-deck running track, Amarillo Ice Cream Parlour, three-story theatre, and full-size outdoor sports courts.

 The best cruise and stay family destinations such as the Northern Lights in Hurtigruten, Norway

7/8  Azura, P&O Cruises

P&O Azura isn’t packed with white-knuckle cruise-firsts like some, but scores high with teens on destination experiences instead. If you’re sailing with adventurous types, on-board waterparks don’t hold up against the likes of white-water rafting in Galicia, Sicilian off-roading, volcano trekking around Vesuvius, kayaking glacial fjords, or Game of Thrones tours in Croatia, making this a teen cruise for the books.

Big Kids Clubs

H2O is a custom-designed space for 13 to 17 year olds, with club activities to dip into if teens need direction, plenty of chill space, sports’ coaching, movies, talent shows and parties.

Teens Like

Open-air movies, three swimming pools and dedicated family pools, dozens of pre-arranged destination experiences, and built-in beach days on Med cruises.

8/8  Ecuador, Andes & Amazon, International Expeditions

Cruising on a restored Amazon riverboat; taking off on small group canoe expeditions through the jungle; exploring Ecuador’s cloud forests; meeting the Andean people of Otavalo; seeing squirrel monkeys and anaconda as up close as possible and mixing sailing with glamping in some of the world’s wildest wildernesses. Granted there are no kids clubs on this particular cruise, but if you’re looking unforgettable with teens, this is it.

Big Kids Clubs

Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest in the company of only 40 other intrepid passengers aboard an historic, three-story riverboat, negates all requirements for kids’ clubs on this particular cruise.

Teens Like

Ecuador’s wildlife-packed dry forest, cloud forest and rainforest; Amazon river canoeing with local naturalists; hiking into Mount Cotacachi’s volcanic crater; Linoncocha Bio-Reserve; and Andean Cordillera hot springs.