Do you have any recommendations for cruising with teenage boys? They will be 17, 13 and 11 when we are thinking of taking this trip.
This was an easy one for the cruise experts.
"Definitely Royal Caribbean. Voyager or Freedom class ship. No other ship compares for teens!" says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of CruiseCritic.com, the Web's largest interactive guide to cruising.
From the nation's cruising capital, Florida, travel editor Jane Wooldridge of theMiami Herald chimes in. "When it comes to boy teens, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' rock-climbing wall, ice skating and surf-rider are the way to go."
Wooldridge has traveled with three boys of these ages and also has sent many families with similar-age kids on cruises over the years, so she knows what of she speaks.
"But," she quickly adds, "it has to be a ship that has all the bells and whistles. We took the boys on an RCCL ship that didn't have the latest and greatest, and it was a nightmare. The kids had seen all this stuff advertised and they expected it, and when we got on board and the ship (from an older class) didn't have these amenities, the kids were severely cranky -- and bored!"
For ships with all those bells and whistles, check out theFreedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas -- all part of Royal Caribbean's "Freedom" class of ships. Ships in the "Voyager" class have walls, rinks and miniature golf courses, but not the heavily hyped and wildly popular FlowRider surf park.
Besides ship choice, other key factors in a cruise decision are itinerary and shore excursions. For example, a European itinerary offers so much to do on land that ship amenities may play a secondary role. But if you have Alaska in your sights, prepare to spend plenty on adventurous shore excursions, Wooldridge advises.
"Alaska is all about the land, and not exploring the land to the fullest leaves you feeling unsatisfied," she says. "I always tell people to save Alaska for a year when they aren't going to feel shy about a $369 excursion. Times five, that's a pretty big number -- and that's only for one flight-seeing trip."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun