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Cruise for a family of 3 (quiet teenager)

15 replies

notanothertakeaway · 11/04/2022 16:37

We are keen to try a cruise holiday

If possible, our wishlist is -

Fly from UK to starting point

Stop at places which are (1) near the ship and (2) we can explore on our own

No compulsory formal dinners / captains table

Needn't be luxury

Any suggestions welcome. We have wondered about Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise

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Georgyporky · 11/04/2022 17:48

River cruises will probably fit the bill better than sea.
There's a large choice of European cruises; some are tailored to specific interests, some have bikes on board.

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Funf · 11/04/2022 18:40

We have done 14, the kids always loved them but can sometimes be resistant to the kids club but all have been great.
I would look at the itinerary closely IE many that dock in Italy are in Industrial ports, they say Docking at Rome but its Civitavecchia which is 70 mins fast drive away.
Eastern Med has loads that dock in nice places you can just walk off the ship, cruise critic forum lists ports and what to see and do.
The Good ones usually have the formal stuff but its easily avoided as you can just eat in another restaurant but they are usually good fun but its your choice. Cruise lines realise this and offer alternatives.
We went to Norway on a P&O ship, Norway was fantastic the Ship was grubby with poor service, the worst we have ever seen. Holland America, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean etc all offer much better service for no real difference in cost.
With cruise Critic and the internet you can easily plan it all before you leave, we hired a Guide in one port booked months in advance it was $600 paid in cash on the day for 6 of us, the ship did the same trip for $600 each so we saved $3000! So planning is key but not difficult.
We did a trip in Italy for £100 the six of us using public transport and found a great local cafe for lunch its part of the fun. Ship wanted £100 each with no food.

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GalaPie · 11/04/2022 20:54

Our Alaska cruise sounds like it could fit the bill. Flew to Seattle. All the stops are actually IN the towns, literally off the boat along the quay. Lots of different excursions - wildlife, cultural, shoppy, adventuring such as zip lines. But also easy to arrange stuff independently.
We had one formal night, which was quite a novelty, but the rest of the time dress was very casual (probably due to weather), dining was as and when as you are quite busy due to the number of port days, and entertainment was all sorts.
Our quietish teens went to activities once or twice but also enjoyed hanging out on the balcony with binoculars and room service.

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notanothertakeaway · 11/04/2022 21:00

Thanks for your advice, much appreciated. I will look into all of these in more detail

@GalaPie I have a friend in Seattle, so Alasja sounds interesting. Do you remember which cruise company you used?

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GalaPie · 12/04/2022 00:20

It was Princess, the ship was the Golden Princess. Stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and Victoria.

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Bells3032 · 12/04/2022 00:28

I'd probably do the little Greek Islands as an iterniary or Norwegian fjords or alaska as they're all pretty small places you can get off and walk around and get back on.

If your teen is very introverted I'd probably avoid p&o or royal carribean (although if they like lots of activities like rock climbing or ice skating rc could still be a great choice). Cunard would be way too formal.

I'd probably go with celebrity or princess as its good quality with good entertainment without being overwhelming.

If you want something a bit smaller then azamara and Oceania are good bets (and from memory neither do formal nights). The quality is amazing, lovely and quiet and fantastic service although the entertainment beyond musicians playing are a bit lacking

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mickeypillow · 12/04/2022 07:48

We cruised 3 years ago on Royal Caribbean on Jewel of the Seas. She is a smaller ship. Not all signing, all dancing with thousands of people, flumes, ice rinks etc. Still plenty to do and our 13 year old was quite happy to find his own way around the ship, back to his cabin. He met a couple of boys from America and overall, we had a brilliant time. It’s not a fancy ship, the cabins are clean, tidy but not the most modern. Food was excellent, staff great plus the bonus of a small ship meant it got into smaller ports.

We chose it due to the itinerary. We sailed from Italy and had 1 sea day. Our ports ranged from Corsica, Portofino and Palma.

We did it do the formal nights and loved the outdoor cinema with a cocktail at night.

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mickeypillow · 12/04/2022 07:50

We didn’t do the formal nights that should have read. We just ate in the buffet.

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Chewbecca · 12/04/2022 16:06

We enjoyed Celebrity cruises with our (nerdy) teen.

Our best cruises were probably Alaska from Seattle to Vancouver, Japan round trip Tokyo and Indian Ocean from Singapore to Dubai. But loved almost all of them to be honest! Regretting not saying St Petersburg and Caribbean were favourites now too!

As well as Celebrity, we have sailed with Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Azamara, MSC, Seabourn and Oceania so quite a range! We like small, informal ships best.

Hurtigruten is really very ferry-like rather than a cruise.

What time of year you are looking at makes a big difference to best itinerary too, i.e. Alaska, Med and North Sea in summer, Caribbean in winter.

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Heythere13 · 12/04/2022 16:10

Budget?

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gogohm · 12/04/2022 16:20

Marella Mediterranean cruises are good (check which take teens, not all their ships do) is all inclusive and we could do all the port stops independently, we sailed from Naples. The Italian ports are mostly close to stations and you can book tickets using the Trainline app for a few €, two ports were accessible on foot to the towns, other we took an open top bus but one we found in the port area for €10 rather than the expensive cruise line one. There was one formal night but it was optional, less than half the dining room were dressed up, and the basic code is pretty relaxed though respectable (no gym shorts in the dining room at night but tailored shirts are ok sort of thing). Considering their price, they are good quality compared to many options and the flights are coaches being all TUI fitted together perfectly

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notanothertakeaway · 12/04/2022 16:30

These ideas / comments are so helpful. Many thanks

Due to school exams, I'm thinking probably Summer

I don't have a fixed budget, but probably mid range. We don't need luxury surroundings / on board entertainment, but would like food to be reasonable quality

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Furball · 10/05/2022 15:06

@notanothertakeaway - Just coming back to this. We did our first cruise a few years back with a 'very quiet teen' and went on Norwegian Epic 7 nights round the med. DH took him to the teens club which he was insistent would be rubbish and we hardly saw him the rest of the holiday he had a fabulous time.

But even if he didn't go the the club, there is loads to do with the outdoor pool slides and climbing wall etc.

Its an informal ship with no set time dining or dressing up to the nines. Loads for adults to do of an evening as well and most of the ports you can walk off. (Civitavecchia for Rome is more tricky, but if you google there is always ways to get there or someone who can give you a walk or beach nearby etc) - we actually stayed onboard and enjoyed the pool and waterslides with less people onboard.

We've also done Royal Caribbean which had loads of entertainment like escape rooms, ice skating rinks, surf rider, some now have a bumper car arena.

We have also done P&O and Celebrity and to be honest they were abit dull for a teen and if you didn't go to the club then basically you would be loitering about with mum and dad with not a lot to do. yes there are lazing by the pools or there are quizzes/bingo and the like or the theatre show of the evening but my teen would be bored stiff with just that for a week or two.

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BlueKaftan · 10/05/2022 15:09

We did a Danube cruise down to Budapest. Lots of stops in interesting places. Gorgeous in early August.

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notanothertakeaway · 10/05/2022 15:15

@Furball @BlueKaftan

Thanks for these suggestions. Much appreciated

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