Ships for Teens: Today and Tomorrow

| By Alex Gaynor

Teens sound off on how they'd like to see youth facilities changed and enhanced.

I recently asked readers of CruiseMates' message boards to imagine what teen features would be on ships of the future. Many of you have responded with what you'd like to see on cruise ships, which I detail below. I also asked what else you would like on present-day ships.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, I've also included teen-friendly highlights of the youth facilities on new cruise ships that are coming into service in 2007.

Ships of the Future I asked some teens on CruiseMates' message board what they would expect to see on ships coming out in the future. Here are some of their responses:

  • A roller coaster.
  • Virtual reality systems.
  • Lots more technology. Constant advancements in technology would be great to keep the ships really modern. I also think that teens would love to have surfing on more ships than just Royal Caribbean's.
  • I think that more ships will have bowling alleys in the future, as well as larger water slides and teen facilities. One thing I think ships should have is a type of school for kids who want to go on cruises for an extended period of time. The teachers on board would be in contact with your teachers at school so that they can get all of your school work. I think it would be awesome!
  • Better actual stores that people shop at (popular chain clothing stores).

Ships of Today Following are the new ships of 2007 that feature teens' and kids' facilities. I've also noted when they begin their first cruise: Carnival Freedom, Carnival Cruise Lines (March 2007); Costa Serena, Costa Cruises (May 2007); Queen Victoria, Cunard Line (December 2007); MSC Orchestra, MSC Cruises (June 2007); Norwegian Pearl (December 2006) and Norwegian Gem (October 2007), both Norwegian Cruise Line; Emerald Princess, Princess Cruises (April 2007); and Liberty of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International (May 2007).

Here are some highlights of the more extensive teen attractions on a few of these ships:

Carnival Freedom Like most Carnival ships, Carnival Freedom has Club O2 for teens from 15-17 years old. Club O2 comes equipped with a dance floor, a DJ, sound and lighting systems, a lounge that serves non-alcoholic specialty drinks, and an arcade/video game room with 60 of the newest high-tech games. There's also a library filled with popular teen reads and magazines. Another new feature is the spa program for 12-14 year olds, where they can receive spa treatments with their parents on port days.

Costa Serena Besides having a racecar simulator (you must be at least 16 years old), this ship also has some new technology in the teen club. There are four LCD monitors, two Playstations, a jukebox, and high-tech sound equipment.

Liberty of the Seas The sister ship to RCI's Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas will have a lot to offer to teens. As on most RCI ships, there's a rock-climbing wall, but it's much larger on Liberty than most other RCI ships, with 11 climbing routes. There's also the H2O Zone, the sports pool, and Flowrider, the simulated surfing attraction. Other than Freedom, this is the only ship that lets teens hang ten out at sea. In addition, there is Studio B (the ice-skating rink) and the Royal Promenade, which offers shopping, dining, lounges, and parades.

Sometimes we teens just want a place to hang out that's exclusively for us. Fuel is the teen disco open to 13-17 year olds, while the Living Room is a good place to hang out. It offers flat-screen TVs, a coffee bar, and tons of games. The Back Deck is a teen-only outdoor area with deck chairs for catching a few rays.

Liberty also offers spa treatments for teens ages 13-17 as part of its Generation Y Spa. They include:

Surfer's scrub: a 25-minute aromatherapy massage for tired muscles. Acne Attack: a 50-minute facial with special oxygen treatments. Fake Bake: a body scrub followed by self-tanning cream to the face and body. Styling Sessions: a color and cut, a 25-minute manicure, and a 45-minute pedicure. Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem

The Norwegian Pearl Began cruising in December of 2006 and will welcome its sister ship, Norwegian Gem, this October. In addition to a teen club called Metro Center � designed to resemble a New York Subway -- the attraction that most teens like best on both ships is the four-lane bowling alley. It's definitely a good place to hang out during the day (at night, it becomes an adult club). Both ships feature NCL's first rock climbing walls along with a video arcade.

Queen Victoria Since Cunard doesn't carry as many kids and teens as the other lines mentioned here, the new Queen Victoria has only one multipurpose room for pre-teens (7-12) and teens (13-17). In that room, you'll find air hockey and foosball, a "chill lounge," a DJ booth, Karaoke, and two 60-inch plasma screens with surround sound.

Improving Existing Ships What would make present-day ships better for teens? Here are some more readers' comments:

  • All ships (presently, it's just a few) need to have two different rooms for younger and older teens. I do not want to hang out with 12-14 year olds. Sometimes they sneak into the teen section (which should be 15-17) but it is annoying dealing with their immaturity.
  • What about a teen-only pool? Since adults and little kids have their own pools, why not a teen pool, or a part of a deck that is dedicated to teen stuff? I know that when I go on my cruise, I won't want to be inside in the teen room during the day, I'll want to be outside in the sun. It would be nice if there was something fun to do and still be able to enjoy the sun.
  • One GREAT thing they should come up with is a club area for the 18-20 year olds. They really don't have a place to meet up with one another, and I know that once I turn 18, I'm gonna miss the teen club!
  • I think ships should allow teens in the disco whenever�and not kick them out at midnight.
  • Have more activities that we'd actually want to do.
  • I think all ships should have big movie screens by the pool and just a lot more activities that interest us.
  • It would be so cool if they could have concerts with popular singers and bands.

As you can see, there are many ideas we teens have on how to make ships more awesome. If the cruise lines put their heads together with ours, who knows what will be in store for the future of cruise ship design?

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