Teen Cruise Memories

| October 20, 2003

CruiseMates recently found itself without a teenage host for our Teen Cruisers area, so we posted a "help wanted" ad in our Teen Cruiser message boards. Our ad called for a "teenage cruise enthusiast with cruise experience, a talent for writing, and the desire to get involved." The responses we received were so much more than we hoped for that we decided to give all the applicants a chance to write an article.

We asked the teens to write about the most memorable thing that had happened to them on a cruise ship. Their contributions are below. We believe it gives everyone, not just teens, a sense of what is important in life -- new experiences, good memories and lasting friendships.

*Mike is 15 years old and attends 10th grade in Orlando, Florida. Mike has been on 26 cruises.

Of all my past experiences on a cruise, many have stood out as memories that have made an impact on my life. One experience, however, stood out as the best thing that ever happened to me on a cruise: going to Aruba. At the beginning of the day, my parents, myself, and a few friends rented two jeeps. We started exploring the island by going to the desert. There we went hiking, rode on sand dunes, stopped at a few spots to take pictures, and even explored the caves. After a long day of exploring the desert, we decided to go to Baby Beach. Once we got there, we decided to go snorkeling. The weather was great, the water was crystal clear, and there had to be thousands of tropical fish. We stayed there for a few hours, feeding the fish, and taking dozens of pictures with underwater cameras. Eventually, we decided to go back to the pier and check out the nearby shops.

We bought a few souvenirs, such as T-shirts and sunglasses, and headed back to the ship. Going to Aruba on the Carnival Destiny last July was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget, and I hope to go there again someday soon.

*Shaun is 15 and also a Florida resident. Shaun has been on five cruises.

My name is Shaun Hornilla and I have been a veteran cruiser for the past two years. I am currently 15 and reside in the sunshine state of Florida. I am in my second year of high school. My first cruise experience was on the Carnival Fascination, which left a major impression on me. After that first cruise I traveled on several more, bringing my total to five.

The best experience I had was during my first cruise. When I went to the Backstreet Club on the Fascination, I introduced myself to several people until I met a couple of teenagers I felt comfortable with. What I did not know at the time is that the friends I was about to make would be friends not only for the cruise but for a lifetime.

As the cruise progressed, my new friends and I decided to do what teenagers do best -- have fun! During our day at sea, all of us went tanning in the sun, enjoyed the midnight buffet, talked about what we did so far on the cruise, and gossiped about teenage topics throughout the night. It reached the point where it felt like just another day hanging out with your friends from school.

With all the fun we had on that cruise it seemed like a blink of an eye before we realized that our cruise was coming to an end. Reminiscing on the memories I had from talking to people I met less than a day ago and now had become close to made me realize I could make friends with many different people in different places. Even after three years I am still in touch with the friends I met that unforgettable weekend. Those friends made my first cruise the best thing that ever happened to me on a cruise.

*Jennifer is 16 years old and attends the 11th grade in North Carolina.

Jen has never been on a cruise, but she says it is her dream to go on one someday. She has been reading and participating in cruise message boards for over a year now and is something of an expert despite her lack of sea-going experience.

My name is Jennifer and I'm going into 11th grade this September. I just turned sixteen this past July. I want to go on a cruise because it meets all of the needs for people like me, your typical teenager. On a cruise I can meet people my age, enjoy some of the most delicious food, dance in the teen disco, go swimming, experience the destination our ship is taking us to, and so much more.

Not only would I have an amazing time, but my parents would, too. It's nice that there are activities for the whole family; when a family can spend quality time together and have fun at the same time, that's wonderful. When my friends came back from their cruise they had such a remarkable time, they couldn't wait to go on their next one! They all met a lot of other teenagers, and all of them still keep in touch. I couldn't think of a more perfect vacation that we'll all look back on when we have to come home to reality.

*Allison is 15 years old and a high school sophomore in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. She has been on three cruises.

After going on a cruise for spring break in 2002, I couldn't wait for my next one aboard the Carnival Pride for spring break 2003. Counting down the months, weeks, days and even hours, no one could have been more excited than I was for this cruise. I had prepared and planned everything perfectly. I packed what I needed, which was two large rolling suitcases full of shoes, dresses, clothes, make-up and other necessities.

Despite being the sick with the worst cold I ever had, I couldn't have been more excited. After arriving in Port Canaveral and spending the night in Cocoa Beach, I only wanted to get onboard the Pride! Finally that time came.

The first days were rough since I was sick, and I had to make the best of it. All the other teens were really friendly and really cool. My brother and I met a lot of other kids who shared the same interests as us and were willing to have a great time.

't met anyone that I had become good friends with but that was about to change. Night came and we sailed away from the gorgeous, but then rainy, island of St. Thomas. After eating and playing around all over the ship I decided to go to the disco. There I saw a guy that I thought was really good looking. I decided to go talk to him. I didn't have to worry about being nervous or coming across funny because I realized I'd never see these people again, or so I thought. After introducing myself and talking for a while I realized I finally found someone totally cool to hang out with on the cruise; his name was Justin. We went up on the top deck got some ice cream and just talked the night away. Eventually we started to get tired and decided to call it a night because tomorrow we were docking at St. Maarten.

After a hot and draining shopping day at the port of St. Maarten, I saw Justin again and we met up for lunch on the air-conditioned Lido deck. We sat and talked until it was time to get ready for dinner. After a great dinner, I met Justin again in the disco and went to a show. The show was good and after that we went off to the Lido deck and just talked the night away again.

The next two days were both "Fun Days at Sea." And wow, were those "Fun Days" fun! I decided to wake up nice and early at around seven to go save some deck chairs. Bad, yes, but otherwise you're out of luck! I went back to bed and got up around eleven and Justin and I got some breakfast and tanned and chatted the in the sun all day. It was such a fun day -- and the night was just as fun. We went to the comedy shows and stayed up late just chatting.

The next day I slept in. It was the last official day on the cruise and it was really sad. After getting a little too much sun the day before, Justin and I just decided to chill in my room and rent movies all day. After we got ready for the cruise ship nightlife, it was time to have fun! We went to the shows, and the late night comedy one was really good as usual. After sleeping in so late I had enough energy to keep me going all night. We went to the Butterflies lounge and hung out there listening to music. Then eventually we went up on the top deck, where it was windy with lightning all over. It wasn't raining and it was absolutely gorgeous. I went to bed around 4 and woke up at about 6. It was really sad, but it was time to say goodbye.

It was a great cruise and one of the best experiences of my life. It was hard saying goodbye, but when is it easy? Justin and I still keep in contact; I went out to California, and when I did I visited him. I live in Wisconsin, he lives in California, so we won't be seeing much of each other. I had the best time of my life and I can't wait to go on my next cruise.

*Dan is 15 years old and a freshman in Sarasota, Florida. Dan has been on 10 cruises.

Almost everyone knows that anything you do with friends will be a lot more fun, no matter what it is! I love to do things with my friends, but taking a cruise with them was probably one of the best things I have ever done! I will never forget the weekend cruise I took with my two best friends last fall!

On November 8, 2002, two friends and I took a two-night cruise to "nowhere" on the Carnival Legend. It would be my friends' first cruise and I wanted them to enjoy it. I had always talked about how cool cruises were, and I wanted to prove to them that they were all that I had promised! I think within 20 minutes of boarding they agreed. Where else can you get all the food you want 24 hours a day free of charge? That's huge for teenagers! After their initial reaction I knew this was going to be a success!

We didn't meet very many other teens because it was a travel agent's preview cruise, but we found lots to do. We hung out at the huge waterslide, went swimming, ate lots of food and frozen yogurt, watched karaoke, played in the arcade, and hung out in the disco. At this point my friends still didn't believe about all the free food, and that someone would come in and make your bed and clean your room! I will never forget the look on my friend's face when he tried to drink his first shot of straight espresso at dinner--priceless!

Of my nine cruises, this was the best yet by far! I feel that this trip brought my two friends and me closer. We were able to joke around and relax without worrying about any problems that were left back on land. Still to this day we talk about how much fun we had and say we are going to do it again - and we have. This summer, we took a three-night cruise to the Bahamas on the Fascination, and soon we are going on the Carnival Pride! We are just as psyched as we were for the first!

*Wayne Yim is 15 years old and a sophomore living in Vancouver, Washington. He has been on three cruises.

Here's the best thing that ever happened to me on a cruise ship. A few months before our 2003 Rhapsody of the Seas cruise, I found out that a climbing wall would be on the ship. During the next few months, I was being very optimistic whether I should try rock climbing for the first time.

Near our house there is a Bally Sport Club and inside, they have a rock wall. I never tried it; maybe I was too scared to even bother trying. Anyway, back to the cruise.

On the fourth day of my cruise, the rock wall opened. There were a lot of people there and I didn't want to embarrass myself in front them. I thought that later on the cruise there would be fewer people there. Wrong! The climbing wall only opens during sea days so this meant that last day was the only other open day. My friend begged me to go along, but at first I was too scared.

I went anyway to test my nerve. Surprisingly, my dad was there to meet us and he had his gear on already. My friend did the medium-level climbing route and he managed to get halfway. Then my dad was up and he made it to the top. Being the last one, the pressure was on me. My hands and feet were trembling when I first touched the pegs. My heart was beating faster and faster with each step higher. I had more pride and confidence within those heartbeats. It took me a while, but I made it to the top. I had so much fun, I decided to get certified so I could climb the wall in our health club. Now, I usually go rock climbing every other day and it has become one of my favorite hobbies!

*Henry is 16 years old and a junior at a Hightstown, N.J. high school. Henry has been on three cruises.

There are too many things that have been great on cruises to just pick one. But one of the best things that ever happened to me on a ship has to be making so many new friends on each cruise I take.

The people are always friendly and wonderful to talk to. Making friends and hanging out with them at the club and around the ship all night is just so much fun. And if you find that special someone onboard, seeing romantic sunsets and just having their company and knowing that they are there with you, is an unforgettable feeling that takes your breath away.

I met someone on the last cruise I went on, and had a fabulous time with them. It was just so special and I will never forget that feeling. Cruises give you lasting memories and feelings, which are wonderful. Like I said before, there are way too many different things to write on this topic, and this is just one small detail.

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