Choosing a holiday with teenagers can be fraught with difficulty. If you can agree on the destination, you’ve then got to argue it out about the kind of holiday you want. It’s your holiday too and it’s quite understandable if you don’t fancy living it up in Ibiza or white water rafting in Idaho (and yes, those two were both suggested).
Funnily enough, everyone was pretty happy with our suggestion of a Royal Caribbean cruise, and last month we took our two teenage boys, Sam (19) and Charlie (16) on Allure of the Seas
around the Eastern Caribbean, starting from Miami and visiting Nassau in the Bahamas, Charlotte Amalie in St Thomas and the gorgeous island of St Maarten.
We had an amazing amount of fun as a family…
To keep everyone happy, we decided before the cruise that we would embrace our adventurous sides and make this a holiday full of fun and excitement (with a little chill out time for us oldies). On the ship, the boys got loads of freedom and basically made their own itinerary every day, and on shore days we chose full-throttle excursions.
We kicked things off with a day of deep water swimming with dolphins in Nassau and upped the tempo even more with some power rafting in St Maarten, tempered with a slightly gentler beach day in St Thomas where the boys had the freedom to go off snorkelling and their Dad and I could collapse on the beach.
And do you know what? We had FUN. More fun, in fact, than on our usual holidays because there was so much to keep us all happy. We had epic fun joining them on the FlowRider (which all got a bit competitive between the men in my family) and had an awesome family evening watching Chicago, but then another time they had the freedom to go and enjoy burgers and shakes at Johnny Rockets with their friends while we headed off for a quiet dinner with a lovely bottle of wine. We always knew where they were, thanks to the ship’s phone system, and could relax knowing that they were safe, while they had loads of parent-free time with new friends.
Sadly, all good things come to an end…
On our last night, we had dinner at Giovanni’s Table (one of the highlights of our holiday), and their Dad and I were keen to know what they’d enjoyed most.
Firstly, what surprised you most about a cruise holiday?
Sam: “how good the nightlife is” (no surprise there, then).
And what about your favourite part of the ship?
Charlie: “the FlowRider! I really enjoyed learning how to stand up on the surfboard – the staff were really supportive – you just want to keep on trying.”
And how about the place you enjoyed visiting the most?
Sam: “St Maarten was our best shore excursion – the beach was amazing and the snorkelling was quality. Such a beautiful place and lovely people too.”
So how does a cruise compare to our previous holidays?
Sam: “it’s much easier to make friends on a cruise than it is just on a normal holiday because there are so many activities where you can meet people.”
And lastly, we asked them to sum up their experience in three words:
Sam: “Exciting, relaxing and hilarious!”
Charlie: “Social, exciting and varied”
But, we can’t wait for our next cruise!
Now we’ve had a couple of weeks at home, we’re already planning our next family cruise holiday. However busy our lives are at home, we know that we’ve found a holiday that we’ll all be looking forward to, wherever the next one takes us (hint: it won’t be white water rafting in Idaho).
Find out more about Becky and the other Royal Mums who are setting sail with their families this summer. Head over to Becky's blog English Mum for more of her holiday highlights.