Discover the world through travel & beyond!

Why Carnival Cruise with Teens

Travel Mamas sometimes receives compensation and/or hosted travel and sample products related to blog posts. This story may include affiliate links for which we receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases. Be sure to check with businesses and locations regarding travel restrictions and safety precautions before visiting.

Our teenage son lobbied to choose our family’s vacation for this year’s spring break. He had two proposals: go on a cruise or visit the Caribbean. Since my husband and I loved our Alaskan cruise and we had always wanted to visit the Caribbean, our teen didn’t have to do too much convincing. Much to our son’s delight, we booked an Eastern Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines for our family holiday. Here’s what to expect when you embark on a Carnival Cruise with teens.

Discuss cruise expectations and rules with teens and kids before setting sail ~ 12 Tips for Cruising with Kids

Discuss cruise expectations and rules with teens and kids before setting sail (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Fun ships, indeed!

Carnival Cruise has a reputation for fun and free-spirited adventures. Our ship departed Miami packed with families, college students and young people. It was a ‘carnival-like’ atmosphere, celebrating the Caribbean sun and spring break. It’s a popular cruise line with families, young adults, and the young at heart. They have FunPoints to collect, FunShops on board, and offer a Great Vacation Guarantee. Carnival is that sure you’ll have fun and enjoy your cruise holiday, and they really want you to come back again.

Carnival's Teen Hangout: Club O2 (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Lines)

Carnival’s Teen Hangout: Club O2 (Photo credit: Carnival Cruise Lines)

At Sea teen clubs

Our teenager was able to cut loose, relax, and socialize with the many other teens on board. As with other age groups, Carnival offers an activity club for teenagers – Club O2 – on all of their ships. For the 15-17 year old set, Club O2 is a teen-only hang out space; no adults allowed. It’s a great place for kids to break the ice and meet each other, without any parental pressure or interference. Parents have to sign a consent form to allow their teens to come and go as they please, but once they’re in the Club, you may not see them for several hours, or until the next morning.

There is a daily itinerary for Club O2, ranging from Karaoke and dance and trivia-themed parties to island excursions. Kids can join in as they wish; the structure is loose and just hanging out is encouraged. The Club was a hit with our teen, who met some great new friends with whom he spent time exploring the ship when they weren’t doing specific activities.

For the younger teen set (ages 12-14), there is the Circle C club. The C stands for ‘chill’ or ‘cool’ and the club includes activities such as dance and pizza parties, games, outdoor movies, and scavenger hunts. The Circle C is supervised by fun-loving counselors who want to ensure that the kids have an awesome time.

Teen-pleasing dining options abound aboard a Carnival ship

Teen-pleasing dining options abound aboard a Carnival ship (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Teen-pleasing dining options

Teens will find plenty of totes tasty dining choices on board a Carnival ship. Our ship, the Carnival Liberty, boasted Guy’s Burger Joint (fabulous fries), the Blue Iguana Cantina (delish fish tacos), a 24-hour pizzeria (with surprisingly tasty pies), self-serve ice cream, a late-night deli, Cherry on Top candy store, daily buffets at breakfast and lunch, and several dining rooms for more formal or anytime dining. Our casually formal dinner time offered the chance to connect with our teen over a family meal together before he headed out for a night of fun and adventure.

Waterslide fun on Carnival Liberty (Photo: Claudia Laroye)

Waterslide fun on Carnival Liberty (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Other Carnival fun for teens

Many Carnival ships have a wide variety of teen-friendly activities to pump up the fun. Our ship offered a waterslide, while other ships have a more extensive Carnival Waterworks, such as the Speedway Splash on the Carnival Sunshine.

There Seaside Theatre is where to go to watch cartoons, classic TV shows plus comedies and action movies—complete with free popcorn and blankets. Or watch movies from the pool or one of two hot tubs in the middle of the ship!

The Punchliner Comedy Club offers a rotating roster of comics that perform several shows nightly, including at least one ‘family-friendly’ show in the early evening that teens would definitely enjoy. The big stage shows by onboard entertainers and special performers may also be a teen draw. Ours wasn’t keen on the musicals as much as he was spellbound by the hypnotist, who showed off his skills at getting people to do anything and everything.

Caribbean Carnival cruise with teens

The cruising life (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Why cruise with teens

Traveling with teens presents challenges that are very different from when you traveled with little ones to grandma’s house. They like to eat a lot more (cha-ching), sleep in, share strong opinions, and can be…shall we say…surly and not the most talkative traveling companions. All-included food aboard a cruise ship presents a definite budget bonus to parents of teens. If you and your spouse and younger children want to sit by the pool or hit the breakfast buffet, you can sneak out of the stateroom without having to wake a cranky teen. The ability to split up and pursue varying activities and come together over a family meal in the evenings may prove a good way to keep the eye-rolling to a minimum too.

Teens are able to explore a contained environment while cruising. Our teen really enjoyed that sense of freedom, even to just eat pizza at midnight while trading jokes with friends (and keeping an eye out for young ladies too, I’m sure).

Traveling with happy teenagers is much preferred to the alternative; it’s worth the time and effort to work with them and plan out a holiday that will meet their needs, as much as your own. Who knows? Away from the pressures of school and work, a relaxed cruise vacation just might draw you and your teen closer together!

Want more cruise tips? Check out our advice for cruising with kids now!

Have you ever taken a cruise with teens? What did they enjoy the most? Share your comments below!

A Note from The Curious Travel Mama: My family paid for our Carnival Cruise Lines cruise ourselves and did not receive any media discounts or perks. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons. She started traveling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about the travel experience and the value of traveling as a family. She is the founder of, and contributes to many online and print media publications around the world. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom or Instagram as @itsclaudiatravels.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.