Disney Cruise Line With Teens

Disney Cruise Line / Classic ShipTeens!  Can’t live with ’em,….pass the beer nuts. (super enormous bonus points if anyone besides Raymond can get the 80’s TV reference there).  They were such adorable little kids once.  They looked up to you.  They liked spending time with you because you were smart and funny.  One day you wake up and everything has changed!  Suddenly you’re stupid and embarrassing.  The eye roll becomes a primary mode of communication.  You literally find yourself succumbing to bribery to get a couple of confrontation-free hours in your child’s company.  What the heck just happened?

You’re not alone!  The teen years can be such a challenge, but can also be pretty rewarding. Disney Cruise Line with Teen Boys The hard part is that one minute, your offspring want to be treated (and act) like little kids – two seconds later, they’ll insist they’re old enough to make their own decisions, go it alone, need space, yadda, yadda…..oy!  Every moment seems fraught with potential hostility – yours and theirs.  This is a difficult time – I considered every day we made it through alive and unscathed a blessing – finding a way to vacation harmoniously is pretty darned tricky.

Disney Cruise Line in Alaska with TeensIf you’ve ever considered taking a vacation aboard Disney Cruise Line and you have teens, you’ve reached the perfect time!  A Disney cruise is not just for families with small children.  The teen programs, spaces, and activities on Disney cruise ships are outstanding.  Plan in advance how much family time you want to spend together…and also allow plenty of time for your teen to stretch their independence muscles.  There are plenty of adults-only things onboard for you to enjoy on your own, too!  If you’re traveling with teen boys, all the food they can eat is included in the price of the cruise – that alone makes a Disney Cruise an excellent vacation choice!

I’ve survived enjoyed five Disney cruises with teens (my own and sometimes more!) and we – all of us, individually and as a family, had an absolutely wonderful time on each and every Dancing with Goofy on a Disney Cruiseadventure.  I tried to involve everyone in the planning phase – so limits would be clear on when we would be together as a family and when we could do our own thing (adults go one way and teens another).  This worked well for us – expectations outlined ahead of time seemed to minimize the possibility of disagreements while traveling.  While our teens were off in the teen club participating in fun activities, we were in the spa getting a couple’s massage or enjoying brunch in Palo (one of Disney Cruise Line’s adults-only restaurants).

Every Disney Cruise Line ship has a designated area just for teens (ages 13-17) with Formal Night on Disney Cruise Linecounselors trained to deal with all kinds of teens from all over the world.  There are teen-only excursions in many ports of call and if your ship stops at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, there’s even a dedicated teen beach.  You know your child better than anyone and how much independence they can handle, so my advice?  Just plan accordingly and plan to have a great time – together and apart!

What’s been your favorite vacation during the teen years? 


10 Reasons to Visit Alaska Aboard Disney Cruise Line

Alaska on Disney Cruise LineAlaska – it’s not called The Last Frontier for nothing (that alone is a great reason to go there!) – Have you ever thought about visiting Alaska?  I can tell you from personal experience – for our family, it was unlike anyplace we’d ever seen before!  In the best possible way.  We probably wouldn’t ever have gone except for one thing – we’d always said…if Disney Cruise Line ever goes to Alaska, that’s one trip we cannot miss!

When Disney made the big announcement that the Wonder would be heading to Alaska in 2011, we booked as soon as possible.  For us, one of the early season cruises worked best with our schedules – this meant that we missed seeing bears and the salmon season, but we wouldn’t have changed a single thing.  What a “Wonderful” trip we had!  Just in case it’s on your bucket list or even if you’ve been toying with the idea a teeny bit – I’d like to try to help you decide if a trip Spotting Seals in Alaska on our Disney Cruiseto the Land of the Midnight Sun is right for your family…

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Alaska Aboard Disney Cruise Line:

10. The Daylight – We got so much out of every day and night!  We enjoyed those super long daylight hours.  How strange it was to eat dinner and go to a show then stroll the deck after 10:00 pm to enjoy the view!

9. The Air – This may seem strange, but I’ve mentioned in previous posts about Alaskan excursions that the air is so clean and clear it feels like you must be breathing the freshest air on Earth.

Views from the Deck of the Disney Wonder in Alaska8. The Ship – Obviously we love Disney, but the Wonder is near and dear to our hearts!  The service, the comfort, the entertainment, the special touches – on the day the ship visited Tracy Arm Fjord (the one destination you stay ON the ship to enjoy), there was an on-deck barbecue so no one had to miss a moment of the action at lunchtime!

7. The Adventures – The list of excursions is staggering.  We zip-lined, whale watched, and explored the Mendenhall Glacier.  We explored Misty Fjords by boat and learned so much!  Regardless of age, health conditions, individual tastes, and budget – there is something for everyone.  Even the view from the ship is simply breathtaking.

6. The Ports – Each town we visited (Vancouver, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan) had a charm all its own.  Downtown Skagway, AlaskaThe history could be felt in the air.  Small enough to explore on foot, we strolled through each port and took in the unique sights of each and fell in love with them all.

5. The Souvenirs – We bought several items (okay, it was more like a huge bunch) – a couple-few (as we like to say around these parts) in each port.  Excellent prices!  We bought a crazy amount of tee-shirts because the designs and styles were terrific and the prices were incredibly reasonable.  I’ve worn the heck out of mine and they’re still holding up great!

Alaskan Wildlife on the Disney Wonder4. The Wildlife – You can see whales from the ship.  We saw many!  You actually see seals float by on their own tiny icebergs.  Bald eagles are everywhere and we even saw tiny jellyfish in the water on one excursion.  While sled dogs are not actually “wildlife” – we saw some of those, too!

3. The Glaciers – You can look at them in pictures, but nothing compares to seeing (in person) the spectacular shades of blue within a glacier’s face or the feeling of that cool, fresh air growing steadily colder as you get closer to the glacier!

2. The Unexpected – Surprises are everywhere!  On the ship when Disney characters pop up unexpectedly for great photo ops, waterfalls loudly rushing down cliff faces – so close to the ship you feel as though you could reach out and touch them.  Those seals, whales, and eagles See Alaskan Glaciers aboard Disney Cruise Lineare just waiting to be spotted!  It takes “expect the unexpected” to a new level.

1. Discovering it all as a Family!  When we traveled, Megan was 20 and Joseph almost 16.  Meg was too old for the teen club and Joe wanted to spend a bunch of time there (meeting other kids from all over the world and taking part in the teen activities) – we worried about the situation making Megan the odd girl out, but NO!  We had so much fun!  We hadn’t had an opportunity to spend this much one-on-one time with our little girl since before her brother came along.  Joseph joined us for every excursion and for dinner and the show each evening.  We had plenty of time together as a family, but I have to say – the time with Megan was especially memorable for me.  For you – there are a ton of onboard activities for guests of every age from toddler to…well, at my age, I prefer the term “mature traveler”…you get the idea.

There you go!  My own top 10 reasons to visit Alaska on Disney Cruise Line.  Have you cruised Alaska?  What did you love the most?  Is an Alaskan cruise in your future?  Tell me!