Cruising with the Kids

In an article in the travel section of the New York Times called ‘Are 15 Decks Enough Entertainment for a 13-Year-Old?’, Scribner editor, Colin Harrison wrote about how difficult it is to travel as a family. Finding something for every member to enjoy isn’t easy. However, Harrison feels that a cruise really suits everyones needs.

He wrote, “The key element of our debilitated search for comfort was that our older daughter, 13, was getting harder to please. Teenage daughters need content in their vacations: iPods, movies, makeup, shopping opportunities – and other teenagers. They view their parents as the never-cool undead, released from the crypt of the 70’s, scary only when they don’t dispense cash.

Providing even a slender percentage of what teenagers demand is – well, work. Yet we knew that our daughter would make our vacation a weeklong agony if at least some of her demands were not met, not to mention those of her brother, 11, and sister, 5.

Yes, going for a cruise is arguably indulgent, and parents need to limit the excesses of American consumerism they model for their children: but please understand, we were tired and pale and desperate.

We arrived at the West Side docks and indeed, there was the ship, the Norwegian Dawn, magnificent and spotless, all 965 feet of it, 15 decks, 10 dining rooms, 92,250 tons, a floating extravaganza with streamers and confetti painted on the sides. Within a few minutes, it was clear that not a few other families had done exactly as we had: frumpy parents sheepishly eyed each other, their teenagers already forming whispering packs, punching in each other’s cellphone numbers, creating instant secret societies impermeable to adult scrutiny.

Our daughter already had “friends” with whom she exchanged room numbers. Packs of animated teenage boys surveyed the ship. It didn’t take much of an imaginative leap to arrive at their point of view: girls plus a big ship equals excitement…”

To read the rest of this entertaining article, visit the New York Times Travel Section.