NCL Calling its Kids…er, Youth

As we keep reminding our kids, because nobody else will, we were really ahead of our time as cruising parents.

It was a couple of decades ago (exact year not disclosed, to protect revealing exact ages and getting us in exact trouble) and we decided on a family cruise, down the Mexican Riviera. Our sons were both teenagers and, through the youth activities available at that time, they quickly made enough friends and partied their way through the week.

The girl was a different story.

She was 12. That meant it wasn’t cool to be part of the young kids program, ages 6 to 12. Her birth certificate didn’t qualify her for the older kids program and, anyway, then she would have had to be with her brothers, a fate worse than having a bad birth certificate.

Unable to party her way through the week, she left the cruise in her unhappy memory bank and to this day has yet to see the inside of a cruise ship.

Ah, those weren’t the days…

Now, cruise lines have broken the kids into multiple age groups (not 6 to 12), and nobody’s doing a more complete job of it than Norwegian. In a couple of weeks, NCL will be rolling out its new youth program on the Gem. Since 1999, the program has been called Kid’s Crew and by the time it goes fleet-wide to accommodate the 150,000 young people on the 11 ships, the new format will have a new name.

Presumably, Norwegian is still trying to find a title minus the word “kids” in it, because that’s not cool for teenagers.

NCL will have six age groups…yes, six. The teenagers are split into two groups, as are the pre-schoolers. The “key” group is for ages 9 to 12.

All those years ago, our 12-year-old daughter would have liked that.

Maybe.

DAILY DEAL:
Carnival Dream
7 nights
February 25, 2012
Port Canaveral (return): Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Maarten
Inside $549
www.carnival.com

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