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Cruising With Teenagers — What a Trip!

In the never-ending pursuit of attracting families to ships, cruise lines are always searching for ways to appease the teenagers because, really, that's where the problem lies. Anybody who doesn't think so hash't parented a teenager.

We love teens, of course. What parents today have to tolerate is what our own parents tolerated: that the transition from being a kid to being an adult, and all that comes with it. Rebelliousness and rejecting authority are part of developing your own voice and your own beliefs, and part of growing up, aren't they? To parents, that sometimes is a black and white issue…you say black, your teen says white. Or vice-versa.

To assist families in the midst of bridging that growth to adulthood, cruise lines have developed a long list of activities. Rock climbing. Surf-riding. Zip-lining. Video gaming. Simulated sky diving. Private "lounges" without the alcohol. Water slides. If there is something the wise people at cruise lines haven't thought of yet, they will.

It's all designed to give families with teenagers the perfect vacation together by having something for everyone, so that every family member goes home saying what a great trip it was…even the teenagers.

Let us know how that works out…

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Surprise refurbishing for Carnival Magic

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
12 nights
November 1, 2014
Cape LibertySan JuanSt. ThomasSt. MaartenCuracaoGrand CaymanGalveston
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $74
www.royalcaribbean.com

Common 'perceptions' or 'misconceptions' on cruising

We have members of our family (they shall remain nameless, in the interests of harmony) who would not go on a cruise unless it was free, and even then it would likely be kicking and screaming. They have probably been influenced as much by the "common perceptions" of cruising that can be heard anywhere, but most often on TV.

Recently, Bloomberg Businessweek identified seven such remarks from conversations involving non-cruisers. In some cases, these are "common misconceptions" — but we'll let you (and them) be the judges…

1. The ships are too crowded, with long lines everywhere.

This is not true, although judging something as being too anything is always going to be subjective. We've never been on a ship "too crowded" and while we have been in Liberty of the Seas at Sealines — primarily embarking or disembarking — these are the exceptions not the rules, and cruise lines go out of their way to try making it seamless.

2. Cruises are full of morbidly obese people.

While we are not "morbidly" or even mildly obese, we disagree. There are overweight people everywhere, and probably a higher percentage on cruise ships. But to say ships are full of such passengers is a morbidly gross over-reaction.

3. Do we really need more buffets in the world?

We agree 100 per cent…okay, at least 90. But supply and demand dictates this, and obviously there is a demand.

4. Cruise ships are floating cesspools and pollute the environment.

This is a belief borne of ignorance. But that belief, along with growing environmental responsibility, has resulted in cruise ships that are increasingly sensitive to being custodians of the oceans that are their homes. Go on a ship's tour and see for yourself all of the ways (too many to list here) that this industry has gotten into line. If ships were "floating cesspools" cruising would be dying, and it's not.

5. Cruises are for old people.

There is some validity in this, yet cruise lines are constantly being built to attract families. How many "old people" zip-line or shoot down water coasters or climb rock walls? Having said that, with an estimated 22 million people on cruise ships, it's a fair assumption that the majority of passengers with both the resources and the time are retirees.

6. Cruises are full of obnoxious teenagers.

Well, if cruises for for old people, who let the teenagers on the ship? It's true that teenagers can be obnoxious but that doesn't mean all of them are. Frankly, we've seen more obnoxious grandparents than teenagers on cruise ships.

7. Who wants to be stuck on a boat for a week?

This is highly subjective. We all have different tastes, different pleasures. Our answer would be: Who doesn't?

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Mid-ships returning to Bermuda

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
July 6, 2014
Cape Liberty (return): King’s Wharf
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $85
www.celebritycruises.com

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