Cruisemates; Top Ships for Teens

Ships Upgrade Teen Areas
By Alex Gaynor
CruiseMates Teen Editor

August 25, 2006

Recently, cruise lines such as Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess have added or renovated cool new teen facilities onboard. The result? More fun places to hang with other teens. Here's a roundup of the latest changes.

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival recently revamped its teen program for 15- to 17-year-olds, called Club O2, and is in the process of renovating or adding these cool, high-tech Club O2 rooms to its fleet. Over the next year, new teen clubs will be added to the Fascination, Imagination and Inspiration. Club O2 is very high-tech, with a plasma video screen, dance floors with fog machines, and video game pods.

Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity has expanded and upgraded the Century's Xtreme teen lounge. It is now equipped with Internet access, large movie screens, X-boxes, PS2, a dance area with a DJ booth ("iSpin" DJ classes are offered), MP3 karaoke, and a jukebox.

Costa Cruises
The newest Costa ship, the Costa Concordia, has some cool options for teens. For teens 16 and older, this ship has a Grand Prix driving simulator. The car is a replica of an actual race car and allows drivers to race against themselves and friends over the course of a cruise by keeping track of their scores.

Disney Cruise Line
Disney's new teen program is now located in one of the ship's fake funnels. On the Magic, it's called The Stack, and on the Wonder its name is Aloft. Both areas have hardwood floors, brown leather couches, brick fireplaces, area rugs, beanbag chairs, magazine racks, and sports trophies. This room is designed to look like a hangout in someone's house. There are overhead screens for TV, videos and X-boxes. A non-alcoholic bar is located in the room too, which serves smoothies and other soft drinks.

Holland America Line
This year, HAL has added the last of its youth and teen rooms, so now the entire Holland America fleet has a teen room and a kids' room. All Holland America ships have The Loft, a teens-only lounge designed to look like a New York artist's loft. Here teens can enjoy DDR, karaoke, movies, and board games. On most HAL ships, but not all, is a passageway connecting The Loft to The Oasis. The Oasis is a teens-only sun deck area. The Oasis features a waterfall, wading pool, juice bar, and lounge chairs.

Norwegian Cruise Line
When the newest ship from NCL, the Norwegian Pearl, comes out at the end of this year, it will offer a cruise-ship first: a bowling alley. The ship will feature a full-size, four-lane, 10-pin bowling alley. During the day, the bowling alley can host parties; gutter bumpers will automatically pop up for kids' parties. All NCL ships now have a handful of family activities such as scavenger hunts, pizza making, and trivia challenges.

Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises' newest ship, Crown Princess, offers a lot of new programs for teens. Crown's Princess' Hip-Hop Dance Program is aimed at teaching pre-teens and teens new dance moves. There are also teen makeover and beauty workshops. The hangout room, called the Teen Remix Center, includes a whirlpool, large movie screens, karaoke machines, ping-pong and air hockey tables, computers with Internet access, and PS2 games.

Royal Caribbean International
In June, Royal Caribbean introduced the world's largest cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas, with plenty of options and activities for families, kids, and teens. Some of the highlights include the surfing area called The Flowrider, the ice-skating rink, and the line's trademark rock climbing wall. The line's newest ships, which includes Freedom, have three separate areas just for teens: the Living Room for hanging out; Fuel for dance parties; and the Back Deck, a teens-only outdoor area. The indoor areas are high-tech, with large movie screens, computers with Internet access, Sony Playstations, DJ booth and lighting systems for the dance floor.

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