How to Plan a Cruise

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Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

How to Plan a Cruise! 7 steps to planning a cruise vacation with teens

My husband and I are taking the kids on a cruise this fall and I’m so excited. Traveling with teens can be a challenge but having older children has it’s perks! The teens can choose their own fun ship board activities and mom and dad can have a few much needed dates! Learn how to plan a cruise, just 7 steps to planning a cruise with teens

Get your passport

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Get your passport or renew it if necessary. The teens just got their first passports and my husband and I needed to renew ours. Renewal is easy by mail if there are no name or address changes or lost passport issues. Just visit the website for the U.S. Department of State for details. We got our passports and documents back in just about three weeks.

If you need to get new passports, like our teens did, be sure to make your passport appointment EARLY. It can take a while to find an appointment that works for your whole family. We needed a Saturday appointment that worked with the teens’ high school class and band schedules as well as the work/travel schedules of my husband and I. We wanted to make an appointment three months ahead of our cruise date, with talk of government shut downs and such we didn’t want to take any chances with the passports getting delayed. The passports arrived less than two weeks after our appointment but things vary, there is no guarantee everyone will get theirs that fast.

Sometimes you can find a passport fair where you can bring your documents and get your passport done without an appointment. We checked one out this summer and the line was HUGE. I’m no fan of waiting in line but if you don’t mind then finding a passport fair at a local post office may be an option for you. You still need to do this well in advance of your trip to be sure to get your passports in time.

Get in shape

Cruise ships are HUGE and I want to see the whole thing. That means a lot of walking. I’m sure there’ll be lots of walking on our excursions too. So I need to increase my stamina to keep up with the rest of my family. I’m also in the market for some cute walking shoes so I can be cute and comfortable on excursions.

To build endurance, I’ve stolen my husband’s Fitbit so I can keep track of my steps and increase them daily. I’ll also include some dance workouts I’ve found on YouTube to burn more calories, this one is my favorite so far:

I plan to use some of these moves when we go to the night club on board the ship. Y’all better watch out, I’m getting pretty good!

Plan some shipboard FUN

Let me tell you, I plan to sing my HEART out at karaoke! Karaoke is my absolute favorite thing to do. I put on a good show so if you happen to be on the same cruise as me you’re in for a real treat. I’m also planning to take a dance class with professional instructors on board the ship. My husband and I haven’t taken a dance class together since we we’re planning our wedding nearly 20 years ago. We’re long overdue.

The ship also has a basketball court, I’m sure my husband will find his way there a few times. Basketball is his favorite workout, It has been since he was a kid. You know what they say, the best exorcise is one that you enjoy doing (they do say that, don’t they? If they don’t, they should!)

When you plan a cruise with teens, the kids will have their own idea of how they want to spend their time. Our kids will probably spend most of their time poolside and at the FlowRider® surf simulator. Actually, my husband has been dying to try the FlowRider® too. I think he’s most excited about a chance to try that.

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Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean


There’s also a behind the scenes All Access Tour available. I can take a peek inside the cruise ship’s kitchen and learn how dishes are prepared. We can explore the Engine Control Room and the crew corridor as a family and also get a tour of the Bridge.

I’m sure we’ll split up while on board the ship so we’re packing walkie talkies to stay in touch. This way we can all go our separate ways and no one will be late for dinner, no wi-fi fees either.

Choose your excursions

We’re going to plan a cruise vacation on Royal Caribbean (this is not a sponsored post, just me talking about how to plan a cruise) so we’ve been stalking the website daily fantasizing about all the wonderful excursions to choose from. Culinary walking tours are at the top of my list and jet skiing is number one for my husband. The kids are looking forward to lots of time at the beach as well. Careful planning means we all get to do the activities we want so no one gets disappointed.

We’ll also have an opportunity to explore an ancient city. Architecture, sculptures and hand crafts passed down through families are a great way to learn about other cultures.

Excursions are a great time to try new activities. I think families bond best when sharing new experiences. My husband and I will be sure to plan a fun, grown up experience for just the two of us. Maybe tequila tasting!

How to Plan a Cruise

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How to Plan a Cruise with teens

Leave room for spontaneous FUN

With so many ship board activities you don’t want to over schedule yourselves when you plan a cruise. Between the pool parties, game shows, arcade, mini golf and even an escape room there are tons of things to do together and separately. We’ll be sure to leave some time for unscheduled fun.

I’m sure my husband and I will find our way to the casino once or twice for some grown up fun! I’m not a big gambler but I don’t mind a hand of blackjack every now and then.


Who’s got two thumbs and plans to spend at least one afternoon in the spa? THIS GIRL! We may do a couples massage or maybe I’ll take my daughter with me for some girl time…or I may go alone. Who knows? I know, I’m definitely going alone! I deserve it. I can feel that hot stone massage already.


I can’t talk about how to plan a cruise without talking about food. Let’s be honest. You know this is the the thing I’m most excited about. Cruises have so many dining options everyone in the family will be able to find many things they’ll like.

I LOVE cruise dining. The food is wonderful and the service is outstanding. Royal Caribbean offers My Time Dining  so we can select a different dining time and table each day to work with our excursion schedule.

There’s a steakhouse on board as well (I’m beginning to wish we booked a longer cruise!) and you know I love a good STEAK! If we decide to dine there we’ll have to make a reservation through the cruse planner. A little surf and turf on the ocean would be a dream come true….yes, this is what my dreams are like!

How to Plan a Cruise! 7 steps to planning a cruise vacation with teens Sweet Savant Royal Caribbean

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

There’s also a wine tasting class on board the ship, I’m definitely signing up for that. The Mystery Dinner Theater seems like a fun way to spice up our meal, I’ve never been to a dinner show quite like that. I’m not sure if the teens will want to go , if they don’t they can to grab a burger at Johnny Rocket’s (for an additional fee) or a slice at Sorrento’s Pizza.

Now that you know how to plan a cruise with teens (or on your own) where would you like to go? Leave me a comment and tell me where you would like to cruise to. Or, tell me about your favorite cruise destination. That will help us plan our next cruise vacation.


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