No longer kids but not quite teenagers, tweens are the perfect cruising companions. They’re old enough to enjoy some independence, yet still young enough to like hanging out with Mum and Dad. With so many activities to choose from, there is plenty of fun for everyone.

Cruising with tweens offers the perfect mix of time spent together and apart. It also lets you help and guide your tween on an even more important journey – growing up.  Here are five tips for a happy cruising holiday with tweens.

Learning while having fun

You will never hear the dreaded words “I’m bored” on a cruise ship. Along with activities like roller skating and talent shows, cruising gives tweens the opportunity to meet children from around the world and master new skills.

Tweens can learn how to create films using stop motion animation on P&O Cruises or join a National Park Service Junior Ranger Program on Alaskan sailings with Holland America. Celebrity’s treasure hunts encourage tweens to overcome shyness by fulfilling challenges such as ‘find a crew member from a country that is different to yours and say hello’.

Cruising fun with tweens

Tweens love hanging out with newfound friends but family time is important too. Instead of nagging your tween to spend time with you, why not set a ‘family challenge’?  Each person chooses an onboard activity that everyone in the family has to try, even if they aren’t keen. Who knows, you might find you have a secret talent?

Setting ground rules for tweens

It is a good idea to set ground rules before your cruise. Do you expect your tween to join you for dinner? Can they get treats at the buffet between meals?  Are they allowed to charge items like soft drinks to their cruise ship card?  Discussing these things beforehand can help prevent misunderstandings which might spoil the holiday mood.

More tweens equals more fun

While some parents prefer to avoid busy school holiday sailings, these can be ideal for tweens who revel in the opportunity to socialise and hang out with friends. Even if your tween says they aren’t sure if they will join the program, encourage them to attend on the first day as this is when friendships are formed in the tweens group. If your child skips this session but decides to join in later, it can be harder for them to make friends. 

Signing in and signing out for tweens

Most cruise ship kids clubs allow children aged nine and over to sign themselves in and out of the kids club program with parental permission. Consider starting with a limited amount of freedom at first, such as allowing them to sign out at an agreed time and meet you in the cabin, to help them gain confidence and earn your trust.