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Cruising Through a Teenager's Eyes: What To Know Before You Go

On a cruise there are plenty of things to do. These activities can range from belly-flop contests in the pool to karaoke (otherwise known as just plain embarrassment) at night. Some things you may like …others may make you want to head for the nearest exit. There may be those moments that you try to escape from in anyway possible (a.k.a. - run) and there will definitely be those incredible times when you're having good ol' fun with your new buddies. In any case, there are definite best and worst things to do on a cruise. Here's my advice on what not to miss:

· Go to at least one of the shows---they're really not as bad as you think and some of them are actually really good.
· ALWAYS "cruise" around the ship (a.k.a.- check out the "scenery" onboard the ship).
· Do NOT miss the amazing midnight buffets (that's not even worth questioning -- chocolate-dipped strawberries and ice cream …why would you even consider not going?).
· Go to the teen program (or at least visit it) the first night. Yeah, I know it sounds really corny, but: a.) how else are you going to meet people, b.) no, you won't look like loser because I guarantee there will be other people there, and c.) plainly speaking - you want to have friends while on the cruise, and it'll be fun. You'll probably end up liking the teen program and then you'll be glad you went that first night.
· Meet as many people as possible.
· Try new things or "expand your horizons"- such as maybe parasailing or jet-skiing.
· Try karaoke and no-the whole audience will not leave once they hear your voice. It will only be a couple people that leave, and hey … they're not that important anyway. Besides you swear you're going to Broadway-why not prove it to everyone onboard the ship?
· Go to the corny band dances on deck, even though there might be old people (otherwise known as your parents age) there. You'll have fun with you're buddies, and your parents will be having such a good time that they won't even notice you.
· Go to the Bon-Voyage Party if they have one. It's another great place to run into cool people.
· Spend some time with your family (this would be the point where you hate me). Seriously though, try to spend at least 30 minutes a day or something with your family when you're not eating together. It will make them happy, and though you may think it, they're really not that bad.
· Enjoy the climate and the destinations.
· Take lots of pictures so you can remember what an awesome time you had.
· Meet the staff (they're really cool) and enjoy the food (it's really good).
· Finally, just have fun. After all, you're on a trip of a lifetime, and you wouldn't want to have a bad time, now would you? Didn't think so.

Now that I've lectured you on the best things to do on a cruise, let me lecture you on the worst things to do on a cruise:

· Don't be a loner (you're cool and you should hang out with people).
· Take the opportunity to do the shore excursions, even if it means you have to get up early. They are once in a lifetime activities, and you'll be mad at yourself later if you don't go. Believe me - I speak from experience.
· The lifeboat drill is definitely one of the low points of the cruise. Yes, it will prevent any chance of say…dying, but it's really boring. Use it as a time to check out the scenery, although everyone will look weird with those big orange things on.
· There are always those unfortunate boring moments when there really isn't anything to do. Don't worry - walk around the deck for a while and they'll pass.
· There might be some parts of the boat that are labeled as "adults only", or clubs for age 21 and older, which isn't great for us teens. Make sure you're on one of the ships that have a teen disco or a spot for teens to hang out all day. The more areas there are for just teens, the less you're likely to notice those other places.

Cruises are incredible vacations where teens can meet cool new people and have the run of an entire ship. I guarantee you that one of the worst times will be when you get off the ship and leave your new friends, and the best will be when you get on another cruise again. Have fun!

Jenny Schretter

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