To get some relief from the chilly weather, many people flock to balmy climates in the early weeks of spring. Cruises are just one way to enjoy a break from work and feel the wondrous touch of sun on the face.
In fact, cruises are becoming a more popular spring break choice among college students. But spring break cruises aren’t just about college kids drinking too much and testing the bounds of common sense while getting tan. Families often embark on cruises with their little ones at this time of year too.
Whether you’re a college reveler or a working mom or dad, below are some factors to consider when deciding if a spring break cruise is right for you.
A family with younger children will no doubt want the fun-loving college crowd to have some level of supervision to check unruly behavior. Parents of college kids will also want rules in place to help protect their kids’ while onboard. To ensure the best interests of all passengers, most cruise lines have chaperone policies.
Keep in mind that the definition of a chaperone differs from one cruise line to another. Cruise lines typically require a chaperone for passengers under 21 years of age. Carnival Cruise Lines requires unmarried passengers under 21 to be accompanied by another passenger at least 25 years old, who is booked in the same cabin.
Other cruise ships, like Norwegian, require that that chaperone only stay in an adjacent cabin. Holland America, however, is pretty lenient, requiring 1 chaperone for every 5 passengers under 21.
A few lines – notably Disney Cruise Line and Oceania - allow persons 18 years and older to travel alone.
Generally speaking, cruise lines are more flexible when people younger than 21 travel with parents or another caregiver. Kids can be in separate, but adjacent cabins from their parents. Carnival Cruise Lines even allows kids under 18 to bunk anywhere on the same deck as mom or dad.
You can find chaperone rules listed under the FAQ section on the cruise line's website. These rules are not just for show either - they will be enforced.
Remember! Staff will carefully check your identification and other documentation before boarding. If you don't follow the age and chaperone rules, you may very well be left on the dock staring longingly at the cruise liner as it heads out to the wide blue sea.
Drinking polices vary considerably across cruise line companies. Some luxury operators have an open bar and allow for a BYOB (“bring your own booze") policy. Other liners have a corkage fee for consuming wine in the dinning room or bar that was brought onboard. Many European cruise companies, like Costa Cruises, lower the drinking age to 18 when departing from non-U.S. ports.
Make sure you double check the alcohol policy, which can be found on the company’s website, usually on the FAQ page.
What to know beforehand: Basically, you will want to know if free drinks are offered, if you can bring booze onboard and how much. Also, check if corkage fees apply and what the drinking age is.
Certain liners gear their activities towards children, giving parents a much needed break from daily child-rearing responsibilities.
Royal Caribbean is a great choice for kids ages 5 to 12. The liner has an impressive and wide selection of sports activities, like ice-skating, zip lines and carnival-style attractions, such as bumper cars. There are also kids-only BBQs, theater camps and dance competitions.
Disney Cruises is a favorite for among kids – and that’s not just for Mickey, Minnie and their extended group of animated friends either. Disney has a bevy of child-friendly activities, as well as "lab" programs for kids to conduct science experiments or create animation.
Royal Caribbean has some of the best options for young people who love to be active. Teens can challenge themselves climbing 100-foot rock walls over the ocean, or whipping around indoor ice skating rinks. There is also a PADI Scuba Diver Program available for adventurous passengers 12 and older.
For your older adolescent, Disney Dream Fantasy cruises feature a just-for-teens area called Vibe. Notably, this includes a section of sundeck for private lounging, away from adults and younger children.
The slightly older crowd may opt for Carnival Cruises, which has earned a bit of a reputation for loud pool games and late-night entertainment options. Nonetheless, rules regarding minors will be enforced.
Keep in mind: certain ships have more bars, lounges and dance clubs than others, so you’ll want to know which is which before shelling out money for your tickets. You’ll probably find more college students on ships that stop-off at spring break hotspots, like Cancun or Montego Bay. Parents should find out where the college kids are partying to avoid running into spring break shenanigans that might make you blush (or tempt you to join in).
Looking into the cruise line policies before you purchase your tickets will go a long way in making sure your spring break is as relaxing and fun as you dreamed it would be.
Pierce Skrabanek wishes you and your loved ones a fun-filled and safe trip. In the unfortunate event you should sustain an injury or illness while on a cruise, we are here to help. We are experienced in maritime law and can get the maximum compensation for your injuries. You can reach out to us at any time for a free and confidential case review.