I’ve been traveling since I was 8 years old on all types of cruises and cruise lines. I had always been involved in the cruise line’s children and teen programs, where kids and teens could hang out and do activities with people their own age. The children programs typically end at 11 years old and the teen programs are from ages 12-17. After this there isn’t anything really planned for people between the ages of 18-20.
Two years ago, I went on a cruise as a newly turned 19 year old and I was terrified that I wouldn’t make any friends and that I would be bored during the long sea days. I looked online for tips and tricks on how to survive being in the weird age group of 18-20 and found nothing. So I went on the cruise scared and unprepared.
After twelve days of cruising, I was having as much, if not more, fun than I’d had in previous cruises. If I had only known some of the tips I will share today I would have been excited and prepared.
So here are my 10 tips on surviving cruises as an 18-20 year old!
- Say yes!
Become a yes man and say yes! Whether it’s trying something new like food or a sport or volunteering during a show onboard, say yes! This is something that definitely helped me because I tried not to have any guards up or prejudgment ideas about things like zip lining over the ocean or dancing like crazy with retired folks. Saying yes helped me have an open mind about everything and made the trip better.
2. Don’t be afraid to say hi to strangers!
I’m a pretty outgoing person in general but when I began the cruise as a 19 year old I was terrified to say hi to people. What if they didn’t want to meet anyone new? What if they thought I was weird for saying hello?
But I had to feel the fear and do it anyway in order to make new friends because chances were that these people were in the same boat.
My favorite opening liner: “Hey, where are you from?”
Most likely they are not from the exact same place you are from and the line is a great conversation starter.
3. Be open to people of all ages!
I have been on cruises during peak season which have more people my age than the cruises that are on the off season. But I actually prefer the off season ones and have met many more friends during these cruises. On these cruises, there are some people that are my age but most will be either older or younger than me.
My best friend Millie and I met when I used the line mentioned above and I learned she was younger than me but we soon became friends. If I had the notion that I would only find friends my age I was going to be disappointed.
My parents are another great example, they are of course older than me, and I found people of all ages loved hanging out with my cool parents including myself. So be open to everyone despite their age because you will find some amazing friends of all ages.
4. Get involved on onboard activities!
Try out all the different competitions like soccer, basketball, ping pong, pool volleyball, and my favorite dodge ball! You will always meet some really cool people trying all these activities out. I’ve met multiple friends this way and I found its great way to try new things too! On Royal Caribbean Cruises, they have something called the Flow Rider where you can ride artificial waves and there are always some young if not cool people hanging out there.
5. Go out at night to the club!
Mostly everyone around the ages of 18-20 loves to party and typically there’s only one place to do just that! Every cruise will have at least one 18+ club/disco that will feature some great music and some great people that love to dance. You will always meet people here with the same thought in mind.
6. Don’t get drunk if you’re not allowed to!
On this peak season cruise I was on during spring break, there were a ton of people my age and one of whom was a 19 year old boy traveling with his 21 year old brother. The older one would sneak drinks to his younger sibling all night long and as always he got caught early on in the cruise. The 19 year old would no longer be allowed to go to the only club the cruise had to offer.
So as much as you want to drink, if you are underage, cruising is not the place to do it! Because when you’re on the cruise, the security guards will remember you and the fact that you are underage. So if the port the cruise goes to allows it, drink on land and not onboard.
7. Stay up late, get up early-ish!
After dancing all night in the club, the people around the ages of 18-20 or older will most likely hang out afterwards like getting some late night pizza, playing some cards, or going to the hot tub. Don’t be afraid to stay up with them.
Mornings on cruises are always packed with tons of things to do that you shouldn’t miss out on so wake up early-ish even if you’re tired because you don’t want to just sleep the day away. Take naps by the pool or before and after dinner time for an hour. But as I always say “you can sleep when you’re dead.”
8. Get to know the staff!
Some of the staff (usually the sport staff) is typically made of people that are around 20-30 years old and you can always spend some time talking to them and find out where they’re from and how they like working on a cruise. They got this job because they wanted to travel and meet people all the time, so chat it up!
9. Don’t fall in love!
I am all for a Jack and Rose Titanic love affair but chances are it probably won’t happen. While I have met people that have met on a cruise and are still together, to quote He’s Just Not That Into You “That is the exception and you are the rule.”
Most boys and even girls that are on a cruise are there to have fun whether it’s a five day cruise or a fourteen day cruise. Don’t go crazy about someone whose just there to “hang out.” Instead have fun yourself and be open to meeting all different kinds of boys or girls and enjoy yourself because it’s still a vacation.
10. Be Happy!
This is just a life motto of mine so I feel it’s always good advice! But it’s a vacation so stay happy and positive about making new friends and wonderful memories because it will happen. Don’t over think or get mad at things you can’t control. If you stay in a happy and positive mindset, you will have an amazing adventure!
So have fun on your next cruise! And if any of you have any more tips and tricks be sure to leave a comment below!