The Hard-To-Impress Teen
Create family memories and maybe sneak in a little history
on a group getaway in Ireland, the Bahamas and other enticing isles
By Madison G. Welch
Even if your teens think they're too cool for your family vacation, a cruise will tempt them with exotic ports, adventurous shore excursions and an exhaustive list of shipboard activities. Among other youth programs, Princess Cruises caters to teens with exclusive lounges, dance parties, sports tournaments, "mocktail" competitions and more.
Meanwhile, parents can relax in The Sanctuary, an adults-only haven, or savor a specialty restaurant like the Crown Grill, where mouthwatering Maine lobster tails are grilled with garlic. At night, the whole family can munch on popcorn and enjoy a movie on a 300-square-foot screen by the pool.
For a sunny sailing option, check out a weeklong coastal California itinerary traveling round trip from San Francisco with stops in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico. Prices start at $449 per person for a March 14 departure aboard the Star Princess.
Tour Ireland at a discount
If you have teenagers at home, your calendar likely is jam-packed with sports practices and weekend recitals, leaving little time for vacation planning. It's also challenging to organize an overseas trip that's within your budget. That's why an escorted tour is an ideal option for families with older kids. Companies with years of experience obtain group rates for guests. Plus, this type of vacation is largely headache-free, since most of the travel arrangements are made for you.
Brendan Vacations is particularly family-friendly, offering a 10 percent discount on select departures for travelers ages 5 to 17. The company specializes in itineraries to Scotland and Ireland -- in fact, it was named for the Irish patron saint of navigation. Its weeklong "Treasures of Ireland" tour starts at $1,325 per person, without airfare, and travels from Dublin to Limerick, a beautiful city with a river running through its center. Highlights include hiking in the wooded countryside, exploring Blarney Castle and visiting the dramatic Cliffs of Moher.
A family-friendly island resort
A rock-climbing facility. A pottery studio. A shark-infested lagoon. All
this and much, much more are on tap at Atlantis, a resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Countless activities ensure that even hard-to-please teens won't whine about being bored. Instead, they can spend their time at Crush, an exclusive hangout with dance parties, an Internet lounge, gaming consoles and a snack bar.
The on-site water park, Aquaventure, covers 141 acres with swimming pools, a river ride and several waterslides, including one with a 60-foot drop and another that tunnels underwater past a shark enclosure. For a calmer wildlife encounter, take the family to interact with dolphins, sea lions and stingrays or snorkel near artificial ruins inspired by the legend of Atlantis.
Guest accommodations vary widely, ranging from 275-square-foot "value" rooms to luxury suites. Dozens of restaurants and cafes are on-site, too, from high-end sushi to Starbucks.
The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in January/February 2015. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 680-2858 for current rates and details.