Whoever said youth is wasted on the young never took a cruise with their kids. If they had, they would know that an amazing variety of on-board activities for kids makes it impossible to waste even a minute. While you're lapping up the leisure of your lifetime, you can bet your kids are also having the time of theirs. Besides all the scavenger hunts, swimming relays, kite flying, arts and crafts, treasure hunts and video games, there are separate pools, circuses at sea, beach parties and shore excursions -- even ukulele lessons and Koosh games.
That's just before lunch! Then, as you enjoy quail en croute, your kids will order from children's menus, choosing foods with appellations guaranteed to stimulate adolescent appetites, like Jaws Dawgs and King Kong burgers. Later come the ice cream and pizza parties, masquerade and pajama parties, star-search talent shows, cartoons and movies. For teens, there are separate discos, sports tournaments, dating games, pool games, computer classes, language classes, parties and snorkeling, even a daily newspaper.
Carefully chosen teen-age and youth counselors are aboard many ships, especially during summer and holidays.
The number of parents bringing kids along on cruises has risen over the past five years to about 28 percent, according to a recent cruise-line study. If you've shied away from booking because of the expense, it costs less than you think, and may turn out to be lower than your land-based family vacation. The Cruise Line Industry Association recently compared the cost of a seven-day trip to the Bahamas (with airfare) to that of a seven-day cruise to the Bahamas: the land-based vacation cost $1,839; the cruise was $1,715. Moreover, discounted packages are easy to come by, ranging from 15 percent to 35 percent off. Even though summers and holidays are peak seasons (and usually command the highest prices), there are lots of ships to fill, most of them wisely welcoming the burgeoning family market.