(Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

September 8, 1997

---Essay---

Cruise into togetherness -- separately

By AMANDA LEHMERT
Tattoo Staff Writer

SOMEWHERE IN THE CARIBBEAN -- As a teenager, I
know the pain of the "Family Vacation." 

But I recently had an experience that changed my
view of vacationing with the family forever.

That's why I would like to take this opportunity
tell the parents of teenagers out there about a
way to take your children on vacation and let
the whole family enjoy themselves.

Here it is, in four easy to remember words: Go
on a cruise.

Let me start by enlightening those parents who
are still in denial. Sorry, but no matter how
well you think you know your child, I guarantee
you that her idea of a fun-filled week does not
match your own idea.

What most teenagers and parents need is a
vacation from each other.

But don't worry, there is still a way of taking
that horrible Family Vacation without
experiencing all the aggravation and grief that
togetherness brings.

That's where taking a cruise comes in.

The cruise is the ultimate family vacation for
many reasons.

First, it is perfect for any age because there
is a wide range of activities. So, as in my
case, if the parent likes to get up early and
spend the day hopping from one (in my view,
pointless) activity to another, and the teen
likes to do anything but that, then you both can
do as you please without even having to consult
each other.

Just because you came together doesn't mean you
have to stay together.

Besides, most formally held activities are based
on age groups, so parents won't have any
interest in doing the things their teenagers
plan to do.

That brings me to the next reason why a cruise
is the perfect teen/parent vacation.

At the delicate stage of life that teenagers are
in, some find it down right embarrassing to be
seen in public with their parents -- and I'm not
necessarily talking about myself here, Mom.

That problem is already solved by the "do as you
please" concept.

Another potential Family Vacation quarrel that
is also solved on a cruise is a teenager's need
for freedom. Since the worst thing a teenager
can do on a ship is fall overboard, it was my
experience that all the parents of kids I met
(with my own included) let their children have
almost complete control over their seven days at
sea.

This often means not waking up until noon,
eating soft serve for lunch, spending most of
the evening at the dance club or arcade, taking
a trip to the midnight buffet, and finally
returning to the cabin way past her bedtime, or
however else she cares to spend her day.

And as for the staying out past your bedtime
part, most of the parents practiced that habit
as well.

There is one final reason why a cruise is such a
good idea.

This one is for parents who want to get away
from their teenagers for a while, but would also
like to spend some family time.

On the cruise ship I took, all the little kids,
teenagers, and adults returned to their cabins
every evening around 6 o'clock.

Each person dressed up nicely, and they went, as
a family, down to their designated dining hall
to have a pleasant dinner. These families of
teenagers and parents where even seen laughing
and enjoying each other!

This is, perhaps, because they didn't have to be
with each other all day long. In any case, I'm
not sure the same thing can be said of a dinner
during any other kind of Family Vacation.

So there you have it! A vacation where you can
get away with the family, and get away from the
family at the same time. Bon voyage!


RETURN TO HOME PAGE