Childs Friend or Not During a Cruise Vacation.

Updated on March 22, 2019
M.S. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
24 answers

We want to take a cruise next year and I want my 12 year old son to bring a friend. He is an only child and thought he might not want to do the individual kids activities by himself. However, he doesn't seem that interested in bringing a friend. What about friends that are girls? I am also torn on that subject as to whether its appropriate or not.

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answers from Los Angeles on

No! He's said he isn't interested in bringing a friend. Listen to him.
He can enjoy the activities himself.
Also, I would never want the responsibility of taking someone's child on a cruise.
So much could go wrong! Don't do it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

He's most likely going to make some friends on the cruise. Or, could he be an introvert? If he's not that interested in bringing a friend I would let it go. There will be plenty of other kids. Sign him up for different kid activities and send him off. Have fun! I hope you have good weather.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

We go on tons of cruises and bring my dd who is an only child. Cruise ships have kids clubs broken down by age. My kid has loved it...guys and girls hang out together at that age...or sometimes they just make a friend. They organize activities...swim contests...etc.

I think bringing a friend would be too much togetherness.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

Please look at, and listen to, your son. He's telling you that he doesn't want to bring someone along on vacation.

Unless your son is a hermit, a recluse, sitting in the dark and crying, unwilling to go to school or talk to anyone (even the mailman), then let him be himself. If he is actually withdrawn and depressed, with no friends, no human contact, with his grades sinking fast at school, refusing food, and if this is the source of your determination to arrange a friend on an arranged vacation, then get him some professional help.

If, however, your son can comfortably be by himself, does his best at school, talks with other kids at school, interacts with you and his dad, and has at least one interest besides his phone (and that can be fixing computers, taking a bike ride, fixing things in the garage, reading actual books - it doesn't have to mean being on a sports team or going to karate 5 nights a week), then let him be himself.

Show him that you respect his personality, his interests, his ability to entertain himself, and that you aren't trying to force him to be something he's not. It sounds like you're desperate to change him.

As for taking a girl on a cruise, when your son doesn't have a girlfriend or want any friend to come along, well, I can't imagine a worse idea. Even if he liked a girl, 12 is way too young to invite a girl along on such a lavish vacation. You'd have to assume responsibility for her, a pre-teen, and get her a private room, and supervise her every moment. And the pressure that would put on your son and the girl is unthinkable.

Stop trying to change your son and arrange his life by planning social interactions. If you must buy him something, don't buy him a friend. Buy him a new pair of shoes. Or a burger.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Please don’t entertain this idea. You have so FEW vacations left with your son with him wanting to spend time with you. Enjoy this while you can. You’ll wake up one day and he will think he’s too cool to spend time with.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You received some great advice when you asked this question in slightly different wording two days ago.

Focus on making your family trip a great *family* trip. Don't worry, you'll have plenty of future time for your son to ditch you in favor of his friends.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If your son does not want a friend to come along, don't push it. You will be burdening him unduly. Also, at age 12 I would never have allowed another family to take my child on a cruise. No way. No parents of a 12 year old girl are going to allow it either. I wouldn't even ask a parent that. If you think your son will be so miserable on this trip, then why not change it to something he would enjoy better?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Your almost-identical post from the other day now makes more sense.

I think you're going to have a hard time getting anyone to send their child with you on a cruise. And no, I doubt anyone will let their daughters go off with your son. You'd have to have separate accommodations, which would mean incredible expense for you and also that their daughter would be alone in a room. They're not likely to go for that, understandably so. Moreover, your son doesn't want it. If your son doesn't want guy friends, I doubt he'd want the stress and the scrutiny from you if he's with a girl. I honestly don't understand why you are pushing this in 2 questions.

A cruise offers so many activities, and if there are age-appropriate things to do, most other parents on the cruise will let their kids go off and do them. So your son will have a chance to meet up with other kids interested in similar things. If you want to be sure he's not on his electronics all the time, then take them away. But I truly hope you have chosen a cruise because you feel it offers things that he will enjoy so it's not going to be a week of you having fun while he is miserable. Hopefully he will rise o the occasion and make his own fun with the ween/teen passengers.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

As a parent I would not allow another family to take my child on a cruise.
You already asked a similar question.
Why do you keep mentioning that your son is an only child?
You seem to want to make too much out of that.
A 12 yr old boy with a 12 yr old friend who happens to be a girl on a cruise - where your son doesn't even want to bring a friend along in the first place?
Um just no.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Your first post now makes sense, and my answer is an even more emphatic 'no.' I can't imagine taking someone else's child on a cruise--the expense, the responsibility for his/her well-being and happiness in tight quarters, the awkwardness with the parents as they think about how to reciprocate such an extravagant gift--and on top of it, your own kid doesn't WANT to have a friend along. As I mentioned in my response to the first question, we took our daughter's friend along to a 4 day trip. Her parents sent her with money and a card to pay for activities, but we chose to treat her (the only big expense was one day at a theme park). Her mother has insisted on planning a day when she, I, and the gals will do something in the city as a treat from them--they feel a need to give back an invite for an activity was pretty low-budget (drove there and back, time-share lodgings, more than half the meals eaten in the time-share, and only one big day activity). Try to imagine how your son's friend's parents would feel in a situation where a family has spent over a thousand dollars on their child. It's just not feasible. Then, there's the fact that you will miss a great opportunity to spend time with your kid--remember that in a few years, he will be off driving himself and you'll never see him. Just start setting up some good limits on electronics use and enjoy the time with him and your spouse on the ship next year.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Didn’t you just post this question?
Why post again?

If he’s not interested in bringing a friend then spare the friend from being alone on the “joint” trip and not having fun.

We have a 24 yr old only child daughter and sometimes we would take a friend of hers (girl) along with us entirely at our expense!

Other times, we enjoyed special vacations just us. We were a very tight family if 3 so we enjoyed each other on our special trips and made special memories.

We also had fun when we had a guest tagging along.

If your child is not interested in taking a friend, then I would not spend the extra money on a friend to go. I’d spend the money on fun experiences for my family!

We are not cruise people but I don’t think I’d take a friend on a cruise because of the ports and different areas you’d visit.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

This post helps clarify your last one. I would suggest that taking a friend along is a huge responsibility for him, as he would have to be host to someone else the whole time. As for the cruise activities, he may very well enjoy them, spend time reading or joining you on ship excursions. If you have not planned the actual cruise, I have heard that Disney has wonderful activities for all ages.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I thought this answer when I read your previous question but didn't post it. Since you asked the same question again, here's my thought:
Don't push the friend issue since he's not interested. Set screen time limits if you are concerned that he's going to spend the entire time on his phone.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I would be fine with coed at that age, but I would supervise them of course. But if he doesn't want to bring anyone that is his choice, he will meet people there I am sure.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

We went on a cruise last year with some friends. Our friends have a daughter my daughters age and they had a great time together and met other teens on the cruise. Our friends also have a son that is 10 and he did not have a friend. He had a blast by himself. We were on Norwegian and they had an awesome kids club. We never saw the kid as he was always doing the kids club activities and made friends along the way. Most other kids are in the same boat and are looking to make friends. After two days, other than the ports, we never saw our kids because they were off having fun with the friends they had made.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

We went on a cruise a couple of years ago and my daughter made friends on the ship. If your son doesn't want a friend to come along then don't force the issue. There are things for kids to do on the ship. My daughter spent most of her time in the pool. He will be fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It's one thing if you have a child who wants to bring a really good friend (that you know really well and the family really well) and the child would have an awesome time with that child - who would be no problem etc. and it would make everything e-a-s-i-e-r for all concerned.

I don't see that here.

I have an introverted child (that I wrote about in another question) and I think being on a cruise with a friend (even his closest pal) at that age especially - would have been disastrous. It would have meant that he never would have gotten a break from that friend. It would have been stressful.

If your child isn't interested - just let it go. If you're questioning it - it's a sign it is not a GOOD idea. And trying it out on a cruise - just don't go there. The whole question of a girl friend ... I wouldn't even approach that. My introverted son had a girl pal at that age (often got along better with girls) - but it would have been stressful to have a girl pal around daily. Just don't.

Your son will have opportunities to be social (at least around other kids) on the cruise. There's always very outgoing kids - so if he's totally bored, all it takes is to go to the pool or anywhere on these ships and those outgoing kids find kids like your son.

It will be fine. Just let it be and don't stress or worry. Family vacations on cruises with only children can be really fun. I have friends who do this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think you are trying too hard to make this vacation about his needs. I think you want a cruise and and are determined to make him like it too. So your choice is to either bring him along and he may or may not enjoy himself or go on the cruise without him.

BTW, I would never have allowed my children to go on a cruise with a friend.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'd have done this in a heartbeat with my boys. girls or boys, they both had friends who would have loved this and they'd all have had a great time.

but in your scenario, you're looking for something to entertain your son. even if he doesn't want it. i think it would suck for the other kid to come on something cool like a cruise and then get stuck trying to do fun things with a companion who's meh about them being there and doesn't want to do fun things.

how about accommodating your son's personality and letting him decide for himself if having a friend along is something he'd like, and whether or not he wants to do activities? if he's perfectly content roaming on his own or reading a book at the pool, there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

foisting another child on him to try and make him something he's not sounds horribly uncomfortable for everyone. that's what i find inappropriate, not whether it's a girl or boy.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Plenty of kids on the ship. Bringing someone else’s child is huge liability and a lot of responsibility on you if they get sick, lost, or in trouble.


answers from Tampa on

I think the kid is old enough to make friends on the ship. I get if you wanted to bring a cousin or something but to go out of your way just do the kid is not lonely .. nah! And no no girls.

I have a 13 year old and 11 1/2 both make friends easily and don’t need mommy to worry about friends. They are kids and there is a ton to do on the ship. Especially he didn’t sound like he was thrilled. ( almost sounds like a movie called the toy I think, with Richard Pryor)



answers from Louisville on

There is so much to do on cruises he will find friends if he’s not interested do t spend the money!


answers from Phoenix on

If he’s not that interested in bringing a friend I wouldn’t complicate the trip by doing so. And no I wouldn’t bring a girl. More complications.
The point of a family trip is family.



answers from Washington DC on

Just bring your own and enjoy your time together.

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