Youth protection: what teenagers are allowed to do on cruise ships

The older children get, the more independent they want to be, especially on vacation – after all, young people meet lots of new people and don’t have to get up early in the morning to go to school. Many parents experience the evening excursions with mixed feelings and worry whether their son or daughter will return safe and sober. In the case of ship voyages, a double all-clear can be given here: The teens cannot leave the ship unnoticed and get lost. In addition, the shipping companies pay strong attention to the protection of minors, as you will learn below.

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Which youth protection regulations apply on board and on land?

If the ship is in port and the guests go on an excursion, the laws of the respective country apply. This also applies as long as the ship is sailing in the territorial waters of a nation, i.e. up to a maximum of 12 nautical miles off the coast. On the high seas, however, the shipping companies have their own individual rules and regulations.

Even if the employees of the shipping companies make sure that the respective valid regulations for the protection of minors are observed, the following applies in principle: As parents, you have the duty of supervision for your child. It is best to sensitize your offspring before the trip about the points discussed below.

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AIDA Cruises: Youth protection according to German standards

According to AIDA’s parents’ brochure, the German Youth Protection Act applies on board the kissing ships, with the crew able to track the age of young people via coding on the boarding pass.

AIDA regulations at a glance:

  • Gambling and auctions: When it comes to gambling, AIDA can’t take a joke: Teenagers under 18 are not allowed in the casino – either as players or spectators. Guests are also only allowed to actively participate in the bingo and art auctions if they are 18 or older.
  • Alcohol consumption: Shipping company crew members generally do not serve alcohol to children under 16 years of age. Teens 16 years and older are allowed to purchase and consume beer, wine and sparkling wine as well as the drinks mixed from them. In U.S. ports (including in jurisdictions such as z.B. Puerto Rico) the shipping company serves alcohol on board only to guests 21 years and older.
  • smoking ban: Guests under the age of 18 are generally prohibited from smoking on board with AIDA. Minors are also not sold tobacco products and other nicotine-containing products and their containers.
  • Bars and discotheques: According to the law for the protection of minors, on-board bars are considered to be restaurants, which is why children and teenagers up to 16 years of age are not allowed to be there between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. without being accompanied by their parents or a guardian. For teenagers aged 16 and 17, the "curfew" shifts to the time between 24 and 05 o’clock. If the Anytime Bar or the D6 is open as a discotheque, the stay is permitted under the following conditions:
  • Adolescents up to 16 years of age only in the company of parents or a guardian
  • Adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 are allowed to stay unaccompanied by their parents or a guardian until midnight
  • Youth aged 16 and 17 together with parents or guardian without time limit

The crew carries out random age checks to ensure compliance with the above regulations.

You can delegate the duty of supervision and appoint a person to accompany your child to the disco. This person must be of age and reliable in your eyes, as well as watch over your child at all times in the discotheque. This requires that the supervisor should be sober. In order to transfer the responsibility of supervision, you must fill out the appropriate AIDA form (which you can find at the Teens hosts and in the Teens info folder at the reception) and hand it in signed at the reception desk. There you will receive a stamped copy that your son or daughter must have with them when going to the disco.

Kids & teens information folder at the reception of AIDAblu

Entrance to D6 on board AIDAprima

German Youth Protection Act on board the Mein Schiff fleet

On board the feel-good ships of TUI Cruises, the regulations of the German Youth Protection Act also apply to the consumption of tobacco and alcohol by children and adolescents, as stated in the family information of the shipping company. As with AIDA, the following applies: The crew can use the boarding pass to determine how old guests are: For children up to 3 years of age, there is an "I" (for "Infant") on the card, for children between 4 and 15 years of age, there is a "C" (for "Child") and for young people between 16 and 17 years of age, there is a "T" (for "Teenager"). No endorsement is made for those 18 and older.

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