If your idea of getting away from it all includes a vacation without the kids, consider booking an adults-only or adults-oriented cruise. While some lines provide a fully adults-only experience (i.e., children are not allowed on board), others offer adult-focused venues and activities on the ship to keep you separate from younger patrons.
When you’re ready to plan your adventure on the high seas, the following cruise lines provide upscale amenities, immersive excursions, sophisticated dining options, lively nighttime entertainment and time for relaxation among like-minded – and similarly aged – travelers.
Top Adults-Only Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
Travelers 18 and older are welcome aboard Viking’s adults-only ships, which feature destination-focused itineraries around the world. The line’s nine oceangoing 930-passenger ships offer luxurious, Scandinavian-style accommodations and comfortable spaces to relax with a book or gaze out at the ocean. Viking’s exploration program boasts special access to behind-the-scenes experiences curated for travelers interested in history, food or science. Immerse yourself in local culture with a visit to a traditional farm near Bergen, Norway, or spend an evening dining on Caribbean Creole cuisine prepared by renowned chefs in a mansion in Cartagena, Colombia.
In addition to these off-the-beaten-path excursions, guests can visit iconic sites like the ancient city of Ephesus (Kuşadasi) in Turkey and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Viking also hosts onboard enrichment programs like destination-themed performances, cooking classes and lectures by historians. Cruise fares include stateroom accommodations with a private veranda, all meals (including specialty dining venues), wine and beer at lunch and dinner, one free excursion per port, complimentary Wi-Fi, and access to onboard amenities such as the Nordic Spa.
In addition to its ocean vessels, Viking offers river cruises in destinations around the world – including the U.S. – on the new Viking Mississippi, a ship purpose-built for Mississippi River cruises. The line also has two Polar Class 6 expedition ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, which traverse waterways from Canada to the Caribbean to remote destinations in Antarctica.
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Virgin Voyages offers an adults-only retreat for guests ages 18 and older. The line currently has two sister ships: Scarlet Lady – the first in the fleet – and Valiant Lady. The line’s third ship, Resilient Lady, is set to debut in May 2023 in Athens. Brilliant Lady, Virgin’s fourth vessel, is scheduled to launch by the end of 2023.
All the ships in this adults-only cruise line feature 1,330 cabins (most with balconies) and 78 RockStar Quarters suites, where guests have access to Richard’s Rooftop, an exclusive outdoor deck space. The superyacht-inspired vessels boast 20-plus eateries, including restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs, and a variety of onboard fitness and wellness spaces. At Redemption Spa, relax and recharge in the mud room or salt therapy chamber. You can even order a bottle of bubbly anywhere on the ship via the Virgin Voyages Sailor app’s secret “Shake for Champagne” feature.
Itineraries span destinations in the Caribbean, Europe and trans-Atlantic crossings, as well as Australia, Asia and the Middle East during repositioning cruises. Cruise fares cover meals at all the dining venues; basic beverages such as water, tea and coffee; gratuities for the crew; Wi-Fi; and unlimited fitness classes. While on board, be sure to indulge in a swanky dinner at The Wake and an immersive show at The Red Room, the first multiform theater at sea.
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Saga Ocean Cruises
Hop across the pond to sail on U.K.-based Saga Cruises, which specifically caters to guests 50 and older (though travelers may bring a companion as young as 40). Saga’s boutique luxury ocean cruise ships carry a maximum of 987 passengers each. The line’s two ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, feature all-balcony cabins and depart from the Dover, Portsmouth and Tilbury cruise ports in England.
The British-inspired sailings are all-inclusive: Fares cover meals at all onboard restaurants as well as access to entertainment venues, Wi-Fi, and unlimited alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Prices also include excursions in certain ports of call, gratuities and chauffeur service from locations in the U.K. to the embarkation port. Guests can enjoy wellness-focused activities on the ship, such as yoga classes, spa treatments and customized fitness programs.
The company offers itineraries in Europe, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada, in addition to Greenland, Iceland, the Canary Islands and West Africa. On Spirit of Adventure, Saga’s newest ship, passengers can spend evenings indulging in Italian cuisine at Amalfi, sampling Nepalese dishes at Khukuri House, or settling in for drinks and dinner at the Supper Club, which features jazz music and cabaret-style entertainment.
Two ships in P&O Cruises’ U.K.-based fleet – Arcadia and Aurora – are exclusively for adults 18 and older. Arcadia, the slightly newer of the two ships since it debuted in 2005, carries 2,094 guests and 866 crew. The ship departs from Southampton in the U.K. and sails to the Canary Islands, Spain and Portugal; the British Isles; Norway and Iceland; and the U.S., Caribbean and Canada.
Arcadia’s five restaurants and 10 bars and cafes include Indian offerings with a British twist at Sindhu as well as steaks and seafood by renowned British chef Marco Pierre White at Ocean Grill. Passengers can sip Champagne at Intermezzo, the ship’s cocktail and Champagne venue, or enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif at the yacht-inspired Spinnaker. After exploring exciting ports of call, head back on board to enjoy Arcadia’s elegant interiors and top-notch service. You can splurge on a stone therapy treatment at the Oasis Spa for some extra pampering, followed by a live show at the three-tiered theater, The Palladium. Then, finish off the evening dancing the night away at The Globe.
Aurora is a slightly more intimate ship, carrying 1,874 passengers and 850 crew members. A four-level atrium gallery sits at the heart of Aurora. Itineraries include destinations in the Mediterranean, the Baltic region, Spain and Portugal, and the U.S. and Canada, plus a world cruise. There are seven dining venues as well as 11 bars and cafes on the ship. Dine at the same time every evening at club-style restaurant Alexandria, or opt for a more flexible schedule at The Beach House or Medina. Cruisers can also sit down for a tasty meal at The Glass House, which serves casual bites paired with wines from around the world. After dinner, live entertainment and dancing await you at the show lounge Carmen’s, as do larger productions at the ritzy 652-seat Curzon Theatre.
Royal Caribbean International
Solarium is Royal Caribbean International’s complimentary, child-free space open to guests 16 and older. Located at the front of every ship in the fleet, this indoor-outdoor oasis (or indoors-only on Quantum Class ships) offers impressive vistas and endless views of the sea. Thanks to a full glass canopy over the interior space, adult passengers can enjoy quiet lounging areas, swimming pools and whirlpool tubs with a view, no matter the weather. On top of that, select ships feature a cascading lagoon for further relaxation. Be sure to grab a tropical cocktail or zero-proof drink at Solarium Bar (or Sunshine Bar, on Quantum ships) to sip poolside while enjoying the ocean vistas.