If getting away from it all includes a vacation without the kids, consider booking an adults-only cruise. While some lines provide a fully adults-only experience (e.g., children are not allowed on board), others offer adult-focused venues and activities on board to separate yourself from younger patrons. Consider the following cruise providers to enjoy upscale amenities, immersive excursions, sophisticated dining options, lively nighttime entertainment or relaxation among like-minded — and similarly aged — travelers.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Travelers 18 and older are welcome aboard Viking’s cruises, which feature destination-focused itineraries around the world. The line’s 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 in Bergen, Norway, or spend an evening dining on Caribbean Creole cuisine prepared by renowned chefs in a Colombian mansion. In addition to these off-the-beaten-path excursions, guests can visit iconic sites like the ancient city of Ephesus (Ku?adasi) in Turkey and Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Viking also hosts onboard enrichment programs like destination-themed performances, cooking classes and lectures by historians. Cruise fares include lodging in a stateroom with a private veranda, all meals (including specialty dining venues), wine and beer at lunch and dinner, one excursion per port and access to onboard amenities.
[Read more about Viking Ocean Cruises.]
Brand-new cruise line Virgin Voyages offers an adults-only retreat for guests ages 18 and older. Scarlet Lady — the first ship in the fleet — boasts 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 vessel features 20-plus eateries, including restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs, and complimentary fitness classes at The Perch. At Redemption Spa, relax or recharge in the mud room or salt therapy chamber. You can even order a bottle of Champagne for yourself or friends anywhere on the ship via the Virgin Voyages Sailor app’s secret Shake for Champagne feature. Itineraries feature destinations in the Caribbean and Europe, as well as trans-Atlantic crossings. Cruise fares cover basic beverages such as water, tea and coffee, as well as gratuities for crew members. 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.
Saga Ocean Cruises
Hop across the pond to sail on U.K.-based Saga Ocean 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 999 passengers each. The line’s two ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, feature all-balcony cabins and depart from either Tilbury, Dover or Southampton in the U.K. The British-inspired sailings are all-inclusive; fares cover meals at all onboard restaurants and access to entertainment venues, Wi-Fi and unlimited alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Prices also include excursions in some 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, and also sails to destinations in Africa and the Middle East. On Spirit of Adventure, Saga’s newest ship, passengers can spend evenings indulging in Italian cuisine at Amalfi or sampling Nepalese dishes at Khukuri House, or settle in for drinks and dinner at the Supper Club, which features jazz music and cabaret-style entertainment.
[Ready to plan a cruise? Find the best value sailings on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
U by Uniworld
U by Uniworld’s two 120-passenger matte black river ships, The A and The B, are easily distinguishable from other river cruise ships along Europe’s iconic waterways. The line’s chic style and immersive itineraries are open to adults 18 and older who have a passion for exploring. The boats feature amenities like a spa and two rooftop venues, and guests can jam out to music mixed by international DJs. At night, check out Ice Bar, a rooftop spot toward the front of the ship that features signature cocktails, craft beers and silent discos. You can also relax on daybeds at the rooftop lounge, or even camp out in a tent on the deck under the stars. The onboard fun continues with themed parties, mixology classes, paint and wine lessons, and karaoke. Locally sourced cuisine inspired by the destination is served family style at meal time, so guests can mix and mingle during the communal dining experience. There’s also an onboard gym, yoga and meditation classes, a morning run experience and boot camp. While on shore, U Hosts lead active and culturally focused excursions that include in-depth city walks, food tours, kayaking, vineyard hikes, bike rides and visits to medieval castles. Passengers can also choose to head out on their own to explore. Cruise fares include all meals, beer and wine during lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi access, gratuities, fitness classes and other onboard activities — plus at least one excursion per day.
Two ships in P&O Cruises’ U.K.-based fleet — Arcadia and Aurora — are exclusively for adults 18 and older. Arcadia, the newer of the two ships, 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 and Norway, and the U.S. and Canada. Arcadia’s five restaurants and 10 bars and cafes include authentic Indian offerings with a British twist at Sindhu and steaks and seafood by renowned British chef Marco Pierre White at Ocean Grill. You can even enjoy a proper afternoon tea inspired by master pâtissier Eric Lanlard. After exploring exciting ports of call, head back on board to enjoy Arcadia’s elegant interiors and top-notch service. Splurge on a stone therapy treatment at Oasis Spa for some extra pampering, followed by a live show at the three-tiered theater, The Palladium. Finish off the evening dancing the night away at The Globe.
Aurora is a slightly more intimate ship, carrying 1,874 passengers and 860 crew members. A four-level atrium gallery sits at the heart of the ship. Itineraries include destinations in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Baltic region and South America, plus a 99-night world cruise. There are seven dining venues 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 Sindhu Indian restaurant and The Glass House, which serves casual bites paired with wines from around the world. After dinner, enjoy live entertainment or dancing at Carmen’s show lounge, or watch larger productions at the ritzy 652-seat Curzon Theatre.
Overseas Adventure Travel
Overseas Adventure Travel offers immersive, small-ship voyages to lesser-known ports around the world designed for Americans 50 and older. The line operates privately owned and chartered ships that accommodate between 13 and 210 passengers. The company’s “Pillars of Discovery” offers in-depth, exclusive experiences that connect travelers to different cultures. The program includes “A Day in the Life” excursions, where travelers can lend a helping hand in local communities. Cruisers can even break bread with residents in their ports and sample home-cooked dishes in small groups. The company features voyages in the Baltic Sea, Athens and Istanbul, ancient Egypt and the Nile, the Dalmatian Coast and Greece, as well as Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands. Some of these adventures also have a land portion in addition to the cruise. Cruise fares include most meals, plus house wine, beer and nonalcoholic beverages. Optional tours require an additional fee. Overseas Adventure Travel is also an excellent cruise option for women traveling solo. The company specializes in individual travel and has 36 regional offices around the world, so travelers can feel safe far from home. Each local guide hosts a maximum of 25 passengers on tours, and the cruise company has a complimentary, 96-page travel book (available by mail or online) with tips for solo woman travelers.
Other Adults-Only Cruise Options
Princess Cruises: The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary, an adults-only retreat (ages 18 and older), offers cruisers an escape from the more bustling public spaces of the Princess ships. The relaxing top-deck venue is available on all of the Princess Cruises ships and features plush lounge chairs, a spa-like setting and Serenity Stewards that serve light bites, spa cuisine and other refreshments. To fully unwind, consider reserving a private cabana, where you can book an open-air massage. The child-free venue varies from ship to ship. For example, Sky Princess and Emerald Princess, newer vessels in the line, boast a unique contemporary design and twice as many cabanas as older ships. On Sky Princess, Majestic Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess, adults can also enjoy an exclusive pool and bar area. If you’re heading off the ship for an excursion to Princess Cays (the line’s private island in the Bahamas), plan to chill out for the day in an adults-only Sanctuary Bungalow. Located just minutes from the ocean and beach, the rentals accommodate four people and the price includes two complimentary float rentals. You can also order a gourmet picnic to enjoy while lounging on shore.
[Read more about Princess Cruises.]
Carnival Cruise Line: Serenity Adult-Only Retreat
Located on all of Carnival Cruise Line’s cruise ships, this adults-only outdoor hideaway is a tranquil oasis hidden away from bustling venues and family-friendly areas. Access to the space is complimentary for passengers 21 and older; guests can enjoy relaxing loungers, daybeds and whirlpools. Take in the warm sun and ocean breeze with a signature sangria in hand, or stop for a healthy meal at Fresh Creations Salad outlet (available on select ships). Make the most of your alone time with a quick nap and a good book, or simply kick back and relax before heading back into the high-energy environment elsewhere on the ship.
[Read more about Carnival Cruise Line.]
Disney Cruise Line: Quiet Cove Pool, Serenity Bay and More
Though Disney Cruise Line tends to attract families and younger travelers, it also offers multiple spaces and activities for adults 18 and older to escape to. For a romantic dinner without the kids, head to Palo, which features contemporary Italian cuisine and panoramic ocean views. Or, on Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, plan a memorable evening at Remy. Developed by chef Scott Hunnel of Walt Disney World Resort and Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Lallement, this upscale venue offers French cuisine and a world-class wine list. Depending on the ship, adult travelers can also dance the night away in a trendy club, watch live entertainment or a cabaret show, catch a sports game on satellite TV or sit back and relax with an after-dinner cocktail at a bar or lounge. Outdoors, Quiet Cove Pool is a tranquil place to relax on Disney’s Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy ships. On Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island, adults can head to Serenity Bay, a scenic, adults-only stretch of the beach. For even more pampering, Senses Spa & Salon boasts treatment rooms with ocean views, luxurious spa villas and other amenities.
[Looking for a Caribbean escape? See the top Caribbean cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Azamara: The Sanctum Terrace
On Azamara’s three upscale boutique ships, adults 18 and older can relax and rejuvenate in a tranquil setting at The Sanctum Terrace. This outdoor deck at the back of the ship features lounge chairs, daybeds, ocean views and a thalassotherapy jetted whirlpool tub. Thalassotherapy — derived from the Greek word “thalassa,” meaning ocean or sea — uses salt water to help ease joint and muscle pain, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders and more. For total relaxation, book a signature spa treatment or massage followed by a session in the steam room. Cruisers can purchase a pass for a day or a package for the duration of the cruise. Access to The Sanctum Terrace is complimentary for guests staying in suites.
[Read more about Azamara.]
Norwegian Cruise Line: Vibe Beach Club, Posh Beach Club and Spice H2O
Norwegian Cruise Line has three adults-only outdoor venues for guests 18 and older (though specific spaces vary by ship). The venues feature ocean views, bars, plush seating and other amenities. On Norwegian’s Bliss, Joy, Escape, Getaway and Breakaway, Vibe Beach Club sun deck invites guests to relax in oversized hot tubs and enjoy perks like a full-service bar and chilled towels. Norwegian Encore, one of the line’s newest ships, boasts an impressive two-level beach club. One-day passes are available, as are cabana rentals for more privacy. At Norwegian Epic’s Posh Beach Club, complimentary perks include fruit skewers, cold water spritzers and a snack menu. Single-day or multiday passes are available to all adult cruisers, while travelers who book a Haven suite can access Posh Beach Club for free. Spice H2O is another adults-only venue on the Norwegian Bliss, Joy, Escape, Getaway, Breakaway, Epic and Star, and access is complimentary. At night, the space becomes an open-air dance club where you can spend the evening partying under the stars.
[Read more about Norwegian Cruise Line.]
Royal Caribbean International: Solarium
Solarium is Royal Caribbean International’s complimentary, child-free space open to passengers 16 and older. Located at the front of every ship in the fleet, this indoor-outdoor oasis offers the impressive vistas and endless views of the sea. Thanks to a full glass canopy over the interior space, 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-class ships) to sip poolside while enjoying the sea breeze.
[Read more about Royal Caribbean International.]
You might also be interested in:
More from U.S. News