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 (Ku?adasi) 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.
[Want to cruise on Viking Ocean Cruises? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
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.
[Looking to plan a cruise on Virgin Voyages? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
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.
Top Cruises Designed for Adults
While many all-inclusive — or mostly all-inclusive — boutique and luxury cruise lines are family-friendly, many of the onboard venues and activities are adult-by-design. Since there are few (or no) activities geared toward younger cruisers and no babysitting services, you typically won’t find parents with young children on these ships.
Azamara’s four upscale boutique ships provide immersive travel experiences geared toward adults. These smaller ships — accommodating a maximum of 702 guests — sail waterways and rivers larger ships can’t access, docking in city centers and unique ports of call around the globe.
Many Azamara voyages also offer longer stays and overnights in port not found on many other itineraries, including wine and culture itineraries. Some even feature special events, such as a voyage to the Monaco Grand Prix in May 2023 and 2024, or a 12-night round-trip cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to attend Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. In addition, the line is extending its offerings on Country Intensive voyages in 2023 and 2024 with itineraries in destinations like various European countries, South Africa, Australia and Japan.
On board you’ll find a wide selection of casual and formal dining options ranging from Windows Cafe to the main dining room, Discoveries Restaurant. Specialty restaurant offerings include top-notch steak and seafood at Prime C or, if you prefer, Italian fare at Aqualina. First offered on Azamara Onward (the newest ship) before being expanded to the whole fleet, Atlas Bar serves innovative craft cocktails like the London Fog Martini or Tuscan Delight. Discoveries Lounge is another guest favorite for mingling with fellow cruisers at the end of the day. Wine aficionados will enjoy pairing limited-production and rare vintages from the Wine Cellar with dinner in the evenings.
Cruise fares include stateroom accommodations; select spirits, wine and beer; gratuities; and nonalcoholic beverages like bottled water, specialty coffees and tea. You’ll also get access to complimentary AzAmazing Celebrations with special evening and daytime events ashore and on the ship. Additional amenities like a complimentary internet package, free specialty dining, butler service and other perks come with suite accommodations.
[Want to cruise on Azamara? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Scenic Eclipse, touted as “The World’s First Discovery Yacht,” offers an all-inclusive, ultra-luxurious experience for just 228 guests (with 172 crew). The ship’s Polar Class 6 rating enables it to sail to destinations like Antarctica. On these expedition-style voyages, the ship will carry only 200 guests and a total of 192 crew. All suite accommodations include a private veranda or terrace; butler service; state-of-the-art amenities; Egyptian cotton linens; and an in-suite minibar stocked with Champagne, wine and other personally selected beverages. You’ll also find indulgences like onboard helicopters for intimate excursions and Scenic Neptune, an underwater submarine.
Guests can enjoy up to 10 dining experiences on the ship, including fine dining at Lumière. This elegant French restaurant seats just 35 guests and features a multicourse degustation menu and a Champagne bar. For a less formal option, check out the Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern specialties — and the intimate teppanyaki grill experience — at Night Market @ Koko’s. When it’s time for an after-dinner drink, sample one (or several) of 100-plus whiskeys available at Scenic Lounge Bar. Other onboard activities include taking a culinary class at Scenic Épicure, getting an invigorating treatment at Senses Spa, or just relaxing with spectacular sea views and Champagne on deck 10 at the Panorama Bar.
The line’s second luxury yacht, Scenic Eclipse II, set sail on its inaugural voyage from Lisbon, Portugal, in mid-April 2023. The new ship is 550 feet in length and nearly identical to its sister ship, Scenic Eclipse. One addition to the vessel is the new Sky Deck. This space boasts 270-degree views, a bar with indoor and outdoor seating, and six private cabanas. What’s more, the oval-shaped Sky Deck pool is the perfect place to kick back — and it’s the place to be during the sail-away deck party, especially as the sun sets over the ocean.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
This cruise line has five luxury vessels in its fleet — with the sixth ship, Seven Seas Grandeur, set to launch in November 2023. The all-inclusive fares on Regent Seven Seas Cruises include perks like round-trip business class or coach airfare (depending on the destination); complimentary pre-cruise hotel stays; two- or three-night land packages; all meals and beverages; free shore excursions; and more. Seven Seas Splendor, christened in February 2020, is the line’s newest vessel at sea. This elegant ship boasts 373 luxurious all-balcony suites and a ratio of 548 crew members to just 746 guests.
In the evenings, diners can choose between French cuisine at Chartreuse; creative Asian fare at Pacific Rim; aged steaks at Prime 7; Italian dishes at Sette Mari at La Veranda; or design-your-own-entree options at Compass Rose. For a casual evening, plan to dine alfresco at the Pool Grill. Adults can also enjoy pre-dinner cocktails in one of the lounges and nightly entertainment at the Constellation Theater. For a nightcap, sip a fine cognac in one of the ship’s favorite hideaways, Connoisseur Club. There are also plenty of options for exercise, fitness and relaxation at Serene Spa & Wellness.
If you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on the high seas, consider booking the Regent Suite. Situated on deck 14 — and boasting more than 4,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space — this luxurious accommodation features one of the largest balconies at sea with a Treesse minipool, in addition to two bedrooms and a private in-suite spa. Cruise fare for the suite also includes a long list of high-end amenities such as access to a private dining room called The Study, a personal car and driver in port, free in-suite spa services, a private butler, and more.
[Looking to plan a journey on Regent Seven Seas Cruises? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Silversea’s all-inclusive luxury ocean and expedition cruises offer voyages to more than 900 destinations across the seven continents. The line’s 10 ultra-luxury ships and expedition vessels range in size from 51 to 364 suites and boast spacious ocean view accommodations — most with private verandas. Cruise fares cover door-to-door transfers from home to the ship, including airfare (business class in some destinations) and pre- and post-cruise hotel stays. On board, guests will have butler service, a nearly one-to-one ratio of guests to staff, 24-hour gourmet dining, premium alcoholic beverages, one complimentary shore excursion in each port, gratuities and more.
Silversea‘s newest ship, Silver Nova, is set to debut in summer 2023. The luxury flagship of the line boasts an even more upscale guest experience in the suites with butler service for every accommodation, an impressive crew-to-guest ratio, more open spaces and top-notch cuisine. Silver Nova is also the first vessel in the fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is billed as a more sustainable cruise ship. Silver Nova will begin sailing in the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Caribbean and South America for the winter.
The second-newest ship in the fleet, Silver Endeavour, was regarded as one of the most luxurious expedition ships at sea when it launched in July 2022. With its Polar Class 6 rating, the ship visits the far ends of the Earth in the remote polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic.
Endeavour’s features include state-of-the-art technology for navigation and exploration — and what Silversea bills as industry-leading ratios of Zodiac boats and experts to guests. Passengers also enjoy luxurious amenities among the ship’s eight public decks, from the various dining and drinking venues to a two-story solarium with a swimming pool and whirlpool tub; cruisers can also take advantage of indoor and outdoor observation areas and a spa. You’ll receive Silversea’s high level of service with just 200 guests and 200 crew, providing an immersive and personalized experience aboard.
[Want to cruise on Silversea Cruises? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Seabourn Cruise Line
Seabourn also features an all-inclusive adult-focused experience on its five luxury ocean vessels and two expedition ships. The line’s newest ship, Seabourn Venture, is an ultra-luxury Polar Class 6 purpose-built vessel with 132 ocean-front veranda suites. Seabourn Pursuit, the second expedition vessel, is scheduled to debut in fall 2023. The ships are equipped with two submarines for underwater exploration, kayaks and 24 Zodiacs. They will also each have a 24-person expedition team to explore far-reaching destinations like Antarctica, the Arctic and the Kimberley region of Australia, as well as places closer to home such as Iceland, South America and the British Isles.
Seabourn Ovation, the line’s newest luxury cruise ship, accommodates up to 600 guests and offers amenities found on most of Seabourn‘s ships: well-appointed oceanfront suites, living areas with dining tables, verandas, a nearly one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio and a Personal Suite Host to cater to your every need. World-class dining options are in partnership with renowned chef Thomas Keller, such as The Grill, Seabourn’s signature restaurant. You’ll also find health and wellness programs curated by Dr. Andrew Weil.
The “Seabourn Conversations” program is another highlight, where accomplished experts host adventures ashore, participate in meals and chat with guests on board the ship. For a special treat during your cruise, don’t miss “Caviar in the Surf” beach party. This event in select destinations includes chilled Champagne, caviar, music and a barbecue set against the backdrop of white sand beaches and turquoise waters in beautiful locales around the world.
[Looking to plan a journey on Seabourn Cruise Line? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Windstar’s six intimate ships offer two styles of yachting that accommodate between 148 and 342 guests. Passengers can choose between cruising on one of the line’s three masted Wind Class vessels or one of its three Star Plus Class ships. Windstar’s adult-focused and casual — but still elegant — onboard experiences feature locally inspired top-notch dining (in partnership with the James Beard Foundation), guest lecturers, a water sports platform on all the ships, an open bridge policy and an engaging social environment.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Windstar is also regarded as one of the most romantic cruise lines for a wedding, honeymoon, vow renewal or anniversary trip, especially in magical destinations like the South Pacific, Cinque Terre along Italy’s Ligurian coast and Monte Carlo in Monaco. Windstar’s smaller ships can reach small ports, coves, harbors and villages not accessible by larger vessels. They also offer more than 2,000 immersive cultural experiences in port, many with small groups. You’ll find late evenings and overnights in the ports of call where you can experience the local culture and cuisine after dark.
New itineraries for 2023 and 2024 include Australia and New Zealand sailings as well as intensive voyages to the Holy Lands that explore Arabia and the Red Sea. You can also travel to the Central American coast or book a 10-day sailing from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. If the Middle East is on your must-see list, the 10-day Sparkling Sands & Cities of the Persian Gulf itinerary checks all the boxes with stops in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and other ports of call.
Other Top Adults-Only Cruise Options
While these larger ships are kid-friendly — and offer activities for families and children of all ages — adults can also find hidden retreats and dining and bar venues just for grown-ups. These spaces are typically quieter and away from the crowds. If you’re traveling with (or without) children on one of these lines, you’ll want to know the adults-only venues to plan your afternoon or evening out — sans kids.
Celebrity Cruises offers spaces created with adults in mind. On Celebrity Beyond and the new Celebrity Ascent (debuting in December 2023), guests can have a unique adults-only dining experience at Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud. The world-renowned Global Culinary Ambassador for the line, Daniel Boulud, created the menu at this elegant venue, incorporating dishes inspired by his travels. You’ll also find an impressive wine list to accompany your dining experience at the restaurant.
When it’s time to relax, The Solarium is a popular adults-only area that’s found on the Resort Deck of all Celebrity ships, including Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Apex. This light-filled pool area encased by a glass dome is the perfect quiet space for reading a book or taking a nap. While there, you can also grab a light breakfast or lunch at the Spa Cafe and Juice Bar — or order your favorite adult beverage while lounging in the hot tub.
Other adult-focused venues to check out on Celebrity Beyond and Apex and are the new elevated bar spaces. The Edge series World Class Bar — a popular spot on other Celebrity ships — features craft cocktails in a beautiful setting. And don’t miss the two-story Sunset Bar on Celebrity Beyond, reimagined by interior designer and TV personality Nate Berkus. The aft location of the bar offers almost twice the space as previous iterations — plus beautiful wake views.
[Want to cruise on Celebrity Cruises? See the top cruises at GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
The Sanctuary, an adults-only retreat (for ages 18 and older), offers cruisers an escape from bustling public spaces on your ship. The relaxing top-deck venue is available on all Princess Cruises ships and features plush lounge chairs, a spa-like setting and Serenity Stewards, who 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. On six ships — Sky Princess, Majestic Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess — adults can also enjoy an exclusive Retreat pool, cabanas and bar area. On the newer vessels — Discovery Princess, Enchanted Princess and Sky Princess — The Sanctuary also offers an expanded space with more cabanas.
If you’re heading off the ship for an excursion to Princess Cays (the cruise 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.
Back on the ship, adults can reserve a spot for the line’s new Winemaker Dinners in partnership with Napa Valley’s Caymus Vineyards. These special evenings are offered fleetwide, two to three times during each cruise, for just 12 guests in the Crown Grill specialty restaurant. Winemaker Chuck Wagner personally selected the wines from the notable Napa Valley winery to pair with the elevated five-course menu.
[Looking to plan a voyage on Princess Cruises? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Carnival Cruise Line
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; while there, 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) for an alfresco lunch. Passengers can make the most of some 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.
[Want to cruise on Carnival Cruise Line? See the top cruises at GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Disney Cruise Line
Though Disney Cruise Line tends to attract families and younger travelers, it also offers multiple spaces and activities for adults 18 and older. Disney’s newest ship, Disney Wish, even boasts several adults-only luxurious venues featuring characters and scenes from “Beauty and the Beast.”
For top-notch steaks, contemporary Italian cuisine and panoramic ocean views, make a reservation at the Cogsworth-inspired Palo Steakhouse. If you prefer French-style fare and world-class wines served in an elegant and shimmering setting (think Lumiere), Enchanté by three-Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Lallement is the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two. Before dinner at either venue, enjoy a signature cocktail at The Rose. After dinner, you won’t want to miss the galactic libations and ever-changing views of faraway galaxies at the adults-only Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge bar.
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 relax with an after-dinner cocktail at a bar or lounge. Outdoors, Quiet Cove Pool is a tranquil place to relax on all the ships. For even more pampering, Senses Spa & Salon boasts treatment rooms with ocean views, luxurious spa villas and other amenities. On Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line‘s private island, adults can head to Serenity Bay — a scenic, adults-only stretch of the beach.
[Looking to plan a voyage on Disney Cruise Line? See the top cruises on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
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 ships, the 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. On Norwegian Prima and soon-to-launch Norwegian Viva, an elevated beach club experience includes the line’s first infinity hot tubs. You can purchase a multiday pass in advance for Vibe Beach Club, and cabana rentals are available for more privacy.
At Norwegian Epic‘s Posh Beach Club, complimentary perks include fruit skewers, cold water spritzers and a snack menu. Single- 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, Star and Spirit vessels; access is complimentary. At night, the space becomes an open-air dance club where you can spend the evening partying under the stars.
[Want to cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line? See the top cruises at GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Royal Caribbean International: Solarium
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.
[Looking to plan a voyage on Royal Caribbean International? View top-value cruise deals on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]
Why Trust U.S. News Travel
Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed on nearly every type of cruise ship built, including the newest megaships, luxury yachts, classic paddlewheels, and an 18-stateroom ship on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. Most recently, she traveled on a small luxury expedition vessel in Antarctica and crossed the notorious Drake Passage twice. She covers the travel and culinary industries, specializing in cruises, for major publications including U.S. News & World Report.
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Update 04/26/23: This article was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.