Top 12 Best Cruise Lines for Adults

Adult-only cruises have recently gained momentum due to the popularity of adults-only areas aboard the ship. We outline the best cruise lines for adults.

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Over the past few decades, cruise ships have become more diverse in the activities, restaurants, itineraries, and accommodations offered. This diversity has caused the industry to boom, becoming one that generates multiple billions of dollars.

Over 27 million people enjoy cruises annually. We outline the best cruise lines for adults, both adults-only and those with adult amenities.

Cruises With No Kids (Adult Only)

Adult-only cruises are an emerging category within the cruise ship industry. As the name suggests, these are cruises geared only towards adults.

This trend resulted from the increasing popularity of adult-only areas scattered aboard ships. Many cruise lines took note of this and began offering cruises geared toward adult entertainment and activities.

These cruises are either adult-only, meaning there are no kids allowed, or they do not have child-friendly activities, which deters families from selecting them. The key to finding the best cruise line for adults is to look for ones without children’s facilities or with a focus on food, history, and culture. 

U by Uniworld

U by Uniworld changed age restrictions in 2018 for the river cruises they offer in Europe. Originally, this cruise line was intended for millennials. The company still focuses on young adults in its marketing and branding, making them stand out over other lines.

Uniworld River Cruise
Uniworld River Cruise (Photo Credit: Bjoern Wylezich / Shutterstock)

Itineraries have cultural programs, social events, and immersive activities. They perfectly cater to a millennial lifestyle where experience ranks higher over materialism. U by Uniworld offers cruises in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. Guests can enjoy bike rides along the countryside, cocktail workshops, kayaking, and walking tours. 

Some of this cruise ship’s itineraries are unique, ranging from tent camping on the rooftop of the ship, to top deck wine and painting, to silent disco parties. 

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages launched in 2020 with a fully adults-only cruise. To go on board any of its ships, passengers must be over 18.

This cruise line caters to younger adults. Its lines are described as sexy, hip, and cool, and its goal is to draw in those who have never previously considered taking a cruise. Their amenities are cutting edge, with test kitchens, the largest daybed found at sea, and extravagant nightclubs.

Virgin Voyages Open Deck
Photo Courtesy: Virgin Voyages

The fleet contains three ships that cater to the adults-only crowd. The Scarlet Lady is a very modern, high-end ship accommodating 2,770 passengers. Its focus is on the mind and body. 

Adults can expect pampering at a spa with hydrotherapy pools, salt rooms, quartz beds, and mudrooms. An outdoor yoga area and sundeck are flanked by running tracks. It also has a boxing ring, indoor gym, and group classes. Guests can expect entertainment and culinary venues geared toward adults. 

Viking Ocean Cruises

This line has a strict 18 years or older policy. They have created adults-only cruises from their inception. Revolutionizing the river cruise industry, they have stylish ships appealing to older generations. Viking Ocean Cruise’s dedication to catering to this niche has allowed them to be the leading cruise line for adults.

Docked Viking Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Anton Garin / Shutterstock.com

Itineraries generally focus on food, culture, and onshore activities, making them ideal for a longer and more sophisticated type of cruise. Instead of non-stop entertainment and continually open buffets, passengers can relax between ports. With a Viking cruise, passengers can expect a cruise completely designed to immerse them in the destination.

Activities include wines guided using a sommelier, guest lectures, and cooking classes. They also have opportunities for relaxation with various spas, baths, and pools. 

Cruises with Adult Amenities

Several cruise lines cater mostly to adults but aren’t classified as adults only. They are an excellent choice when you want a more mature and sophisticated cruise. You will not find many children on board, but there may be the occasional family.

Azamara Cruises

Azamara discourages families with children under 18 as the atmosphere and experiences onboard cater directly to adults. There are no activities for children, nor are there babysitting services. Azamara has clearly established itself as geared toward adults.

Azamara Journey Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

It is a great cruise line for adults who enjoy immersing themselves in a destination, spending leisure time in ports, enjoying local cuisine, and shopping in high-end boutiques.

Oceania Cruises

This cruise line caters mostly to adults. While babies and children are permitted, there are restrictions and few services. The minimum age is one year, and those under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult. They also must remain in the same cabin as an adult.

Oceania Riviera Cruise Ship
Courtesy: Oceania Cruises

These ships contain many services and facilities focused on adults, like an artist loft, a culinary center, a running track, and lecture rooms. They are also very affordable for a small ship catering to adults.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival’s Serenity Adult-Only Retreat is what originally sparked its adult-only cruises. Carnival tends to be family-friendly for the most part. However, its 21-plus retreats have become very popular among adults.

Carnival Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: LisaCarter / Shutterstock

Adults can stay on the same cruise as children, but while the young ones are engaged in themed events or activities, adults can be relaxing, soaking up some sun, or enjoying a drink at the bar.

Read Also: All Carnival Cruise Ships By Age – Newest to Oldest

Carnival also has honeymoon cruises with adult-only areas. There are several bars geared towards those over 21 accompanied by nightclubs with the latest hits and a Cloud 9 Spa for relaxation.

Silversea

This cruise line does not accept children over six months, and there are limited children’s programs onboard. It does not offer kids’ entertainment, supervision, or childcare services. While children can board the ship, there are no activities for them to enjoy, limiting the number of families who would embark on this cruise. 

Silver Dawn Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Silversea

Silversea provides guests with a luxurious experience. It is one of the top luxury lines in the world, offering all-inclusive cruises to exceptional destinations. It has butlers, first-class wines, award-winning entertainment, and all-day gourmet dining. This cruise has been dubbed a high-end cruise for adult guests. 

Seabourn Cruises

Seabourn has cruises focused on all-inclusive adults. There are no children’s programs, and it is highly unusual to see any children. While parents are permitted to take children, they would be responsible for taking care of them at all times.

Seabourn Cruises are wonderful for travelers who want to experience lavish cuisine aboard a small and intimate ship. It offers exceptional cuisine, relaxed luxury, and world-class services. They also have exceptional cruise destinations.

Activities are geared more towards relaxation with an on-deck yoga stretch, lounging on private verandas, attending lectures, watching movies in bed, or swimming in the pool. For physical activities, guests can enjoy a nine-hole putting course, or go to the casino.

Entertainment onboard includes the Grand Salon, which has cooking demonstrations, stand-up comedy, cabaret performances, and live music. Guests can also enjoy the various lounges and bars. 

Windstar Cruises

This cruise line cannot accommodate kids under eight. Passengers under 21 need to be accompanied by an adult who is a minimum of 25 years or older. 

Equipped with an intimate environment and elegant design, this small ship is adult-oriented and not for kids. There are no child-friendly activities, services, entertainment, or childcare, and they don’t offer a child rate. You must pay a third-person rate for each child.

Star Pride at Sea
Photo By: Windstar Cruises

The atmosphere is that of being on a private yacht. There are only 148-342 guests on each voyage. Guests can experience hidden beaches, sail into small ports, visit penguins, experience spicy Norwegian Bacalao stew, and explore various cultures. 

Windstar offers the most exceptional culinary experiences led by globally-recognized chefs. The Star Plus Class features additional space, a new pool, and two new restaurants. This cruise line places visitors in the lap of luxury throughout their excursion.

Royal Caribbean

This Royal Caribbean International cruise line specializes in an over-the-top experience. The company sets itself apart by pushing the possibilities for entertainment, activities, and technology. 

Depending on the season, there may be some younger children on board. However, since its inception, Royal Caribbean International has marketed itself as one of the best cruise ship lines for adults. 

Royal Caribbean contains an adult-only solarium providing relaxation with padded loungers, refreshing pools, a complete liquor bar, and hot tubs. To gain entrance, people need to be over 16. This vessel is often chosen because it is the largest globally.

Navigator of the Seas Open Deck
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

In the Oasis or Quantum-class ships, many venues and activities are strictly for adults. The Boleros Latin Bar and English Pub are home to adults of varying ages and are perfect for singles or those without kids. 

This ship does have activities to keep children entertained from dusk until dawn, allowing adults to enjoy some time for themselves. Royal Caribbean has Quest Game Show, nightly single cruiser rendezvous, and silent disco parties. 

While this cruise still allows children, there are enough options for kids to enjoy that it feels like an adults-only cruise. 

Holland America Line

Holland America tends to cater to an older demographic, but it does have exceptional service and dining at sea. Guests will enjoy top-notch live music with blues and classic rock genres.

Princess Cruises

While it has more of a “Love Boat” type of feel, this line has been known for specializing in events and weddings. It is a cruise line for all ages, but the average guest tends to be between 45 and 70 years old.

Princess Cruises Open Deck
Photo Credit: Anutr Yossundara / Shutterstock.com

Princess Cruises caters to older people by incorporating longer and more exotic destinations through the Panama Canal and Alaska.

Final Thoughts

Adults need to recharge, too! Enjoy some alone time with these best cruise lines for adults. While there are several geared to adults, some offer children’s services as well. 

With this niche gaining popularity, many cruise lines have either categorized these cruises as adults only or have discouraged families from attending. By eliminating or scaling back services for children, the cruises are less appealing for families as they will have to tend to their kids.

Worth Reading: Upside Down Pineapple Meaning on Cruise Ships

Therefore, guests aboard these ships can expect to see very few, if any, children. This makes it an enjoyable, relaxing vacation away from home, allowing you to recharge and re-energize. Many of them cater directly to what adults enjoy, bringing a range of culinary experiences, exotic destinations, and learning experiences to their clientele. 

Whether you choose an adult-only vacation or one with children’s amenities, you will have an enjoyable time on any one of these cruise ships.

Best Cruise Lines for Adults

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Haiyan Ma
Haiyan Ma

I absolutely love cruising with my favorite ports of call being in the Caribbean. As a former crew member for Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line I can continue my passion by sharing my experiences with readers.

Find out more about us here.

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