Best Cruises for Young Adults Looking for Adventure

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Cruising has changed dramatically over the years. It used to be a popular method of travel for retirees. Then it became geared toward families, welcoming to both parents and kids. Now, the industry is morphing again to include adventures for young adults. You can also embark on a singles cruise.

Cruises have evolved into adventures to unusual places. Instead of just chilling on the deck and taking things easy (which you can still do), cruises have become a hub of activity. They involve concerts, clubbing, and risque performances. Off the cruise ship, activities include kayaking, hiking, beer tasting, and pub crawling.

If you would like to go on a cruise that is designed for adventurous young adults without families and mature people, we list the top 10 cruises for a younger crowd.

Things to Look For

Before you look for cruises that suit your interests, there are a few things to keep in mind. These will help you avoid extra fees and allow you to find something tailored to your expectations:

  • Solo-friendly cabins enable you to avoid the single supplement fee if you choose to travel on your own.
  • Well-planned shore excursions allow you to optimize your fun on days spent off the cruise ship.
  • Adult-only areas like sun decks, places for relaxation, spas, entertainment, and casinos.
  • Lively nightlife with theater performances, comedy shows, themed events, live parties, and nightclubs.
  • Physical activities like surfing simulators, zip lining, or rock climbing.
  • Unique nightclubs and bars.
  • Shorter cruise trips (three-to-five nights) if you have limited time to travel or you’re on a tight budget.
  • Local departure ports cut down on transportation expenses.
  • Share a cabin with a friend to cut costs or find one with a connecting door for additional party space.
  • Monitor cruise prices as they may lower.

The Best Cruises for Young Adults

These are a wide range of cruise lines that travel to different destinations. They are all geared toward fun and adventure to keep young adults entertained until the wee hours of the morning.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises provides the best cruises geared toward young adults. A Princess cruise has endless entertainment options accompanied by memorable excursions while at ports. It also offers young adults the freedom to explore by themselves with unique entertainment.

Princess Cruises Open Deck
Photo Credit: Anutr Yossundara /

Princess Cruises contains short, affordable getaways if you want to travel with some friends. You can explore iconic cities or enjoy laid-back, party atmospheres. For those over 21, you can enjoy Wine Country without additional transportation or hotel fees.

Princess Cruises offers:

  • Festivals of the World and destination-themed activities, which allow guests to experience cultures, traditions, local cuisine, performances, and dance, connecting you to the places you will be visiting. You can also book romantic getaways.
  • Activities geared toward young adults include kayaking, jet boating, wine tastings, winery tours, ziplining, and canyoning adventures.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages is new to the industry. To sail on this cruise ship, you need to be at least 18 years old, making it perfect for young adults. The target audience for these cruise ships is not families but those that generally would not consider cruising.

Virgin Voyages Open Deck
Photo Courtesy: Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages are targeting millennials, singles, and solo travelers. They offer:

  • A poolside oasis called the “Aquatic Club” which contains the sophisticated appearance of a contemporary yacht. 
  • Fitness activities ranging from sunrise yoga, meditation, HIIT workouts, outdoor boxing, and hiking at various ports. 
  • Hot stone massages, mudrooms, and seaweed wraps.
  • Spa treatments.
  • Shows geared towards the young adult crowd like Untitled Danceshow Partything, Duel Reality, Another Rose, and more. 

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival has always been known as the party cruise line, and it’s one of the best cruise lines for youths. Carnival Cruise Line offers themed cruises, incredible deck parties, and famous DJs to draw in the young adult crowd.

If you are looking for fun the moment you step on the cruise ship, Carnival Cruise Lines – including the Carnival Dream – will not disappoint.

Carnival Cruise Line Lido Deck
Photo: Copyright Cruise Hive

If you are a thrill-seeker, you will enjoy riding this cruise line’s twisty wet slides at WaterWorks, riding while suspended on SkyRide, or enjoying a fast-paced game of dodgeball while on trampolines at SkyZone.

Carnival offers:

  • Activities onboard like mixology competitions, lip sync battles, festivities on the Mega Deck Party, sipping drinks at several bars and lounges, casinos, day spas, and dancing in nightclubs.
  • Excursions include kayaking, zip-lining, horseback riding, snorkeling, Rockland adventures, chocolate-making demonstrations, and touring ports on bicycles.

U by Uniworld

This cruise line offers a unique experience. It is a reimagined river cruise that combines a boutique hotel, local hotspot, and private yacht all into one. It offers silent discos, and it has international DJs, mixology classes, rooftop yoga, and farm-to-table foods.

Onshore excursions are all active, high-energy activities. They allow guests to get an authentic feel for the locations they visit. Meanwhile, an onboard activity can include paint and wine classes, themed parties, or karaoke.

Its cruises contain:

  • A rooftop lounge, which is the perfect place to unwind in its open-air hangout. It allows guests to take in the scenic views during the day and enjoy the Ice Bar at night.
  • Activities for young adults, including canal cruises, biking, hiking, rock climbing, street art walks, wine tasting, kayaking, clubbing, and drinking at the bar.

P&O Cruises

P & O Cruises contains six categories when it comes to cruises. These include Sea Asia, Sea Australia, Inlands, Events, Sea Brakes, and Explorer.

When it comes to which one to pick, find one where there is more of a young adult-focused itinerary. These tend to be adventure trips that are shorter in duration. Check out Sea Breaks, Main Events, or Explorer for similar age themes.

P&O Iona Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Christopher Ison / P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises contains:

  • The Oasis, which is an adults-only sundeck for those over 18. It is child-free with hanging chairs, cushioned cabanas, and a pool.
  • Activities for young adults like a comedy club, nightclubs, bars, an ocean bar (adults only), and casinos.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has created a reputation as one of the best cruise lines for solo travelers. Offering solo cabins allows single travelers to avoid paying full fare for regular-sized cabins for just a single occupancy. Norwegian Cruise Line provides guests with a plethora of restaurants and fun activities.

Norwegian Cruise Line Ship Deck
Photo Credit: Aleksandr Dyskin / Shutterstock

Offering a “free at sea” concept, this ocean cruise line allows travelers to select what they want to include in their cruise at a fixed price. Furthermore, Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising allows guests to cruise the way they want following their own schedule.

NCL offers:

  • The largest thrill adventures at sea. There are ThrillPlex activity zones on their two Breakaway ships. 
  • The Waterfront allows guests to feel the warm ocean breezes on their oceanfront promenade. Norwegian also has its own private island full of activities that young adults can enjoy. Norwegian is known for its epic deck parties as well. 
  • Music-themed cruises ranging from classic rock to modern-day pop by music’s top artists. 
  • Shore excursions range from waterparks, wave runner tours, Kennedy Space Center, exploring fjords, and other activities. 

Royal Caribbean

Many of Royal Caribbean’s vessels are well-suited to young adults looking for fun and adventure. Some of its cruise ships, like the Royal Caribbean International, are geared more toward activities than simply relaxing in the sun or swimming.

Wonder of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line offers:

  • Activities like surfing on the FlowRider surf simulator, climbing a 43-foot rock climbing wall, skating on an indoor rink, obtaining PADI-certified scuba diving instruction, using the Ripcord Skydiving Simulator, bumper car pavilion, or zip lining.
  • Glass-enclosed capsules placed on mechanical arms that provide a surrounding view of wherever you are at sea.
  • A plethora of bars to visit, a Broadway show (Mamma Mia, Cats, or Grease), and several nightclubs.
  • Thriving art scenes while at port, and other activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, and other adventures at exotic destinations.
  • Adult-only sections, including a solarium, casinos, spas, bars, and lounges.

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class is specifically geared towards young adults as it is the most innovative in the fleet. They’re heavily focused on adrenaline, thrill-seeking activities, technology, and adult-only areas. You can see cocktails created by robots and listen to incredible cover bands while at sea.

Keeping the needs of young adults in mind, several cruise lines offer options that are geared to this age group. Royal Caribbean will tailor its new cruise ships toward adrenaline-pumping rides and will take its entertainment to the next level.

Final Thoughts on Best Cruises for Young Adults

Some cruise lines are starting to incorporate more physically demanding activities in their itineraries and are offering more options during spring break to attract a younger audience. Recognizing that adults need some space of their own, cruise lines have adults-only areas where people can relax and unwind.

Cruise Ship Passengers
Photo Credit: kudla / Shutterstock

Other lines have gone beyond the rest, relaxation, and all-night partying phase to incorporate thrill-seeking adventures onboard. Many offer zip-lining, rock climbing, surf simulators, and simulated skydiving for the adrenaline junkie.

Shore excursions aren’t always slow-paced, leisurely strolls, either. There are more physical activities incorporated into excursions. Guests can go snorkeling, scuba diving, rafting, and on hot-air balloon rides.

Also Read: Top 12 Best Cruise Lines for Adults

Whether you are looking for an adventure, a party, or simply want to unwind, there are several cruise lines geared toward young adults looking for adventure. It all depends on what your idea of adventure is.

With a variety of options available, it is easy to find something that suits your tastes so you can have the time of your life while on board.

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