The Ultimate Guide to Adults-Only Cruises for a Tranquil Escape
For those who’ve endured a vacation where children commandeered the pools, elevators, and every nook and cranny, the appeal of an adults-only cruise is clear. It’s about savoring a peaceful retreat with sophisticated entertainment and activities tailored to adult preferences, whether that means more educational lectures or nightlife that’s more vibrant and mature.
When considering a vacation without the kids, adult travelers might find an adults-only or adults-oriented cruise to be an appealing option. Some cruise lines offer fully adult-only experiences, while others provide adult-focused venues and activities onboard to cater to adult travelers.
Choosing an Adults-Only cruise
The options for cruises that strictly prohibit kids are limited, but there are select cruise lines dedicated to ensuring your voyage is child-free. This guide shines a spotlight on the best adults-only cruises, where the vibe is unquestionably grown-up.
We’ve also included information on cruise lines that make an effort to have exclusive adult areas where it’s possible to enjoy a nearly child-free experience.
Adult Only Cruise Lines include:
- Virgin Voyages
- P&O (select ships)
Planning an Adult Cruise – Tips and Insights
- Consider the length and destination of the cruise; longer trips outside of school vacation periods generally mean fewer children.
- Upscale cruise lines tend to attract an older demographic, leading to a more adult-oriented atmosphere with few or no kids onboard
- Research charter and lifestyle cruises for adult options
- Consider unique itineraries that may not cater to young families such as Transatlantic crossings and repositioning cruises.
- Check the cruise line’s policy on age restrictions before booking.
Top Adults-Only Cruise Lines
Virgin Voyages: Nearly all-inclusive adult-only cruises & a new wave of adult sophistication & entertainment.
Virgin Group’s introduction to the cruising world, Virgin Voyages, is designed for the 18+ crowd. With a mission to craft a modern and sophisticated experience, Virgin Voyages offers ships like the Scarlet Lady, along with its sister ships Valiant Lady, Resilient Lady, and soon the Brilliant Lady, that cater to adults seeking a slice of high-energy fun and modern indulgence.
The contemporary aesthetic and modern amenities set the stage for an unforgettable cruise – free from splashing children! Virgin Voyages is celebrated for its dynamic nightlife and entertainment, offering an alternative to traditional cruise shows with edgy, festival-like performances. Highlights include the Scarlet Night, a dazzling dance party, and the PJ Party, where guests can groove the night away in cozy pajamas.
These ships also include unique attractions like drag performances, tattoo parlors, and private karaoke rooms, but purposefully lack family-centric amenities such as waterslides and splash zones.
Virgin Voyages really has carved out a unique niche making adults-only cruises both fun and affordable when considering other adult options.
With a minimum age requirement of 18, every aspect of their ships is designed with adult enjoyment in mind.
I think Virgin Voyages is the best adult-only cruise line because of the all-inclusive rates, diversity, and great food!
Virgin Caters to: Young & Young at heart (minimum age 18)
Destinations: Caribbean (with stops at their private port in Bimini); Europe; South Pacific; Transatlantic
Amenities: All dining venues included; complimentary fitness classes; free Wi-Fi; included tips; extensive nightlife and entertainment options, all free of charge
Viking: A Haven of enrichment for mature, well-heeled travelers
Viking has long been synonymous with adult-only cruising. Since its ocean division’s launch in 2015, Viking has consistently maintained an all-adult policy. Its river cruises have also followed suit, appealing to travelers who crave intellectual stimulation and cultural immersion.
Targeted at a bit older demographic, Viking offers a refined cruising experience with an emphasis on enrichment through onboard lectures, history- and culture-focused excursions, and classic entertainment like string quartets. Don’t let the target demographic concern you, however. Cruisers in their 20s, 30s, and beyond will enjoy a laid-back experience, sans kids.
Viking Ocean Cruises welcomes travelers 18 and older aboard luxurious ships with destination-focused itineraries around the world, offering comfortable accommodations and special access to curated experiences.
Viking Caters to: Couples 40+
Destinations: Europe; Caribbean; Asia; Australia; Antarctica; Arctic; world voyages
Amenities: Industry-leading Nordic Spa, free for all guests; beer and wine at lunch and dinner; all dining options complimentary; included tour in each port; free Wi-Fi; amazing Scandinavian design
P&O Cruises: A uniquely British experience at sea
P&O Cruises offers a dual approach with some ships catering to families while others are exclusively for adults. The Arcadia and Aurora are their adult-only vessels, promising a distinctly British experience complete with afternoon teas, traditional deck games, and British culinary delights by renowned chefs like Marco Pierre White.
While P&O has listened to the market and offering adult-only experiences, it’s not the higher end quality you may get from the other all-adult cruise lines previously mentioned.
Saga Cruises: Exclusivity for the Experienced
Saga Cruises sets itself apart by setting its minimum age at 50 years old. This British line focuses on creating an environment suited to baby boomers and beyond, offering ocean and river cruises that depart solely from the UK for those seeking a mature and refined travel experience.
Saga Caters to: Mature cruisers (Minimum age of 50)
Destinations: Baltics; British Isles; Canaries; Norway; Iceland/Greenland; Caribbean; Americas
Amenities: All balcony cabins; included thermal suite; included gratuities; free Wi-Fi; all meals and drinks, including premium spirits; travel insurance; private chauffeur transfers (within the UK)
Hapag-Lloyd (Hanseatic Spirit): Expeditions for adults only
The “Hanseatic Spirit” is an expedition ship that emphasizes features that enable unique itineraries and activities, like zodiacs for shore landings, specialized equipment for exploring remote areas, and onboard experts like authors and historians. These aspects cater to clients looking for educational and immersive experiences. The Spirit is also adults-only by design and is the first all-adult cruise ship in the Hapag-Lloyd pleasure cruise fleet.
A little know British cruise brand: Ambassador Cruise Line
This brand is known for affordable cruises with itineraries as basic as 3-day British Isles tours to 76-day Brazil, Australia, and Africa itineraries. Ambassador Cruise Lines specifically states that all passengers must be 18+ at the time of boarding. I’ve never known anyone to try Ambassador, but we’re considering it so we better understand the brand!
Adult-focused cruising options, where Adults-Only Is by Happenstance
Beyond the dedicated adult-only lines, several other cruise brands offer a mature atmosphere by virtue of their upscale nature, longer itineraries, price points, and fewer young passengers. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Azamara, Silversea Cruises, Oceana, Seabourn, and Windstar Cruises are examples where the clientele skews a little older with ships that aren’t built with amenities that cater to children.
The cruises not only feel more adult only because of their demographic, but they simply lack kid-focused activities making it downright boring for parents to bring their children. For that reason, these cruise lines end up being mostly (and often all) adults by default.
Additionally, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours suggests against bringing children under 12 except during holiday voyages. Remember that longer cruises to exotic locations during school months will also likely feature fewer children on board.
A “near adult” experience is Azamara Cruises
Azamara invites a more sophisticated traveler to enjoy an intimate cruising environment, however, without specific age restrictions. This cruise line distinguishes itself by calling on smaller ports, offering longer stays, and providing more opportunities for overnight exploration. Azamara’s approach enhances the immersion into local cultures and maximizes destination engagement. With a wealth of shore excursions and sumptuous onboard amenities, Azamara masterfully blends discovery with relaxation. There are rarely children on these cruises. However, during school holidays, there are maybe a couple of families onboard.
Oceana Cruises: Another amazing almost all-adult cruise experience
For those who appreciate the finer things in life, Oceania Cruises welcomes adults with its sophisticated offerings and elegant atmosphere. While not exclusively adults-only, Oceania’s amenities and itineraries are tailored to the tastes of discerning adult travelers. Known as The Finest Cuisine at Sea®, Oceania’s culinary program features dishes crafted by master chefs to satisfy gourmet appetites. Engage in enriching onboard activities, surrender to blissful spa treatments, and partake in cultural shore excursions for an enriching and luxurious cruise experience.
For a classic cruise with few or no kids, look at Cunard
Cunard and the most well-known Ocean Liner, Queen Mary 2, are often child-free. The nature of the cruises, being transatlantic doesn’t cater to families or kids. The cruise line doesn’t prohibit children or even discourage kids, but the reality is that there are usually none or very few.
I’ve done many transatlantic crossings on the Queen Mary 2 and have only seen one or two kids on the ships. For all intents and purposes, Cunard with their itineraries and more formal environment doesn’t cater to younger passengers.
For what it’s worth, the few times I have been on a Cunard ship where children have been present, they’ve always been very well-behaved and well-mannered! That can’t be said for many cruise experiences that cater to families! 🙂
Consider a river cruise for an adult-only cruise vacation
River cruises tend to cater to adults and have few, if any child-friendly activities. Because of their long, specialized itineraries, River cruises rarely have children.
Charters like LGBT cruises & Themed Cruises will be for adults
Charter groups that book entire trips for a theme are often designed for adults only including groups like Atlantis Events for LGBT+ or Bliss lifestyle cruises for swingers. There are charters of all types from music-based to adult-themed, there’s something for everyone!
When an all-adult cruise isn’t an option, but you want some peace and adult quiet Onboard
There may be a circumstance when an adult-only cruise isn’t an option. Most major cruise lines have started listening to passengers who want to remove themselves from spaces where kids may be gathering in abundance.
Norwegian Cruise Line Posh, Vibe & Spice H20
NCL has created adult-only areas across much of its fleet and is adding spaces to older ships during refits.
Adult spaces include Posh Beach Club and Spice H20 on the Norwegian Epic or Vibe and Spice H20 aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Escape, and Norwegian Bliss.
Spice H20 offers an adults-only lounge space, positioned on Deck 15 of the Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway, and on Deck 17 of the Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss. By day, it’s a peaceful haven featuring hot tubs, loungers, and a calming waterfall. However, come nightfall, the area transforms into a lively, open-air nightclub.
The exclusive Posh Beach Club on Norwegian Epic is accessible via a private glass elevator. This Mediterranean-inspired zone boasts plush daybeds, a fully stocked bar, refreshing water spritzers, cool towels, and delicious fruit skewers.
On the Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Escape, and Norwegian Bliss, you’ll find the Vibe Beach Club. This spot echoes the offerings of Posh with stunning sea views, a large hot tub, and comfortable chaise loungers, ensuring a luxurious experience akin to that at Posh, complete with similar amenities.
TIP: These adult spaces are normally offered at a daily charge and have limited space available. On popular itineraries, especially in the Caribbean, these passes sell fast. Expect to pay $300 for the use of Vibe or Posh for a week.
Perks for Adults on NCL: Choice sun decks for the over-18 crowd; studio cabins for solo cruisers; Haven complex provides secluded spaces; large fitness centers (must be 16+); casinos (must be 18+); late-night entertainment like Howl at the Moon piano bar plus cocktail lounges and wine bars aplenty
Destinations: Alaska; Bahamas; Caribbean; Europe; Canada/New England; Hawaii; South Pacific
Amenities: Shows straight from Broadway and West End included in the fare; adult-focused restaurants including Onda by Scarpetta and Le Bistro; deck parties; waterfront dining on select ships
Celebrity Cruises Solarium
widely recognized as a family-friendly option, curates exclusive spaces for adults seeking solitude on the sea. The Solarium is a peaceful oasis within the ship featuring pools, loungers, and a bar dedicated to tranquility. The Retreat space is another option. While it’s not only for adults, by its nature with upscale suites, it’s not typical to see many, if any, children in the Retreat area.
While children are welcome on Celebrity Cruises, their in-room babysitting services and youth programs ensure that adults can enjoy moments of undisturbed calm.
Princess Cruises “Sanctuary”
The Sanctuary on Princess Cruises strikes a balance between family-inclusive features and adult-oriented spaces. The Sanctuary is an adult-exclusive outdoor retreat offering plush loungers and private cabanas serviced with attentive care. For families cruising with children, Princess provides group babysitting at Camp Discovery for younger kids and a Teen Lounge for adolescents that remains open in port.
Access to The Sanctuary incurs an additional charge. Guests have the option of selecting half-day or full-day passes. While there is a small fee for using personal Evian misters, complimentary spritzes are provided intermittently throughout the day by the Sanctuary stewards. Beverages from The Sanctuary’s menu are available for an extra charge, typically lower than prices at the ship’s other bars. Snacks are complimentary, but a modest fee is applied for food delivery services.
Royal Caribbean Solarium
The Solarium experience differs across ships. Adults can find solace in areas designated as minors-free, such as certain pools, spas, and evening venues.
Generally, guests enjoy free access to comfortable padded loungers, hot tubs, and wading pools, all set in a tranquil environment reserved for those 16 years and older. Conveniently situated within the Solarium is a bar and dining area, allowing you to relax in this serene oasis without having to step away for meals. The Solarium Bistro, featuring complimentary breakfast, lunch, and dinner, delights with a Mediterranean touch.
On the Symphony of the Seas, you’ll be captivated by the “Big Wonder” art installation. This impressive piece enhances the Solarium with its unique blend of ambient sound and lighting, contributing to a truly mesmerizing experience.
Carnival Cruise Line Serenity Retreat
Carnival is generally a budget-friendly choice that ensures enjoyment for all family members. While children engage in age-specific activities through Carnival’s youth programs, adults can head to the Serenity Retreat—an over-21 sanctuary where hammocks sway and an exclusive bar awaits. A daily fee may be charged depending on the ship.
Ready for Your Adult Sea Escape?
Embarking on an adults-only cruise can offer an unparalleled sense of tranquility and relaxation. With these recommendations and insights from our cruise experts, you’re well-equipped to select the perfect child-free or NEAR child-free voyage that caters to your desire for peace, enrichment, and adult-centric fun.
- Best Adults-Only Luxury Cruise: Viking Cruises
- Best Adults-Only Cruise For Older Couples: Saga Cruises
- Best Adults-Only Cruise For Single Adults: Virgin Voyages
- Best Adults-Focused Luxury Cruise: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Best Adults-Focused All-Inclusive Cruise: Seabourn Cruise Line
- Best Adults-Focused Cruise For Younger Adults: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Best Adults-Focused Cruise For Adults Who Want Alone Time: Windstar Cruises
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