It is no secret that adult-only cruises are quickly becoming popular.
While cruise ships are an excellent choice for families, if you plan a relaxing getaway sharing a boat with children might not sound like the quiet vacation you want.
Many of the biggest and best-known cruise lines have gone full steam ahead, catering to the family market to the extent that the pool decks can feel more like a local daycare than a vacation retreat.
Suppose your perfect vacation includes getting away from screaming kids and high-energy children. In that case, you will want to say clear from Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line. These cruise brands lure families from across the world with attractions such as water parks, surf simulators, go-kart tracks, kids clubs, virtual reality experiences, and more.
Don’t worry, as many cruise lines have doubled down on the family market; there is an emerging trend in the industry. A growing number of cruise lines, including the highly acclaimed Virgin Voyages, have countered the trend with adult-only cruise ships.
Here’s our list of five adult-only cruises for kid-free vacations:
- Virgin Voyages
- Viking Ocean Cruises
- P&O Cruises
- Saga Cruises
- U by Uniworld
If you are looking to set sail on an adult-only cruise, you need to consider Virgin Voyages. This new luxury line was launched in 2020 and changed how we view cruising.
From luxurious suites to incredible dining experiences by Michelin star chefs and outstanding nightlife, the cruise line promises to deliver the best time possible time at sea. Plus, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group operates the cruise line, so you know there will be tons of fun adult-focused activities and entertainment.
Virgin Voyages caters to an underserved cruising market that provides a hipper, more-sophisticated, millennial-friendly vibe. Their ships feature a karaoke lounge, the first tattoo and piercing parlor at sea, drag queen brunches, live DJ performances, interactive dance parties, and overnight stops at island destinations.
On Virgin cruise ships, you won’t find the waterslides, aqua parks, teen lounges, and other family-friendly features found on mainstream ships. They’ve even eliminated the main dining room and buffet in favor of over 20 onboard restaurants with unique menus and atmospheres.
Virgin Voyages has proven skeptics wrong with its unique approach to cruising and provides an incredible adult-only experience for its guests!
Viking Ocean Cruises
Like Virgin, Viking Ocean Cruises has a minimum age of 18 on their worldwide ocean cruises. The fare includes a shore excursion in every port, onboard Wi-Fi, dining in its multiple onboard restaurants (except The Kitchen Table), self-service laundry, and select alcoholic beverages with lunch and dinner (gratuities and drinks outside of meals cost extra.)
If Virgin is the hip new kid on the block, Viking Ocean Cruises is the sophisticated anti-millennial line. The cruise line targets the 55 and over age demographic with an upscale, destination-focused experience. The onboard experience is focused on sophistication and learning with regular onboard lectures, guided tours focusing on history and culture, and classical music.
Viking isn’t for everyone, and they don’t try to be either. As Richard Marnell, VP of Marketing, puts it, the cruise line is an “immersive experience that is best suited for people that are intellectually curious.”
If you are looking for a classic adult-only cruise line, the Carnival-owned P&O Cruises is a great option. This UK-based cruise line offers voyages throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and North America.
P&O Cruises is unique because it serves both the family-friendly and adult-only cruise markets. The cruise line splits the two segments reserving some of its vessels for adult-only cruises and the rest for family-friendly sailings.
The Southhampton-based cruise line primarily serves the British market, with over 95% of their passengers residing in the UK. Sailing with P&O is a very British experience with large Union Jacks painted on the ships’ hulls, afternoon tea, and quoits on the top deck.
Like P&O Cruises, Saga Cruises is a British cruise line that prioritizes adult-only cruising. But unlike the rest of the brands mentioned on this list, Saga Cruises takes it to a whole other level. The minimum age at Saga isn’t 18 or 21. It’s 50!
Yes, you read that right! Saga Cruises is a British adult-only cruise line catering to the 50 and over demographic. The average age of their passengers is about 70 years old, with 83% living in Britain or Ireland.
Their small, intimate ships feature weekly bingo sessions, lawn games on deck, and dance lessons. Cruisers enjoy elegant live music throughout the ship and ballroom dancing in the Britannia Lounge in the evenings.
Like P&O Cruises, most of its passengers are British travelers, but you will often find other European or North American guests on board.
U by Uniworld
Like the previously mentioned Virgin Voyages, U River Cruises is targeting the millennial market with unique offerings not found on other cruise lines. Its ships boasts modern matte black exteriors, deck-top yoga, live DJs, onboard mixologists, and communal tables for dining.
A key offering from U by Uniworld is their late-night destinations which allow passengers to explore the local nightlife. In addition, the cruise line offers themed voyages that include tattoo and drag-queen cruises.
Other Adult-Focused Cruises
If the cruise lines on this list don’t pique your interest, you can find other brands that, while not specifically adult-only; they’ve designed their ships and experiences for the adult demographic.
Luxury cruise lines like Regent, Crystal, and Seabourn allow children on their ships. However, these luxury cruise lines actively target the adult cruising market, so you won’t find nearly as many kids compared with leading cruise lines.
And if you find yourself on a mainstream, family-focused cruise ship and need an adult-only space, most cruise lines have sections on the ship that are age-restricted.