A cruise can be a romantic holiday for couples to enjoy together. There are cruise lines that cater specifically for adults so if you fancy taking a cruise without children, you need to read on to discover more about adult-only cruise lines.
Truly Adult-Only Cruise Lines
There are only three adult-only cruise lines that are truly adult-only. This means that they don’t allow children on any of their ships. Choosing one of these cruise lines means you don’t need to worry about any children hogging the hot tubs or running around the restaurants.
Saga offers boutique cruises for adults over 50. You have to be at least 45 years old and accompanied by someone 50 or over to cruise. The American equivalent to Saga is Grand Circle Cruises.
Excitingly, this adult-only cruise line has two new ships (Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery) and offers all-inclusive cruises. This means that the cruise fare includes a raft of things that are extra on many other cruise lines. Drinks, WiFi and sightseeing tours are all included in the cruise fare. If you live within 250 miles of the embarkation port (Dover or Southampton), Saga Cruises will provide a chauffeur service so there is no need to worry about port parking or transport arrangements. If you live further afield, the cruise line will cover the cost of flights, coach, train fares or car parking. This makes Saga a great option for hassle-free cruising.
All cabins on Saga cruise ships have private balconies as standard. This, along with the news that Saga Cruises will require all guests to have a Covid-19 vaccine before cruising puts this cruise line in an excellent position.
Saga Cruises offers cruises to Europe, the Caribbean, the U.S., the Middle East, Africa, Central America and Canada. Smaller ships offer guests the opportunity to visit hard-to-reach ports that aren’t on the itineraries of large cruise ships. Take a look at Saga Cruises available to book.
Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises does not allow under 18s onboard their ships. This means no kids clubs, but there are also a number of things missing from Viking cruise ships. Viking entered the ocean cruise market in 2015 and this was an excellent opportunity to decide what cruisers valued and what they didn’t. Many annoying aspects of cruise ships, such as ship photographers stopping you when you’re trying to get off in port, have been scrapped.
Like Saga Cruises, Viking offers all-inclusive cruising. Notable things included in the cruise fare are: spa access, all onboard restaurants, 24-hour room service, return flights from the U.K., drinks, WiFi and gratuities. All cabins have a balcony as standard, which is perfect place to enjoy a sunset at sea together.
Viking Ocean Cruises has the largest fleet of ships out of the three adult-only cruise lines.
The newest of the adult-only cruise lines is Virgin Voyages, and at the time of writing, has yet to begin cruising. Virgin Voyages only welcomes adults aged 18 years and older and its cruise offering appears to be quite different to Saga and Viking. In the words of Richard Branson “Why break the rules when you can write your own?”
Following a series of cruise preview events for the media, reviews were mixed. Perhaps Virgin Voyages is the Marmite of the cruise industry? It certainly appears to be the only truly adult-only cruise line that is designed for a younger demographic of passenger.
Virgin Voyages has the vast array of onboard restaurants that are included in the cruise fare. It’s first ship, Scarlet Lady, has over 20 places to eat ranging in styles and cuisines. The ships in the Virgin fleet will be larger than other adult-only cruise ships.
The cruise fare includes: WiFi, gratuities, fitness classes and non-alcoholic drinks. It’s all-inclusiveness is not as encompassing as the other two cruise lines. More than 80% of its cabins have a private balcony.
If you’re interested in taking an adult-only cruise, you can choose specific adult-only cruise ships or sailings offered by a number of cruise lines:
- Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines offers special adult-only cruises
- Marella Cruises’ Marella Explorer 2 is an adult-only ship
- P&O Cruises’ Aurora and Arcadia are exclusively adult-only ships
Top Tips for Adult-Only Cruise Lines
There are several things that you can do to help you have a romantic cruise, without children (or minimal numbers of youngsters onboard).
Cruise outside of the school holidays. The number of families cruising increases during school holidays so if you aren’t tied to specific dates, you should opt to book a cruise during term time. Some cruise lines will offer special offers for families during school holidays to encourage them to book.
Find the adult-only areas onboard. Many ships will have adult-only pool areas away from the hustle and bustle of the main pools. Children are also not allowed in the casino, spa, nightclub and some restaurants (Disney Cruise Line has two adult-only restaurants). I particularly like The Retreat on Princess Cruises and Serenity Pool on P&O Cruises’ Britannia, which are both free to access. You can also book private deck areas of the ship that are exclusively for adults only.
Choose a cruise line that doesn’t have a kids club. Many cruise lines allow children onboard but don’t offer specific clubs and activities for them. This may make these cruise lines less appealing to families and therefore you’re less likely to see many onboard.
Choose a cruise ship that has less ‘fun’ facilities. Opt for a ship that offers traditional cruising without the water slides, bumper cars, zip lines and high rope courses. These fun ships appeal to families, who want to make sure there’s plenty of things to do for children. For those, young at heart, just make sure you book out of the summer holidays on these ships.
Book a longer cruise. Families are less likely to book cruises longer than 14 days so if this is an option for you, you’re less likely to see many children onboard. I don’t recall seeing many children onboard our 16-day Hawaiian cruise.
Choose to eat in the Main Dining Room later. Families will generally eat early so choose the later dining time or if you pick flexible dining, head to the dining room later.
Book a luxury cruise line. Luxury lines like Silversea, Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas are geared towards adults and will be a less appealing option to families looking for a cruise to cater for everyone.
Final Thoughts on Adult-Only Cruise Lines
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet on your cruise, adult-only cruise lines may be good options for you but you shouldn’t feel limited to these alone. You can be smart about when you cruise and which ship you choose to minimise the number of young children who will be onboard with you.
Cruising outside of the school holidays makes a huge difference as well as the ship facilities. Do your research and find out about the adult-only facilities onboard before booking.