Best Adults Only Cruises

If you want to have some time away from your (and other people’s) kids, adults only cruises are a great relaxing and fun vacation option.

Best Adults Only Cruises

Whether you’re happily child-free or want to have some time away from your (and other people’s) littles, an adults-only cruise is a great option for a relaxing and fun vacation. In the cruising world, there are surprisingly few lines that ban kids completely, but they do exist.

So what cruise lines offer an adults-only experience? Well, we take a look at cruise lines that are just for adults, as well as other brands that have designated at least one ship as child-free. We also go over lines that allow older kids or teenagers, but keep the younger children to a minimum.

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Best Adults Only Cruises

1. Viking

Which cruise ships are adults only? All of Viking’s ships are adults-only.

Since their debuts, Viking’s ocean and expedition cruise fleets have been reserved for the 18 and older crowd. The brand’s river cruise division previously allowed tweens and teens 12 and older, but moved to align with the ocean vessels by implementing the 18+ adults-only rule in 2018.

By cruise ship standards, the line’s ocean vessels are small, coming in at just under 50,000 gross tons and holding 930 passengers each. The expedition ships are even smaller at just over 30,000 gross tons and carrying 378 passengers. Most of the line’s “Viking Longships,” or river vessels, are between 350 and 450 feet long, carrying under 200 guests.

The vibe onboard all of Viking’s vessels is upscale and laid-back. They feature cozy Scandinavian interior design that shines through in venues such as the ocean ships’ light and wood-filled Wintergarden space, the pool decks, the Explorers’ Lounge with a faux fireplace, and The Living Room central atrium. As an added bonus, all of the staterooms on the ocean and expedition ships include balconies.

Included in the cruise fare on Viking is one excursion in each port. The fare also includes wifi; beer, wine, and soda at lunch and dinner; specialty coffees; bottled water; and port taxes and fees. The ocean and expedition ships also include the use of self-service laundry facilities; all onboard dining; use of the spa’s thermal suite; and 24-hour room service.

As this is an adults-only cruise line, Viking has a focus on relaxation and its destinations rather than on thrills. Because of that, you won’t find energetic top-deck attractions such as water slides and ropes courses. Instead, guests enjoy things like performances from onboard and local musicians, cooking and mixology classes, pools and hot tubs (note: most river ships don’t have a pool), the spa’s thermal suite, and afternoon tea.

2. Virgin Voyages

Adults-only ships: All of them

Virgin Voyages is the latest adults-only cruise line to splash onto the scene. It made waves with its first official sailing in 2021. A venture of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Virgin Voyages currently operates three nearly identical 110,000 gross-ton, 2,770-guest ships in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

What are adults-only cruises like on Virgin Voyages? From the start, the brand said that it would be doing things differently, “reinventing the cruise ship experience” on “adult-by-design” vessels. The line’s target demographic is millennials up to those in their early 60’s with a special focus on non-cruisers. It’s been quite successful with convincing many of them to give cruising a try through its unique approach to what a cruise experience can be.

Virgin Voyages Celebrates Launch of Resilient Lady

Interior design is modern and trendy. Venues include the boho beach club-inspired Dock House, old ship-themed bar The Loose Cannon, and The Red Room entertainment space. It also features one of the best nightclubs at sea — The Manor — complete with a mirror-clad “infinity room” hallway entrance. Virgin Voyages also debuted the cruise industry’s first on board tattoo parlor, aptly called Squid Ink.

Virgin turned traditional cruise dining upside-down, as ships have no traditional buffet or main dining room. For a casual option, they instead feature The Galley with differently themed food stations that you can order via a server.

In place of main dining rooms and extra-fee specialty restaurants at dinnertime, Virgin has differently-themed restaurants (which would be specialty on most other cruise lines) that are included in the cruise fare. Guests can choose from The Wake steakhouse, modern Mexican venue Pink Agave, veggie-forward Razzle Dazzle, Korean BBQ restaurant Gunbae, and more for dinner each evening.

Entertainment is another area where Virgin Voyages has set itself apart in the cruise industry. Shows include Duel Reality, a retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a circus twist, and It’s a Ship Show where an old-school variety hour meets a late-night talk show.

The ships are also filled with some of the best parties at sea, including an energetic pajama party and the not-to-be-missed Scarlet Night. This ship-wide activation includes interactive games, circus performances, live music, and an epic dance party in and around the main pool.

Virgin’s base cruise fare inclusions are somewhere between Viking and mainstream cruise lines. The cost of the cruise doesn’t include shore excursions, specialty coffees, or any alcohol. However, it does include wifi, gratuities, and fitness classes.

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3. Saga Cruises

Adults-only ships: All of them

Not only is boutique British line Saga Cruises adults only, but it goes above and beyond the usual 18+ age minimum… to 50. That’s right, you can’t cruise on a Saga ocean or river vessel without being at least 50 years old.

Saga has two ocean ships and two of its own river ships. Plus, there’s several additional river vessels that it charters from other companies. The cruise fare includes all onboard restaurants, wifi, fitness classes, gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner, and house spirits, draft beer, mocktails, and soda.

Best Adults Only Cruises

The ocean ships are just over 58,000 gross tons, carrying 999 passengers each and feature all-balcony cabins. There’s also a fitness center, spa with thermal suite, a wraparound promenade, and a lido deck with swimming pool.

Restaurants and bars vary between both ships. Options include the 1950s-inspired supper club restaurant The Club by Jools, Coast to Coast seafood restaurant, Nepalese venue Khukuri House, and Amalfi Italian restaurant. There’s also a main dining room and The Grill. The Grill offers casual options at breakfast and lunch and doubles as another main dining room in the evenings.

Saga’s river vessels feature a panoramic lounge and bar, fitness area, and a shaded sundeck with a splash pool. All cabins feature either a window or a French balcony, and excursions are included in the river cruise fare.

4. P&O Cruises

Adults-only ships: Arcadia and Aurora

P&O Cruises is a popular choice for many British families. Though, the line also sees value in having an adults-only cruises. Five vessels in the fleet are open to both kids and adults, while the remaining two are reserved just for the 18+ crowd. These two ships are Aurora and Arcadia.

Arcadia is slightly larger than Aurora, but both are considered small by modern ocean ship standards, coming in at under 85,000 gross tons. Aurora carries 1,878 passengers, while Arcadia holds 1,952 at double occupancy.

Best Adults Only Cruises

Like the other cruise lines on this list, you won’t find top-deck thrills and adrenaline-inducing activities around every corner on these ships. Instead, they offer a relaxing, distinctly British experience. They include things like afternoon tea, a spa with thermal areas, a pub, swimming pools, cabaret shows, and a nightclub.

Both ships feature the standard buffet and main dining room, along with a complimentary poolside grill. You’ll also find specialty restaurant Sindhu on both vessels, which serves up Indian fare with a British twist. Arcadia also boasts The Ocean Grill steak and seafood restaurant. Aurora features The Glass House by TV presenter and wine expert Olly Smith.

P&O’s adults-only itineraries are primarily in northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Though, you’ll also find cruises to the Caribbean, Canary Islands, and Canada/New England. In select destinations, passengers can stay out late to experience the nightlife during late-night and overnight port calls.

5. Marella Cruises

Adults-only ship: Marella Explorer 2

Another British cruise line, Marella, has taken a page from P&O’s book by allotting one ship as adults-only (Marella Explorer 2). The rest of the fleet remains family-friendly. The 1,814-guest vessel, which began sailing with Marella in 2019, offers a semi-inclusive cruising experience. It wraps gratuities and a selection of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages into the cruise fare.

Amenities on Marella Explorer 2 include a spa with thermal suite, a nightclub, a golf simulator and bar with themed cocktails, modern British pub Squid and Anchor, outdoor movies at night, multiple sundecks, a pool, and hot tubs.

Best Adults Only Cruises

The ship features nine restaurants, five of which are included in the cruise fare. The Dining Club is a high-end specialty venue that also offers The Great Musical Afternoon Tea. Dishes are inspired by famous musicals, and teas and a cocktail are included in the event fee. Other dining highlights include Kora La pan-Asian restaurant, Surf & Turf Steakhouse, Beach Cove with a barbecue-inspired menu, and Nonna’s where you can create your own pizzas and pastas.

Marella Explorer 2 sails mostly in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Other Cruise Lines With Age Minimums

In addition to the lines mentioned above, there are other cruise brands that don’t allow young kids or discourage them. Small ship luxury line Windstar Cruises doesn’t allow guests under eight years old. While Scenic has a minimum of 12 years old except on its Christmastime voyages.

River cruises are another option where you won’t find many or any younger children. This is due to the fact that river cruises aren’t usually as kid-friendly, along with age minimums that some lines have in place.

Uniworld and AmaWaterways have an age minimum of four years old, but encourage that guests be at least eight years old to sail. Avalon Waterways has a minimum of eight. Emerald and Grand Circle require that guests are at least 12 and 13, respectively.

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What are your picks for best adults only cruises? Do you prefer cruise lines that are kid free? Drop us an anchor below to share your experiences sailing on 18+ cruise lines.

Sarah has been writing about the cruise industry since 2015, and in that time has taken a dozen cruises and counting. Her favorite onboard activities include trying the casual dining options, spending time in the spa’s thermal suite, and attending the love & marriage show. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @IAmSarahJaneB.
Sarah Bretz, Contributor
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3 comments on Best Adults Only Cruises

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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your extensive article.
    I went on my first cruise a few months ago with Viking and fell in love with cruising.
    I have booked a 15 day cruise from Istanbul to Venice for 2025, also with Viking.
    I am 78 years old and really appreciated the amenities. All the cabins had balconies, this was a big deal for me as I would be claustrophobic otherwise.
    I also wanted the option to explore or just relax. The idea of cruising on, what I call, Disneyland at sea just unnerved me.
    I am also interested in cruising alone but the price and an inside cabin is not on my agenda.
    You have given me a lot to think about with information I haven’t been able to find.
    Thank you

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