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Best cruise lines for adults

For when you want a relaxing, enriching experience.

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Friends taking a selfie on a cruise

If the idea of pool decks crowded with families and dining areas overrun with kids makes you cringe, we feel you.

These cruise lines offer grown-up experiences like lectures, educational excursions and sophisticated entertainment in an atmosphere that’s designed to help you recharge from the hustle of daily life. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of whimsical fun to be had. After all, adults need playtime, too.


Best cruise lines for adults

Viking Ocean Cruises

Designed for the intellectually curious, it only allows passengers over the age of 18 on board.
  • Adult activities: Guest lectures, cooking classes, wine tastings, curated library
  • Ideal for: 18+ year-olds that enjoy lectures and libraries — though most folks on board will be 50 or more
Price ($-$$$):
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Whether you're looking for a leisurely-paced river cruise or an ocean journey that stops at boutique ports, Viking Cruise Line offers adventure for those who crave culture.

Virgin

Designed for the intellectually curious, it only allows passengers over the age of 18 on board.
  • Adult activities: Guest lectures, cooking classes, wine tastings, curated library
  • Ideal for: 18+ year-olds that enjoy lectures and libraries — though most folks on board will be 50 or more
Whether you're looking for a leisurely-paced river cruise or an ocean journey that stops at boutique ports, Viking Cruise Line offers adventure for those who crave culture.

Azamara

You won't find a single child-friendly activity onboard an Azamara Club Cruise — and that's the way you like it, right?
  • Adult activities: Spa, fitness center, bars, cabaret lounge, casino, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings.
  • Ideal for: 20+ year-olds.
Price ($-$$$):
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With a fleet of two ships geared toward adult cruising, you'll be hard-pressed to find a single child onboard when you sail with Azamara. Although it's not an adults-only liner, it doesn't offer dedicated services or activities for children.

Celebrity

Offering modern, luxurious sails, Celebrity Cruises isn't frequented by families on budget holidays.
  • Adult activities: Destination speakers, ballet, live music, theater, themed parties, lawn games
  • Ideal for: 30+ year-olds.
Price ($-$$$):
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While kids are allowed on board, and youth counselors are around to keep them occupied, most of the the activities and entertainment are designed for its predominantly adult clientele.

Crystal Ocean Cruises

Stroll the 360° promenade deck without interruption and hire private guides for tours while ashore.
  • Adult activities: Afternoon tea, spa, salon, casino, live music, enriching presentations and lectures, guest speakers, fitness center with personal trainers
  • Ideal for: 30+ year-olds.
Price ($-$$$):
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Gourmet dining, master sommeliers and evening dancing at the Palm Court provide a luxury experience geared towards adults. Its ocean cruise ships even feature netted golf driving ranges and tennis courts.

Holland America

Elegant and sophisticated, Holland America Line provides classy live entertainment and adult-oriented activities.
  • Adult activities: Spa, salon, fitness center, casino, movies onboard, theater and culinary arts center.
  • Ideal for: 40+ year-olds.
Price ($-$$$):
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Holland America Line tends to draw a slightly older and inquisitive crowd with its casino and BBC Earth Natural History programming. Its spacious cruise rooms allow for upscale comfort, even in the most inexpensive cabins.

Cunard

Cunard has a modest fleet of only three ships, each infused with charm that draws an older crowd.
  • Adult activities: Games deck, spa, royal-themed evening balls, planetarium, martini mixology classes and cooking demonstrations
  • Ideal for: 40+ year-olds.
Price ($-$$$):
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The well-seasoned Cunard brand has been helping holiday-makers travel by sea for 175 years. With culture and art event-themed sailings, plush onboard libraries and ballroom dinners, you're unlikely to find kids causing chaos on deck.

Oceania

Small-to-midsize ships offer stylish rides to off-the-beaten-path destinations.
  • Adult activities: Wine and martini tastings, educational presentations, cooking demonstrations, art classes, casino, spa, afternoon tea
  • Ideal for: 40+ year-olds.
Price ($-$$$):
Book now
Gourmet food and interesting itineraries are prioritized on Oceania cruise ships — not youth programming or babysitting services. Oceania offers a luxury experience without the premium price tag, as alcoholic drinks and off-shore excursions are à la carte.

Princess

When you need an escape, the place to be is the adults-only pool at The Sanctuary — cocktail in hand, naturally.
  • Adult activities: Culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, art galleries and auctions, Broadway productions, disco deck parties, casino, spa, fitness center, Zumba and yoga classes
  • Ideal for: 30+ year-olds
Price ($-$$$):
Princess Cruises is an excellent choice for adult couples, as it's got anniversary packages and chaplains on board to facilitate weddings and vow renewals. It offers enticing shore excursions designed for adults in search of escape — whether or not you've got a partner.

How we chose these cruises

When choosing cruise lines for this list, we looked at age restrictions and the target market of each cruise line. We also considered the range and quality of onboard activities and shore excursions, prioritizing companies that designed experiences with adults specifically in mind. We also considered onboard dining and weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.

Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.

Bottom line

From cruise lines that exclude the kiddos altogether to companies that prioritize adult activities and entertainment, you’ve got a solid selection of cruises designed especially for adults. Before booking your cruise, check to see if you can take advantage of a discount.

Frequently asked questions

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