Our team of travel experts has spent hundreds of hours researching dozens of senior cruises to find lines that offer itineraries, activities and excursions geared specifically toward older folks, with strong reputations for stellar customer service. From onboard musicals and expert lectures to immersive adventures that are guaranteed to get you back to the ship on time, you’ll barely need to lift a finger on your next escape above the waves.
Cruise lines that require the COVID-19 vaccination
Eager to hit the waves again after months of quarantine? These cruise lines are requiring all passengers and staff to be fully vaccinated before coming aboard:
- American Cruise Lines
- American Queen Steamboat Company
- Crystal Cruises (river and ocean)
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Royal Caribbean
- Saga Cruises
- Victory Cruise Lines
If you want to cruise this year, be sure to research when each cruise line is expected to resume.
Best cruises for seniors
Holland America Line
These mid-sized ships exude the charm of a classic cruise experience, at a budget-friendly rate. Known for its classy onboard entertainment, like chamber music performers, blues musicians, BBC Earth Natural History presentations and destination-themed movies, Holland America Line offers a mellow ride to popular, tourist-friendly cities around the world.
- Known for low prices and routes that visit picturesque cities in the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii and beyond. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to pay extra for shore excursions.
- Best for single seniors looking to make friends. Holland America Line offers a Single Partners Program where solo travelers can meet and be matched by gender to share double occupancy rooms to avoid single supplements.
Celebrity’s indulgent ships feature formal foyers, curated libraries and upscale bars and casinos. It offers entertainment and activities inspired by your itinerary, from food and wine pairing workshops to hands-on art classes, lectures and language classes. Book a movable feast cruise to take gourmet cooking classes and dine with pro chefs atop the waves.
Book a suite if you want to be pampered by a European-style butler. Gratuities, drinks and Wi-Fi are always included in your fare.
- Known for family-friendly cruises with elevated dining options and a certified sommelier in every restaurant.
- Best for seniors that are cruising with multigenerational families. It has adults-only lounge areas and STEM clubs for the kids.
Cunard’s cruises evoke visions of a bygone era — genteel, sophisticated and refined, complete with afternoon tea. Cunard hosts gala balls and international cabaret artists in the evening. Its ships feature guest speakers who are experts in the fields of filmmaking, politics, science, history and more — perfectly themed for the regions you’ll travel to.
Onboard, attend educational lectures, Shakespearean plays and musicals. Join a dance club to learn new moves, loosen your joints in the summing pool or simply enjoy relative peace and quiet on the deck.
- Known for white glove service at evening meals and a sparkling bottle of wine in your stateroom upon arrival.
- Best for seniors cruisers in search of old world charm and elegance.
Azamara offers slower itineraries designed to help you access the authentic culture of each destination, with golf and holiday cruises available, too. Expand your horizons onboard at wine tastings, themed seminars, culinary destinations and a cozy, curated library.
With Azamara, you’ll enjoy longer stays at each destination than with most cruise lines, so you can truly immerse yourself in your new surroundings. To top that, Azamara’s fleet of award-winning ships welcomes a maximum of only 690 guests per ship — so you don’t need to worry about being lost in a crowd of thousands, like with Carnival or Royal Caribbean.
- Known for itineraries that include overnight stays on land, in addition to your time at sea.
- Best for seniors that want more time at each port.
- Deal — 50% off single supplements on select voyages.
Silversea’s ships are intimate, with 50 to 304 suites depending on the ship, and offer personalized indulgence to match, with butler service included in your fare. Because of its small vessels, Silversea can dock at niche ports in remote villages and lesser-known towns that large cruise lines simply can’t access. It’s like traveling the world on a friend’s yacht, with free-flowing champagne and caviar.
Every cabin has an ocean view, and there are specialty restaurants for when you want to splurge on a particular feast. Most of your fellow passengers will be over the age of 60.
- Known for white-glove sophistication and excursion specialists who help you plan your perfect day at every port.
- Best for seniors looking to indulge in true luxury.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas includes roundtrip flights to and from your home base in the price of all its cruises. It’s a wonderful choice if your idea of vacation is letting someone else worry about the details, as everything from shore excursions to gratuities are included in the fare. Its grand voyages and world cruises last from one to three months or even longer if you’ve got ample time to retire and relax above the waves.
For entertainment, there’s a casino, fitness center and spa, karaoke, trivia and a curated library. There’s afternoon tea and even a put-put green for cruisers that want to practice their swing.
- Known for a 1:1.5 staff-to-passenger ratio, for personalized service whenever you need it.
- Best for: Seniors who are willing to pay extra for a tailor-made experience and superior customer service.
Sail away amid minimalist Scandinavian design with plenty of natural light. Viking’s elevated selection of shore excursions include trips to opera houses, world-renowned galleries and dazzling churches. You’ll be in good company, as most passengers are 50 or older.
The gourmet food and drink served onboard is all inspired by local cuisine. Engage with the resident historian, watch TED talk screenings or relax in the curated library.
- Known for bringing guest lecturers, historians and cultural performers aboard to enhance your experience.
- Best for seniors with a special interest in history and art.
Tauck aims to surprise and delight its passengers with special shore excursions that you won’t find anywhere else, like prepaying for pastries as a hole-in-the-wall patisserie in Paris and arranging private operatic performances in Austria. Soak in the hot tub on deck, enjoy regionally-inspired meals and relax into complimentary transfers to and from the port.
Choose Tauck if you’re looking to check exotic destinations off your bucket list, like the Galapagos Islands, Iceland, the Norwegian Fjords, the Panama Canal, Antarctica and more. Not only does Tauck emphasize authenticity and adventure, it’s also all-included and luxurious.
- Known for unique shore excursions that get to the heart of every destination.
- Best for seniors that want an immersive experience in foreign cities, in the company of expert guides.
- Deal — No single supplement on all European river cruises. Discounted supplements on other other river cruises and tours.
This cruise line has a reputation for perfectly pleasant voyages down some of the world’s most majestic rivers, including the Amazon, Ganges, Mekong, Nile, Rhine, Danube and more. Pay extra for a Panorama Suite and you’ll get a floor-to-ceiling window to watch the world go by from the comfort of your cabin.
Avalon Waterways include shore excursions, Wi-Fi, onboard activities and locally-sourced wine with most meals. The library comes well-stocked, the beds are customizable (choose how firm or soft the mattress and pillows are) and it offers breakfasts for early and late risers, so you can start the day at your leisure.
- Known for its curated selection of themed cruises, like photography, culinary, history, Jewish heritage, garden and even a cruise themed for the Outlander series.
- Best for seniors that want good overall value and complimentary shore excursions.
- Deal — It waives the single supplement on select cruises. Couples can get up to $1,500 off select cruises.
American Cruise Lines
TThese classic cruises through the US combine educational activities with enriching entertainment, gracious service and a complimentary cocktail hour for a laidback, inspiring experience. You’ll feel like a VIP with complimentary hotel stays for before and after your trip, along with transfers to and from the port.
Every cabin has its own private balcony, so you can unwind in peace and quiet when you need a break from the bustle of public areas. Its 35 itineraries visit 28 states, and all of American Cruise Line’s ships were made right here in the USA. It has themed cruises for the American Revolution, Music Cities and more.
- Known for educational voyages through the heartland, New England, Puget Sound, Alaska and more.
- Best for history buffs, anthropology nuts and cruisers with a keen interest in American culture.
- All ships are wheelchair-accessible.
How we chose these cruises
When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at cruise lines that offer activities and services especially for senior travelers, prioritizing companies that take special care to customize the experience based on the individual needs and potential limitations of each passenger. We favored cruise lines that supply stimulating educational resources and entertainment, both onboard and ashore.
Additionally, we weighed the quality of onboard dining and cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value. Finally, we sought out customer reviews written by senior travelers, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.
Best cruises for single seniors
Most cruise lines charge a “single supplement” if you’re traveling alone and don’t want to share a cabin with a friend or roommate. These cruise lines either waive the single supplement or offer a steep discount:
- Tauck. You won’t pay a single’s supplement on any of Tauck’s European river cruises in category one cabins. On river cruises in North America, it offers steep discounts for singles that don’t want to share a cabin. Head to Tauck’s website and click Tours & Cruises then Ways To Travel then Solo to learn more.
- Avalon Waterways. It waives the single supplement on select cruises.
- Azamara. It offers 50% off single supplements on select voyages.
- Cunard. Each of its ships has at least nine cabins for solo occupants, plus onboard activities like speakers, musicals and Shakespearean plays to entertain.
- Silversea. The single supplement is only 10%, and you’ll be assigned a personal butler in an ocean-view suite. It also has a Gentlemen Hosts program for single women that would like to dine and dance in polite, friendly company. Shore excursions all feature small groups.
Which cruise lines offer discounts for seniors?
These cruise lines offer discounts for seniors aged 55 and over on select sailings:
- Celebrity Cruises
- Royal Caribbean International
AARP cruise discounts
While AARP doesn’t offer cruise discounts, you can get up to $300 in onboard credit on select routes to the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and more with Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Royal Caribbean and more. You’ll need to book the trip through Expedia’s AARP Travel Center or over the phone by calling 1-800-675-4318 to get the onboard credit.
Which cruises are best for seniors with disabilities?
These cruise lines stand out for ships that can easily be navigated in a wheelchair or scooter, and staff that works to make folks with disabilities feel right at home. You can book wheelchair-accessible cabins and wheelchair-friendly shore excursions:
- Holland America Cruise Line
What to look out for when booking cruises for seniors
- Onboard accessibility. Many lines offer wheelchair-accessible rooms and gangways. But keep in mind that if you need assistance for personal tasks such as eating, bathing and grooming, you’ll need to bring along someone who can help. If you’ll need a wheelchair to move around once aboard, consider bringing your own or renting through a third-party vendor, as most cruise lines don’t have wheelchairs available for rent after you board.
- Port accessibility. Not all port excursions have facilities for those with mobility difficulties. If this is a factor for you, consider talking to a customer service representative before booking your cruise to make sure you’ll have a smooth experience moving from ship to shore.
- Port excursions. Choose a cruise line that offers port excursions that meet your interests and mobility level. For instance, if you prefer lower levels of physical activity, look for itineraries that include shore excursions via shuttle or tour bus.
The best cruises for seniors offer accessible cabins and personalized service with an eye towards empathy to ensure you have a spectacular experience, regardless of age. After deciding upon a cruise line, check to see if there’s a discount available on your fare.
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Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test
for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.
When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.
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