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10 best cruise lines for seniors

Set sail in the company of people your age, with a relaxed pace, enriching entertainment and personalized service.

From onboard musicals and expert lectures to immersive excursions that are guaranteed to get you back to the ship on time, these cruises for seniors offer the perfect blend of adventure and comfort. 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.

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to go on a cruise?

Maybe. Some cruise lines, like Norwegian and American Cruise Line, are requiring all passengers and staff to be fully vaccinated before stepping aboard. But not all cruise lines are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, and most cruise lines are only requiring passengers to be vaccinated during a specific window of time. After the pandemic is over, these requirements may be waived. Be sure to read through coronavirus precautions and safety policies before booking your cruise.

Best river cruises for seniors

There are amazing river cruises for seniors in the US and abroad, on almost every continent. To help narrow down your options, first decide where you want to go (or which river you want to sail). Are the picturesque villages of Europe calling your name, with castles perched on cliff sides and vineyards on rolling hills? Or are you in the mood to see pyramids in Egypt with your own eyes? Do you want to sail by rice paddies and pagodas in South Asia or see exotic tropical flowers in the Amazon rainforest?

To get your imagination whirring, here are four of our favorite river cruise itineraries for seniors.

Cruise lineCruiseItineraryPriceBook
VikingRhine Getaway — 8 days
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Kinderdik, The Netherlands
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Koblenz & Rudesheim, Germany
  • Speyer, Germany
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Breisach, Germany
  • Basel, Switzerland
From $2,299 per personBook now
TauckHeart of the Danube: Budapest to Bavaria — 8 days
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Bratslava, Slovakia
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Durnstein, Austria (Wachau Valley)
From $3,990 per person
Avalon WaterwaysTaste of Egypt — 10 days
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Luxor, Egypt
  • Edfu, Egypt
  • Aswan, Egypt
  • Cairo, Egypt
From $3,031 per personBook now
American Cruise LineMississippi River Gateway Cruise — 11 days
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Natchez, Mississippi
  • Vicksburg, Mississippi
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • New Madrid, Missouri
  • Paducah, Kentucky
  • St. Louis, Missouri
From $5,620 per person

Best river cruise lines for seniors

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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.

  • Best for: Seniors with a special interest in history and art.
  • Known for bringing guest lecturers, historians and cultural performers aboard to enhance your experience.
  • Adults only
  • Viking also offers ocean cruises
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Avalon Waterways

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.

  • Best for: Seniors that want good overall value and complimentary shore excursions.
  • Known for its curated selection of themed cruises, like photography, culinary, history, Jewish heritage, garden and even a cruise themed for the Outlander series.
  • Deal — It waives the single supplement on select cruises. Couples can get up to $1,500 off select cruises.
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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.

  • Best for: History buffs, anthropology nuts and cruisers with a keen interest in American culture.
  • Known for educational voyages through the heartland, New England, Puget Sound, Alaska and more.
  • All ships are wheelchair-accessible.
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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.

  • Best for: Seniors that want an immersive experience in foreign cities, in the company of expert guides.
  • Known for unique shore excursions that get to the heart of every destination.
  • Deal — No single supplement on all European river cruises. Discounted supplements on other other river cruises and tours.

Best ocean cruises for seniors

Just like river cruises, you can book ocean cruises that depart from ports near and far, whether you want to see the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska, dolphins in the Caribbean sea, or rich coral reefs around Australia. Our favorite ocean cruise itineraries for seniors dock at less touristy ports and take their time meandering from place to place, so you have time to really experience the essence of the region you choose.

Cruise lineCruiseItineraryPrice
Holland America LineSouthern Caribbean Wayfarer — 11 days
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Philipsburg, Saint Maarten
  • Castries, Saint Lucia
  • Soufriere Bay (cruising)
  • Bridgetown, Barbados
  • Fort-De-France, Matrinique
  • Mount Pelee (cruising)
  • Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
  • Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
From $1,349 per person
Celebrity CruisesPacific Coastal Cruise — 8 nights
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Astoria, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Catalina Island, California
  • Los Angeles, California
From $1,451 per person
AzamaraIsrael Intensive — 10 nights
  • Piraeus (Athens), Greece
  • Limassol, Cyprus
  • Haifa (Nazareth), Israel
  • Ashdod (Jerusalem), Israel
  • Heraklion (Iraklion), Greece
  • Piraeus (Athens), Greece
From $2,694 per person
Regent Seven SeasNew York to Montreal— 10 nights
  • New York, New York
  • Newport, Rhode Island
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Saint John, New Brunswick
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence (cruising)
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Montreal, Quebec
From $7,699 per person

Best ocean cruise lines for seniors

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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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
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    Celebrity Cruises

    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.

    • Best for: Seniors that are cruising with multigenerational families. It has adults-only lounge areas and STEM clubs for the kids.
    • Known for family-friendly cruises with elevated dining options and a certified sommelier in every restaurant.
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      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.

      • Best for: Seniors cruisers in search of old world charm and elegance.
      • Known for white glove service at evening meals and a sparkling bottle of wine in your stateroom upon arrival.
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      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.

      • Best for: Seniors that want more time at each port.
      • Known for itineraries that include overnight stays on land, in addition to your time at sea.
      • Deal — 50% off single supplements on select voyages.
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      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.

      • Best for: Seniors looking to indulge in true luxury.
      • Known for white-glove sophistication and excursion specialists who help you plan your perfect day at every port.
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      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.

      • Best for: Seniors who are willing to pay extra for a tailor-made experience and superior customer service.
      • Known for a 1:1.5 staff-to-passenger ratio, for personalized service whenever you need it.

      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:

      • Carnival
      • 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:

      • Carnival
      • Celebrity
      • Cunard
      • Holland America Cruise Line
      • Princess

      Safety tips for seniors booking a cruise

      To make sure your experience on board is just as comfortable as on land, be sure to consider:

      • 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.

      Do I need travel insurance for my cruise?

      It depends on the level of risk you’re willing to assume. Weigh the cost of travel insurance against your personal risk factors, like potential illness and schedule conflicts, to decide whether or not you should invest in the plan. We suggest getting a quote on travel insurance policies for cruises to decide whether it’s worth making room for in your budget.

      Bottom line

      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. We recommend booking with American Cruise Line for Mississippi river cruises, Viking for educational cruises with excellent value and Holland America Line if you want to cruise the seven seas on a budget.

      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, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

      If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.

      Deals on senior cruises


      Disney cruises from $705 per person to the Caribbean

      T&Cs apply.

      Disney Cruise Line deals starting from $213/night to Caribbean and other destinations

      T&Cs apply.

      Save up to 25% on select Bahamian, Caribbean and Baja cruises with Disney

      T&Cs apply.

      Carnival cruises starting from just $55/night to the Bahamas and other destinations

      T&Cs apply.

      Carnival cruises to the Caribbean starting from $179 per person

      T&Cs apply.
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