9 Best Cruise Lines for Adults

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One of the best things about cruising is the number of experiences you’ll encounter on the sea. And while cruises have always been a favorite family vacation, adults sometimes want to have fun without their kids.

To uncover a variety of alternatives for your forthcoming adults-only cruise, dive deep into comprehensive research or seek guidance from a seasoned travel advisor. This proactive approach guarantees your journey will be brimming with electrifying activities, first-rate destinations, and so much more!

If you’re interested in finding out about the top cruise lines for adults, keep reading!

Best Cruise Lines for Adults

1. Virgin Voyages

Spoiler alert. Virgin Voyages is the first of two adult-only cruise lines on our list. Virgin came out of the gate in 2021 when billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson debuted Scarlet Lady, the cruise line’s first adults-only ship.

Test Kitchen on Virgin Voyages ship
Test Kitchen on Virgin Voyages ship (Photo courtesy of Theresa Russell)

Cruisers aboard Scarlet Lady and her sister ships – Valiant Lady, Resilient Lady, and Brilliant Lady (which will debut at the end of 2023) must be 18 years and older.

From DJ-driven pool parties, a drag queen brunch, midnight dodgeball games, rock star motifs, and even an onboard tattoo parlor, choosing this cruise line will be unlike any other cruise experience.

Hammocks at The Beach Club at Bimini
Hammocks at The Beach Club at Bimini

If you’re focused on wellness while traveling, you can detox in the outdoor gym surrounded by ocean views, re-tox at the gym and Tonic Juice Bar, head to the yoga studio or a cardio class, or take a wellness lecture.

The ultra-modern and holistic Redemption Spa has all the modern amenities, including a mud treatment room, a salt room, hot and cold plunge pools, and more.

With the cruise line’s fun features on board, entertainment venues geared toward adults, and numerous itinerary options that include short itineraries, Virgin Voyages ships are really a magnet for adult cruisers

Related: Virgin Voyages Details New Onboard Entertainment

2. Celebrity Cruises

While not entirely kid-free, Celebrity Cruises‘ demographic skews a bit older than other family-friendly lines, creating a more upscale experience that appeals to adults without kids.

The main pool deck in Celebrity Edge
The main pool deck in Celebrity Edge

Celebrity features an adults-only solarium with jacuzzis, heated pools, and comfortable loungers. The pool decks here are casual but elegant and are devoid of water slides, surf simulators, and other waterpark-type activities. There are also no loud games and contests on decks.

Interior of Grand Atrium on Celebrity Edge
Interior of Grand Atrium on Celebrity Edge

Adult travelers seeking onboard learning opportunities will find various educational seminars and presentations, and those interested in the onboard food and beverage programs will find elevated restaurants such as the contemporary Tuscan Grill or the luxurious Le Petit Chef.

After dinner, you may stop by the famous Martini Bar for a craft cocktail.

Related: Smallest to Largest: Celebrity Cruises’ 15 Ships Organized by Size

3. Viking Ocean Cruises

Aerial view of three Viking Ocean ships
Aerial view of three Viking Ocean ships (Photo courtesy of Viking)

One of the cruise lines suitable for adults is Viking Ocean Cruises, which features excellent Scandinavian design and spacious, tranquil, and stylish spaces.

What makes Viking extra special are the cultural experiences the line offers to ensure that travelers connect with the culture, history, and people of each place they visit.

Aerial view of Viking Star
Front view of Viking Star (Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)

Additionally, specialty restaurants are included in the cruise fare, and passengers can get wine, beer, and soft drinks during lunch and dinner. Viking is akin to a VIP club for sophisticated travelers without the hustle and bustle of families with kids on board.

Related: Viking Ocean and Expedition Ships: 11 Similarities and Differences

4. Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line can be a brow-raiser. While that is an understandable sentiment among adults, the cruise line wouldn’t become the world’s most recognizable entertainment brand by covering only some of your bases.

Disney Cruise Line knows its crowd. There are, in fact, several adults-only areas throughout the ships, giving grownups the occasional, much-needed reprieve.

Disney Wish in Port Canaveral, Florida
Disney Wish in Port Canaveral, Florida (Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

Satellite Falls on Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy is an adults-only wading pool with a cascading waterfall that separates the adults from the little ones. A circular splash pool is surrounded by bench seating and plenty of comfortable loungers, available only to those 18 and over.   

Another popular spot is the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool, which offers an upscale layout, hot tubs, and a Mickey-shaped pool. Guests can also grab coffee, tea, or snacks at the Cove Café or a refreshing cocktail at the Pool Bar.

You may also dine at adults-only restaurants and then spend your evening in the adults-only entertainment district, featuring late-night fun with high-energy nightclubs, English-style pubs, and more.

Aerial view of Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay
Aerial view of Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay (Photo courtesy of Disney Cruise Line)

Even on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, adults can have fun at Serenity Bay, which features a quiet retreat and open-air massage cabanas.

While Disney Cruise Line caters to families with kids, the options for adults are endless. This is a great option for adults who are into Disney stuff.

Related: Royal Caribbean Vs. Carnival Cruise Line: Which Cruise Line is Best for You?

5. Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International has always provided top-notch experiences among cruisers. The company prides itself on pushing the envelope with activities, entertainment, and groundbreaking technology. And the way the line caters to adults is no different.

Every ship features an adults-only solarium with a refreshing pool, padded loungers, hot tubs, and a full bar. Guests in the solarium must be at least 16 years of age.

Aerial view of Rhapsody of the Seas
Aerial view of Rhapsody of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a cruise line that keeps the little ones so entertained from morning until bedtime, which provides grownups ample time to take advantage of the many bars, restaurants, and other made-for-adult venues on board.

Other features that make Royal Caribbean fun for adults include the Quest Game Show (unsuitable for the easily offended), Silent Disco Parties, and the nightly single cruisers meet-ups.

Quantum of the Seas in Brisbane, Australia
Quantum of the Seas in Brisbane, Australia (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Venues like the serene Central Park and the next-level version of the adults-only solarium can only be found on Quantum- and Oasis-class ships. The improved solarium has a café, glass canopy, and optimal placement at the very front of the vessel.

In addition, Central Park comes alive at night with al fresco dining and a live-strings ensemble that sets the mood for a memorable night. 

Cruisers should never expect a Royal Caribbean cruise to be devoid of children, but there are always enough options to make your sailing feel like a no-kids cruise.

Related: 12 Best Things to Know Before Sailing Royal Caribbean

6. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line does an excellent job balancing the needs of adult guests with those of adults traveling with kids.

Available on select ships, studio staterooms are designed for solo cruisers, and the studio lounge, accessible only by those staying in this area of the ship, provides a central gathering spot to meet fellow solo travelers.

One of Miss Lulu’s girls show
One of Miss Lulu’s girls show

Other select ships offer adult-only areas on deck, such as Spice H20, available to all adult travelers at no added price, as well as the Vibe Beach Club, an adults-only space with limited capacity, which must be purchased upon boarding.

Guests looking for a memorable night out with their significant other will have a choice of intimate specialty restaurants for a romantic evening, such as Le Bistro, the line’s elegant French restaurant, which serves premium dishes in a serene atmosphere.

Vibe Beach Club on Norwegian Bliss
Vibe Beach Club on Norwegian Bliss

Ship-wise, since the line’s newer mega-ships feature so many kid-friendly amenities, such as VR arcades, laser tag arenas, and go-karts, the older ships often attract a more adult crowd.

They won’t provide the same bells and whistles but can offer a quieter, more relaxing atmosphere where many adults will find a wonderful escape from the modern world.

Related: Smallest to Largest: Norwegian Cruise Line’s 17 Ships Organized by Size

7. Holland America Line

Holland America Line boasts premium dining and service at sea in a subdued onboard atmosphere combined with today’s modern entertainment.

Dining is led by the line’s Culinary Council, a collective of master chefs who ensure the onboard dining experience is top-notch.

On board, you’ll find some of the best live music programs at sea that showcase a variety of genres, from classic rock to blues and jazz to classical. 

Noordam off the coast of Hawaii
Noordam off the coast of Hawaii (Photo courtesy of Holland America Line)

So, while spring breakers lean toward cruise lines catering to a younger, rowdier crowd, adult cruisers will appreciate Holland America Line’s commitment to an elevated experience for its adult guests.

Related: Smallest to Largest: Holland America’s 11 Ships by Size

8. Princess Cruises

More than a few people fell in love with the idea of cruising while watching “The Love Boat,” which took place aboard a Princess Cruises ship. The line has carried on the tradition of romance at sea with more memorable moments and fewer frills on board.

Aerial view of Star Princess
Aerial view of Star Princess (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Princess is an all-ages cruise line; the typical guest is usually between 45 and 70. The line attracts an older demographic with its sophisticated dining options, traditional cruise style, and choice of longer and more exotic global itineraries.

Ruby Princess in Galveston, Texas
Ruby Princess in Galveston, Texas (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

For kid-free moments on board, seek out the Sanctuary, Princess’ adults-only retreat complete with al fresco massages, light snacks, and Serenity Stewards to meet your relaxation wishes.

Related: Smallest to Largest: Princess Cruises’ 16 Ships Organized by Size

9. Carnival Cruise Line

Though Carnival Cruise Line is family-friendly, its ships also offer a great amount of amenities for adults.

All Carnival ships feature the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, which includes a bar, comfy loungers, and tranquil ocean breezes. There are also scheduled after-hours parties, activities, and comedy shows that cater to those over 18.

View of Carnival's Serenity decks
View of Carnival’s Serenity decks

Select ships also feature a fantastic Havana area where adults can relax from the kid-filled Lido Deck and main pool.

Havana Cabanas is an accommodation category featured on Carnival’s Vista-class ships with an exclusive Havana pool, hot tubs, and bars.

Front view of Carnival Magic in Norfolk, Virginia
Front view of Carnival Magic in Norfolk, Virginia (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)

Other select ships feature Cloud 9 Spa Staterooms and Suites, which include in-room products and give priority spa reservations, free fitness classes, unlimited thermal suites, and more.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the sea of adult-friendly cruise options can be both exciting and overwhelming.

From Virgin Voyages, which sets sail with the mandate of offering an adult-centric, wellness-focused experience, to Disney Cruise Line, surprisingly catering to adults with areas of respite from family-oriented activities, there are numerous cruises to explore.

Also worth considering are options such as Viking Ocean Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Holland America Line, all providing distinctive experiences designed for mature audiences.

Then, there are the all-around balanced offerings from Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line, which thoughtfully cater to adult guests and those traveling with children.

Finally, don’t count out Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises, both of which also offer unique, adult-friendly amenities and experiences. The variety of options ensures that whatever your idea of a perfect vacation, you’re sure to find a cruise line that can sail you there.

Dig Deeper: 10 Amazing Cruises to Take Before You Die

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