Family-oriented cruises can be lots of fun, but at times you may want to sail without children (yours or others) on board, especially if you crave a very quiet, relaxing and/or romantic experience at sea.
It’s possible to cruise on ships that welcome only adults, although there are just a few that have an 18+ age requirement. These include the ships of Viking River Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises; Uniworld River Cruises’ sub-brand, U by Uniworld; and Virgin Voyages.
But even on ships that welcome passengers of all ages, there are ways to avoid the younger set. Here are some tips:
Book a cruise on a ship that has spaces reserved only for adults, and use them. Many ships have adults-only pools, sun decks, and lounges (some are complimentary, and some charge a small fee). Shipboard spas, exercise classes, and cocktail lounges are often for adults only; in addition, some ships reserve certain specialty restaurants for adults. Note that in any dining venue, the later you’re seated for dinner, the more likely it is that your fellow diners will be adults.
Book a river cruise. River cruises are often not the first choice of families with children, for two main reasons. First, river cruise ships are small – usually accommodating 200 passengers or less – and simply don’t have space for the pools, clubs, shows, and games that tend to appeal to kids. Second, river cruise itineraries tend to focus on scenic cruising as well as local culture and history, rather than kid-friendly, action-packed events, and excursions.
Book a luxury cruise. As with river cruises, luxury ocean-going ships are smaller ships, with less space for kid-pleasing activities and amenities. And while luxury cruises deliver great value, they do cost more, so are less likely to be the choice of large families or multi-generational groups.
Book a long cruise. With busy work, school, and activity schedules, families often book cruises of seven days or less. Longer cruises – especially those with itineraries outside of North America and the Caribbean – tend to have fewer children on board.
Book outside of traditional school vacation times. School calendars vary, but in general, you’ll find more kids on board during the summer months, the winter holidays, and spring break. When you book outside those times, you’re likely to have fewer onboard companions under age 18. You might score an attractive off-season fare, too.
For more advice on sailing with more adults and fewer kids, talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor.
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