The Best Cruises for Adults, Couples, Singles and More

Maybe you’ve heard that Virgin is setting sail with an adults-only ship that’s ready to rock.

Sir Richard Branson is expanding his empire and launching his first cruise line, Virgin Voyages, the company announced. Dubbed “Scarlet Lady,” the boat is only open to travelers who are 18 and up, and will offer on-board amenities like a tattoo parlor, luxurious spa, and a blow-dry bar.

Never heard of an adults-only cruise? Maybe that’s because many of the cruise commercials you see on TV target families with amazing ships that look like floating amusement parks, with endless kid-friendly perks and activities.

But cruise vacations aren’t just for kids and families. Whether you’re freshly 18 or freshly retired, there are cruise trips suited for every age and style of traveler.

Some of these specialized cruises even cater to your relationship designation, with cruises for couples-only or singles who are looking to mingle.

There are also adult themed-cruises, featuring the greats of Bon Jovi, Golden Girls and other iconic decades.

From adult-only, couples-only, singles cruises and more, here’s how to find the perfect cruise for your travel style.

What is an Adults-Only Cruise?

Maybe you’re envisioning a quiet, romantic getaway for you and your partner. Or maybe you’re looking forward to cutting loose with drinks, dancing and new friends from sun up to sun down.

An adult-only cruise can cater to either of these travel styles — or the perfect combination of both.

An adults-only cruise means all passengers must be at least 18 years old. These cruises can run the gamut when it comes to atmosphere. Some cater to livelier lifestyles, with foam parties, late night dancing and adventure-heavy excursions. Others focus on relaxation, with fine dining, spa treatments and other elegant experiences.

Carnival excels at providing a great party experience. You can look forward to hip cocktail bars, onboard breweries, nightclubs, and even a live concert specialty cruise series featuring artists like Jennifer Hudson, Jim Gaffigan, and Lady Antebellum.

Or if you’re looking for a more peaceful and refined cruise with a focus on fine dining, an excellent wine list, world-class spa treatments and more, consider Oceania, Princess, Azamara, or Crystal Cruises.

If you’re unable to secure a spot on a true adults-only ship, you can follow these tips to get a more adult-oriented experience:

Pricier fare equals fewer kids

Luxury cruises and small cruise ships are typically catered toward adults. There may be some children on board, but typically people with families head for the more affordable, family-friendly cruise lines.

Ambitious destinations attract fewer families

An Egyptian river cruise or an Asian expedition with stops in Singapore and Hong Kong are less likely to carry family cruisers.

Book when school’s in session

It’s unlikely that parents will take kids out of school for a cruise vacation, so booking a trip outside of summer or holiday breaks is a sure bet for a quieter cruise.

What is a Couples Cruise?

A couples cruise is catered to people traveling in pairs. There are many high-quality cruise lines that focus on romantic trips for couples — whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon, or just looking for a romantic getaway.

These are cruises often specialize in offering rooms with private sea-facing balconies, romantic dining options (with plenty of seating for two and even in-room dinners with personal course-by-course service), and nearly private nooks and decks — perfect for conversation and relaxation with your partner and new friends.

You’ll also be traveling with other couples, which means having access to other like-minded couples and the opportunity for double-dates galore.

Some of our favorite cruise lines for couples include Azamara Club, Regent Seven Seas, Princess, Paul Gauguin, Windstar, and SeaDream Yacht Club.

Cruises for Solo Travelers

Whether you’re looking to meet a special someone or love the thrill of solo travel, there are certain cruise lines that are more accommodating for individual travelers.

“Singles-only” cruises have one main goal: to give travelers the opportunity to meet and mingle with other singles looking for romance.

But if you’re a solo traveler who isn’t necessarily focused on romance, there are other cruise lines that are particularly good at accommodating solo travelers.

One of the key things to look for when cruising solo is a ship that offers single passenger cabins without charging an extra fee (known in the cruise business as a “single supplement fee”).

One of the best mainstream cruises for solo cruisers is Norwegian. Norwegian offers “studio” cabins that are perfect for individual cruisers. These comfy and modern rooms come with the bonus of exclusive access to a shared social lounge for solo travelers, with a bartender, pre-dinner mixers, TVs, and more.

Cruises for Women

Just like there are cruises catered toward couples or singles, there are some boats that focus on women travelers.

A cruise for women can be exciting for solo female travelers or a getaway with girlfriends, offering amenities and activities specifically designed with women in mind.

There are themed cruises (7 days of yoga on the open sea, anyone?), ladies cruises for single women looking for a partner (with singles meet-ups every night and on-board dating apps), and party cruises — great for bachelorette parties or birthday celebrations.

Some of the better cruise lines for female-friendly vacations include Silversea and Crystal.

LGBTQ+ Options

Some companies offer specialty cruises for LGBTQ+ travelers. Cruisers can enjoy the comfort of being surrounded by fellow LGBTQ+ community members, as well events and accommodations that specifically cater to their needs and interests.

Celebrity has been awarded LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Company of the Year for their signature cruises hosting fleet-wide pride parties and legally recognized same sex marriages at sea.

The company has also been recognized as the Best Large Ship Cruise Line for LGBTQ+ Passengers.

Senior Traveler Cruises

Just as young adult travelers might be looking for a unique experience with like-minded peers, the same is true for senior cruisers. Enter the 50+ only cruise.

As the name implies, you’ve got to be 50 years of age or older to traveler on one of these ships.

In addition to a guest list of travelers who share your experience and perhaps your taste, expect these ships to have good healthcare on board, lots of wheelchair accessibility, accommodation for special dietary needs, and to be service animal friendly.

50+ cruises specifically cater to senior travelers with lots of onboard activities like dancing classes and pottery workshops. Destinations tend to be more exotic and focused on cultural experiences.

Some of the best cruise lines that cater to an older clientele include Azamara, Holland America, Oceania, and Royal Caribbean International.

Find the Perfect Ship for You

Booking a cruise is about more than just choosing a cruise line. You’ve also got to choose the specific ship you want to travel on.

Some cruise companies focus on specific types of travelers. But many offer an array of different options to choose from.

At CloudBlue Travel, we know the intimate details of the ship-by-ship offerings of all our cruise partners. Rather than leaving your dream vacation to chance, contact us to let us help you choose the perfect ship for your next cruise »

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