You’ve been there, sitting by the poolside of a thousand-foot cruise ship and all you can hear is the high-pitched shrieks from the waterslide scratching against your eardrums. You’ve stopped counting after the 278th time the same SpongeBob SquarePants theme song kept pounding away at your temples on a continuous loop. When you're not wiping away snot with your sleeve, you are brushing away sticky hands, cookie crumbs, or tripping over floaties and lost toys. Whenever you close your eyes, you can feel the nails running down the chalkboards on a torturous family cruise.
There is hope, however, to regain the sanity you’ve lost by going on an adults only luxury cruise. A perfect retreat for young singles and active or mature couples, these voyages provide both premium accommodations and romantic getaways without the tantrums from the kiddie tables. Here’s our list of the best adults only cruises.
P&O Cruises, Arcadia & Oriana
As the oldest cruise line in the world, P&O has a strong and loyal following when it comes to its adults only cruises. Onboard the classy and elegant decks of its two adults only ships, Arcadia and Oriana, you can expect quiet balcony cabins with residential-style décor, along with romantic banquet halls, cocktail lounges, and swanky casinos. You won’t find the rowdy kegger crowd here. Instead, their cruises cater to more mature, middle-aged passengers with formal nights, evening balls, and West End style theatre performances.
Both ships were refitted in the last decade with updated interiors. Arcadia, the larger of the two ships, has a fully-equipped spa with thermal suites and a hydrotherapy pool. For dining, the ship offers two celebrity chef restaurants by Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar alongside a host of seafood and grill venues. What puts Arcadia ahead of the competition when it comes to redefining sophistication on the high seas, is its onboard art gallery with over 3,000 pieces of artwork on display.
Azamara Club Cruises
Long before the clothes came off aboard Azamara's adult-themed “Desire” cruises, passengers enjoyed the opulent interiors, candlelit restaurants, and the contemporary furnishings of it spacious balcony cabins. Not to be outdone by the cruise line’s many original and inventive date night events, including its AzAmazing Evening romantic shore getaways, Azamara upped its game by launching the racy, couples only “Desire” voyages.
Activities onboard range from intimate and provocative couples’ workshops, risque theme nights, and plenty of sensual but steamy daytime events, too. Not without deluxe amenities, the cruise offers private, clothing-optional spa and pool decks with saltwater Jacuzzi and massage pools. Each voyage also has “Mix-n-Mingle” playrooms for more open-minded couples. Desire sailings are exclusive, very popular and can only accommodate limited bookings each year. Regular adults only cruises feature a laidback atmosphere in smoke-free environments, and a more organic cruising experience, with trendy cafes, specialty restaurants, and glamorous cocktail lounges for ballroom dancing. Talk about naughty and nice.
Viking Ocean & River Cruises
There are no mindless getaways onboard a Viking cruise vessel. Whether you are sailing down the Danube or circumnavigating the coast of Madagascar, you can be sure to walk away from each trip having learned something new. Viking prides itself in targeting the thinking man and woman, offering destination-rich itineraries to help passengers connect with the locations they are travelling to. Each river or ocean voyage is packed with complimentary educational lectures, walking tours, and authentic destination focused cuisine and activities.
Viking doesn't shy away from offering plenty of creature comforts either. Onboard its ocean cruises, each ship is fitted with a top-deck Explorer’s Lounge with panoramic views, a Nordic-style spa with sauna and snow grotto, and a 1940’s Hollywood-inspired Torshavn jazz lounge to sip cognac while listening to live bands. Along with 11 restaurants and bars, each cabin has its own private terrace.
Although Seabourn allows children onboard, the chances of bumping into one on an adult-oriented ship are next to zero. After boarding the Odyssey, Sojourn, or Quest, passengers are immediately offered complimentary Champagne and fresh fruit. Each suite comes with a stewardess for personalized service, along with a well-stocked cabin bar, separate living space, and walk-in closets. More premium suites include private verandas and spas.
You won’t find activities or amenities onboard a Seabourn ship for children. The ships come equipped with six outdoor whirlpools, two swimming pools, extensive spa facilities, and a nine-hole putting course. Dining venues are exclusively gourmet, with fine-dining bistros, elegant grill houses, and patio cocktail bars. For those interested in local gastronomy, the cruise offers a shopping trip with the chef on shore leave at each destination’s markets. At night, the cruise spices things up with dance parties on the sundecks and live musical performances in its club lounges.
SeaDream Yacht Club
For couples looking for a premium yachting experience without feeling like they're sitting in on a Sotheby’s art auction, SeaDream’s boutique ships might just be the answer. With only two ships (maxing out at 112 passengers each!), SeaDream eschews the stuffy, pretentious atmosphere that much larger cruise lines sometimes fail to avoid. Instead, it offers a private yacht vibe where travellers are treated to exclusive luxury in a casual, relaxed environment.
Although the ships are smaller, SeaDream voyages are not lacking in amenities. Each ship comes with Balinese dream beds on its sundecks, saltwater pools and freshwater Jacuzzis just steps away from patio bars. Below deck, there are casinos, piano bars, and fully-equipped spa and fitness centres. A bonus for more active couples, the cruise provides a long list of watersport activities, like jet skiing, paddle boarding, and snorkelling. Ashore, the cruise hosts Champagne and caviar barbeque beach parties and mountain bike adventures. At night, the poolside deck entertains guests with an open-air movie theatre and live concerts under starlight.