Adults-only ships: Cruise lines that operate ships for over-18s only

Last week we looked at a group of travellers identified by P&O Cruises as Trippers (the generation “Travelling In Parents’ Pockets and Eroding Retirement Savings”) and how increasing numbers of grown-up kids are going on holiday with their parents – particularly when the parents are paying for everything. It’s not just adult families holidaying together, though, and in turn that has created a growing demand for child-free cruises.

Several lines now operate ships that expressly forbid under-18s and for thousands of Baby Boomers, honeymooners, baby mooners, singles and retirees, cruising without children is heaven on a ship. No noisy aqua parks, no oversized cartoon characters wandering around, no bombing (or poo) in the pools – there are definitely pluses.

Viking’s ocean-going ships have been adults-only since the company launched its ocean line in 2015. Virgin Voyages’ CEO Tom McAlpin said that the upcoming Scarlet Lady is “adult by design” and P&O UK operates three more traditional-style adults-only ships. British company Saga Cruises goes even further – you have to be 50 or over to sail on its ocean and river cruises, although you can bring a companion who is 40-plus.

There are very few adults-only ships compared to the abundance of family-friendly vessels, but Viking Cruises chairman Torstein Hagen is forging ahead with orders for 10 more. Just as Richard Branson is planning to disrupt the cruise industry with Virgin Voyages, Hagen said a while back: “When we launched our first ocean ship, we set out to reinvent ocean cruising. We focus on the destination, and we do not cram our ships with gimmicks and waterslides.”

Tropics and exotics

Highlights of Oceania Cruises’ 2020-21 “Tropics and Exotics” collection include 69 new itineraries – 13 voyages to Asia and Africa, eight to South America, eight to the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand and 31 to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and Mexico. Oceania, which has a fleet of six boutique-luxury ships – four accommodating 684 passengers, two accommodating 1250 – will make first-time visits to ports such as Miyako and Hokkaido in Japan, Surabaya in Indonesia, Tolanaro in Madagascar and, closer to home, Mooloolaba and Port Lincoln. See

Ancient Egypt

Demand for river cruising in Egypt is booming and Viking River Cruises is now building a second ship to sail on the Nile. Viking Osiris will join Viking Ra in September 2020 – the 82-passenger ship will feature the elegant Scandinavian design seen on the company’s European Longships. Viking Osiris’ 12-day Pharaohs and Pyramids cruise-tour includes three nights in Cairo, a flight to Luxor and an eight-day, round-trip Nile cruise. Viking offers a range of “privileged access” tours, such as the Temple of Khnum in Esna and the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens. See

Par for the course

Keen golfers can join several of the sport’s most seasoned professionals and champions on Crystal Cruises’ 2019 golf-themed Experiences of Discovery voyages. The pros bring their PGA prowess aboard three themed cruises on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, which feature opportunities for golf enthusiasts to not only perfect their swing and play on the world’s top courses but also to enjoy insider access from those at the top of their game. Crystal Serenity is sailing two golf-themed itineraries in Europe in June and August and Crystal Serenity’s round-trip from San Diego departs on December 21. See

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