Adult-Only Cruises Are on the Rise

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While cruises are a great option for a family vacation, there are times you may not want to deal with children and would prefer a more adult-centric trip. Several cruise lines recognize that and have begun offering adult-only cruises. Here, our EWR Airport parking company shares an article from Forbes that explores the idea:

“As the cruise industry has grown, it’s also become more diversified, seemingly able to offer something for every kind of guest (except the die-hard non-cruiser). There are choices regarding ship size, stateroom configurations, onboard activities/amenities, itineraries, shore excursions, and price points—as well as the “je ne sais quoi” factor, or overall ambiance of the ship.

Now cruisers have one more option:  They can choose adult-only ships, eliminating the possibility of encountering noisy teens or whining kids onboard.

“Adult-only cruises have been a trend we’ve noticed more over the past few years, particularly among newer cruise lines,” says Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor of Cruise Critic, the largest cruise review site and online cruise community.

“This trend started picking up steam in the industry was through the popularity of adult-only areas onboard more mainstream lines—family-friendly lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and even Disney have adult-only areas onboard, giving guests a place to escape the hustle and bustle of other public spaces,” she adds.

This interest was a signal to the industry that there might be a niche market for totally kid-free cruise experiences.

Viking Cruises: Ships for grownups

Since its inception in 1997, Viking (which operates both river and ocean vessels) differentiated itself from the pack. It championed grownup cruises aimed at the sensibilities of travelers 50 years and older with interests in history, art, culture, science and exploration.

Although Viking River Cruises allowed younger passengers (over the age of 12) onboard, the ships were devoid of climbing walls, discos, kids’ clubs and such so there were relatively few takers. Viking’s ocean cruises, launched in 2015, have always been adult-only, with an 18 and over minimum age requirement for passengers.

Recently, Travel Weekly reported that Viking quietly updated the terms and conditions on its website, establishing a consistent adult-only policy across all its itineraries: Passengers booking Viking river or ocean cruises after August 1, 2018 must be 18 years of age and over.

U by Uniworld: A spin-off of Uniworld River Cruises

Uniworld River Cruises launched U by Uniworld in April 2018. The adult-only U fleet (limited to guests 18 years and over) includes two, 120-passenger matte black ships, called The A and The B. 

With public spaces and programs uniquely designed to appeal to younger, more active cruisers, the U ships have rooftop venues, mixologists, international DJs, a spa and communal tables with locally-inspired farm-to-table cuisine. Shore excursions include such sports as kayaking and blokarting. Itineraries are shorter (8 days or less) and less inclusive than the more conventional Uniworld brand.

Virgin Voyages: Adult by Design

Virgin Voyages, the new cruise line founded by Richard Branson, recently announced its three ships will be geared to adults 18 and over. The line’s maiden ship, Scarlet Lady, is planned to set sail the Caribbean in 2020, departing from PortMiami.

This upscale, 2,770-passenger vessel will have a wellness emphasis—with an indoor gym and outdoor athletic club featuring a boxing ring and training equipment for individual training and group classes; it will also have a bar, areas for adult play and cabanas.

A stand-alone outdoor running track will be located adjacent to an outdoor yoga and sundeck. The Redemption Spa will feature treatment rooms as well as a thermal suite with a hydrotherapy pool, mudroom, salt room, cold plunge pools, and quartz beds.

“As a newcomer, we have to offer a differentiated experience,” explains Tom McAlpin, Virgin Voyages President and CEO. “Sometimes, in order to do that, it’s not about what you’re going to add but rather what you’re willing to give up. Our decision to be ‘Adult by Design’ was driven by feedback from future sailors and travel professionals, who indicated that they were looking for a more elevated adult experience,” he adds.

P&O Cruises: All about choice

P&O Cruises, the venerable British cruise line now owned by Carnival Corporation, operates seven cruise ships, all of which offer a range of activities to suit different ages and interests. In contrast to its family-friendly ships, the line has three adult-only ships that aim to provide relaxation, stylish surroundings and a variety of bars and lounges for socializing.  

Arcadia was designated as the fleet’s first adult-only ship, followed by a second adult-only ship, Oriana. Based on research and guest feedback, P&O Cruises announced early this year that Aurora, will return from its March 2019 refit as a third adult-only ship.

Each of the ships and their itineraries are unique. Aurora, for example, has a sports bar and adjacent casino; a cinema showing recent films, a show lounge and casino; and a broad teak promenade deck suitable for walking or jogging.

The popularity of adult-only ships is picking up steam, offering guests another option in selecting a cruise. 

The appeal of adult-only ships

A recent poll of more than 1,500 Cruise Critic readers found that half of those surveyed (57%) preferred cruising on ships without kids.

Tanner Callais, founder of the cruise site Cruzely.com, points out that the appeal of adult-only cruises isn’t just that they are kid-free, per se. “To appeal to the whole family, cruise ships have lots of space and activities geared to kids, such as kid-friendly things like waterslides and cartoon character themes around the ship. These can ruin the atmosphere of feeling pampered on a luxury cruise,” he says.

“Many baby boomers want to cruise with other like-minded travelers around their same age,” says Matt Caplinger, a cruise consultant with Cruise Specialists, part of the Travel Leaders network. “In my opinion, adult cruising is here to stay and is only going to grow,” he adds.

“When it comes down to it, a huge perk of cruising is that there is truly a cruise for everyone—and that includes those who travel with kids, and now those who prefer not to,” says Cruise Critic’s McDaniel.”

Will you be booking an adult-only cruise sometime soon? If you do and you fly out of EWR, be sure to make an EWR Airport parking reservation with Vista to make your experience an enjoyable one.

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