12 “Adults-Only” Cruise Tips You Can’t Miss

Put the kids to bed, pour a glass of wine, and get ready for cruise tips and things to know that are definitely for adults only. I’ll cover everything from drinks to romance onboard, from how to avoid kids and even the best tips to get a hot tub all to yourself.

With these tips, you’ll have everything you need to know as a grown-up on vacation to have the best cruise possible…

The Simple Move to Avoid Interruption During Romance

Room stewards come by one or two times a day to freshen up the room. If you’re in the middle of “something” then putting out the “Do Not Disturb” sign will keep you from being interrupted.

Let’s begin with one of the adult-only tips that is going to save you some embarrassment, especially if you enjoy some daytime action with your partner.

Your cabin is your private space. It’s where you’ll relax, bathe, sleep, and yes, get down.
But there is someone else that comes in regularly, and that’s the cabin steward. Depending on the cruise line, they can come in once or twice per day to clean the room. They try to time the cleaning for the times you’re likely to be out of the room, such as mid-morning when you’re in port and early evening when you’re out eating.

You know, how it works though. The mood strikes, you’re getting down to business, and then suddenly you’re scrambling for clothes when you hear a knock at the door. 

To avoid this, be sure that you put the do not disturb tag on the door. Some lines have a tag, others have a little light you turn on. No matter, just remember it to avoid any unwanted interruptions. 

What to Know About Sneaking Alcohol

Drinking is a big pastime on a cruise, but it is very expensive. A cocktail runs $12-$14 and then there is gratuity automatically added on. You can easily wrack up hundreds of dollars in drinks, if not thousands over the course of your cruise.

So you might be wondering about sneaking alcohol on. Here’s what I can tell you. First, you can bring on a bottle of wine or champagne, but that’s it. No liquor or beer is allowed. And don’t think you’re going to come up with some genius way of bringing it on that security hasn’t seen before. Every bag coming onto the ship is checked and suspicious bottles are regularly pulled out. If security finds it, expect it to be tossed and you’re out of whatever you paid.

That said, there’s no doubt it does get by given the volume of bags. I’ve never personally snuck on booze, but I have traveled with people that have done it. Let’s just say that the collapsible Rum Runner pouches may have worked like a charm.

Crackdown on Marijuana

Marijuana isn’t allowed in cruise ships, and some lines like Carnival have started to use dogs to sniff it out.

Speaking of banned substances, another one that’s booming in popularity is marijuana. In many states it’s full-on legal. However, cruise ships all universally ban it. They follow federal law and don’t forget about the other countries you’ll visit on your cruise which have their own laws.

That said, you may smell it around occasionally. In fact, cruise lines have gotten more strict about searches, including Carnival at least bringing in dogs to sniff out drugs. I personally saw it happen in California where a dog alerted to a passenger boarding the ship. That’s not a fun way to start a cruise.

Given the laws surrounding weed, it can be serious if caught with it — especially in a foreign country. For this one, I’d tell you to just leave it at home.

Adults-Only Sections of the Ship to Avoid Kids

These days, pretty much no matter which cruise ship you sail, there will be an adults-only section of the pool deck. It seems the trend is that these areas are getting bigger and bigger, which I definitely appreciate.

Here, you can get some sun, it’s quieter, there are hot tubs and sometimes pools. So if you travel with kids, know there are places where you can still have a kid-free vacation. And if you aren’t traveling with kids but just don’t want to try to relax with them around, then you’ll have an area where you definitely can escape.

Take full advantage of these areas on your cruise. There’s no charge to enter them, the cruise lines just know that many adults want their own space free from kids running around.

How to Avoid Ships With Lots of Kids on Your Cruise

What if you really want to avoid kids on your cruise and have a complete adult-focused vacation? As in, there are few if any on the ship?

The best way is to sail Virgin Voyages, which is 18 and up only, but the line may not be a fit for everyone, and more on that in a moment. Outside of that, you can look at cruise lines that focus more on adults and a higher-end atmosphere like Celebrity or Princess. These lines allow kids to sail, but they just aren’t as appealing for families as the lines that have all the waterslides and roller coasters. The result is there are far fewer kids on board, though there are some.

You can also focus on sailing older, smaller ships. With the newest mega ships offering all sorts of things like waterparks and roller coasters and go-karts, they attract more families and kids. Older ships will still have children, but the older ships aren’t near the kid-magnet as the newer ones.

What to Know About Virgin Voyages (Adults-Only Cruise Line)

Stern of a Virgin Voyages ship
Virgin Voyages is more than just adults only. Since there are no kids on the ship, everything is geared more toward grown ups.

Speaking of Virgin Voyages being adults only, one thing you should know is that doesn’t just mean there aren’t kids. Because everyone is 18 and up, the entire experience can be geared toward adults. That’s something I didn’t realize until I actually sailed the line.

Entertainment on the ship is more mature, such as drag shows in the nightclub. Many events go on until later at night than on a normal cruise. The food is more adventurous and upscale. Instead of waterslides and putt-putt, it’s yoga classes and tattoo parlors.

Along with these changes, Virgin took a hard look at traditional things in cruising and made changes. For instance, the cruise director, art auctions, and roving photographers are out. Instead of a buffet where everyone serves themselves, the cruise line offers a food hall with a number of spots to eat where food is either prepared as you order or plated for you if already made.

There’s no main dining room or formal night. Instead, Virgin Voyages has several different sit down restaurants that are all included with your fare. Gratuities are included in your fare as well, as is wi-fi service.

Bottom line: It’s much more of an all-inclusive feel on the ship, with more that aims to cater to adults that you simply wouldn’t find on other lines.

Careful Being Naughty Outside of the Room

I will never forget two instances on a cruise. The first, I’m standing at the rail of my balcony as we’re leaving port, look to my right, and see two people going at it against the balcony wall about four cabins down. And another time a woman is running her hand up the leg of her partner’s shorts while having a drink overlooking the pool deck.

All that is to say that if you’re thinking about having a little fun outside of the room, well, there are a lot of other people around who may not be too interested in seeing what’s going on. And even if you do manage to avoid anyone else, by law cruise ships are covered with cameras that monitor public areas of the ship.

In other words, it’s best to keep things in the room or at least quietly on the balcony after dark if you want to enjoy some fresh air.

How to Enjoy Hot Tubs WITHOUT Strangers

Many times hot tubs are filled with strangers, but there are some tips you can use to find empty or less-crowded spots.

The number of times I’ve been in a hot tub on a cruise? It can be measured on one hand. I’ll be honest, there’s just something about sharing a tub of warm water with a dozen other strangers… it’s just not my thing.

If you want to get in the tub but have the same reservation about sharing with strangers, then I have a couple of suggestions. The best thing you can do is head out either early in the morning or late at night. As the sun goes down, the pool deck empties out meaning fewer people in the tubs. I’d also suggest looking for any hot tubs that aren’t around the main pool deck as they seem to get less traffic. For instance, there are usually a couple in the adults-only sections of the ship you can try.

Honestly, however, I’ve found the best time to find an empty hot tub is first thing in the morning. If you’re an early riser, it’s ideal for getting your own space before others show up.

Leave Your Kids While Heading into Port?!

Say you are sailing as a family, but you want to have some time without the kids around. You likely know that cruise ships have kids areas where you can drop your children off and they can be supervised. So kids get a place to do fun stuff while parents have their own time together.

That’s no secret. But one tip — if you’re comfortable with it — is that at least some cruise lines allow you to leave the ship while they watch your kids. So you can go explore a port of call without the children who stay behind while the crew keeps an eye on them.

Personally, I couldn’t do that, it just feels wrong to me. If you’re ok with it though it is a possibility, especially if you want to do an excursion that’s more active and may not be appropriate for kids.

What to Know About Adult Entertainment on the Ship

A few shows can be 18+, including the cruise ship version of The Newlywed Game, which I consider a can’t miss.

If you’re looking for adult entertainment, well, there’s nothing too risque on most lines but there are a couple of things that I’d consider adults-only.

First, many ships have comedians onboard. They typically perform two shows a night. There’s an all ages PG-rated show and then later an R-rated show for adults. And if you’re thinking how raunchy could a cruise ship comedian be? Well, you’d be surprised.

The other show is one I consider a can’t-miss. On at least Carnival and Royal Caribbean, there’s a version of the Newlywed Game using real couples from the audience as contestants. There are some intimate questions asked — such as the strangest place you’ve ever made whoopie — that are definitely adults-only but lead to some huge laughs. If you see it listed on the planner on your cruise, make sure you don’t miss it.

Being Offered Illegal Drugs in Port

Let’s cover one thing that may happen to you, as it certainly happens to me especially when I’m sailing solo, but oddly not when I am with my wife and kids.

When you’re walking in the tourist areas, especially with vendors trying to get you in their stores, don’t be surprised if they start listing off things for sale in the store, often wrapping up list with cigars or “something stronger.”

Walking in Nassau near Junkanoo Beach, I’ve been flat-out asked if I wanted some coke by one guy. It should go without saying, but if this happens to you, I’d suggest declining. Buying from some random stranger in a foreign country throws up all sorts of red flags that seems like way more risk than it’s worth.

If you liked this article, be sure to check out Cruzely’s YouTube channel for more.

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