There aren’t many places more relaxing than sitting poolside on a cruise. The breeze blowing, cold drink in hand, and warm sun on your face… it’s paradise.
That is, until the shrieks and shouts of kids take over the pool deck. And while you’re trying to relax, children run back and forth, bumping your chair. Meanwhile, trying to have a nice meal in the dining room that evening is disrupted by kids acting up at another table. And while you’re trying to let loose at night and have a good time, children up past their bedtime make it hard to enjoy yourself.
We might be overstating how disruptive kids can be on the enjoyment of your cruise, but the point still stands. Many people simply want to take a vacation without having a lot of children around. Meanwhile, the mass-market cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean cater to families and passengers of all ages. That means it can be a bit of a challenge to pick a cruise that doesn’t have lots of families on board.
The good news? There are some definitive steps you can take to pick a cruise that has few — or even zero — kids on board.
If you want to take a cruise but not sail with children, follow these tips…
Sail on an Adult-Focused Cruise Line
By far the best step you can take to avoid a cruise with kids is selecting the right cruise line. Just like hotels, each cruise line has a different “personality” and audience that it caters to. For instance, it’s a no-brainer to avoid Disney cruises if you don’t want to sail with kiddos.
Other cruise lines have different passenger profiles. Larger lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian focus on the entire cruising market — including families. However, other cruise lines focus more on adults.
For example, Virgin Voyages (set to start sailing in 2020) plans to only cater to cruise passengers that are 18 years or older. While other cruise lines may not have such a rigid “no kids” policy, there are many that cater to adult passengers, so there are fewer kids on board. Higher-end lines like Celebrity and Princess cater to more affluent travelers and you’ll find fewer children on your cruise.
Take Longer Trips for Fewer Kids
Longer cruises usually have fewer kids on the ship — especially if you can sail on trips that are longer than one week. Longer cruises tend to have an older population. Why? First, longer cruises tend to be more expensive. That makes it financially harder for families to take the trip. Secondly, longer cruises mean more time off of work and school. Older passengers typically have an easier time in being able to take extended periods of time to go on a cruise.
That said, you likely won’t see a major difference in the number of kids on the ship on cruises between three and seven days. This tip works best for cruises beyond a week in length. If you plan to sail a shorter cruise, you’re better off with a more adult-focused cruise line.
Sail During the School Year
Apart from the cruise line you sail, the next most important factor is the time of year you set sail. As a rule of thumb, sailing when school is in session means fewer kids on the ship. That means avoiding times like the Christmas holidays, Spring Break, and summer. Meanwhile, you’ll find few kids if you sail right before or after these holidays. After all, if summer break is just over and school is back in session, most people won’t want their kids to miss several days right at the beginning of the year.
As an added bonus, if you sail when school is in session you often find much cheaper prices than during high seasons like Spring Break and summer.
Look for Themed Cruises
These days there are themed cruises for every topic from fitness to poker to investing. No matter your interest, there’s likely a themed trip that caters to it. And often these can help you avoid cruising with kids.
Now, there are two types of themed cruises. The first are smaller themed cruises where the ship is open to the public, but a number of rooms are reserved for members of the themed trip. In this case there will be a small group there with the theme, but most of the passengers will be traditional cruise guests, which can include kids.
However, larger themed trips involve a company chartering the entire ship. In this case they rent the entire cruise and then resell the cabins only to those that are part of the themed cruise. For example, the upcoming Big Nude Boat cruise is a chartered cruise for nudists. With this trip, the entire ship is dedicated to the theme and you book through the charter company, not through the cruise line. Obviously this theme won’t have any kids on the ship.
Even if you aren’t into the nudist lifestyle, you can search for themed cruises that charter the entire ship. Depending on the theme, these trips are unlikely to have kids on board.