Why you are not too young to cruise

Old stereotypes die hard. And that is very true for the cruising industry. Once upon a time a cruise vacation was thought to be for the over 55’s only. Activities onboard were mediocre and the best entertainment was quiz night. In recent years all that has changed. Drastically. And we’re here to tell you why you are not too young to cruise, and to look at the best cruise for young adults.

What makes a great cruise experience for younger cruise guests?

Many cruise lines have invested an extraordinary amount in newer, bigger and more exciting ships at sea. They have deliberately turned their marketing efforts into attracting a younger crowd, starting with the 20 and 30 somethings.

And that’s not all. We are so relieved that they have realized that 55 is the new 40. 

Many travelers take an instant dislike to anything targeted at over 55 – even if they fall into this category of age group themselves. Most cruise guests over 55 are no different to those in their 40’s – equally active and adventurous and looking for a fun cruise experience. In every way.

Some are couples, others travel with families on multi generation cruise trips, and many others choose to cruise solo.

And if you are looking for the best cruise lines for young families and adults, you are most likely expecting a great all round experience from adrenaline pumping activities, fantastic bars and nightlife, and awesome destinations. You are looking for luxury, relaxation and great food and drink. And you’re looking to meet new friends.

A perfect cruise vacation for young couples, families and solo travelers

So let’s take a look at how a cruise vacation is now for everyone including young adults, the older guests and everyone else in between. It’s all about just finding the right cruise for you, and your family or partner, or just for you if you are a solo traveler.

Cruising is an ideal holiday for 20 to 30 years old, so let’s dispel the myth that it’s for “oldies only”. Fun and active entertainment, activities and shore excursions plus a luxury ship is offered at a more reasonable price than you may first imagine.

Royal Caribbean are one of the best cruise lines that are leading the way for daring and exciting activities onboard. Plus they offer outstanding kids’ clubs so Mums and Dads can relax. Their latest cruise ship Wonder of the Seas, one of their Oasis class ships, offers surf simulators, dry slides, ice skating, zip lining and much more.

Others ships include activities such as have bumper cars, water slides out of the edge of the ship, go-kart tracks and bowling. 

Shows onboard are bigger and better than ever before. Some are Broadway quality. The quality varies from ship to ship and cruise line to cruise line. But on the whole you will be entertained superbly each and every evening in the theater onboard.

Water park, water slides, fountains and giant slides overhanging the side of the ship will guarantee to bring out the kid in you, whatever age you are.

Bars of all kinds can be found onboard. The latest in technology coupled with brilliant barristers (and sometimes robotic) onboard will ensure that the atmosphere in the bars is fun and lively in the evenings, with musical entertainment to suit all tastes.

It’s time to think beyond the traditional ballroom style dancing of many earlier cruise ships. Whilst that still exists you will find everything from clubs to karaoke with stunning light shows and laser effects to rival the most modern dance clubs around.

So how does your cruise line retain loyal (older) cruise groups whilst attracting the younger generation?

The answer is variety. Most cruise lines offer literally hundreds of cruise routes and destinations to choose from. Ships of all sizes incorporating different facilities onboard means that there is most certainly a cruise out there to suit you. 

The best cruise lines offer a great choice of larger cruise ships. And this means that the design can incorporate many different areas, or neighborhoods onboard. This spreads out the guests and therefore if you are one in 5000 onboard you can still move about freely without being overcrowded. 

Brilliantly conceived and executed activities, events, dining and entertainment all fall under the watchful eye of a cruise director. There is, quite simply, so much to choose from you will find that guests do not all flock to the same thing at the same time. Apart from the dining perhaps.

The style, variety and sheer volume of dining possibilities onboard makes it impossible not to find the perfect meal that suits you. Cruise lines must and do cater for all tastes. Specific dietary requirements can be informed before you cruise and the choice should be plenty. And if it’s not, a quiet word to your Maître d’  on board will soon sort that out.

Kids clubs for young families – from tots to teens

Kids clubs and teen clubs are better than ever. In fact they are so good that perhaps your little one will prefer to spend time with new little friends rather than with you whilst onboard. It has been known. 

Outside of club opening times there is also the option of baby-sitting. Gone are the days where you may have once contemplated a cruise but felt you couldn’t enjoy the facility because you’d been running around after your toddler all day. Help is most certainly at hand in the form of professional care and endless kiddie activities.

Family prices for an all inclusive vacation and cabins to suit all budgets

A cruise vacation does not have to break the bank. Far from it. More and more 20-somethings and adults in their 30’s and 40’s have discovered that a cruise can help you keep your vacation budget in check. From the very beginning you can choose what you want to include over and above your cabin and dining, and pay up front. It’s a good way to avoid hidden costs along the way.

Take for example a family of four, 2 adults and 2 children who book a 4-berth inside cabin. Naturally all your meals are included, and if you do not want a separate drinks package then water, juice, tea and coffee is always available in the buffet restaurant at no extra charge. 

An inside cabin is the lowest price point and that means cash over can be spent on some pre-booked excursions. And now compare this with a 5-star hotel resort where you pay extra for all your meals, drinks and activities. Then think how much more you get for your hard-earned money on board a cruise ship. Remember kids clubs, most entertainment and many activities are included in the basic cost of your cruise. And there are always deals to be had.

So for the budget conscious family, and let’s face it all of us want value for our money, cruise holidays are certainly worth your consideration. Cruise fares vary between cruise lines but all want to be competitive and win your business. And even once you are booked, you should monitor cruise fares.

If the cost of the exact cruise and cabin category that you have chosen is reduced between the time you pay your deposit and the time your final payment is due, ask the cruise line to refund you the difference.

This is not done automatically. You must contact the cruise line yourself and request this. Alternatively ask your travel agent if you have booked through one to take care of this for you. You could end up saving hundreds if not thousands making the best cruises even better.

You unpack your suitcase only once. More time for fun.

If you are looking for a multi experience vacation but prefer not to island hop, dislike train travel, do not want the expense of car rental or flights between different locations, then a cruise is for you. Packing is made easy and you only unpack your cruise essentials once. Your cabin becomes your second home.

The journey from port to port is seamless and between all the activities and entertainment onboard you will be at a new destination before you know it. Seriously. What is not to love?.

Nightlife and fun, new friends and awesome cultural experiences

For the young crowd looking for a bachelor or bachelorette party venue, for best friends looking for luxury and fun in the same place, a cruise fits the bill. Most cruise lines offer short cruises too, just for 2 or 3 days. Which makes the perfect weekend getaway and an affordable price. 

A family get together where there is something for everyone

Love to spend time with you folks but need space to do your own thing too? Or looking for a way for grandparents to spend quality time with the kids whilst you relax? Multi-generation cruises are more popular than ever.

Large family suites, adjoining cabins and venues where you can sit together for dinner each evening are all offered by cruise lines. It makes for a seriously memorable family holiday. And possibly one of the most relaxing you will ever have.

Which cruise lines are best for the younger crowd or young families?

Fun, entertainment, a lively atmosphere, the chance to meet others and endless activities on board. That’s what most of us want while we are all still active enough to join in.

Choose a newer cruise ship belonging to the Oasis class ships of Royal Caribbean, or the new Breakaway Plus class from Norwegian Cruise Line for example.  Bigger ships just means more of everything. These are our firm favorites if you are part of the younger crowd:

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean (voted time and again as the best cruise line) and their amazing Oasis class ships are the biggest ships at sea. Packed full of activities you will never be bored. When docked in port these ships will outsize the neighboring ship and you will understand that you truly are holidaying on a floating resort.

  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Wonder of the Seas
  • Utopia of the Seas (scheduled for it’s debut sailing in 2024)

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line have a great reputation for solo travelers and have solo cabins so you can avoid paying full fare for a regular size cabin with single occupancy. They are also popular with young families and young travelers for fun activities and for their many restaurant choices onboard. Some ships have around 28 different venues where you can choose to eat. They offer a “free at sea” concept where you can choose what you want to include in your cruise at one fixed price. Look at the newer ships in Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus class:

  • Norwegian Encore
  • Norwegian Bliss
  • Norwegian Escape
  • Norwegian Joy

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has long been associated with being the party cruise line. They include themed cruises, famous DJs, and fabulous deck parties that suit young adults looking for fun. You need not look much further if you’re looking for festivities from the moment you board your cruise ship. Our favorite Carnival Cruise Line ship is the newest, Carnival Mardi Gras.

And it makes sense that this cruise ship will the only roller coaster at sea has it’s home port in the fun capital of the States, namely Port Canaveral, Orlando. Young adults and the young at heart will enjoy the party, and is a less expensive option compared to Disney cruise line.

Which cruise lines are best for the older crowd who are young at heart?

By mean we mean the older guest who is still looking for an active adventure. Not those of you who want pure relaxation and to sit back and take it easy, as most cruise lines can accommodate you here, it just depends on the cabin class you book as to how well they do this.

For if you are looking for endless activitieson a traditional cruise ship the cruise lines mentioned above will suit you too. If you still want a good level of activities but without all the bells and whistles, look at Celebrity Cruise Line as a good alternative.

Find your inner adventurer with an expedition cruise

But if you are a true adventure seeker looking for something out of the ordinary, expedition cruises may be for you. If you have more expendable income and therefore a bigger budget, expedition ships can take you on unique adventures to the further point on the globe.

Whilst these types of expedition cruises come at a premium price, they are often unforgettable. You will try new activities you have never thought you would do. You must be fit and active to be able to fully join in most excursions to really make the most of the unique opportunities these cruises present. An ideal choice if you are always looking for action and adventure, no matter your age.

Keep in mind that you choose expedition cruises for the destinations and experiences you will have in these places, not for the activitiesonboard. Life onboard has a fun but more subdued tone with focus on guest speakers and environmental experts giving lectures so you fully immerse yourself in the off-the-beaten track destination experience.

Top 8 essential search criteria to consider if you young looking for the perfect cruise

  1. Consider shorter cruise trips of between 3 to 5 nights if you have limited travel time or your have a lower budget.
  2. Research your itinerary and see how long your ship stays in port each day. If you are lucky to have an overnight stay your can enjoy the local nightlife that destination has to offer. Do you own shore excursions to save money, as cruise shore excursions tend to be expensive!
  3. Look for a departure port that is driveable or easy to reach. Cutting down on transportation expenses means more money for the onboard experience.
  4. If you have a young family, look at the kids clubs offered by each cruise line. There are often baby-sitting options too. And by kids clubs we mean also clubs for teens so if you are traveling with a large family everyone will get the chance to meet other youngsters of a similar age.
  5. If you are younger travelers cruising together, share a cabin to keep down costs or get adjoining cabins to share the fun! opening up the connecting door will feel like you and your friends will have more space to move around and modern cruise ships have many connecting cabins onboard.
  6. Once you have booked make sure you monitor the price of your cruise in case the price lowers you can ask the airline to refund the difference!
  7. When you have chosen the cruise line that suits you, sign up for their newsletter. This way you will get special offers and information about campaigns into your mail box.
  8. We recommend that young adults traveling solo join the roll-call for your chosen cruise on Cruise Critic or find the facebook group for your particular cruise and get to know folk even before you have left home!

Meet the Author

Mattias has nearly 2 decades of travel industry expertise, working with cruise lines, tour operators, airlines, IT providers, hospitality suppliers and everything else in between that makes the travel industry tick. more..