Cruise Age Restrictions: How Old You Have to Be to Sail, Drink, Gamble and More
Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean there aren't rules. Want to know how old you have to be to stay in your own room, purchase alcohol or gamble? We've got you covered with our roundup of cruise line age policies.
Below, check out key age-related policies for each of the eight most popular cruise lines.
Minimum Age to Cruise
Infants scheduled to cruise with their parents must be at least 6 months old on most sailings. On trans-ocean voyages or those to remote locations with more than two consecutive sea days, infants must be at least 12 months old.
Passengers must be at least 21 years of age to book a cabin and travel alone without a reservation attached to that of someone who is 25 years old or older.
Exceptions are made for cruisers younger than 21 who are married and traveling with a spouse, or in the military. Proof of marriage or active military status is required.
Although passengers aged 18 to 20 can stay in their own cabins anywhere on the ship, they must be traveling with someone at least 25 years of age.
Those 13 to 17 are permitted to stay in their own staterooms, up to three cabins away from a family member or guardian who is at least 25 years old.
Passengers 12 years old and younger who are booked in their own cabins must be either directly next door to or across the hall from a parent or guardian 25 years or older, and they may not stay in a balcony cabin without an adult present.
Passengers must be at least 6 months old to cruise. On sailings with three or more consecutive sea days, the minimum age is 12 months.
On sailings from the U.S., cruisers must be at least 21 years of age to cruise alone. Otherwise, they must be married or travel with an adult who is at least 21 years of age.
Minors can stay in their own cabins, but they must either be directly across the hall from or beside/connected to the stateroom of an adult, at least 21 years old, in the same travel party.
The minimum age to sail is 6 months, except on trans-ocean cruises and voyages to Hawaii or the Panama Canal, where passengers must be at least 12 months old.
Passengers must be at least 18 to sail alone. Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult who is 21 years of age or older.
At least one adult must be booked in every cabin where minors are present.
To cruise with Holland America, all passengers must be at least 6 months old or 12 months for ocean crossings or voyages to remote areas -- Asia, South America, the South Pacific and Hawaii -- where there are more than two consecutive sea days.
All cruisers younger than 21 years of age must be accompanied by at least one parent, guardian or chaperone 21 years old or older. No more than five passengers younger than 21 may be accompanied by a passenger 21 or older.
MSC has one of the most relaxed age policies of all major cruise lines.
There is no minimum age for infants. Anyone younger than 21 (North American itineraries) or 18 (international itineraries) is considered a minor. An adult must accompany all minors onboard and expressly agree to take responsibility for them when they sail.
If not staying in the same cabin as the minor, the adult serving as his or her guardian for the voyage must be booked in a nearby or connecting stateroom.
A minimum age requirement of 6 months is enforced, except on sailings where there are three or more consecutive days at sea, where passengers must be at least 12 months old.
Although NCL considers anyone 18 or old to be an adult, passengers younger than 21 years of age must be accompanied on their voyages, either in the same cabin or one that's connecting, by someone who is 21 or older.
Two people younger than 21 may sail together in the same cabin if they are married and provide proof of marriage.
Passengers must be a minimum of 6 months old in order to sail on most voyages. For itineraries that include trans-ocean crossings or remote locations that require more than two consecutive sea days, cruisers must be at least 12 months old.
Anyone traveling while younger than 21 must be booked in the same stateroom as someone at least 21 years of age. An exception is made for family groups where multiple cabins are booked. In those cases, the minimum age is 16 for each cabin.
A minimum age of 6 months is required in order to cruise. Any voyage with three or more consecutive sea days -- including trans-ocean sailings and those to remote destinations -- call for a minimum age of 12 months for each passenger.
Anyone wanting to sail unaccompanied must be at least 21 years of age on sailings from North America. Those departing from other regions allow cruisers sailing alone to be 18.
No passenger younger than 21 will be assigned to a cabin unless another person in the same travel party is booked there and is at least 21 years old.
Exceptions to these rules are made for underage married couples or active military personnel with proof of marriage or active-duty status.
Cruise Drinking Age
Passengers on Carnival sailings departing from North America must be at least 21 years old to purchase and consume alcohol.
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on Celebrity voyages from North America is 21. It is 18 on sailings from South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In certain circumstances, parents or guardians may sign a waiver allowing young adults under 21 to consume alcohol.
Cruisers must be at least 21 years old to purchase and consume alcohol onboard Disney ships. On sailings from Europe, where the drinking age is lower, parents can sign consent forms allowing their 18-and-older children to consume alcohol in their presence.
For sailings with a primarily North American demographic, the drinking age is 21 or older. For sailings departing from international ports, the age limit can be as low as 18.
For itineraries that include even one U.S. port, passengers must be at least 21 to purchase and consume alcohol. International sailings can see the age dip as young as 18.
Passengers sailing with NCL on North American voyages must be 21 years or older to purchase and consume alcohol. Young adults, ages 18 to 20, can purchase and consume beer and wine onboard with parental permission. On international sailings, the drinking age is lowered to 18.
The legal drinking age on Princess cruise ships is 21 years. The age requirement is lower on sailings departing from non-North American ports.
Anyone purchasing or consuming alcohol on a Royal Caribbean cruise from North America must be at least 21 years old. The age drops to 18 years for voyages from select international ports. The drinking age at all private islands remains 21, regardless of country of embarkation.
Cruise Gambling Age
Passengers wishing to gamble or play bingo must be at least 18 years of age. Anyone younger than 18 is not permitted in the casino or to purchase bingo cards.
Anyone looking to spend time in the ships' casinos must be at least 18 years old on most Celebrity sailings. Alaska voyages require passengers to be at least 21. Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult while playing bingo.
Disney Cruise Line does not have onboard casinos, so there are no gambling rules onboard. For bingo, cruisers must be at least 18 years old or accompanied by an adult.
Travelers headed to the casino must be at least 18 years old. No special mention is made with regard to age restrictions for bingo play.
Gambling is not permitted for any passenger younger than 21 years of age on MSC sailings that contain U.S. ports, including those embarking from the U.S. On international sailings, the minimum age is 18.
Cruisers must be at least 18 years old to gamble in Norwegian ships' onboard casinos and to collect any winnings. No specific rules are outlined for travelers wishing to play bingo.
On cruises from North America, gamblers must be 21 or older to enter the casino and collect any prizes won. (That includes bingo.) On sailings from other countries, the gambling age can be as young as 18.
All passengers who plan to gamble onboard must be at least 18 years old (21 years old on Alaska sailings). There is no specific mention of age restrictions for bingo play.
Miscellaneous Cruise Line Age Restrictions
Kids club: Camp Ocean is broken down into Penguins (2-5), Stingrays (6-8), Sharks (9-11), Circle "C" (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17). Each has its own dedicated area for activities. A parent or guardian 18 years of age or older must sign each child up to participate. Children 9 and older can sign themselves in and out of the club with a parent's or guardian's permission. There are also special playtimes designated for kids younger than 2.
Entertainment: Nobody younger than 18 is permitted in the onboard nightclubs after 10 p.m., nor is anyone under 18 allowed to attend late-night R-rated comedy performances.
Disembarkation: Cruisers 16 years of age and older are allowed to disembark the ship on their own, but they must be 18 or older to go alone on any of Carnival's ship-sponsored shore excursions.
Spa and fitness: Nobody younger than 18 may use the fitness center or book a spa treatment without parent or guardian supervision.
Smoking: The sale of tobacco onboard is limited to passengers aged 21 and older.
Adults-only areas: Passengers must be 21 years of age or older to enter adults-only Serenity areas on Carnival's ships.
Kids club: The Camp at Sea kids club is available to potty-trained children from ages 3 to 17. It is divided into the following groups by age: Shipmates (3-5), Cadets (6-9), Captains (10-12) and Teens (13-17). Children ages 10 to 17 are allowed to come and go as they please, but those aged 10 to 12 are required to sign in and out when they do so. There is also a program called Toddler Time for kids younger than 3.
Entertainment: Passengers headed to the onboard nightclubs must be at least 18 years old. The minimum age to attend shows alone in the theater is 16, and
Disembarkation: Any cruiser younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when leaving his or her ship in port.
Spa and fitness: Travelers younger than 16 are not permitted in the onboard fitness centers, hot tubs or thalassotherapy pools on Celebrity's vessels. Cruisers aged 13 to 17 are allowed in the spa only for booked treatments.
Smoking: Passengers must be at least 18 years old to possess, purchase and use tobacco products while sailing.
Adults-only areas: Anyone younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult to enter the ships' Solarium adults-only areas.
Kids club: Disney Cruise Line's kids clubs are second to none, offering age-appropriate facilities with mindblowing technology and activities. The groups are as follows: It's a Small World Nursery (under 3), Oceaneer Club and Lab (3-12), Edge (11-13) and Vibe (14-17).
Entertainment: DCL does not list specific age restrictions for venues such as the theater or hot tubs.
Disembarkation: Passengers younger than 18 may only go ashore alone if a parent or guardian fills out appropriate forms at guest services. Unless participating in a special teen excursion, cruisers must also be at least 18 years old to go alone on excursions offered by the cruise line.
Spa and fitness: Each of Disney's vessels has a spa and fitness center; they are reserved for use by passengers who are at least 18 years old.
Smoking: No minimum smoking age is posted on Disney Cruise Line's website.
Adults-only areas: All Disney cruise ships offer adults-only spaces that are limited to passengers 18 and older only. These include the Satellite Sun Deck's Quiet Cove pool and The District (after 9 p.m.), an exclusive enclave for grownups with a nightclub, bars and lounges.
Kids club: Children's programming, known as Club HAL, is broken into three groups. They include Kids (3-6), Tweens (7-12) and Teens (13-17).
Entertainment: Children attending theater performances and stage shows must be accompanied by an adult. Anyone sitting in the first two rows must be at least 18 years of age.
Disembarkation: Passengers younger than 16 will not be permitted to leave the ship on their own unless parents make prior arrangements with the ship's gangway officer. Cruisers must be at least 18 years old to go on ship-sponsored excursions by themselves.
Spa and fitness: No one younger than 18 is permitted to use the onboard spas, unless participating in a treatment through the teen spa program. Passengers must be at least 16 years old to use the fitness center unsupervised.
Smoking: Holland America requires passengers to be at least 21 years of age to possess, purchase or use alcohol on its cruises from North America.
Adults-only areas: The Greenhouse Retreat, part of the onboard spa that includes thermal relaxation facilities, is the line's take on an adults-only area. Nobody under 18 is allowed. The SeaView Pool is also reserved for adults -- anyone 18 or older.
Kids club: MSC's kids clubs feature fun activities for a range of age groups. They include the Baby Club (under 3), Mini Club (3-6), Junior Club (7-11), Young Club (12-14) and Teen Club (15-17).
Entertainment: MSC does not list any age restrictions for shows or nightclub entry on its website.
Disembarkation: Anyone younger than 18 must be joined ashore by an adult travel companion.
Spa and fitness: MSC does not allow anyone younger than 18 to enter the spa or thermal areas on its newest ships. On other ships, teens ages 13 to 15 are allowed if parents fill out a waiver and accompany them. Those aged 16 and 17 can visit on their own if their parents sign a waiver.
Smoking: MSC's smoking policies do not outline specific age requirements for the possession, purchase or use of tobacco products while sailing.
Adults-only areas: No one younger than 18 is permitted in the adults-only top-deck Solarium area.
Kids club: Programming for children includes the Guppies Nursery (under 3); Splash Academy's Turtles (3-5), Seals (6-9) and Dolphins (10-12); and Entourage (13-17). Teens in Entourage can come and go as they please. Dolphins, ages 10 to 12, can sign themselves into and out of the kids club with parental permission.
Entertainment: Cruisers must be 18 or older to frequent the ships' nightclubs and discos, while a minimum age of 16 years is required for all onboard hot tubs.
Disembarkation: Passengers younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult in the same travel party in order to leave the ship or take a ship-sponsored excursion.
Spa and fitness: Nobody younger than 16 is allowed in the fitness centers, and the spas (including thermal areas) are reserved for anyone 18 or over.
Smoking: Norwegian Cruise Line requires passengers to be at least 18 years old to possess, purchase or use tobacco during any voyage.
Adults-only areas: Cruisers cannot enter Spice H2O, Posh and Vibe -- Norwegian's adults-only sun decks -- unless they are 18 or older.
Kids club: Camp Discovery offers several youth programs, divided into age groups. Created in partnership with Discovery Communications, they include: The Treehouse (3-7), The Lodge (8-12) and The Beach House (13-17). Children younger than 3 are only permitted in the kids club when supervised by a parent at all times.
Entertainment: Unaccompanied children younger than 13 are not allowed in entertainment venues onboard. Nobody under 18 is allowed in any ship's nightclub after 11 p.m.
Disembarkation: Princess does not specify an age requirement for unaccompanied disembarkation. However, passengers younger than 18 will only be permitted on ship-sponsored shore excursions with an adult or, in select cases, when a parent or guardian signs a waiver in the presence of the tour operator.
Spa and fitness: Use of the spa is limited to adults 18 and older, while the fitness center is reserved for people over 16. However, some spa services are available to children 13 years and older when a parent or guardian is present. Children of any age are allowed in saunas and hot tubs, provided they are toilet trained and under adult supervision.
Smoking: Passengers must be at least 18 years old to possess, purchase and consume tobacco products while cruising.
Adults-only areas: Princess Cruises' grownups-only enclave is known as the Sanctuary. Nobody younger than 18 years is welcome.
Kids club: Adventure Ocean, with programming rivaled only by Disney Cruise Line's, is divided into several age-specific groups. They are: Royal Babies and Tots (under 3), Aquanauts (3-5), Explorers (6-8), Voyages (9-11) and two groups for teens (12-14 and 15-17).
Entertainment: Children are discouraged from attending Royal Caribbean's comedy shows, which are generally geared toward adults and might contain inappropriate material. Passengers under 18 are also not allowed in onboard nightclubs.
Disembarkation: Cruisers must either be 18 years of age or joined by an adult when they leave their ship.
Spa and fitness: Spa treatments are generally only available to cruisers 18 and over. YSPA on select ships offers a series of services for 13- to 17-year-olds. Passengers 16 and older are permitted to use the onboard fitness facilities.
Smoking: You must be 21 years or older to possess, purchase or use tobacco onboard any of Royal Caribbean's ships when sailing from a U.S. port. On voyages departing from other locations, the minimum age is 18.
Adults-only areas: Royal Caribbean's just-for-grownups Solarium is restricted to use by passengers 16 and older.
For more information on lighting up at sea, check out our piece on cruise line smoking policies.