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After taking over 45 cruises, here are 6 of the best cruise ships for adults

Odyssey of the Seas and Celebrity Silhouette

Choosing a cruise ship for your next vacation can be overwhelming. There are literally so many choices! Each cruise line has its own distinct experience when it comes to dining, entertainment, onboard ambiance, and itineraries.

If you’re new to cruising, a little bit of research can go a long way to make the best choice for you and your travel party. It’s important to understand how the cruise lines differ to align with your needs. In fact, even within a single cruise line, there can be great variation across the fleet.

For instance, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Icon of the Seas, is the largest ship in the world and offers the ultimate family vacation. Comparatively, the cruise line’s smallest and oldest ships, such as the Vision and Radiance Class, will have far less to do for kids. It’s hard to even compare these two ships, although both are within the Royal Caribbean fleet.

Grandeur of the Seas

Ensuring you’ve booked the best cruise ship to fit your budget, travel style and vacation needs is crucial for a successful cruise. There is nothing worse than wasting your time and money on a trip that doesn’t go as planned or expected.

As an avid cruiser and world traveler, I’ve sailed on 45 cruises in my life across five different cruise lines. When it comes to choosing the best cruise ship, I mostly consider price and itinerary. I’m a married 29-year-old without children, so I am never concerned with booking a family-friendly cruise ship.

If you’re like me, you might be looking for cruise ships that are best suited for adults. While cruising can make for a great family vacation, not everyone wants to cruise with tons of kids or families. In addition, you might not care for all those family-friendly amenities onboard, and some ships are packed with these onboard thrills!

Scarlet Lady

In this article, I am going to share with you the best cruise ships for adults that I’ve sailed on. Let me preface with a few facts about this list, as you should know a little about my cruising history. First, I mostly cruise with mainstream cruise lines because of my budget. Because of this, I haven’t ventured into adult-only or ultra-premium cruise lines. In addition, I have yet to sail on the new adults-only Virgin Voyages, which is certainly a great choice for adults.

Here is my list of the six best cruise ships for adults, and why these ships are a great choice for those wanting an adult-focused vacation.

1. Celebrity Beyond


My first Celebrity cruise was onboard Celebrity Beyond a couple years back, and the experience completely blew me away! As part of the innovative and award-winning Edge Class, Celebrity Beyond is one of the best ships at sea for adults, in my opinion.

Celebrity Cruises is considered a premium cruise line with a more refined onboard experience. Therefore, the cruise line puts a heavy focus on the adult experience. Although kids are allowed onboard, families are few and far between.

Celebrity Beyond is a stunning, 141,000 gross registered ton cruise ship that holds around 3,260 passengers at maximum capacity. As a mid-sized cruise ship, she is a beautiful work of art with thoughtfully designed bars, lounges, and restaurants around every turn.

Sunset Bar

Take, for instance, the mesmerizing Grand Atrium with a dazzling LED chandelier that sits atop the Martini Bar. Here, you can try dozens of different perfectly shaken martinis while enjoying show-stopping tricks from the bartenders.

In addition, the entertainment is top-notch onboard Celebrity Beyond, including innovative headliner shows in a state-of-the-art theatre. Innovative spaces include Eden, an aft-facing versatile venue unlike anything you’ve seen on a cruise ship, and the Magic Carpet, a cantilevered platform that provides unparalleled ocean views while also serving as a luxury tender launch and specialty dining restaurant.

Other adult-focused areas include the World Class Bar with expertly crafted Old Fashioned cocktails and the Craft Social Bar with screens to watch your favorite sporting event.

Read more: Worth the hype? My review of the Celebrity Beyond

Magic Carpet

Finally, Celebrity Beyond has more than 32 bars and restaurants onboard, including one of the best buffets at sea. Instead of a massive dining hall, Celebrity Beyond has four complimentary dining rooms for guests to enjoy a more intimate culinary experience.

2. Norwegian Viva

NCL Viva

Another fantastic option for adults is Norwegian Viva, which is the newest cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Line. Although the ship is family-friendly, most of the spaces onboard feel very adult-centric. At 143,00 gross registered tons, the mid-sized Norwegian Viva is part of the cruise line’s Prima Class, and she can hold 3,195 guests at maximum capacity.

To start, Norwegian Viva has one of the most impressive thermal spas at sea that adults are sure to love. The Mandara Spa has a two-deck indoor waterfall and is home to the first charcoal sauna at sea. Guests descend upon the tranquil space through a marble staircase. The thermal spa includes relaxing spaces such as an ice room, a salt and steam room, and a floating salt pool.

Additionally, Norwegian Viva has 8 specialty dining restaurants for adults to savor. Although these restaurants cost extra, the intimate ambiance and higher-quality food are worth the splurge. Norwegian Viva also has impressive complimentary dining options, including the revolutionary Indulge Food Hall. With the touch of a screen, guests can order dishes from around the world, including some of the best Indian cuisine at sea.


For Broadway lovers, Norwegian Viva is home to Beetlejuice: The Musical. The nearly full-length musical was one of the most memorable headliner shows I’ve seen on a cruise ship.

Finally, Norwegian Viva’s itineraries are excellent for adults looking to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations throughout the Mediterranean. Because Norwegian Viva is family-friendly, those wanting a quieter sailing with more adults should look to sail during the school year and avoid holiday sailings.

Read more: I tried Norwegian's and Celebrity's newest cruise ships to see how they compare

3. Odyssey of the Seas


As a longtime loyal fan of Royal Caribbean, Odyssey of the Seas quickly became one of my favorite cruise ships. The Quantum Class ship is larger than the other ships on our list, clocking in at 167,000 gross registered tons and holding 4,198 guests at capacity.

One of the main reasons that Odyssey of the Seas stands out in my memory is because of her impressive itineraries. I sailed on a bucket-list Holy Land itinerary in October 2022, visiting landmarks my family had dreamed of visiting for years. Royal Caribbean’s new ships typically only sail around the Caribbean, so I was excited to see one of the cruise line’s newest vessels sailing to more exotic destinations.

Although Royal Caribbean is very family-friendly, Odyssey of the Seas had all of the bells and whistles for adults too. My sailing in particular had very few children, likely because we cruised during the school year on a longer itinerary to the Middle East.


Even still, Odyssey of the Seas has excellent dining options onboard, including 17 complimentary and specialty restaurants. We particularly appreciated the specialty dining options, including the new Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar with a revamped menu and design.

Odyssey of the Seas has an impressive adults-only area called the Solarium where guests can relax in peace on daybeds and padded loungers. This expansive retreat is quiet, serene, and secluded from the kid commotion onboard. With its own pool, hot tubs, and bar, there are few reasons you’d ever want to leave the Solarium!

In terms of entertainment, Odyssey of the Seas is an excellent choice for adult cruisers. The new ship has a multitude of awe-inspiring theatre shows. There are three main production shows on Odyssey of the Seas: The Book, The Effectors, and Showgirl: Past, Present, and Future

Odyssey Entertainment

The Book incorporates technological elements and tells the story of a librarian exploring book chapters. The Effectors is a superhero showdown with hit songs everyone will know and love. Finally, Showgirl is an upbeat, Vegas-style production with flashy singing and dancing.

While Odyssey of the Seas caters to a wide demographic, the ship has so much to offer for adults as well. As one of Royal Caribbean's newest ships, adults will appreciate the latest and greatest from the cruise line. 

4. Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

After sailing on Celebrity Beyond, I was completely sold on the Celebrity cruise experience. As such, I booked a 4-night getaway cruise to Key West onboard Celebrity Silhouette shortly after. Celebrity Silhouette holds 2,886 passengers at maximum capacity and measures 122,000 gross registered tons.

Similar to Celebrity Beyond, you’ll find an adult-focused onboard experience with Celebrity Silhouette. This is true for most of Celebrity’s cruise ships, as the premium cruise line designs their innovative ships for adults. Because of this, you won’t be distracted by waterslides, zip lines, or surf simulators.

Instead, ships like Celebrity Silhouette place a heavy emphasis on bars, lounges, and dining experiences. One of my favorite places to grab a drink on Celebrity Silhouette was the Sunset Bar. Located on the ship’s aft, the famous Sunset Bar was the perfect place to watch Celebrity Silhouette sailing away from port at sunset.

Martini Bar

In addition, the pool deck is meant to rival a resort deck with a chic design, plush beds, and easy access to the bar. Innovative spaces onboard include the Lawn Club with real grass for guests to relax, surrounded by more lounging areas on the upper deck. There are plenty of outdoor spaces on Celebrity Silhouette where you can truly disconnect and relish in your vacation mindset - perfect for adults.

Read more: I spent $2,280 on a 4-night Celebrity cruise. Here's what everything cost

5. Serenade of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas in Tampa

By far the oldest cruise ship on this list, Serenade of the Seas is an excellent choice for adult cruisers. As a Radiance Class ship, Serenade of the Seas has very little to do for children, therefore attracting mostly adults.

In fact, the ship is currently being used for Royal Caribbean’s first-ever Ultimate World Cruise, offering unparalleled itineraries to destinations the cruise line rarely visits. The ship was built in 2003, so you won’t find the latest and greatest technology onboard; instead, the ship allows cruisers to explore interesting destinations without the distraction of kid-friendly attractions.

Serenade of the Seas is a modestly-sized cruise ship, although smaller than anything on our list so far. The vessel is only 90,000 gross registered tons and holds 2,400 passengers at maximum capacity. Her smaller size gives her the ability to dock at off-the-beaten-path destinations - an excellent choice for destination-focused adults.


You’ll find a variety of nightly entertainment, multiple specialty dining restaurants, and an adults-only Solarium with an enclosed pool. An older vessel might not be on your radar, but these smaller and older cruise ships are more adult-focused than kid-friendly. Smaller spaces onboard result in less room for onboard thrills, detracting families from booking a cruise.

Read more: Guide to Adults-Only All-Inclusive Cruises

6. Norwegian Star

NCL star

Last fall, I embarked on a magical 10-night cruise around the British Isles onboard Norwegian Star. Although the ship is 23 years old, the vessel is perfectly sized for adults looking to sail on a destination-focused itinerary. The ship was also recently refurbished to update staterooms and add an adults-only Spice H20 area.

Norwegian Star is only 90,000 gross registered tons, holding right around 2,200 guests when sailing at capacity. However, the smaller size cultivated a more intimate cruising experience onboard. There were hardly any children onboard our cruise, as there is very little for kids to do on Norwegian Star.

One of our favorite places onboard was the new Spice H20, which was located on the ship’s aft. With comfortable daybeds, a small bar, and private hot tubs, the space is excellent for adult relaxation. Other areas onboard for adults include the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, serving up some of the best mojitos at sea, and Proof Whisky Bar for handcrafted cocktails and classic libations.


Finally, Norwegian Star had a wide variety of dining available onboard, including both specialty and complimentary restaurants. O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill is a 24-hour pub serving up classic Irish grub, while Ginza is a unique Norwegian dining option for complimentary Asian cuisine. The stunning Versailles dining room will transport you to a fairytale land with large windows offering unparalleled views of the ocean.

Read more: 13 Best Adult Cruise Lines

Bottom Line

Boarding Suitcase

Overall, of the 45 cruises I’ve been on, I would recommend Celebrity Cruises for the best adult cruises. Celebrity Cruises is a premium cruise line with an accessible sense of luxury, meaning nothing feels too uptight or unapproachable. The price is right too, as you won’t be breaking the bank to sail onboard one of Celebrity’s ships. I highly recommend the Edge Class ships, although all Celebrity ships are adult-focused.

Other cruise lines for adults that are budget-friendly include Princess Cruises, Holland America, and Virgin Voyages. More luxury cruise lines are also excellent choices for adults, although you will need to spend a pretty penny for these cruise lines. These include Viking Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Windstar, Seabourn, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

This list is based on my own personal cruise history. While I’ve been on 45 cruises, most of these sailings have been aboard mainstream cruise lines, which are inherently family-friendly. If you’re looking to avoid kids on your upcoming cruise, there are a few basic strategies you can implement to ensure most of your ship is filled with adults. 

Celebrity Ascent

Choose an itinerary that sails during the school year and avoid holidays and spring breaks. If you book an older and smaller ship, you will likely find fewer families onboard, even on the mainstream cruise lines. With fewer activities for kids to do, families are less likely to book older and smaller cruise ships.

Finally, look for longer itineraries to more exotic destinations to avoid sailing on a cruise ship full of kids. Families are less likely to book longer sailings, as these usually attract older cruisers who are retired and don’t need to worry about vacation time.

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