For travelers who want a hassle-free vacation, an adults-only all-inclusive cruise is the holy grail. No kids taking over the hot tub or whining at dinner, and no nickel and diming to take away from the joys of onboard life. If you're this kind of traveler, you might be disappointed to know that options are limited for kid-free, no-extra-fees cruise lines (although, as we'll point out, this describes most river cruises and small ship cruises).
Here are the best all-inclusive cruises for adults -- plus, some additional options for lines and itineraries to consider.
Updated August 21, 2019
Best Adults-Only All-Inclusive Cruises
Three cruise lines stand out as having company policies that exclude children and very inclusive pricing policies.
British line Saga Cruises offers small-ship sailings exclusively to passengers over 50 years of age. Fares include all meals (no surcharges for any restaurant), gratuities, Wi-Fi, most drinks (wine with lunch and dinner, soda, house spirits, draft beer and mocktails), fitness classes, transfers to/from the ship and shuttles into town from port. The line has two ships, the 999-passenger Spirit of Discovery and the 720-passenger Saga Sapphire (to be replaced in 2020 with the 999-passenger Spirit of Adventure).
Viking Ocean Cruises
The minimum age to sail on Viking Ocean Cruises' worldwide sailings is 18. Fares include a shore excursion in every port, Wi-Fi, meals in its multiple onboard restaurant (except The Kitchen Table, which is part shore excursion), self-service laundry and wine, beer and soda with lunch and dinner. (Gratuities and drinks outside of meals cost extra.)
Viking's identical ships carry 930 passengers, and all of its cabins offer private balconies.
When Virgin Voyages launches its first ship in 2020, it will offer an adults-only and more (but not all) inclusive big-ship experience. Its 2,750-passenger Scarlet Lady and subsequent vessels will be 18+ and include basic nonalcoholic drinks, Wi-Fi, gratuities, fitness classes and meals in its fares.
Other Cruise Options
Other cruise lines are adults-only but have more a la carte charges, or are very inclusive but don't ban kids (even if you don't often find them). Some of these lines might still be right for you, so don't rule out the following options.
Most All-Inclusive Cruise Line
Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers the most inclusions in its base fares: all tips, all drinks (including mini-bar setups), several shore excursions in every port and shuttles into town, all main and specialty dining, one account of unlimited Wi-Fi per suite, airfare and airport transfers. Its four ships range in size from 490 to 750 passengers.
Summer Alaska and Europe cruises do have a reasonable number of children, so opt for longer and more exotic cruises if you want to minimize kids onboard. For more options, check out our story on the top five luxury all-inclusive cruises.
True Adults-Only Ships
While not all-inclusive, P&O Cruises offers two adults-only (18+) cruise ships: the 1,874-passenger Aurora and 2,094-passenger Arcadia. The British line is a good option if you want a kid-free experience on a larger ship.
Similarly, U.K.-line Marella Cruises launched its first adults-only ship, Marella Explorer 2, in 2019. The 1,814-passenger vessel does include both tips and a selection of drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) in its fares. You must be 18 to sail.
The minimum age to sail on several river cruise lines is 12 to 13 (Emerald Waterways, Grand Circle Cruise Line and Scenic), and 18 on Viking, but most lines discourage kids younger than 8 and the majority of all river cruise sailings have no children at all onboard. River cruises tend to have more inclusive fares, with beer, wine and soda at dinner, plus shore excursions, Wi-Fi and bicycle use generally included.
River cruise lines with all-inclusive fares are Tauck, Scenic, Uniworld and Crystal River Cruises, which additionally offer complimentary airport transfers, all alcoholic drinks (not just at dinner), gratuities, special events (think dinner in a castle) and in-room mini-bars.
Adult-Focused, Small-Ship Cruises
Ultrapremium lines Oceania and Azamara might have fewer fare inclusions than their luxury counterparts, but their small ships are generally less kid-friendly than lines like Regent, Crystal and Seabourn, with no programming at all for junior cruisers.
Azamara, with its three nearly identical vessels carrying roughly 700 passengers, is the more inclusive of the two, covering tips, nonalcoholic drinks, a limited menu of alcoholic beverages (select standard liquors and beers, plus house wines), self-service laundry and a special shoreside event, called an AzAmazing Evening, on every cruise.
Six-ship cruise line Oceania includes only Wi-Fi, nonalcoholic drinks and meals in main and specialty restaurants. However, it often runs a booking promotion that gives cruisers complimentary airfare and a choice of free shore excursions, beverage package or onboard credit.