Today I saw an interesting post on a Facebook group asking about “the best kid-free cruise”. Thankfully there ARE adults only ships out there, just not operating from the majority of ports worldwide. So instead of doing a nice cruise on one from, say, Florida, you have to either book during term time (or cough up a fortune for premium lines) and hope there aren’t many kids or do some sort of ‘lifestyle cruise’. Isn’t time things changed? In the UK we are lucky by having two cruise lines which offer peace from the kiddos. Saga Cruises are for over 50s (though you can go over 40 as long as the lead passenger is over 50) so that sadly rules the average person out. Saga Sapphire is their flagship while Saga Pearl II rejoined the fleet in November 2013 as replacement for Saga Ruby.
The cruise line available to everyone, including Americans, is P&O. While primarily aimed at the British market, they have had adults only ships since 2003 when they introduced the ‘White Sisters’, which were Sea Princess and Ocean Princess. P&O, until the takeover by Carnival Corporation, owned Princess Cruises. Sea Princess became Adonia, catering exclusively to adults, while Oceana was for families. Adonia (I) was transferred back in 2005 resuming her role as Sea Princess, replaced by the current Arcadia when she entered service that year.
In 2011, Artemis left the fleet. She had been the very first Royal Princess until an internal transfer in 2005. As Artemis, she was also adults only and beloved by those who didn’t want to cruise on a mega monster. To solve the problem of losing a very popular child-free ship, the second Royal Princess was sent over in 2011 and renamed Adonia.
Also in 2011, it was announced Oriana would become the third adults only ship during refit later that year.
A selection of P&O’s cruises are available to book by Americans through Vacations To Go and I think you can still book them via Princess in Santa Clarita. But wouldn’t it be better if P&O themselves pushed international booking details? Australians have been able to book for years in their own country. On the US “World’s Leading Cruise Lines” site, there is no mention of P&O so many Americans are unaware they even exist, let alone that you can do a cruise any time of year, even school holidays, without kids running around the ship.
But what WOULD be great is if the other lines took a leaf out of P&O’s book. The likes of Carnival (and most of the brands), Royal Caribbean, NCL and even MSC could easily make some of their ships child-free, especially since most are doing similar itineraries. Even one per class would be enough. P&O have just 7 ships at the moment yet manage to cater to what people increasingly want. Brits have the choice. Shouldn’t the rest of the world?