Looking for a vacation that’s kid-free, with a grown-up vibe and a noted absence of chicken fingers on the lunch menu and cannonballs around the pool? Fortunately, some cruise lines cater more to couples and groups of adults rather than those traveling with children. Here, our picks for the best options:
1. Azamara Club Cruises
Photo by Azamara Club Cruises
With a comfortable, clubby atmosphere, Azamara's two 686-passenger ships explore the world. The itineraries are made for adults with extra time: Most sailings are longer than a week and include overnights in some ports. Gratuities are included in the rate and, since drinks are too, the vibe feels relaxed and social.
Best Ship: Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey are similar, so choose the itinerary that works best for you.
2. Oceania Cruises
Photo by Oceania Cruises
Oceania is so adult-oriented you'll find nude sketches by Picasso in the impressively curated art collection. The 684-passenger Insignia, Nautica, and Regatta and 1,250-passenger Marina and Riviera feature Canyon Ranch SpaClub spas, a choice of sophisticated specialty restaurants, an impressive cooking school, and one of the best coffee bars at sea.
Best Ship: The line’s newest ship, Riviera, explores Greece and Turkey on a Gems of Antiquity tour.
3. Windstar Cruises
Photo by Windstar Cruises
Windstar's ships carry only 148 to 310 passengers, attracting singles and couples with their yacht club-like atmosphere. You spend the day exploring in port, borrowing water toys — including sailboats — from the retractable marina, dining outside, or blissfully zoning out on the cushioned teak lounge chairs lining the sun deck.
Best Ship: With its billowing sails, the 148-passenger Wind Spirit wows with itineraries that include Tahiti and Costa Rica/Panama.
4. SeaDream Yacht Club
Photo by SeaDream Yacht club
SeaDream provides the ultimate romantic cruising experience on its two 112-passenger, luxury yachts. Food is expertly prepared, cabins are designed for two, the crew is amazing, and — despite the ships’ size — you can get decent massages at the spa. Plus, you'll find complimentary mountain bikes and a variety of water toys to play with, and you can even spend a night sleeping under the stars on a large sun bed for two.
Best Ship: Twin ships SeaDream I and SeaDream II are both in the Caribbean from November to April. Drinks and gratuities are included in the cruise fare.
5. Viking River Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises
Photo by Viking River Cruises
River cruises are almost always kid-free: On Viking River Cruises, for instance, most cabins are for two, and the big daily activities are complimentary walking tours and educational lectures — not exactly days designed for little ones. And on Viking Star, the new ocean liner from Viking Ocean Cruises, children under 16 are banned altogether.
Best Ship: In Europe, go with one of the line's modern, 180-passenger longships, which have balcony cabins and outdoor dining options. The Viking Longship Forseti takes passengers to the vineyards and chateaux of Bordeaux, France, from March through December.