Traveling the world without having to pack and unpack multiple times is ideal. And on a cruise, that’s a reality as you head from destination to destination on what is basically a moving luxury hotel (or a floating mini city, in some cases).
The idea of being able to go to sleep in Bratislava and wake up in Budapest (as you can on the U River Cruises river cruise, one of our World’s Best river cruise lines) without having to drag all your stuff with you is as convenient as it is cush. But cruises aren’t just for couples or families, they’re actually great for singles as well.
Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, told Travel + Leisure that cruises are a great place to meet new people. Some ships have single cabins, host parties for single passengers, or even waive the single supplement fee (river cruises tend to do that most often).
For example, Norwegian Cruise Line (one of the World’s Best mega-ship ocean cruise lines) offers studio cabins for single travelers that includes access to a lounge with complimentary espresso and snacks.
“One of the benefits to sailing as a single is cruises are generally social. That’s how they're designed,” McDaniel said. “If you are somebody who is comfortable traveling by yourself and looks to make friends on vacation, there is no shortage of people who you are going to meet.”
But while a millennial might be looking to country hop around Europe or take a mixology class, someone who is in their 50s may be looking for a slightly different experience.
Here are the best cruises for singles of any age:
Cruises for Singles in Their 20s
Cruises that last three to five nights are great for singles in their 20s, in part because they’re less expensive, McDaniel said. If you do end up having to pay for a single supplement, “it’s a little bit less of a hit to your wallet.”
A great option: 3-Day Bahamas from Miami on Norwegian Sky starting at $398/person
Why you should sign up: Norwegian Sky was refurbished in 2019 and offers 10 dining options, a full-service Starbucks on board, and a casino for late-night bonding around the blackjack table with your new shipmates.
Cruises for Singles in Their 30s
McDaniel said cruisers in their 30s are looking for a good mix of “bustling nightlife and engaging in classes, but I also think in your 30s that you really want to explore and experience culture.” She said river cruises that offer things like silent discos and paint-and-wine classes appeal to this age group.
A great option: The Danube Flow on U River Cruises starting at $1,999/person
Why you should sign up: This cruise line was originally built to cater to millennials, McDaniel said. The cruise includes excursions like a walking tour of Vienna and a palace tour. On board, a rooftop lounge with morning yoga classes and an ice bar ensure guests will always have something to do.
Cruises for Singles in Their 40s
Upscale, bigger cruises on ships like Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity (all three of which are on our World’s Best mega-ship ocean cruise lines list) will appeal to cruisers in their 40s, McDaniel said. These ships tend to be a bit more expensive, but “appeal because they have some really great excursions and they might go off the beaten path. They’re very destination-immersive experiences.”
A great option: Galapagos Southern Loop on Celebrity Xpedition starting at $5,737/person
Why you should sign up: The Galapagos Islands are one of the best summer destinations for solo travelers and this cruise is a great way to see them. Search for sea turtles, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies during the day, and spend the evening in the ship’s hot tub or take in one of the nightly lectures by certified naturalists from the Galapagos National Park.
Cruises for Singles in Their 50s
McDaniel said that a river cruise is a great option for someone in their 50s, with many waiving the single supplement fee and putting age restrictions on passengers — you may not want little kids running around. Some lines, she added, do a great job of hosting single mixers, which ads to the social experience. A cruise along the Danube or Rhine rivers is always a great choice, with McDaniel pointing to the Rhine for wine lovers.
A good option: Cities of Light on Viking River Cruises starting at $2,999/person
Why you should sign up: This 12-day cruise includes stops in some of Europe’s best cities. You can take a moonlit cruise along the Seine in Paris, stroll the charming streets of Prague, and tour castles in Germany (the cruise includes one complimentary excursion in every port). On board, sip a glass of wine and enjoy the sight of the cities slipping by.
Cruises for Single Seniors
A world cruise is a great option for seniors, McDaniel said, as they tend to have more time to see the world. These cruises visit multiple countries over a longer period of time, and after a while, the boat feels like home.
“One of the great things about being a senior is you tend to have a far more flexible schedule,” she said. “You also likely have a bit more disposable income.”
A good option: 79-Day Grand Africa Voyage on Holland America Ms Amsterdam starting at $13,299/person
Why you should sign up: This cruise leaves from Boston, returns to Florida, and covers more than a dozen countries in Africa, as well as some in Europe and the Middle East. Look for animals in a game reserve in South Africa, feel the sand dunes beneath your feet in the Namib Desert, hop on a sailing catamaran in the Seychelles, and visit a lemur sanctuary in Madagascar without having to carry your luggage from country to country.