5 Best Cruises for Seniors
One of the perks of living as a retiree is the luxury of traveling. Even if you’ve yet to retire, wouldn’t it be nice to plan a cruise?
However, with the wide selection of cruises available, picking the right one can seem overwhelming and a bit taxing. You don’t want to book a trip that falls below your expectations.
Cruises come in so many types — different destinations, durations, and activities aboard the ship as well as on land. You want to pick a cruise that best fits you, especially if you’re opposed to cruises geared towards a younger generation or you have a certain medical or physical limitations.
Things you need to consider:
Before you even start scouting for the best cruise packages, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself first to help you narrow down your choices:
– How many days do you intend travel?
– Are you traveling solo, with a partner, family, or with a group?
– What are you looking forward to achieve from this trip?
– Do you have any mobility issues? Any health conditions that need to special assistance?
– How much is your budget?
You see, different ships offer different amenities, different services, and different facilities. Some cruise lines don’t offer the utmost convenience to passengers with disabilities, even though they have complied with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Yet, some cruise lines go as far as featuring hydraulic pool chairs in their pools as well as providing wheelchair accessibility. Some ships cater to multi-generation families while others are designed to exclusively accommodate adults.
Our Top 5 Picks for Best Senior Cruises:
Azamara Club Cruises is a subsidiary of the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. What’s interesting is that although this cruise line offers luxury service, they try to keep it low profile and avoid the designation of such. Nevertheless, many of their guests commend the cruise line for its upscale service and amenities they provide. These services are inclusive in the fare. Among its many accolades, Azamara has been ranked #4 by Condé Nast Traveller in the Top 10 midsize ship lines which was featured in Reader’s Choice Awards 2014. It was also nominated #2 in World’s Best Awards by Travel + Leisure.
Azamara Club Cruises takes pride in two ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, are large enough to offer high-end amenities and services while small enough to be able to enter places larger ships would have to avoid. Azamara cruises are known for spending extra time in port along with a handsome number of overnight stays for guests to explore the area.
Each ship can accommodate around 686 guests, most which are an older crowd.
From the ship’s recently spruced up amenities and exceptional food service to its unique itineraries and personal butlers on board, Azamara certainly knows how to treat guests. Additionally, the ships spend extra time in certain ports so guests have the opportunity to take advantage of exploring and immersing into local culture. Guests describe their Azamara experience as intimate and breathtaking. Their Thalassotherapy pool is perfect for any senior who seeks a moment of detoxification and relaxation.
North and South America
Why You’ll Love It
- Accommodates guests with special needs and medical conditions
- Medical facility with onboard physicians
- Wheelchair accessible staterooms for guests
with special needs and limited mobility
- Service animals are welcome aboard
- Fantastic rates for singles
- Fitness and nutrition classes
- Spa services and acupuncture therapy offered
- Guest lecturers
- Personal butler
- Enrichment programs and classes (seminars, wine tasting, culinary demos, computer classes)
- Accommodates special dietary needs (to be arranged 40-80 days prior to sailing)
- Complimentary onshore events to experience local culture (dance, cuisine, music, theater)
Other Unique Offerings
- Azamazing Evenings – experience local culture up close and personal
- Land Discoveries – exciting shore excursions led by the world’s top tour guides
- Nights and Cool Places – after dinner tours that include after-hours museum visits and live performances and visits to arts, architecture, and scenery experienced best at night
- Insider Access – immersion into local culture including excursions to private ancestral homes, farms, historic estates, and villas that allow you to mingle with the locals
- Gratuities are prepaid upon reservation
- Special rates for singles
- Senior citizen discounts on select sailings
What: 16- Night South Beach to Acropolis Village
When: April 2-April 18, 2015 on board Azamara Journey
Where: Embark: Miami – Ponta Delgada, Azores – Gibraltar, UK – Siracusa, Sicily, Italy – Debark: Athens, Greece
Price: Starting at $1,679.00
What: 10-Night National Parks – Panama Voyage
When: February 7 – February 17, 2016 on board Azamara Journey
Where: Embark: Miami – Cartagena, Colombia – Panama Canal, Panama – Fuerte Amador, Panama – Golfito, Costa Rica – Quepos, Costa Rica – Debark: Caldera, Costa Rica
Price: Starting at $3,349.00
What: 10-Night Temples, Jungles & Beaches Voyage
When: March 26 – April 05, 2016
Where: Embark: Playa del Carmen, Mexico – Cozumel, Mexico – Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala – Falmouth, Jamaica – Labadee, Haiti – Debark: Miami, Florida
Price: Starting at $2,699.00
In one word… Elegant.
With over 140 years of cruise experience, Holland America Line certainly understands travel in its truest sense. As part of its Signature of Excellence program, it recently underwent a $525 million fleetwide enhancement and refurbishment of their ships.
For 2015-2016, Holland America Line is bringing you Dancing with the Stars: At Sea where guests may participate in complimentary dance classes and even compete.
Another premium cruise line, Holland America line has 15 mid-size cruise ships that offer over 500 sailings to all seven continents from 38 departure ports every year.
Alaska and Yukon
Africa and Arabia
Asia and Pacific
Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific
Hawaii and Tahiti
South america and antarctica
Why You’ll Love It
- Shore excursions
- New accessible cabins & amenities
- Wheelchair-accessible tender transfer system
- Widely enhanced enrichment programs
- The Culinary Arts Center – world class demonstration kitchen with classes & seminars
- “As You Wish” dining option
- Chimes ringing at set dinner times
- Flexible dining schedule
- Digital Workshop powered by Windows®
- Wine tasting & mixology
- Sidewalk Cafe / Exploration Center
- Movie Theater
- Self-service laundry rooms
- Explorer’s Lounge (a hit among seniors)
- World Cruise itineraries – extensive, varied, and extended stays (as long a 55 night-voyages)
- Exotic itineraries (Amazon and Antarctica)
- Partnered with Special Needs at Sea and CruiseShipAssist to provide access to wheelchairs and other mobility devices
- Partnered with the University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston for live radiology consults and feeds
- Broadway show tunes
- Art tours & art galleries – Home to the largest collection of classic art onboard the ship
- On Location program – classes that provide the sight, taste, and sound of local culture (ex.hula class in Hawaii, tai chi in Asia, drum lessons in the Caribbean)
Best Dining Experience, Master Chef’s Table
2014 Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Award
Best Overall Cruise Value (21 consecutive years)
World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society, Ocean & Cruise News
Consistently Among the Highest-rated Cruise Lines
Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards
Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards
In one word…Worldclass.
Now if you’re looking for the really, really huge ships, then the Royal Caribbean International’s fleet would certainly not disappoint you. This cruise line offers a wide array of activities that will surely make your stay worthwhile and full of fun and adventure. This line is a true match for the active seniors. Also, it is the best fit if you wish to bring your entire family (kids and grandkids) because of the many different amenities and services they offer that there is always something to do for everyone.
The Royal Caribbean International operates 24 ships, which are categorized according to 7 different classes such as the Quantum, Voyager, Radiance, Vision, Sovereign, Oasis, and Freedom. Each of which has ships with names that end in “of the Seas.”
The Quantum of the Seas is the brand’s newest ship as well as the first ship of the Quantum class (the other two new additions are set to be delivered in April 2015 and Fall 2016 respectively). To date, the Quantum class has become the 2nd largest class of passenger ships in the world (behind Oasis).
Royal Caribbean ships are very large and they offer several activities, there is no way you will ever run out of things to do during your voyage.
Caribbean and Bahamas
Why You’ll Love it
- Wheelchair-accessible staterooms
- Rock-climbing wall
- Surf simulator
- Skydiving simulator
- Observation tower – a glass-walled capsule that reaches up to 300 ft above sea level
- Outdoor and indoor pools
- Fitness center
- Kids’ water park – wave pool
- Multiple whirlpools
- Indoor Solarium
- Broadway-style, The Royal Theater
- 2-story Royal Esplanade mall
- Library and card room
- Multi-purpose venues
- Lounge that offers panoramic ocean view
- Large, indoor gym
- Basketball court
- Bumper cars and roller skating arena
- Circus school
- Casino and Music hall
Other Unique Offerings
Quantum of the Seas offers a Dynamic Dining experience where it does not have a main dining room; instead the ship has 5 complimentary main restaurants along with 6 more smaller complimentary dining venues.
In one word… Dynamic.
Oceania is widely known for the exquisite dining experience they offer to their guests while offering open seating in all of their restaurants without extra charges. Their Lido buffet offers the best dining experience at sea.
Oceania takes pride in its mid-size ships including two new 1,250-passenger vessels. Their ships can accommodate 684 guests – such ships include Insignia, Nautica, Regatta, and Siren; while two ships Marina and Riviera, can each cater to 1,250 guests.
Aboard the Oceania ship, guests experience a more personal touch because of its high staff-to-guest ratio so guests are assured that they can be attended to at any given time. This cruise line is known for their impeccable service as well as their internationally acclaimed restaurants.
Why You Will Love It:
- Spacious suites and staterooms, 85% with private verandas
- Coffee Cafes
- Latin art collections
- Cooking classes
- Art & craft lessons
- Access to boutique ports and seaside villages which otherwise is impossible for large ships to get to
- Open seating in all restaurants
- Enrichment programs
- The Culinary Center (cooking classes) – onboard
- Culinary Discovery Tours – allows you to accompany the chef instructor to purchase fresh ingredients at markets in select ports
- English-trained butlers for guests in suites (trained by members of the Guild of Professional English Butlers
- Shore excursions
Other Unique Offerings
- FREE dining at all specialty restaurants
- FREE and unlimited soft drinks, bottled water, cappuccino, espresso, teas and juices
- FREE shuttle service from ship to city center in many ports of call – a daily value of up to $30 per guest
- FREE and unlimited access to Canyon Ranch SpaClub® private Spa Terrace
- FREE room service dining 24 hours a day
- FREE Artist Loft enrichment center
What: Miami to Miami Island Paradise
When: December 9-19, 2015
Duration: 10 days
How much: Starting at $2,049
One word to describe it… Intimate.
Owned by an Italian family, Silversea speaks luxury, excellence, and elegance. Silversea Cruises ships are small but don’t be fooled by their size since their ships are known for being ultra-luxury as they offer all-suite accommodations coupled with their staff’s exemplary service. With their five ships sailing to over 450 ports across seven continents, Silversea cruises make over 125 voyages every year. What also makes this line unique is their all-inclusive cruise fare.
Silver Cloud and Silver Wind can cater to 296 guests while the Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper can accommodate 388 guests. Prince Albert II can carry 132 guests and it prides on their oceanview staterooms.
Australia and New Zealand
Canada & New England
Caribbean & Central America
Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia
Northern Europe and British Isles
Russian Far East
Why You’ll Love It
- All accommodations are suites (75% have private verandas)
- Butler service
- Sails up narrow waterways
- Open-seating dining
- Enrichment programs including guest lecturers and culinary and wine voyages
- Spa and fitness center
- Medical center onboard (doctor and nurse)
- Contract and Duplicate Bridge sessions
Other Unique Offerings
- ALL-inclusive cruise fare (all port charges, gratuities and beverages are included in the cruise fare)
- Silver Links Program – combination of on-board golf lessons and clinics along with visits to world-class courses
Prices could range from $3,700 for a 7-day cruise to $76,600 for a 92-day PAcific Voyage.
What: Barcelona to Piraeus (Athens)
When: April 11, 2015 (9 days)
Ports of Call: Barcelona, Rome, Greece
How much: Starting at $4,550.00
What: Vancouver, Canada to Seward (Anchorage), Alaska
When: May 28, 2015 (7 days)
How much: Starting at $3,250.00
One word to describe it… Ultra-luxury.
What better way to travel than to sail on a cruise. Explore other local cultures. Taste some fine cuisine. Behold magnificent scenery. Get all the pampering you deserve. There’s a whole lot more to experience even when we’re getting older.
What’s your best cruise ship experience? What amenities are you looking for in a cruise? We’d love to hear from you!