Travel in Style With Cruises for Seniors
A cruise is a fabulous way to meet new people, participate in a wide variety of educational, cultural and sporting events, and comfortably travel around the world. Whether you want to travel to Alaska, the Caribbean, Canada, Asia, Europe or South America, there are cruises for seniors designed with travelers in mind.
There’s an abundance of choices to think about, from selecting where to go and what type of cruise you want, to which company is best. Here’s just a sampling of what you can select from and the liners that are known for catering to the 50+ crowd.
Designed for more active seniors who want to get up close and personal, this 8-ship cruise line, led by naturalists, has itineraries covering Alaska, Central America, Columbia and the Snake Rivers, Galápagos, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés and the Pacific Northwest.
While not inexpensive, the trips are just about totally all-inclusive. On some of their Alaskan sailings, they even offer “twice-daily jaunts by Zodiac right up to the faces of calving glaciers and salmon-fishing bears.”
They also offer what they call the less strenuous “Heritage” sailings, during which you can watch the wildlife through binoculars up on the bridge. On all of the ships, the on-board fare relies heavily on the “freshest locally procured meats and seafood, meals are communal, and a great sense of camaraderie quickly develops among passengers, naturalists and crew.”
You can learn more on the Un-Cruise Adventures website.
If you’ve done a lot of traveling, you might want to consider something a bit more exotic like Lindbald, which offers some of the world’s most exotic sailings. For example, while there are lots of cruise companies that go to New Zealand and Australia, this company will take you to very unusual places like the Horizontal Waterfalls of Talbot Bay in Northwest Australia, or the Islands of the Torres Straits in Papua New Guinea.
People who have sailed with Lindblad often talk about how knowledgeable the guides are, the spa services on board and the luxury provided, with touches such as a mud room so passengers who have been out hiking or trekking can get their boots washed before going to their cabins.
You can learn more about Lindblad Expeditions on their website.
For boomers who are nostalgic about recapturing the travels of their youth, but perhaps in more opulent splendor than was affordable when young, Cunard Lines comes to mind.
Who wouldn’t want to sail with Queens – the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth. From sailing transatlantic, to cruising around the world hitting ports in Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, New England and/or Canada, Cunard continues to provide passengers the height of luxury as it has done for the last century and a half, making it one of the more popular cruises for seniors.
You can learn more on the Cunard Lines website.
Princess Cruises and Holland America
Company wide, these ships offer tremendous amenities, comfort, service and personal attention. Even more important is the fact that since these two cruise lines were literally the pioneers in the Alaskan cruise market they have the clout to secure highly sought after permits to enter Glacier Bay National Park, which I can tell you from personal experience, is a treasure not to be missed!
If you want to explore the countryside by the famed Alaskan Railroad, both Princess and Holland American have their own domed observation cars far better than the ones the railroad owns.
River Baroness and Pride of America
There are also special interest cruises for travelers over 50, including cruises for WWII veterans who served in Europe aboard Uniworld’s River Baroness, which ports in Normandy with all of its abundant history. Vets who’s theater was the Pacific can sail aboard Norwegian’s Pride of America, which uses Honolulu as its home base year-round. Pre and post cruise excursions to the Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri and Pearl Harbor are readily available.
I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that I want to learn something new every day. For people like me there are cruise lines that offer fun, educational and enrichment opportunities with Princess Cruises Grand Class. With more than 20 courses per cruise, it has earned the nickname ScholarShip@Sea. Classes range from computer skills, to cooking to photography (including digital photography) with destinations virtually anywhere in the world to select from.
You can learn more about The Grand Princess cruise line on their website.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances where we’re traveling alone. Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway offer a studio cabin for singles thus avoiding the single supplement charge, which can be very hefty. And with over 300 destinations to choose from, along with last minute deals, there’s bound to be something that’s just right for a solo traveler.
You can learn more on the Cruise Critic: Norwegian Cruise Line website.
Things to Think About
When you're picking between different cruises for seniors, keep the following things in mind:
- Your choice of itinerary. A lot of us have already traveled to many destinations, so you’ll want to decide if you want to visit someplace new or take a trip full of nostalgia.
- If you’re traveling with family, you’ll want to ensure that each generation will have something to do and enjoy, so you’ll need a cruise that is full of options for all ages
- If you have any physical limitations, or health issues, you’ll want to make sure that the ship you select is completely accessible and/or that it provides high caliber healthcare.
- If you want a cruise that provides educational and cultural programs, make sure they’re readily available onboard.
- Always ask if the cruise line offers a senior discount that you might qualify for.
- There are also cruises that are for adults only, if you don’t want little ones around.
Whatever you choose, happy sailing!