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Top 5 Cruises for Seniors and Retirees

Cruises are one of the biggest retirement goals, especially when it comes to long-time cruise lovers who’ve always thought they’re short on time. Retirement is the ideal season of life to sail right into the sunset for many weeks, whether to far-off lands like Antarctica or a peaceful journey down the Danube River.

In some instances, seniors embrace their golden years by booking epic and long voyages all over the world. There are many small and medium-sized ships that cater to the over-60 crowd. However, that doesn’t mean guests can be relegated to shuffleboard and bingo games.

Nowadays, seniors still have a ton of adventures to experience and plenty of memories to make, whether it’s on board or on shore. The following cruise line has some of the best offers for seniors and retirees, so have a look!

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Windstar cruises

Anyone who has ever fancied a near-private yacht-style cruise experience will definitely love the vibe of a Windstar cruise. Each of these yachts holds somewhere between 148 and 342 guests, with a 1-to-1.5 crew-to-guest ratio.

This also makes for more intimate sailings, and there are multiple reasons for that. First, there are fewer ships to maneuver on foot, but also because Windstar ships gain access to ports that mega-ships aren’t allowed to enter.

The end result is an extraordinary and unique ability to explore destinations that aren’t well known, including smaller cities. Even if Windstar isn’t strictly an adults-only cruise line, you won’t see any little ones on board, either.

Children need to be a minimum of 8 years old to sail on the line, which would further add to the high-end ambiance. In 2021 and 2022, Windstar’s Star Breeze, Star Pride, and Star Legend ships got a refresh.

The three all-suite yachts were cut in half and underwent a full enhancement process with brand-new suites and amenities, bringing the capacity to 312 passengers on each and every vessel. These Star Plus Class ships can also easily boast new restaurants, a spa and fitness center, and other efficient engines, among another series of improvements.

Elevators also help make the Star Plus Class ships way more accessible for anyone with limited mobility. Besides, Star Breeze, Star Pride, and Star Legend have four wheelchair-accessible suites, which also feature a petite queen bed and reduced “wheel around” space.

Viking

The Viking spans seven continents via river, ocean, and other expedition vessels, and it is also considered a quintessential high-end cruise experience. For over 25 years, it has provided all sorts of destination-focused sailings meant to allow its guests to explore the world in ultimate comfort.

Its voyages are especially appealing to travelers who are older than 50 and are interested in science, history, culture, and cuisine. Every single Viking cruise fare also comes with a complimentary shore excursion in every port of call, onboard meals, beer and wine (with lunch and dinner included), Wi-Fi access, and all the other port charges and government taxes.

On Viking’s ocean and expedition vessels, guests can easily enjoy complimentary self-service laundry, full access to the Thermal Suite in The Spa, high tea service, and alternative restaurant dining with 24-hour room service.

However, the best part for older cruisers is probably what’s not included on the Viking sailings: the kids. You see, this adults-only cruise line is only meant for guests who are 18 and older.

Viking’s fleet has a wide range of capacities, ranging from 80 to 998 passengers (on both river and ocean cruises), featuring elegant Scandinavian-style decor. The small ship cruises also get closer to their destinations, spending more time in port and including more overnight stays.

Uniworld boutique river cruises

The Uniworld boutique river cruises are billed as one of the most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise lines, featuring a series of small ships with an average capacity of 120 guests and also one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios on the rivers, at 1-to-2.4.

Part of the charm of the small ship size is the super personalized travel experience that gets passengers to charming destinations that ocean liners wouldn’t be able to visit (like the Venetian Lagoon, where larger ships have been banned from entry).

Uniworld ships are also akin to floating boutique hotels, meant to reflect the destinations to which they usually sail. Here, there’s a vast list that also includes ports in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.

Guests will definitely appreciate the exquisite details on board, such as unique artwork from some of the most famous artists in the world, handmade fabrics from local artisans, and hand-carved furnishings. Besides, Uniworld’s all-inclusive cruise experience also offers onboard meals, which are only made from fresh farm-to-table ingredients, as well as an unlimited series of spirits and fine wines.

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Crystal

This exquisite, upscale brand relaunched under the A &K Travel Group umbrella with a totally reimagined vision. Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony underwent a complete refurbishment that cost a total of $150 million, which also included updated suites and new wellness offerings at the Aurora Spa.

As you sail the high seas with Crystal, passengers’ needs are easily met every step of the way, a perk that was made possible by the nearly 1-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio. A dedicated butler in every stateroom and suite might help with packing and unpacking, stocking the fridge, making restaurant reservations, booking excursions, and such.

Crystal packs impressive enrichment programming, hosting high-profile lectures with plenty of sports activities, entertainment, and science. You can spend some time refining your technology skills at Computer University at Sea and even perfecting your ballroom dance moves, photography abilities, golf swing, and even bridge games.

There’s also a very well-stocked library with plenty of books on a wide range of subjects, along with board games and a pickleball court. Dining options also include Umi Uma, a Japanese-Peruvian dining venue created by Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.

Unlike other cruise lines that would charge a fee for every specialty dining reservation, Crystal also allows guests to enjoy one complimentary reservation per person for sailings of 11 days or even less. After dinner, nightly entertainment can be easily found in many venues, like live music in the Galaxy Lounge.

Oceania cruises

Seniors who have a penchant for epicurean delights might prefer Oceania Cruises for their ideal cruise vacations. It is well-known for having one of the best culinary programs at sea. This cruise line also focuses on small-ship luxury, with seven ships now in service, each carrying between 670 and 1,250 passengers.

The eighth ship, Allura, is expected to make its debut in 2025. Newer ships, such as the Vista, the first of the Allura class vessels, joined the fleet in May 2023. It has wheelchair-accessible rooms and a wide range of on-board culinary venues.

A couple of highlights also include Aquamar Kitchen, with a wide array of wellness-inspired dishes. The Bakery at Baristas, which has freshly baked pastries, and a brand new signature restaurant, Ember, an upscale American eatery.

You shouldn’t miss the Cellar Master’s Wine Luncheon, with a two-hour, hand-selected tasting led by the head sommelier that has a five-course menu paired with premium wines for every dish.

Senior cruisers will definitely like the Aquamar Spa’s signature massage therapies because they use natural ingredients and modern techniques that can release stress and tension. The Vitaly Center has a steam room as well, a thalassotherapy pool, and heated lounge beds for extra relief.

You might want to prepare ahead for the trip of your life, and if that’s so, we recommend you check out this series!

If you found this article useful, we also recommend checking out: Healthcare: Top 10 Most Affordable States for Seniors

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