It appears there is a strong emphasis on family friendly holidays at the moment, especially cruises, so I thought it was time I have a closer look at the adult only side of the industry.

We all know how fantastic cruising is for families and the range of facilities and activities for children on modern day cruise ships beats any land based resort. From award-winning kids clubs, water parks and jam-packed schedules of fun, cruising is the ultimate holiday for children to create life changing memories.

However, for some people, a holiday is a time to switch-off and escape from the children. With every day stress of the school run, activities, dinners, fancy dress costume making, sleepovers, revision, exams, constant fund demands, late night lifts and television arguments, a week or two away from this is a distant dream for many parents. The idea of escaping on an adult-only cruise is the perfect solution.

Due to their being such high-demand for family orientated cruises in today’s market, there are less cruise lines offering an adult-only experience, however some firmly believe in offering this option. With this in mind here are my top 5 ships for an adult-only cruise getaway:

Oriana, P&O Cruises

Exclusive for adults: Yes

Where in the world: Europe, Mediterranean, Caribbean

Exclusively for adults, this mid-sized ship is elegant and refined to offer adults the perfect retreat. Entering service for P&O Cruises in 2003 she has always been an adult-only vessel who boasts sophisticated spaces, adult-themed entertainment and delightful Art Deco.

An intimate atmosphere is felt throughout Oriana and her sleek exterior glides through awe-inspiring destinations to give onlookers a small inclining of her stunning interior.

Specifically designed to suit British tastes, you can expect to enjoy heavenly afternoon teas, support your football team at Lord’s Tavern sports bar and dress up in your favourite formal attire for a traditional P&O Captain’s reception.

With no children around, activities can be played amongst like-minded adults including croquet, cocktail making an informative lectures.

See our Oriana Deals

Marco Polo, Cruise & Maritime

Exclusive for adults: Yes

Where in the world: Europe, Fjords, Northern Europe, Arctic, Amazon

With her traditional exterior and intimate interior, Marco Polo is a small, friendly and charismatic ship that ensures everyone who steps onboard is warmed to her charm. Inviting adults only, she offers a more informal, relaxed experience.

With various lounges to enjoy meeting new friends and sipping your favourite cocktails, you are sure to enjoy the company of like-minded cruisers. With a variety of live music, special speakers and a cabaret show, your evenings will be fairly low-key but enjoyable.

With a large crew to guest ratio onboard, the crew will become family and remember all of your preferences from the first moment they met you.

Although Marco Polo is not a huge ship, she is perfect for those wanting to take a fascinating journey on a floating home away from home. She doesn’t have the 'frill and spills' of some of the mega ships but this makes for a more exclusive, intimate experience.

Operating a 'child free' policy even if you decide to cruise during school holidays you can enjoy the pleasures of cruising in the company of adult only passengers.

See our Marco Polo Deals 


Arcadia, P&O Cruises

Exclusive for adults: Yes

Where in the world: Europe, Atlantic, Fjords, Baltic, Caribbean, Middle East

Another one of the three adult-only P&O Cruises ships, Arcadia is the perfect combination of modern and classic. Tailored for those who like to get away and explore fascinating destinations in a relaxed environment, she is a floating paradise that offers you the ultimate getaway.

Her stylish interior spaces and signature features have made Arcadia a favourite to cruisers all over the world. With glass lifts, expansive art collection and classic décor she oozes elegance. With a variety of onboard venues, there is always something going on to enjoy. From live music, a port lecture or a West End style show, you can enjoy your time onboard exactly how you want to.

The perfect ship for foodies, you can enjoy intimate meals at a variety of restaurants including the two-tiered Meridian Restaurant, Neptune Grill and Marco Pierre Whiite’s Ocean Grill restaurant.

See our Arcadia Deals


Royal Clipper, Star Clippers


Exclusive for adults: No

Where in the world: Mediterranean, Caribbean

Star Clippers are the only tall sail ships operating in this way and offer an experience like no other. With a feeling of sailing on your own private sail yacht, these intimate and friendly vessels will have you hoisting your own mast, sharing stories on a floating hammock and sailing into some the world’s most awe-inspiring sunsets.

With an emphasis on outdoors and adventures, a cruise onboard Royal Clipper is best suited to those who like to make the most of new experiences. Stopping at some the world’s most fascinating locations, her size will allow you to dock right in the heart of remote and enchanted destinations.

The ship’s crew become a huge part of your holiday and you will find yourself spending a lot of time with them, from dining, team activities and learning how to manoeuvre these unique vessels.

Although there is no large production shows or multiple restaurants, there is a large dining room, range of activities and unique outer spaces to enjoy. These port intense cruises are sure to take you on a truly memorable journey, making friends with like-wise adults along the way.

See our Royal Clipper Deals

Nautica, Oceaania

Exclusive for adults: No

Where in the world: Baltic, Mediterranean, Asia, Africa

With her intense warmth and welcoming character, Oceania Nautica is a smaller sized ship that exposes luxury in the finest form. Her unique design is elegant and boasts neutral décor to give a graceful and refined appearance.

Leaving no detail left out, every single detail onboard has been thoroughly thought about and it is the small touches that make Oceania such a special cruise line. From her exquisite cuisine, immaculate cabins and elegant interior venues, you will truly fall in love with Nautica.

With no children’s facilities and being a luxury line, it is rare you will find any little ones onboard and the tranquil atmosphere makes for the ultimate getaway.

See our Nautica Deals

By Sally Grimes