I Went On An Adults-Only Cruise & Trust Me, You’ve Been Judging Them Wrong

I’m calling it: 2024 is the year we throw out traditional perceptions of cruises only being for old ducks.

But should you spend your annual leave on one?

With the nine-month Ultimate World Cruise delivering TikTok gold and Sir Richard Branson recently bringing his adults-only cruise ships to the world with Virgin Voyages, I’m slowly starting to believe that we don’t need grandchildren to jump on one.

It’s sparked a deeper curiosity I’ve had about cruises as a holiday and after going on Virgin Voyages in Europe, I’m convinced that adults-only cruises are a good getaway option for the lazy (or demanding) traveller. Here’s why.

virgin voyages adults-only cruise
Transport never looked so good. (Image: Instagram / @virginvoyages)

1. There’s As Much Alone Time & Together Time As You Want

I sadly can’t stand any travel companion (platonic, romantic or blood-related) for longer than three days, uninterrupted, at a time — I need my space if I don’t want to turn into a raging asshole. But that’s where this adults-only cruise really opened by eyes.

If you’ve seen the size of commonly booked cruise ship cabins, you’ll know that you’ll need to play music while pooing if you’re sharing a room. It’s close quarters but unlike a teeny Airbnb in Europe, you’ve got an entire ship to do your business, whether that’s on the toilet or otherwise.

adults only cruise
Omw to urinate in silence. (Photo: Supplied.)

There are toilets everywhere, but on a cruise ship you can also go to a bunch of other places on board like games rooms (I’m a slut for Tetris), restaurants, cafes, chill areas, pools, spas and more things that I can’t list because it would exceed my word count.

virgin voyages game room
In my gamer era pls don’t follow me. (Photo: Supplied.)

Cruise ship aside, if your journey has a disembark destination — and pretty much all of them do — you can also get space from each other while off the boat too.

Do you want to explore Lokrum while your travel partner wants to do Dubrovnik’s city walls? Not a drama.

OK, see you back on the ship!!! (Image: Supplied.)

2. You Don’t Have To Plan (As Much) On An Adults-Only Cruise

I can’t tell you the amount of holiday conversations I’ve had that never turned into a reality because of the planning involved. Conversations about flights, transport, budget and more can turn anyone’s holiday stiffy limp.

It’s not uncommon for someone in the travel group to have a million questions before booking like, “But where will we have lunch on Day 3?”, or who says things like, “I don’t want to change accommodation more than once throughout the trip.” You know the ones.

adults only cruise
Waking up in a new country without changing hotel rooms? Sign me up. (Image: Supplied.)

You’re going to have to figure out how to get to and from the port that the ship leaves from, sure.

But an adults-only cruise takes away a lot of the organisational brainwork in between embarking and disembarking (like where to stay that’ll be near such-and-such attractions, but also cheap enough to not blow your life savings — I should go to jail for the amount of time I spend on Booking.com).

That means there’ll be more time bonding or chilling the fuck out, which is the type of holidayer a lot of people are.

virgin voyages cruise adults only cruise
What a backdrop. (Image: Supplied.)

3. Your Itinerary’s As Sorted Or As Flex As You Like

One thing that baffles me about an adults-only cruise ship is the entertainment options, from fitness to wellness, theatre, dance, art and more.

One night I was having dinner with a side of trivia and a show and the next morning I was doing a bungee class overlooking the sea (funniest exercise class I’ve ever done, highly recommend). That afternoon? I was getting my back knots kneaded out of me in the spa.

adults only cruise
Three hours at the spa? Well, it’s not called a holiday for nothin’. (Image: Supplied.)

While the options for food and activities are less than if you were staying overnight in a city rather than sea, there’s still a shitload of things to entertain everyone and keep everyone happy without all hell breaking loose over deciding where to go for dinner.

virgin voyages bungey class
Just hanging out wbu? (Image: Supplied.)

4. There’s No Dramas Dividing Costs

The good thing about cruises is there’s a set price that includes meals, accommodation, activities, soft drinks and more while on board, which heavily reduces one of the biggest bugbears of travel: dividing costs.

There’s something to be said about activities that are included in your booking price. You know when you’re on holiday and everyone ummms and ahhhs about a bike ride or winery because of the cost? Not an issue at sea.

No bills. No splitwise. (Image: Supplied.)

Your Splitwise account can also take a breather.

For the things that aren’t included in the “ticket” per se, like grog, each passenger (for the Virgin Voyages ship, at least) has an armband that is like an electronic tab. If you grab someone a drink from the bar and use your armband, you still allocate that cost to them in the app too.

Don’t worry, you can make sure you haven’t gone too wild in the app, which tracks all your transactions as you go.

virgin voyages armband
Chic? TBC. (Image: Supplied.)

The Adults-Only Cruise Verdict

If there’s one thing that spoke to me during this adults-only cruise it was how convenient and hassle-free it was compared to other holidays I’ve been on.

I went smack bang in the middle of a bigger European trip, and having a break from the logistical nightmare of a trip — whether that’s getting your suitcase up a long flight of stairs every second night or spending 10 hours at the airport a week — made the cruise feel like a holiday away from the holiday.

Just having a champas at sea instead of neck pain in the air, WBU? (Image: Supplied.)

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with an adults-only cruise, especially when it came to people within my age group. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people were in their 20s and 30s were on board.

Of course, every cruise is going to attract an older generation of people who have really made a lifestyle out of it — adults-only or not — this one was at least a step in the right direction with zero screaming children and a ship that’s designed to please all 18+ age groups.

Everyone on board is at least young at heart and has one thing in common: they don’t want to be around kids, whether it’s theirs or someone else’s.

If I’m completely honest, I wish I’d stopped being so judgey about cruises earlier.

Chantelle Schmidt is a freelance writer who travelled as a guest of Virgin Voyages. You can follow her on Instagram.