As both a senior traveler and a travel writer, I’m constantly asked about which trips or tours are best for older people. I love cruise ships and always recommend cruising as a great option, whether you’re 25 and looking for a non-stop party or 85 and looking for a peaceful educational journey. Today’s giant super ships can even accommodate both on the same cruise simultaneously.
With a cruise ship, you have all the amenities of a five star hotel, yet your hotel actually moves, to different wonderful ports around the world. Even if you never leave your own balcony, you can enjoy the world and see amazing sights.
Whether you are a senior cruiser yourself, or may be looking at buying a cruise for parents or grandparents as a holiday gift, the best cruises for seniors are those that cater to the needs and preferences of people who’ve attained the age where comfort and luxury are more important than excitement. The most popular are cruises that are booked exclusively for seniors.
Most other cruises may also include seniors, and offer some activities just for them. However, the same ships may also be full of young adult passengers dedicated to having a noisy good time all night. Also aboard will be families with little kids who’re determined to do the same throughout the day.
Cruises, including senior-exclusive ones, are attractive because they deliver luxury comparable to a posh resort, but at much lower costs. In our travels, we’ve found the average cost to stay at an upscale resort or big-city hotel is between $150 and $200 a day. This most often just covers the fee for the room, and nothing else is included.
The average cruise costs between $100 and $150 a day per person. Unlike most hotels and resorts, cruises include a comfortable cabin, all meals, Broadway-style entertainment, ever-changing ocean and coastal scenery, and frequent visits to varieties of exotic port cities.
Those on-board features also have one great advantage over vacations ashore that seniors can appreciate. Everything needed for the cruise is all moments away, within short strolling distances from passenger cabins.
Cruises for seniors are also designed for people who are no longer as spry as they once were. Special conveniences are there to make the experience as pleasant as possible for passengers who are elderly, as well as those with physical limitations or are confined to wheelchairs or scooters.
Aboard large cruise ships there are roomy elevators that whisk everyone up and down to within steps of cabins, dining rooms, music clubs, casino, theater, spa, pools, shopping and other on-board facilities. For seniors concerned about their health while away from home, most cruises sail with medical staffers. They’re available 24 hours each day at sea in case of necessary treatments, medications and emergency services.
Some seniors would rather skip all the glitter and noisy extras of the large cruise ships, and prefer to sail on smaller ones. They don’t require ten decks of exciting activities, loud music and carousing young people. They prefer the cruise to be quiet and restful, without the hoopla of casinos, Broadway-style shows, skating rinks, water slides and top-deck midnight drinkathons.
Elderhostel (Now called Road Scholar) offers one- and two-week combination on-board and excursion-ashore programs for active seniors. The seniors-only organization designs special experiences for seniors who want to participate in organized educational, art appreciation and sightseeing activities along with their cruises.
We’ve enjoyed multiple cruises on Royal Caribbean, we find their ships have a great combination of fun and luxury. You can always find something to see and do, yet you can also always find a quiet place to relax away from people.