10 Best Cruise Lines for Retirees

RETIREMENT - RETIRED LIFE
Set sail into your retirement dreams with the top cruise lines.
Updated April 11, 2024
Fact checked
senior couple enjoying champagne on yacht

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One of the most popular goals for retirees is to travel more, and cruises can be great options to get away from home. However, most retirees would love to find a cruise that suits them. 

You may want to have a relaxing cruise with beaches and warm weather or you might be more into touring unique cities with exciting excursions. Regardless, finding the right cruise line is paramount.

Check out these 10 cruise lines, perfect for retirees wanting to relax, explore, or learn something new while traveling. Experiences with each might push you to find ways to travel more

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Norwegian Cruise Line

Darren Baker/Adobe senior couple exploring tropical beach

Norwegian Cruise Line offers freestyle cruising so you can enjoy it as you go without having to eat in a restaurant at a specific time with a particular dress code.

The cruise line offers retirees a variety of trips on six continents, so there are plenty of destinations to choose from.

Viking Cruises

Cavan for Adobe/Adobe Laughing senior couple on sailboat

Viking has plenty of options if you want to cruise through Europe or travel oceans with stops in Iceland and Greenland or spots in the Caribbean.

Viking also offers unique expedition cruises that take guests to Antarctica and South America or through the Great Lakes in North America. 

You can even take Longitude cruises that start in Buenos Aires and end up in Milwaukee 69 days later.

You also have the option to try smaller ships or bigger cruise liners, depending on if you prefer a river cruise or an ocean cruise.

Oceania Cruises

Kostiantyn/Adobe senior couple relaxing while sailing

Explore a variety of trips with Oceania Cruises through Europe, Africa, Asia, and more. Trips start around 10 days, so this may be a better option if you’re retired and have more time to travel.

The cruise line also includes special offers for guests like free excursions, complimentary wine and drinks on board, free unlimited Wi-Fi, or free airfare along with your trip. 

Check with Oceania Cruises to see which options could apply to your next trip.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises

Kostiantyn/Adobe happy senior couple on yacht deck

Royal Caribbean has plenty of options for cruises depending on how long you want to be on vacation, including three- and four-day trips that are perfect for a short vacation if you’re still working and can’t get much time off. 

You can also choose longer options like a 15-day cruise covering Iceland and Ireland, which may be perfect when you retire.

Royal Caribbean offers reduced senior prices for travelers at least 55 years old, but some restrictions may exist. Check with Royal Caribbean when booking your next trip to see what deals you qualify for.

Holland America Line

Syda Productions/Adobe senior man at helm on boat

Pick several options depending on where you want to go, including a trip through the Panama Canal or a transatlantic vacation with plenty of stops on either side of the Atlantic.

And if you’re an AARP member, you can receive up to $200 of onboard credit for select vacations, so check to see if your membership can get you benefits when you cruise.

Celebrity Cruises

DisobeyArt/Adobe couple cheering with champagne on sailboat

Celebrity Cruises doesn’t have specific senior discounts, but there are still plenty of things for retirees to do while traveling.

Explore Alaska or Scandinavia with luxury dinners aboard the cruise ship, or consider back-to-back cruises such as Canada to Hawaii and then taking a trip from Hawaii to Sydney. 

The cruises also have amenities like green outdoor spaces and a spa to help you relax between ports.

Silversea Cruises

Cavan for Adobe/Adobe senior couple happy while sailing

It can be frustrating to book airlines and transfers from the airport to the ship, but Silversea Cruises has you covered.

The cruise line includes a door-to-door all-inclusive option to ensure you enjoy your trip without stressing over the little details.

Silversea’s ships are also on the smaller side, with 51 to 364 suites per ship, which may be a benefit if you prefer a more intimate trip rather than being on a big ship with a large number of passengers. 

It also has a ship specifically designed for polar exploration if you want to travel to Antarctica.

Cunard

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe senior man pointing distance

Take a transatlantic trip with Cunard’s luxury cruise liners or longer vacations to Australia or Africa with some of the cruise line's queen-named ships like the Queen Elizabeth II or the Queen Victoria.

If you’re a retiree with some travel flexibility, you can save money with a Sailing Soon discount with trips that may set sail only a month or so from when you book them. 

It may be a good option if you don’t mind packing quickly or like the excitement of going somewhere on short notice.

Windstar Cruises

Syda Productions/Adobe senior man on sailboat

Try a unique and smaller way to travel with Windstar Cruises when planning your next trip as a retiree.

Windstar Cruises partially run on wind, as the ships have masts and sails that make them stand out compared to other cruise ships. 

The ships also only have around 150 to 350 guests, so you won’t have to deal with big crowds like on other ships.

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AmaWaterways Cruises

Mediteraneo/Adobe Handsome senior man traveling on sailboat

Another great option if you would prefer a smaller ship on a river cruise is AmaWaterways Cruises. The ships have the typical trips through rivers in Europe. 

Still, retirees can also explore more unusual cruise options like vacations on the Nile River in Egypt or the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia.

Bottom line

JW_PNW/Adobe cruise ship bound for Alaska docks

Some cruise lines may not specifically offer senior discounts, but you can still save money if you want to travel when you’re retired.

Look for the top travel credit cards to earn additional perks and points for your next vacation to help you save money.

You should also consider sticking to a budget if you’re worried you could struggle financially to pay for a trip on a fixed income. A budget may be able to help you prioritize spending and save money.

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Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
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Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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