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Knowing which cruise line, or which trip, to take as a senior citizen can seem like an intimidating task. With all the choices and cruise options, it can seem overwhelming. Understanding your options and resources can help you decide which trip you want to take within your budget. Traveling is a great experience that allows you to meet new people and see new places, but you also want to ensure you are safe and comfortable during your cruise.
Best cruise lines for seniors
Many cruise lines are available, and the options only seem to be growing. When looking at booking a cruise, you want to establish what is most important to you and any guests you are going with. For example, is having many pools or specific entertainment a priority? Some senior citizen cruises that are particularly popular include:
From a 2022 report, Celebrity Cruises was a top-rated option for senior citizens cruises. They offer European cruises, 7-night cruises, short Caribbean cruises, and Alaskan cruises for senior citizens. Some distinguishable factors of this cruise line are its exquisite cuisine and wellness spa options.
Royal Caribbean has been a top contender for cruises, running them for over thirty years. With experience, they can update their ships and keep them interesting, constantly innovating their travel options. Options for boarding can be from Texas or Florida.
Norwegian Cruise Line
With a newly launched Norwegian Edge Program, Norwegian Cruise Line is taking their customer experience to a higher level. Their entertainment includes Tony Award winners, and some cruises even have racetracks. Many of their rooms are contemporary, and their ‘freestyle cruising’ option allows flexibility in your itinerary.
What to look for in a senior cruise
When finding out the cruise line of your choice, you want to consider a few things. Begin with thinking about what you are looking to get out of your stay. To start, you can brainstorm some locations you prefer. Many places offer Alaskan cruises for senior citizens, senior river cruises, or ones in the Mediterranean/Caribbean. You can also bundle some cruises to visit various cities or locations. Some other questions you can ask yourself are:
- How long do I want to be on a cruise?
- What is my budget? Am I looking for specific cruise deals?
- Is entertainment important to me?
- Where do I want to spend my time, mostly on a cruise ship?
You also want to consider any physical challenges you may have. For instance, those with mobility issues or a wheelchair will want to ensure the cruise line has proper accommodations. If stairs are painful for you, you may want to research cruise lines that have what you prefer on one or two levels. There are also themed cruises, like senior singles cruises. Many cruise lines have things they ‘specialize’ in, such as cuisine or entertainment, so if you have something you particularly enjoy, you should research cruise lines that offer what you like.
If you are looking to book a senior cruise on a budget, keep an open mind with some of your preferences. Whether that means you adjust to a different cruise line, date, or location, it can open more doors for discounts. If you want something specific, be willing to wait a bit longer to find it at the right time. Research the cruise lines you are looking at to ensure they have any accommodations or information you may need so you don’t get surprises.
Best time to book a senior cruise
The best time to book a senior cruise will vary depending on what you are looking for and how important it is to you. For example, if you have your eye on a specific cruise with all the bells and whistles you want, it’s best to book it early to lock in your trip. Booking early has the added value of giving you more selections and may offer special deals or perks for early bookers.
If you are looking for a senior discount cruise, some cruise lines offer specific deals for those aged 55+. You may need to call to see if this is an option. For instance, Carnival offers these discounts for seniors, but they may be specific to the time or location of the cruise. Celebrity Cruise also offers discounts, but you must be eligible for the offer, which can be researched online.
How to find the best cruise for less
There are a few other ways to look for affordable cruise options as a senior citizen. Make sure to look for the cruise line’s senior citizen discount (if there is one) and keep your eye out for sales. If you have an AARP membership, you will likely be eligible for other deals and discounts, including a reducing deposit on other visitors. You can also use the AARP discounts for things you may need related to your cruises, such as any flights or additional lodging.
If you notice that the cruise price has decreased after you have booked it, contact whomever you purchased to see if you can get a price credit. This may vary by cruise line but can save you money if successful. You can also save money by booking at a group rate. If you choose to be a ‘group leader,’ you can determine where savings can go, such as amenities or cocktail parties.
Whether this is your first time on a senior citizen cruise or you are a veteran cruiser, saving money on your trip is always worth researching! Use travel agents and online resources to compare cruise lines and keep an eye out for deals. Traveling the world doesn’t need to break the bank with a bit of patience and vigilance
Resources: How to Find Cheap Senior Citizen Cruise Deals (cruisecritic.com) Freestyle Cruising | Cruise Activities (ncl.com) The Healthy Sail Center | Healthy & Safe Cruises | Royal Caribbean Cruises Best Cruise Lines in 2022 | Best Cruises for Seniors (theseniorlist.com) Why Choose Celebrity For Your Next Vacation | Celebrity Cruises