Age restrictions on cruising aren't much fun to talk about, but they're essential information for cruising families and young adults looking to sail on their own. Here are age policies from the major mainstream cruise lines in the U.S., U.K. and Australia -- including minimum age to cruise, rules for cruising alone, minimum age to leave the ship and shipboard venues with age restrictions. You can find drinking age restrictions in our story on cruise line alcohol policies and information about additional cruise lines in our story on luxury cruise line age policies.
A couple of notes before we begin:
While many lines have restrictions about kids and teens occupying a cabin by themselves, many cruise lines let you get around this by allowing you request additional sets of keys to cabins under the same reservation. You can then book one parent, or adult, in each cabin and then switch up who sleeps where once onboard. For connecting cabins with an interior door between the two rooms, you could do sleeping arrangements however you like without needing to change keys.
Children under 18 who are traveling out of the country accompanied by only one parent (or neither parent) may be required to obtain a notarized letter of consent signed by the parents who are not traveling. Rules vary by country and are worth investigating.