Nothing against our friends getting married and popping out babies -- respect -- but we feel like we have to take care of some unfinished business. We're not talking about going on a booze cruise and unabashedly "Tindering" our way through the ship. We just want to set sail with our closest wingwoman or wingman, expand our dating horizons and toast to our perishable freedom. OK, maybe we're not opposed to an innocent fling.
If your idea of commitment is getting your flirt on abroad (while knocking some fun adventures off your list), here are the best cruises for singles in their 20s.
Photo: Sebastian Siebert/Shutterstock.com
Idea of fun: Drinking by the pool all day, and dancing the night away
One of the beauties of being in your 20s is you can still get away with partying like you're on spring break -- even if your college days are long gone. Short cruises on Carnival and Norwegian ships make it easy to let loose with other young singles thanks to the ships' carefree vibes and affordable prices (especially on Caribbean and Mexican Riviera itineraries). It only takes one pina colada to get the guts to ask that cute guy or girl at the pool bar if he/she wants to go dancing that night. Three to five days not long enough? Weeklong cruises on Carnival and Norwegian, as well as MSC Divina, are just as much fun -- and still budget-friendly.
Photo: Carnival Cruise Line
Idea of fun: Having fun in the sun, and staying active around the clock
Budget: $ - $$$
Soulmate: Royal Caribbean cruises in the Caribbean
Royal Caribbean cruises to the Caribbean are playgrounds for active singles who get their fair share of exercise during the day, then rejuvenate over casual drinks by night. Nothing breaks the ice more than seeing that cutie you made eye contact with earlier face-plant on the FlowRider surf simulator. Or impress him or her with your prowess on the rock climbing wall, the basketball court, the treadmill or in a yoga class. Royal Caribbean's widest variety of nightlife can be found on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas or Harmony of the Seas. Although Royal Caribbean isn't big on nightclubs, these three ships up the ante with a sexy, South Beach-style "pop up" venue that takes over the Solarium once per cruise.
Photo: Cruise Critic
Idea of fun: Mixology classes or a wine tasting, followed by dinner and a movie
Budget: $$ - $$$
Soulmate: Celebrity cruises
If you consider your taste to be sophisticated, yet you don't want to sacrifice all the fun and activities that come with a big ship, consider a Caribbean cruise with Celebrity. The line touts itself as "modern luxury," and with that comes top-notch restaurants and bars, fun activities like cooking and martini-making classes, and chic features that range from a backyard-style sun deck for picnics and live music to a cozy outdoor movie theater. Talk about a recipe for romance. While you're bound to strike up conversations over activities, we suggest bringing your best pickup lines to the dance parties held at night on the pool deck.
Photo: Celebrity Cruises
Idea of fun: Relishing your inner fan-child with like-minded people
Budget: $$ - $$$
Soulmate: Theme cruises
Are you a die-hard fan of "The Walking Dead" or country music? Theme cruises are a perfect opportunity to meet and mingle with like-minded people. Some themed sailings might offer up a chance to schmooze with your favorite TV or movie stars, while others are merely concerts at sea. If your biological clock is ticking up a storm, consider a dedicated singles cruise. Basically Match.com on a cruise ship, these special interest sailings cater to people who are serious about dating and looking for love.
Photo: Brittany Chrusciel, Associate Editor
Popular on Cruise Critic
We wish there were a magic elixir you could whip up to get a free or low-cost cabin upgrade on a cruise ship. We'd be chugging it all the time. But sorry -- no can do. Before you sit by the phone, waiting for the upgrade fairy to call, there are a few basic things to know about cruise ship cabin
The moment you step aboard a luxury cruise ship, a hostess is at your arm proffering a glass of bubbly while a capable room steward offers to heft your carry-on as he escorts you to what will be your home-away-from-home for the next few days. You stow your things (likely in a walk-in closet) and then emerge from your suite to get the lay of the ship. As you walk the decks, friendly crew members greet you ... by name. How can that be? You just set foot onboard! First-class, personalized service is just one of the hallmarks of luxury cruise lines. You can also expect exotic itineraries, varying degrees of inclusivity in pricing, fine wines and gourmet cuisine as well as universally high crew-to-passenger ratios. That being the case, you might think any old luxury cruise ship will do, but that's not quite true. Like people, cruise ships have their own unique personalities -- and some will be more suited to your vacation style than others. Lines like SeaDream might not offer the most spacious suites, but their intimate yachts can stealthily visit ports that large ships can't manage. Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises are owned by the same parent company but Regent offers a completely inclusive vacation experience, while Oceania draws travelers with a more independent streak. Take a look at Cruise Critic's list of best luxury cruise lines and ships to see which one resonates with you.
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. For example, fall foliage enthusiasts will find September and October the best time to cruise Canada/New England, whereas families prefer to sail in summer when temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.
Sorry, folks, but it's not 100-percent "anything goes" onboard. Whether it's a safety issue (think lighting fires), a privacy issue (no hanky panky on that balcony) or a consideration issue (please don't blare the TV at 2 a.m.), you'll want to curtail certain activities in your cabin -- or the crew may kindly, but sternly, ask that you do so. In case you're tempted, or simply don't know, here are 12 things we ask that you please not do.
Free. Money. Are there two more beautiful words in the English language? While money doesn't grow on trees, increasingly it can be found somewhere else -- on the high seas. Call it an incentive, call it a bonus; whatever you want to call it, onboard credit lets you spend more freely with less guilt. You've paid your cruise fare, and now you can splurge on those enticing extras -- Swedish massage, specialty restaurant, an excursion to snorkel among shipwrecks -- without busting your budget. Not many need convincing as to why onboard credit -- money automatically deposited into your onboard account-- rocks, but finding out exactly how to get it and where you can spend it is a bit trickier. We found eight ways to hit the OBC jackpot and offer even more suggestions on how to burn through it, although you probably have your own ideas already.