Cruises offer single travelers in their 40s and 50s a comfortable launch pad for their global adventures. They can be great vehicles for meeting people and exploring in a group, while providing a safe base that's less isolated than other forms of travel.
Single travelers over 40 are often looking for ways to meaningfully connect with other travelers on a cruise, without the "meat market" or party cruise atmosphere. They also might be seeking trips that they can arrange around their work vacation schedule and itineraries that offer a good value. (Solo travelers frequently face the dreaded single supplement that tacks on a hefty fee to the cost of a vacation.)
The solution? Consider a cruise that meets the needs of singles over 40, whether it's a small river cruise company, a major line that sails the globe or a theme cruise specifically devoted to singles. Many offer adventures with learning components, laid-back bars ideal for chatting over a cocktail, group social activities and discounts for solo cruisers, making them a great choice for the traveler without a plus-one.
If a cruise is your preferred getaway, here are the best cruises for singles over 40.
Norwegian Cruise Line was the first major cruise company to solve the "single supplement" dilemma by creating staterooms, called Studios, especially for single cruisers who don't want to buddy up with someone else. The chic, 100-foot (or smaller) Studios are available on Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Epic and Pride of America. Single travelers sailing in Studios also have access to an exclusive Studio Lounge, with space to enjoy a drink and snack and meet other traveling singles. Finally, some itineraries are as short as five days, which make the cruises ideal for working professionals.
Solo travelers can make friends and listen to live music at specialty bars like Skyy Vodka Ice Bar, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and Norman's Pour House. For those not traveling as a family, Norwegian ships offer several adults-only spaces, in addition to the H2Glow dance parties for late-night revelry outside on the deck.
Luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas puts an emphasis on creating a community environment for solo travelers, with a designated social host aboard every ship to help plan activities for singles, whether it's group dinners, excursions or informal cocktail gatherings. Solo cruisers in their 40s and 50s should seek out weeklong sailings for a younger demographic onboard.
The cruise line also offers a discount of 25 to 75 percent off the single supplement on select voyages. Cruise prices are some of the highest in the industry, but they include Wi-Fi access, specialty restaurants, alcohol, shore excursions and gratuities.
Holland America offers a Solo Travelers party early on in every cruise, in addition to more than 40 other activities that allow singles to meet each other over cocktails and games, team trivia, lectures, line dancing and more. Travelers in their 40s and 50s might want to steer toward weeklong itineraries in the Caribbean during winter, when they'll be more likely to encounter younger travelers (rather than retirees).
Enjoy the line's commitment to live music by dancing the night away at B.B. King's Blues Club or Billboard Onboard, learn new cooking techniques with America's Test Kitchen demonstrations or do some Oprah-sanctioned yoga or book clubbing with O, The Oprah Magazine-branded activities. The newest ship, Nieuw Statendam, offers a Rolling Stone Rock Room, in collaboration with Rolling Stone magazine, to serve up rock music in a laid-back environment.
The line also tries to seat all single passengers at tables together during meals. There are designated 127- to 172-square foot solo cabins available on Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam. If you would like a roommate, the cruise line will pair you with a same-sex roommate so you can avoid the single supplement.
Single travelers like the intimate environment onboard AmaWaterways' river ships because it fosters getting to know other travelers. Plus, a high level of service makes everyone feel pampered. This river cruise line offers a variety of voyages in Europe, Asia and Africa throughout the year that include the cost of shore excursions, some alcoholic beverages and specialty dining.
Ships carry onboard rental bikes that you can use for free to explore picturesque European cities, while onboard Wellness Hosts lead yoga classes and resistance band workouts onboard. Travelers in their 40s, 50s and 60s flock to the line's biking-, hiking- and walking-themed cruises in partnership with Backroads and wine-themed cruises to the wine-growing regions of Europe.
This cruise company's clientele skews toward the over 40 crowd, and about 25 to 30 percent of travelers are solo on its small-ship expeditions to fascinating destinations like Greenland's fjords and the Northwest Passage. Special guests onboard, including scholars, authors and scientists, help enhance the journey.
Adventure Canada received a 2018 World Nomads Solo Traveler award and works hard to make solo travelers feel welcome with communal dining options, a solo traveler mingle event at the beginning of the trip and an email-sharing program for people who are interested in staying in touch after the cruise. Additionally, there is no single supplement on a limited number of cabins that are dedicated just for solo travelers. (Book early to snag one.)
Hoping to connect with friends or meet your prospective match on the high seas? Theme cruises can be a great choice to help you explore the world along with like-minded people who share the same interests or lifestyle. There are dozens of cruises dedicated to fans of specific bands or musical genres, TV shows, beer, running, ghost hunting and more.
For a general singles cruise option, look for a hosted cruise led by a tour company. Vacations To Go offers a variety of itineraries throughout the year for the 40-and-up crowd. Check other tour operators such as Singles Cruise, G Adventures, Peregrine Adventures or smarTours (which offers women-only cruises) for additional options.
There are a variety of LBGTQ-friendly cruise options, as well, with Atlantis being perhaps the most known.
Finally, if you're interested in sailing on the wild side, Temptation Cruises will host its inaugural chartered voyage in 2020 -- an adults-only sailing for the sexually adventurous crowd, which is open to singles as well as couples.