Best cruises for young adults looking for adventure in 2020

These cruise lines were made for 20-30-year-old millennials.

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Cruising has come a long way since the days when empty nesters and retirees filled the decks on long journeys across the ocean. These days you can find everything from themed cruises to off-the-beaten-track expeditions.

Cruises for 20-somethings are no exception. On top of featuring your standard cruise deck chairs, these also include activities such as clubbing, concerts and risque performances onboard, as well as hiking, kayaking and pub crawling onshore.

Want to cruise a party boat without the families and oldies? These are some of the best cruise lines for 20-30-year-olds that are geared more toward the younger crowd.

(Just looking for a bargain with one of the best cruises for young people? Skip right down to the deals)

Our favourite cruise lines for young adults

Couple dancing

1. P&O Cruises

P&O breaks up its cruises into six categories – Sea Australia, Sea Asia, Main Events, Islands, Sea Breaks and Explorer – to help you find that perfect sailing.

The secret to picking the young adult-skewed cruise is in the itinerary. You'll generally find young adult workers on shorter and more adventurous trips, so hit up the Main Events, Sea Breaks or Explorer cruises for sailors of similar ages.

  • Young adult activities: Adults-only comedy club, bars and nightclubs, casino and adults-only ocean bar.
  • Adults-only sundeck? Called The Oasis, this 18+ sundeck is a child-free area with a pool, hanging chairs and cushioned cabanas. It's available on the Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden.
Go to P&O Cruises website

Couple in a cruise veranda

2. Carnival Cruise Lines via Flight Centre

Carnival has developed a reputation for itself for being a "fun" cruise line with a lively feel at a good price.

Sure, there will be kids onboard as Carnival has one of the best activity playgrounds on the ocean, but if you don't want to join them on the rope walks and water slides, there are adults-only sunning areas to hide in.

  • Young adult activities: Clubs, bars, casinos and nightclubbing.
  • Adults-only sundeck? The adults-only sundeck Serenity can be found fleet-wide apart from on Carnival Conquest and Carnival Triumph. You need to be 18 years or older to access it on sailings from Australia. It features loungers, hammocks and umbrellas.
Go to Carnival Cruise Lines via Flight Centre website

People having drinks

3. Celebrity Cruises via Flight Centre

This premium cruise line has a premium lineup of activities to keep you relaxed and entertained throughout your sailing.

If you're the kind who'd rather unwind in the lap of luxury rather than stay up all night dancing under the stars, Celebrity Cruises will primp and prime you. Its Solstice Class is a more sophisticated ship that draws a good 20-30-something crowd.

  • Young adult activities: Spa, health and beauty seminars, fitness classes, martini bar, casino, partner dance classes, nightclub and mixology classes.
  • Adults-only sundeck? The Solarium is where to go to get away from the youngsters. It's the onboard adults-only pool area.
Go to Celebrity Cruises via Flight Centre website

Couple near the port

4. Contiki's sailing trips

Specialising in unforgettable journeys in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the USA and more for 18-35 year olds, Contiki's small-boat trips are not to be overlooked.

  • Young adult activities: Snorkelling, sailing, hiking and kayaking.
  • Adults-only sundeck? No. However, independent travellers must be at least 18 years.
Go to Contiki's sailing trips website

Norwegian cruise line

5. Norwegian Cruise Line via Flight Centre

When it comes to ideal entertainment for young adults, Norwegian Cruise Line is on point.

From music-themed cruises that feature chart-toppers to casinos on the ocean, your journey will fly by with all the activities this line has prepared for millennials. Those travelling on their own can even book a single room.

  • Young adult activities: Live music, casinos, clubs, bars, spa, White Hot Party and ice bars on some ships.
  • Adults-only sundeck? Norwegian Epic, Breakaway, Getaway and Escape all have adults-only sanctuaries that have hot tubs, loungers and a water feature. In the evenings on Epic, Breakaway and Getaway the area becomes an open-air nightclub.
Go to Norwegian Cruise Line via Flight Centre website

Dancing at RCL

6. Royal Caribbean via Flight Centre

Famed for owning the world's largest cruise ships, the party scene is hot on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Day or night you'll feel the buzz of excitement on your Royal Caribbean ship. The fleet features some of the most innovative activities on the ocean including a skydive simulator on the Quantum-class ships, the ice rinks on the Voyager-class.

  • Young adult activities: Rock climbing, casino, live music, skydive and surfing simulators, bars and clubbing.
  • Adults-only sundeck? The Solarium is Royal Caribbean's adults-only retreat and pool area. In the evenings it transforms into a fine dining destination. At certain hours, it may be used by under-16 year olds with parental supervision.
Go to Royal Caribbean via Flight Centre website

two people snorkelling

7. G Adventures' sailing trips

With tours for the budget conscious, G Adventures calls to like-minded and aged travellers from around the world with its marine adventures.

Naturally, the destinations this company cruises to are just as adventurous as the folk who embark on its ships. G Adventures' marine tours include sailings in the Galapagos Islands, Greek Isles, Cuban Coast, Antarctica and the Arctic.

  • Young adult activities: Snorkelling, sailing, hiking and kayaking.
  • Adults-only sundeck? No. However, independent travellers must be at least 18 years old. On non-family tours, children over 12 are permitted with an accompanying adult.
Go to G Adventures' sailing trips website]

A person with backpack sitting down and looking at a view

8. Topdeck's sailing trips

Catering to the 18-30s crowd, Topdeck knows how difficult it can be to budget for a life-changing adventure.

  • Young adult activities: Snorkelling, sailing, hiking and kayaking.
  • Adults-only sundeck? No. However, independent travellers must be at least 18 years.
Go to Topdeck's sailing trips website]

Piggy back ride

9. MSC Cruises

Cash in on your youth with MSC Cruises. It offers discounts for 18-29 year olds. No joke.

If you thought that your youth discounts stopped when you turned 18, think again. MSC Cruises encourages young passengers by offering them discounts per cabin for couples and groups. Better get the gang together.

  • Young adult activities: Bars, spa, fitness centre, shopping, live music and theatre shows.
  • Adults-only sundeck? Called the Top 18, this is located on the 18th deck of the Fantasia-class ships and features spa services, bar and relaxation pods.
Go to MSC Cruises via Flight Centre website

River

10. U River Cruises

A reimagined river cruise that is part boutique hotel, part private yacht and part local hotspot.

From international DJs to silent discos, mixology classes to farm-to-table cuisine and rooftop yoga on the sun deck, this is the one cruise line that is specifically tailored for millennial cruisers.

  • Young adult activities: Biking, canal cruises, hiking, rock climbing, wine tasting, street art walks, kayaking, bars and clubbing.
  • Adults-only sundeck? The Rooftop Lounge is an open-air hangout perfect to relax and take in the views during the day and the Ice Bar is where you'll head when it gets dark for all the night time action.
Go to U River Cruises website

Sunset with a ship

11. Travel Talk

Tailored for the 18-39 crew, small groups tours give you the experience of a lifetime without breaking the bank.

Experience the high seas on a modern pirate ship in Croatia or traditional Turkish gulet as you explore everything the region has to offer.

  • Young adult activities: Rafting, ziplining, hot-air ballooning, bars and onboard parties.
  • Adults-only sundeck? Most ships have at least two decks and a sundeck with sunbeds and chairs.
Go to Travel Talk website

Body of water

12. Intrepid's Sailing Trips (via TourRadar)

Set sail in Europe, the Caribbean or Asia where you can help navigate or sit back and relax.

Intrepid's unique small group tours means that you can make new friends as you explore the world by sea.

  • Young adult activities: Hiking, rowing, swimming and snorkelling.
  • Adults-only sundeck? No. However, independent travellers must be at least 18 and the minimum age is 15.
Go to Intrepid's Sailing Trips (via TourRadar) website

What to look for in a cruise for young adults

  • Unique bars and clubs on board that will keep you entertained throughout the cruise.
  • Activities to keep you moving during the day like rock climbing walls and surfing simulators.
  • Night-time fun like comedy shows, theatre performances, live music and themed events.
  • Adults-only spaces like casinos, sun-decks and relaxations areas.
  • Well-planned shore excursions to make the most of your days off the ship
  • Solo-friendly cabins so you can avoid the dreaded single supplement fee if you’re travelling on your own.

Top cruise deals from these lines

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Summer sale: Free WiFi + drinks + OBCs and reduced deposits

Available on select travel dates in 2020 with P&O Cruises, Princess Cruise and Carnival Cruises. Destinations include New Zealand, Solomon Sea Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Hokkaido and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

$1 deposit + bonus savings + OBC on cruises

Available on select travel dates with Carnival Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruise and Holland America Line. Destinations include Pacific, New Zealand, Mediterranean, Hong Kong and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

My Cruises My Cruises

$7,000 bonus value+ low deposit on Mediterranean cruise + flights

Sail date is on 21 March 2021 with Norwegian Cruise Line. Package includes economy flights to Dubai returning from Rome, 22 night cruise, onboard meals, activities and entertainment, and all port taxes and charges.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Mediterranean cruises from just $99 with MSC

Available March-May 2020 in Italy. Sample cruise is a 1-night sample sailing from Genoa. Also book 2-night cruises from $239, 3-night cruises from $339 and 5-night cruises from $694.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Up to $900 off cruises + $200 OBC with Carnival Cruises

Available on select travel dates in 2020 and 2021. Destinations include Pacific, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $900 off + 50% reduced deposits with Carnival Cruises

Available on select travel from 24 January 2020 - 30 June 2021. Destinations include New Caledonia, Fiji and Vanuatu. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Australia Day sale: Up to 40% off + up to US$550 OBC with Royal Caribbean

Available on select voyages in 2020 and 20201. Destinations include Asia, Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Europe and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Save up to $900 + 50% off deposit with Carnival cruises

Available on select cruises from 6 January 2020 - 30 June 2021. Destinations include Australia Pacific, New Zealand, and South Pacific. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

My Cruises My Cruises

Up to $6,000 bonus value

Available on select travel dates in 2020 with Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises. Destinations include Japan, Alaska, Europe, China, Africa and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

Summer sale: Free WiFi + drinks + OBCs and reduced deposits

Available on select travel dates in 2020 with P&O Cruises, Princess Cruise and Carnival Cruises. Destinations include New Zealand, Solomon Sea Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Hokkaido and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

My Cruises My Cruises

20 night cruise + flights + 2 bonus nights & $6000 bonus value

Sail date is on 1 March 2021 with Norwegian Cruise Line. Package includes accommodation, return economy flights, on board meals and more. Destination includes Africa, Mauritius & Seychelles.

Last verified

Deal ends

My Cruises My Cruises

$99 deposit + up to $8,000 bonus value

Available on select 2020 - 2021 voyages with Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Celebrity Cruises. Destinations include Hawaii, New Zealand, South Pacific, Caribbean, Europe and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 40% off + US$400 OBC with Royal Caribbean

Available on select voyages departing until 21 April 2020. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Alaska, Canada and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

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Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Up to 60% off 2nd guest + kids sail free with Royal Caribbean

Available for travel on February - December 2020. Package includes accommodation, onboard meals, port charges, kids club and more. T&Cs apply

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Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

11-night Europe cruises from US$599 + free drinks and WiFi @Sea on MSC

Available for travel from February - December 2020. Package include accommodation, onboard meals, entertainment and activities onboard and more. T&Cs apply

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Deal ends

My Cruises My Cruises

Up to $4,000 in free extras cruises + flights worldwide

Valid on select 2019 and 2020 dates with MSC, Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Cunard, P&O and more. Destinations include Vietnam, Philippines, England and Dubai. Inclusive of additional bonus nights, return flights, onboard meals and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

$1 deposit + bonus savings + OBC on cruises

Available on select travel dates with Carnival Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruise and Holland America Line. Destinations include Pacific, New Zealand, Mediterranean, Hong Kong and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

Nexus Holidays Nexus Holidays

16-day Canada and Alaska cruises + flights from $4,499

Valid for travel on select dates from May - August 2020 with Celebrity Solstice. Package includes airfare, cruise and hotel accommodation, transfers, onboard meals, tour guide and more. T&Cs apply.

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Destination International Destination International

10 nights South Pacific cruise from $999

Available sail date is 23 March 2020 with Royal Caribbean to New Caledonia and New Zealand. Package include cruise accommodation and on board meals.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to US$2,000 OBC with Norwegian Cruise Line

Available on select cruises departing from 15 April 2020 onward. Destinations include Caribbean, Asia, Pacific, North America, Hawaii and more. T&Cs apply.

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Nexus Holidays Nexus Holidays

Singapore & China 22-day cruise with tours and flights from $2,499

Departure date on 29 April 2020 with Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Sea. Package includes airfare, accommodation, meals, airport and hotel transfers, high-speed bullet train from Beijing to Suzhou and more.

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Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Free WiFi + drinks + 10% off excursions with MSC Cruises

Available on select 2020 travel dates. Destinations include Caribbean, Bahamas, Jamaica, Virgin Island, Mexico, Belize and more.

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Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

30% off + free WiFi, drinks, excursions, specialty dining

Available on select 2020 travel dates on Norwegian Cruise Line. Destinations include North America, Caribbean, Europe and more.

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My Cruises My Cruises

18-night Tahiti, Bora Bora & Hawaii cruises + flights from $3,990

Available for cruises on select dates in September 2020 with Celebrity cruises. Includes onboard meals, activities, flights from Sydney to Honolulu and more.

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My Cruises My Cruises

7-night Norwegian cruises + return flights in Hawaii from $3,990

Available for travel on select dates from April - November 2020. Includes accommodation Hawaiian Islands Earlybird, return flights to Honolulu, onboard meals and more.

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My Cruises My Cruises

Low deposit cruises from $99 worldwide

Available for travel on select dates on cruises like Norwegian, MSC, Princess, Cunard and more. Destinations include Africa, Alaska, Canada, London, Paris, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Morocco, Fiji and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 20% off Norwegian Cruise Line

Available on select voyages departing until 21 April 2020. Destinations include Mediterranean Sea, West Europe, Baltic Sea, Australia, Hawaii and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

10-night South Pacific and New Zealand cruise from $1,099

Cruise departs on 23 March 2020 with Royal Caribbean. Package includes accommodation, meals, up to $400 OBC and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to $200 off + free drinks + up to $600 OBC on Celebrity Cruises

Available on select Celebrity cruises of 4+ nights from 1 January 2020 onward. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Pacific, Asia and more T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

7-night Meditereanean cruise from $805

Departing on 1 November 2020 with MSC Grandiosa. Package includes meals, drinks, onboard entertainment and more. T&Cs apply.

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Flight Centre - Cruises Flight Centre - Cruises

7-night Caribbean and Mexico cruise from $855

Departing on 30 October 2020 with MSC Seaside. Package includes meals, drinks, onboard entertainment and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free drinks package with MSC cruises

Available for cruises from February – November 2020. Destinations include Copenhagen, Barcelona, Lisbon, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and more. T&Cs apply.

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Deal ends

MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Free drinks of up to $1,000 value on worldwide cruises

Valid for travel between January and April 2020. Destinations include the Caribbean, USA, Canada, Northern Europe, Mediterranean, Grand Voyages and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 46% off Celebrity cruises

Valid for travel on select 2020 dates. Destinations include Mediterranean Sea, Southern Europe, Pacific, Hawaii, Canada, USA East Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified


Feature image: P&O Cruises

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