The number of cruise passengers has been increasing annually, and was projected to reach 27.2 million in 2018, about 10 million more than a decade ago. With more than 440 ships in operation, 50 cruise lines, and a dozen or more vessels debuting every year, choosing the best voyage can be a challenge.
This, however, doesn’t seem to deter people. Demand increased by more than a fifth between 2011 and 2016. One of the emerging groups of cruisers is the so-called “skip-gen.” These are grandparents traveling with children, without the parents. Adult-only cruises are also on the rise.
The cruise industry has realized that the clientele is changing and is looking for more than endless pool parties and Broadway-like shows. Some passengers, especially the older ones, want more stimulating entertainment. As a result, many cruise lines have partnered with organizations to create enrichment programs. The so-called “edutainment” is now a common onboard offering.
Interactive workshops, cooking classes, photography classes, language classes, stargazing seminars, stress management, and even art auctions — these are just some of the most common features of enrichment programs.
To determine the cruises with the best entertainment options for seniors, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed several independent review sites focusing on senior and/or cruise travel. The cruise lines that were most frequently mentioned as offering large enrichment programs were cross-referenced against independent travel review sites such as Yelp, CruiseCritic, U.S. News and World Report, Cruiseline, and Consumer Affairs. The ships with the highest number of reviews, and the excellent and very good ones, were selected and listed in no particular order.