Cruise Age Requirements

By ,   November 23, 2015 ,   Tips & Tricks
Is there an age requirement to go on a cruise? Review the cruise age requirements (policy) of the world's best cruise ship lines. Read through the most wanted info about the Carnival cruise age limit of the cheapest line, and the Disney cruise age limit of the best kids line.
The different lines' age requirements determine diverse answers to the question about the age to go on a cruise. All the best passenger ship travel lines and operators are more than happy to welcome aboard as many guests as possible. However, most of them have imposed certain requirements and/or restrictions regarding the cruise age limit, infants and pregnant women.

Is there an age limit to go on a cruise?

cruise lines age requirements policies - CruiseMapper
Most lines aren't equipped to handle with very young infants and require kids to be at least 6 months of age to cruise. There are itineraries requiring kids to be at least 12 months. Most onboard kids' clubs do not accept those under two years of age, although babysitting may be offered for a fee.
For example, although most of the lines are children-friendly, families booking two or more cabins will find minimum age requirements for kids staying in a separate cabin. If your family is large for sharing a single cabin, you may be glad to put the children together without an adult. It's allowed officially in connecting cabins, which have a door between, on some lines and itineraries. Few lines permit kids to occupy a cabin across the hall from parents or adjoining cabin with no connecting door.
Cruising alone is another question that has to be answered before embarkation. All mass market lines require passengers to be at least 21 to travel without adult supervision. There are even lines like Costa Cruises which, on some itineraries, require adult supervision for cruisers under the age of 25. Exceptions are made only for married couples and same-sex domestic partnerships (on some lines). All passengers under the age of 18 who aren't sailing with both parents have to carry written permission from the absent parent. This document is required to be notarized by some lines, while others don't require so.
Usually the guests who are under 12 years of age aren't permitted in ships' Spa and Fitness centers. Those between the ages 12-16 have to be accompanied by an adult. These fitness age requirements seem quite reasonable as the machines are made for people of 'adult' size and physical maturity. If you put a kid on, the proportions won't fit right, so injuries can easily occur.
How much is it to go on a cruise, best places to go, what is the best cruise to go on, how to get the best prices. All these most important questions should be rated second - right after the one about the cruise age restrictions. Simply because you may not be able to go cruising at all!

Cruise age requirements on major cruise lines

  • At least 1 person per cabin is 18+: Cruise West, Cunard, Fred. Olsen, SeaDream, Star Clippers
  • All passengers in the cabin are 18+: GAP Adventures, P&O, Paul Gauguin, Silversea, Uniworld, Viking
  • At least 1 person per cabin is 21+ : Azamara, Celebrity, Costa, Crystal, Disney, Hurtigruten, MSC, NCL, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Voyages of Discovery
  • At least 1 person per cabin is 25+: Carnival, Costa (on holiday sailings, and in top season), Holland America, Windstar. Exceptions for underage married couples, both 18+; a copy of the marriage certificate is required.

Cruise drinking age requirements

Once you have left port, there is a minimum age for consumption of alcohol, varying by cruise line.

  • The official drinking age on all mass market lines is 21. However, some cruise lines recognize much lower drinking ages in certain ports.
  • Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Croisières de France, Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, Oceania, Pullmantur and P&O Cruises allow all guests aged 18 or older to consume alcoholic beverages of any type they choose.
  • 21 is the minimum drinking age for alcoholic beverages on Celebrity, Azamara and Royal Caribbean ships. However, on cruises which depart from South American and European countries, where legal drinking age is lower than 21, the parent who's sailing with his/her son/daughter between the ages 18-20, may sign a waiver to allow them consume alcoholic beverages.
  • MSC Cruises and Costa require their guests to be at least 21 on cruises departing from US. Passengers 18 or older can consume alcohol on non-US departures.
  • Cunard Line allows passengers 18 or older to consume alcoholic beverages, with the exception when in US waters - then no alcohol may be consumed or purchased by any passenger under the age of 21.
  • All lines reserve the right to throw out, at their own expense, underage drinkers (as well as their families) at the next port.
  • Guests aged 18 or over are allowed in all lounges, nightclubs and discos, even if the cruise line doesn't permit them to drink.

Gambling age limit on cruises

Medium and large passenger ships, as well as some of the smaller top luxury vessels, have an on-board casino. The age restrictions again differ, according to the particular line, and sometimes - to the itinerary, too.

18 is the minimum age requirement for gambling on most cruise ships. However, some lines require passengers to be 21, while other require this only on itineraries that are within the US, such as Hawaii and Alaska. The Alaskan itineraries, for instance, have different age restrictions for gambling on board the vessels of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean - the minimum age is 21.

The minimum age for gambling is strictly enforced and if someone is underaged but happens to win, no payout is given.

  • PASSENGERS 18+: Carnival, Celebrity, Fred. Olsen, Holland America, NCL, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, SeaDream
  • PASSENGERS 21+: Princess, Crystal, Cunard Line, MSC, Seabourn, Silversea, Voyages of Discovery, Windstar
  • PASSENGERS 25+: Costa.

Pregnant women and infants on cruises

A ship vacation offers many activities and amenities at numerous on-board venues and facilities. However, due to the high cost of the ship's space, the vessels don't have big medical facilities. All lines require pregnant women to provide a letter by their physicians, assuring of their fitness to sail, plus the expected date of the birth. For infants, the minimum age requirements vary by line, and again - sometimes by the itinerary itself.

Following is a list of major cruise companies, and their requirements to the expectant mothers, and parents traveling with infants:

Note: all requirements are for both sea and land tours; the pregnancy period pertains to the date of disembarkation, for infants - to the embarkation date; exceptions include the longer and exotic itineraries, like Transoceanic, Hawaii, South America, World Voyages, etc.

Cruise Lines max weeks of pregnancy min age for infants(in months) exceptions (in months)
Carnival 24 6 - 12 -
Celerity 23 6 - 12 -
Costa 24 6 - 12 -
Crystal 24 6 the right to limit children 3- y.o.
Cunard 24 6 - 12 -
Disney 23 12 -
Holland America 23 6 -
Hurtigruten none none -
MSC 27 none -
NCL Norwegian 24 6 -
Oceania 24 6 no onboard infant facilities
P&O 24 12 -
Princess 24 6 - 12 -
RSSC Regent 24 12 -
Royal Caribbean 23 6 - 12 -
Seabourn 24 6 - 12 -
SeaDream 24 12 -
Silversea 24 6 the right to limit children 3- y.o.
Star Clippers 27 24 the right to refuse passage to pregnant women
Uniworld 24 6 the right to limit children 3- y.o.
Viking none 12 -
Windstar 24 24 -