Age is all about attitude and 'mature' cruisers today are just as likely to be hiking and kayaking as they are snoozing under a blanket on a steamer chair or playing cards. But older cruise passengers may nonetheless have different needs from millennials or young families. They may look for something more cultural, for example. They may prefer smaller, friendlier ships. Many welcome an adults-only environment, unless they're travelling as part of a multigenerational group. Good service is important and for some, a nod to tradition, like dressing for dinner, or the availability of ballroom dancing. Competitive prices for singles are important, as many mature cruisers travel solo, and as an extension of that, so are activities and social events for single travellers.
Mature cruisers have a lot to say about ship design, too. Not too big, not too confusing. Cabins that are properly lit (lighting was one of the biggest adjustments Saga Cruises recently made during the design of its new ship, Spirit of Discovery, following a series of customer focus groups). Sensible signage around the ship, lifts that don't take ages to arrive and menus printed in a typeface that's legible.
Itinerary also plays its part for the older cruiser. They may have been there, and done that, so destinations need to be new and exciting, or offer something more experiential ashore beyond the standard tours. Excursions need to be adjusted to a slower pace of walking for those with mobility issues. Also, ease of getting to the ship is important, whether it's joining a river cruise via Eurostar or the convenience of embarking in a U.K. port.
With all this in mind, here are our top picks for mature cruisers.