I can already hear the wise guys saying “you have to be at least 65″ but times have changed and the average age of cruisers has steadily declined over the past twenty years or so. In fact its even becoming quite a popular spring break and graduation vacation for college kids.
From this new found love of cruising comes the popular “how old do you have to be to cruise” question. After a little investigative research (I went to the cruise line FAQ sections) I’ve found that most lines including Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, NCL and even Disney are fairly consistent in that you must be 21 to book a cabin without a parent or guardian.
Where they differ is in how old you have to be to stay in your own cabin if you are sailing with a parent or guardian. NCL requires those under 21 to be in an adjoining cabin while Carnival has a tiered systems that allow you to be three cabins away for some age groups and down the hall for others.
For those Spring Breakers looking to go on one of the Fun Ships, Carnival allows a person over the age of 25 to act as guardian for those under 21 as long as they are in the same stateroom. So the Panama City trick of having one 25 year old get a room for a group of 30 isn’t going to work here.
Disney cruise lines actually seems to be less strict for guardian age. The guardian only has to be 21. However, I don’t recommend going this route for a party cruise. I’m guessing Disney doesn’t approve of drunk spring breakers streaking the lido deck in front of a bunch of Mickey Mouse loving 8 yr olds.
All cruise lines do have exceptions for married couples under the age of 21. You will need to show proof of marriage two weeks before sailing. Check out the cruise line websites for where to send your documentation.