Let’s Get Away: The Top Cruises for a Much-Needed Summer Trip

When it comes to cruising, either you love it or you don’t. For most Black travelers, booking a sailing is the easiest way to get more bang for your buck. Not only are your meals included—and often unlimited and available all day—but you are usually able to check off multiple countries or cities within your voyage. Not to mention, it’s an easy way to get the entire family traveling or even those friends who haven’t secured their passport yet, as the average cruise brand allows you to travel with your birth certificate and state issued ID in lieu of a passport if needed.

Now, as an avid traveler and someone who has essentially experienced all of the major cruise players, I think I am at liberty to say that not all cruise lines are created equal. Of course, there are many factors that account for what truly make a cruise top notch. Things like: the quality of the food and drinks, the variety of on-board activities, types of shows and nightly entertainment, the layout of the staterooms and the ports that the ship will ultimately stop in.

As summer heats up, we’re all looking to escape, even if for a weekend. So whether you’re looking for an idea for the next family trip or you and your crew just want to turn up together, I’ve got you covered. From the best option for adults-only groups to the perfect family-friendly sailing, here are some of the best cruises to book for your upcoming getaway.

For the adults-only

Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady. Image: Courtesy of Virgin Voyages.

Virgin Voyages has consistently been a top option for young, Black travelers, especially in large part to its no-kids policy. A certified adults-only cruise line, they have introduced several ships into the market—the Scarlet Lady, the Valiant Lady, the Resilient Lady and the Brilliant Lady. With stops in hotspots like Ibiza, Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Puerto Plata, Mykonos, Santorini and of course, its private island in Bimini, Bahamas—you’re able to cross off some dope places from your travel bucket list in one go.

Popular podcaster, Hey Fran Hey of The Friend Zone, shared her experience during a recent episode. “Man, the food was so good. I can’t get over the food,” she told her co-hosts. “The people that worked on the ship were so genuinely happy. Which to me, made the dynamic of the ship fun.”

The ships are all state-of-the art and yes, the details matter. They’ve ditched the standard buffets and replaced them with gourmet sit down restaurants that are included as a part of your booking. Additionally, there’s always plenty of entertainment, pool parties and so much more. Did I mention that kids aren’t invited?

For those that like to ‘go big or go home’

Royal Caribbean’s “Icon of the Seas.” Image: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

Longtime cruise line, Royal Caribbean, has been known for it’s over-the-top, larger-than-life ships. I mean, massive. On January 24, 2024, the company officially launched the world’s largest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas. With a maximum capacity of 7,600 passengers, you have the option to bring the entire family and then some.

Sailing to places like St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Plata and more, you’re sure to get your money’s worth. On Instagram, Valerie Smith (@Valerie.smith10) shared, “this was definitely my favorite cruise experience so far. Despite the number of people on board, it didn’t feel crowded. The bars and hangout areas were unreal and top notch.”

Highlights on-board include: the world’s largest waterpark at sea—which your children will thank you for, more than a dozen options for adult nightlife and entertainment, the first-ever infinity pool of its kind, a full-length athletic court and tons of dining and shopping.

For the entire family

The Disney Wish. Image: Steven Diaz.

The “most magical place on Earth” took that same appeal and sprinkled it into several ships. While the average person may turn away at the thought of Disney Cruise Line only appealing to families with young children, let me be the first to tell you not to judge a book by its cover. To-date, I’ve had the privilege of sailing on two of the brand’s ships, The Disney Magic and The Disney Wish. Both times I went with my best friend, and we didn’t bring any children. And yes, we had a ball.

The Disney Wish is still technically the newest in the fleet—they will soon launch The Disney Treasure in late 2024 and The Disney Adventure out of Asia in 2025–and young, single travelers are booking it in hopes of reconnecting with their inner child.

“Y’all, I really just booked a Disney Cruise for myself,” social media influencer Latrice James (@piecesofposh) wrote.

What many find surprising are the number of adult escapes on-board. From the HyperSpace cocktail lounge to the 18-and-up pool area, you can certainly still enjoy your trip if you don’t have kids. But, if you do, this will certainly be a family trip that your kids will thank you for, for years to come. Trust me!

Updated: July 1, 2024 — 12:03 pm