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Planning Retirement Online

Best British Cruise lines
for the over 60s


Cruising! There is little wonder it is so popular with our age group, there are cruises for everyone everywhere and it is such a wonderful way to holiday and relax.

Today the choice of fabulous cruises is almost overwhelming. But there are also reports of problems; from ships not being ready to dreaded medical problems such as norovirus.

So it is good to know about a great site called Cruise Critic which gives lots of information about various cruises including updates and last minute deals.

The site is packed with information including choosing cruises by destinations and themes, the best time to cruise, details of river cruising, life on board and a host of other features to ensure you can make an informed choice and know what to expect.

The following 10 cruise operators have been highlighted as being particularly suitable and enjoyable for our age group when we might not be so keen on tackling a climbing wall or surf pool and instead might prefer a slightly quieter ambience. But any holiday afloat is fun, no wonder cruising is simply becoming more and more popular.

Swan Hellenic

Small boats are so popular with our age group, and on Swan Hellenic’s Minerva you will be joined by a maximum of 350 passengers. The ship has been described as offering the comfort of a lovely country house, but in fact with its spacious lounges, impressive library, comfortable bars and elegant accommodation, it is a lot more than that. 
Many of its cruises are based around interesting specialist excursions and knowledgeable onboard lecturers and interesting specialist excursions and carefully selected, renowned guest speakers. Engaging and approachable, they will deliver lively talks that bring to life the fascinating history and remarkable stories that lie at the heart of each destination.

Along with fly-cruises, they also offer many cruises out of Portsmouth, making it easier for passengers to reach the ship without having to fly.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred Olsen has a reputation as a leading cruise operator for the over 60s and it is easy to see why. Their ships and smaller than many of the big cruise liners; they offer single cabins and even dance hosts in the evening, ensuring every guest feels comfortable and welcomed on board. 

Their ships include the Braemar, the Black Watch, the Balmoral and the Boudicca which was refitted in January 2011 and they often include special themed cruises around subjects such as gardens, antiques, Christmas markets or music as well. They also have a long association with Ramblers offering walk and cruise voyages.

Fred Olsen Cruises also cruise from a number of ports around the UK including Southampton, Liverpool, Harwich, Glasgow and Falmouth and their cruises visit a wide range of great destinations including the Arctic and the Amazon.

The Boudicca

Noble Caledonia

A favourite with the senior market, you are definitely spoilt for choice with Noble Caledonia. It is one of the world’s leading small ship cruising experts and offers a wide range of luxury vessels and a huge selection of cruises including ocean and sea cruises.

It doesn’t own all the ships included in its programme, but every aspect of every cruise is carefully organized and controlled to ensure all guests have a wonderful trip in extremely comfortable surroundings. The range of destinations is impressive, from the Arctic to the Galapagos to Papua New Guinea, and on board will be a team of expedition leaders knowledgeable about the region and local customs to offer the best possible experiences. 

Don’t look for a nonstop entertainment programme or night clubs on these cruises, although there can be a pianist in the bar in the evenings, but most passengers are tired after a full day and wanting to get some rest before the following day’s excursions and fun. 

Saga Cruises 

Saga is definitely for our generation, you can’t book unless you are over 50! Although if you have a younger partner or companion, that will be allowed..but generally Saga Cruises don’t feature young families or indeed younger groups at all. Instead, they go all out to cater for our age group and that included lots of single cabins; one of their boats, the Saga Pearl II, has 60 single cabins, nearly a quarter of their total rooms.  Saga Cruises also offer a trademark delicious afternoon tea plus has a reputation for very high food standards.

Saga is also famous for its door to door chauffeur service; they will collect you as long as you live on mainland UK within 250 miles of the port and transport you to the terminal entrance; and then meet you on your return to take you back home.

Its two ships, the Saga Pearl II and the Saga Sapphire, both undertake specialist cruises through out the year, including some more unusual and exotic routes as well as traditional favourites at really affordable prices.   Attention to detail is very good and Saga even include gratuities in the price, so costs are clear and there is no end of cruise worry about who you should tip.

Voyages of Discovery

Again small is good here….their small ship Voyager  is the most popular with our age group and offers real comfort and great facilities but there are only 540 passengers, so the size is now overwhelming like some of the giant cruise liners.

But while the Voyager may be small, its facilities include two restaurants, four bars, a library, a fitness centre with lido pool, hot tubs, gum and a sauna. There is always lots happening on board from watercolour workshops to exercise classes and cookery demonstrations and everything is included in the cruise price.

On some cruises, experts come on board to share their knowledge and experience in specific regions, and the destinations have been carefully selected to be memorable. With a smaller ship, the Voyager can visit not only key ports but also off the beaten tracks from Komoko in Indonesia to  Tallinn in Estonia.


Most of us will have heard of the Cunard line, after it all it goes back to 1840. When its famous Queen Mary took the coveted Blue Riband for speeding across the Atlantic soon after its launch in 1936, the Cunard Line confirmed its fame and its place in the history books.

Today it has evolved into a thoroughly modern cruise operator and its new ships, the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth all offer the same traditions of luxury and service.  They also carry that traditional air of formality including a dress code and formal evenings; in fact there is definitely an emphasis on elegance with string quartets and white gloved waiters at tea-time.

As you would expect with a major cruise line, they offer a huge variety of cruises, destinations and themes throughout the year plus of course, you can still cross the Atlantic in traditional luxury.


Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Cruise and Maritime is a great choice for people who are looking for a traditional leisurely style cruise at an affordable price and their cruises are very popular with the mature age group.  Their ships are smaller to mid sized and guests are generally British. Their prices include the traditional format of cruises such as fixed two-sitting dining, afternoon teas and late night snacks, a Captain’s Cocktail Party, big show entertainment including cabarets; a range of daytime activities and leisure facilities and a range of guest speakers. There is opportunity to meet like minded passengers through bridge, cards, backgammon, chess and other arranged games.

Cruise and Maritime offer a big choice of excursions at most ports and sterling is the onboard currency making it easier for guests. They sail from eight ports around the UK again saving any airport hassle.


Hebridean Island Cruises

This is a very British operator specializing in Northern European waters, mainly around Scotland. They ave one luxury small ship, the Hebridean Princess…and Her Majesty the Queen celebrated her 80 th birthday on the ship making it very exclusive indeed!
Lots of scenery and luxurious accommodation are key in the cruise, together with informal talks, lectures and social mingling. Dinner is served in one sitting, and evenings are filled with piano music, poetry readings and whisky-tasting. 
Everything is included in the price, from excursions to tips. 

Their specialist cruises include visits to places such as St Kilda, where zodiac expeditions are offered to try and land on this scenic Scottish outpost.

Royal Crown

This is a one off cruise ship that is ideal for the mature market who are looking for something seriously special. Associated with the Hebridean Island Cruise company, the Royal Crown carries just 90 passengers and incorporates mahogany furniture, arched picture windows and a host of extras to ensure all the guests feel they are somewhere very special indeed.       

It’s main cruises are on European rivers, and along with all the extras you would expect on board…evening dinner is a full service, banquet-style five course…the ship also specializes in lavish bespoke excursions such as champagne lunches in the French countryside and exclusive tours of the Viennese Opera House.

Voyages to Antiquity

This individual cruise company says its MV Aegean Odyssey Cruise Ship is classically elegant but far from stuffy and formal. The idea is to offer passengers every comfort at sea but in a relaxed, congenial atmosphere.  

As its name implies, the itinerary is geared towards history and culture, exploring the wonders of the eastern and western Mediterranean as well as nearer around France, Iceland and indeed the UK. They also do special visits to the Far East.

Voyages to Antiquity is extremely popular and guests arrive from as far away as America to enjoy on board life but particularly the guest lectures and excursions.  Cruises aren’t cheap, but when you take in the highly qualified and expert lecturers and the guidance and information given on each cruise, it becomes good value, especially when most days include a visit or tour to a place of real interest.

Finally, it is well worth knowing about an excellent website called Cruise Critic.


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