Choosing a honeymoon cruise is its own kind of science. You want an itinerary that’s high on romance and low on distractions — including tantrum-throwing toddlers, rowdy singles, and staid seniors. But figuring out which cruise will offer the right romantic atmosphere for your much-anticipated celebration can be difficult. Here, what to look for as you search for your dream trip:
Some locales just scream romance, and by that quality alone tend to lure more couples than large families or rowdy groups.
Perfect Example: Paul Gauguin Cruises’ 332-passenger m/s Paul Gauguin, which sails seven-night French Polynesian cruises out of Bora Bora, is akin to a floating boutique hotel, with luxe staterooms, open-seat dining, and a water-sports deck.
Smaller ships can be harder to navigate onboard, and thus tend to bring in younger, more active guests. They also give you access to quieter, less-traveled ports, visiting harbors too shallow for the mega ships.
Perfect Example: Star Clipper, a 170-passenger luxury sailing ship from Star Clippers Cruises, spends summers sailing the Greek islands — expect alfresco cocktails by the pool and romantic evenings on deck, under wind-filled sails.
Summer wedding season aligns with something else: summer vacation. Delaying your honeymoon until autumn, when kids are back in school, gives you the same sights, beautiful weather, and savings as well.
Perfect Example: MSC Cruises’ 3,274-passenger MSC Splendida does seven-night, round-trip itineraries from Naples, with stops in Sicily, Tunisia, Marseilles, and Genoa. Upgrade to the Yacht Club — a concierge floor — and you’ll get butler service and access to a private deck.
Nothing bonds a couple together like sharing new experiences, and (bonus!) far-flung locales tend to attract more active guests, too.
Perfect Example: Celebrity Cruises’ 98-passenger Celebrity Xpedition offers seven-night itineraries that pair days spent ogling sea lions, tortoises, and blue-footed boobys with creature comforts such as cushy staterooms and a sun deck with a hot tub.
Larger, family-friendly ships are upping the romance factor with adult-only offerings, from kid-free pools and spas to private dining experiences in unexpected areas.
Perfect Example: Princess Cruises’ 2,600-passenger Star Princess, which sails 15-day Hawaiian cruises from the West Coast, lives up to its “Love Boat” rep with the adult-only Sanctuary sun deck, complete with cabanas and attendants offering Evian spritzes.
Many longer cruises are aimed at people who have the time to travel, aka retirees. So cruise lines are targeting millennials with shorter trips, designed for people with limited vacation days that they need to spend carefully — sound familiar?
Perfect Example: Carnival Cruise Lines’ five-day Western Caribbean sailings from New Orleans on Carnival Elation call in Yucatan and Cozumel. Two full days at sea give you plenty of time to hit the water slide, play mini-golf, and soak up sun in the adult-only Serenity retreat. Use any extra days for a pre- or post-stay in New Orleans, one of America’s most romantic cities.