When you want a romantic cruise vacation — filled with sophisticated wine bars and adult-only spa havens — you’ll need to choose the right cruise line and vessel. Here are five great options, from intimate power yachts to entertainment-centric megaships:
The fact that this boutique cruise line doesn't even have a kids program tells you that its two elegant 686-passenger ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, are designed for couples, not families. With its country club ambience and emphasis on longer port calls and overnight stays, Azamara Club Cruises excels at allowing guests to experience a destination through art, culture, food, and wine — and even offers after-dark tours in ports such as Saint-Tropez and Rio de Janeiro.
Caveat: Bathrooms in standard staterooms are … compact.
You love a great glass of wine. He favors a perfectly chilled martini. Celebrity Cruises has you covered on its newest ships, where Cellar Masters (offering dozens of wines in small tastes) and the Martini Bar (where vodka-centric cocktails are served on an ice-topped bar) make for a spirited voyage. And with an onboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub facility, as well as AquaClass staterooms offering unlimited access to the thermal suite, sea day relaxation is definitely on the itinerary.
Caveat: Children are welcome onboard, so avoid summer and key holiday sailings.
Ship to Book: Pick one of the five Solstice-class ships (Eclipse, Equinox, Reflection, Silhouette and Solstice), which feature chic décor and private cabanas set on real grass.
It’s a safe bet that a small ship sailing the exotic islands of Tahiti and other remote South Pacific destinations should be pretty romantic. The m/s Paul Gauguin delivers, with recently renovated staterooms, French Polynesian fusion cuisine with a menu by a Michelin-starred chef, and an opportunity to enjoy the ultimate couple’s shore excursion: a night in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora.
Caveat: French Polynesia is pricey, so don't expect bargains.
Ship to Book: The intimate 332-passenger m/s Paul Gauguin sails from Papeete, Tahiti, almost year-round.
“The Love Boat” TV series may have ended its run three decades ago, but it lives on in spirit aboard Princess ships, where the nightly sail away is accompanied by the theme song tooted on the ship’s horn. Extend the theme yourselves by snuggling under a blanket watching Movies Under the Stars, ordering dinner delivery to your balcony, or indulging in a day at the cabana-lined, adult-only Sanctuary.
Caveat: Princess ships are not known for exciting nightlife.
It would be hard to design a ship more perfectly suited to couples than the three newest yachts of Seabourn. Each 450-passenger ship has spacious suite accommodations with sleek marble bathrooms (picture separate tubs and showers), a spa with a serene outdoor hot tub, excellent cuisine (including an innovative tasting menu at Restaurant 2), and all-inclusive pricing.
Caveat: Seabourn’s clientele tends to be a bit … mature.