Best Cruise Lines for Romance
What is it about sailing the high seas that inspires romance? That serene setting, for sure, but also those arresting views from your private bedroom or balcony, those extravagant meals, those indulgent spa treatments and those enchanting seaside strolls. Whatever the draw, these cruise lines ranked by U.S. News' Best Cruises team know how to set the mood for an amorous escape. Here are the most romantic cruises for couples.
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If you enjoy the caliber of luxury provided by big ships but with the small crowds and attentive service of smaller boats, Crystal might just fit the bill. You and your significant other can cozy up on deck as you sail to awe-inspiring destinations before stealing away to your sumptuous Penthouse Suite. Afterward, relax with a couples massage at the Crystal Spa or canoodle on the 360-degree Promenade Deck. When an intimate dinner for two is in order, you should choose to dine at one of the ship's specialty restaurants, Prego or Silk Road & The Sushi Bar.
Cunard offers an elegant experience geared toward sophisticated travelers ages 50 and older who crave personalized service and an upscale atmosphere. If you're sailing to celebrate an anniversary or other special occasion, consider springing for one of the Princess Grill or Queens Grill suites for a little more space to spread out and personalized concierge service in these select accommodations. Or, if you and your sweetheart fancy yourselves wine connoisseurs, take advantage of the cruise line's wine program and sip vino with your amour. Plus, ballroom dancing on formal nights allows you some one-on-one time with your better half.
Azamara's ships are limited to 694 guests, meaning it won't be difficult to find secluded nooks, where you and your special someone can admire enchanting views. And every cruise on Azamara features a poolside party with elegantly draped tables, a buffet, boutique wines and live music. If you're seeking something a little more intimate, make reservations at Prime C, the stylish onboard steakhouse. After gazing at each other from across the dinner table, steal away to the cabaret lounge. Then, explore lesser-known ports of call together through the cruise line's cultural immersion AzAmazing Evenings program.
Regent appeals to well-traveled couples seeking plenty of relaxation. You won't need to search very far to find some secluded spaces for canoodling — Regent only offers kid-friendly programs on select holiday and summer cruises. And thanks to the cruise line's suite-only accommodations, you and your sweetheart can enjoy exclusive views from your maritime digs. Once you've settled in, enjoy some rejuvenation at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub before sitting down for an intimate dinner at one of the cruise line's specialty restaurants, like Compass Rose or Signatures.
Oceania offers two things most seafaring couples consider paramount: upscale amenities and a nearly kid-free atmosphere (the cruise line doesn't offer programming for children). Oceania's ships exude a casual country club atmosphere rather than a boisterous pool party scene. While at sea, you and your sweetheart can partake in enrichment programs together, like art and cooking classes, or indulge in a refreshing treatment at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub. Afterward, sit down for dinner a deux thanks to the cruise line's open seat dining, which allows you and your better half to eat when and where you want.
Given its prominent placement on our Best Cruise Lines for Families ranking, it may come as a surprise that Disney makes an appearance on this list. But couples eager to relive some childhood nostalgia will find more than Disney kitsch. The ships feature plenty of child-free areas for spending quality time with your amour, like the spa, Quiet Cove Pool and several sophisticated lounges. At night, sit down for an enchanting dinner for two at an exclusive adults-only specialty restaurant or test your pub knowledge with Beer Tasting Trivia (only available on certain ships and itineraries).
Whether you're getting pampered with a couples massage at the AquaSpa or sipping a few glasses of wine, Celebrity offers plenty of opportunities for romance. Retreat to the Rendezvous Lounge for post-dinner cocktails and dancing, or sip cool drinks at the ice-topped Martini Bar & Crush. If you're celebrating an anniversary, splurge at one of the cruise line's specialty restaurants, like the Tuscan Grille or Murano. And for some evening entertainment, try your hand at blackjack at the glitzy onboard casino. If you want to hold your beau close, sign up for a dance tutorials and waltz the night away.
With its reputation for elegant public spaces and personalized service, Holland America caters to affluent retirees looking for a refined atmosphere not overtly dominated by families. Impress your better half with the culinary skills you'll pick up in the hands-on cooking classes, or enjoy spa treatments together at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon. At night, venture to the Pinnacle Grill to surprise your sweetie with "An Evening at Le Cirque," which mirrors the culinary experience and ambiance of the celebrated New York restaurant.
Thanks to its Romance Packages, Royal Caribbean makes an ideal choice for twosomes on a budget. Packages promise extra perks, including a welcome bottle of sparkling wine, rose petals and pre-dinner canapés. Plan a date night around one of the cruise's formal nights in the dining room, or for more secluded noshing, enjoy complimentary room service in your stateroom. If you and your better half crave more activity, get your hearts pumping with adventurous pursuits like rock climbing or ice skating, available on board.
While at sea, you can steal away from the crowds at The Sanctuary, an outdoor spa-inspired retreat with drinks, massages and personal service. When night falls, arrange an intimate dinner on your stateroom balcony with the line's Ultimate Balcony Dining experience, which includes a four-course feast, along with fresh flowers and champagne. After you've savored a memorable meal, cozy up on comfy chaise lounges and stay warm under a blanket for two with Princess' Movie Under the Stars poolside film screenings.
If you and your significant other enjoy relaxing at the spa, Norwegian's Spa Suites might just suit your needs. These cabins — specially designed for two — grant complimentary access to post-treatment relaxation in the spa's steam rooms or saunas. When you're ready to slip away from your digs, you and your companion can enjoy dining a deux thanks to Norwegian's "Freestyle Dining" option, which gives you the choice to dine whenever and with whomever you want. Make it a date night with an après-dinner show; the cruise line hosts intimate jazz concerts and Broadway performances.
Carnival's "Fun Ships" and budget-friendly itineraries are best suited for younger duos looking for plenty of onboard attractions (water slides and deck parties abound). While it will be a little more difficult to find some adults-only seclusion on one of these family-oriented ships, it's not impossible. The cruise line offers a spa on every ship for twosomes in the mood for a hot stone massage. Carnival also features Serenity Adult Retreat spaces on select ships that invite guests 21 and older to unwind by the pool and savor cocktails under the shade of oversized umbrellas.
While it may not boast the same over-the-top luxurious amenities as other cruise lines, MSC is an ideal choice for budget-conscious couples. The cruise line offers various deals for cruising pairs — the Lovebirds Package comes with in-suite perks like fresh fruit, canapé trays and champagne, and the wellness package at the Aurea Spa was no doubt designed with amorous duos in mind. Treat your special someone to some fine dining at one of the cruise line's specialty restaurants before taking in glorious ocean views while sipping cocktails at one of the numerous onboard bars or lounges. Then, tempt Lady Luck at the casino.
Though Costa isn't overly romantic, it does tout all the necessary ingredients for a memorable date night, including candle-lit dinners, nightclubs and Broadway-style performances. For side-by-side pampering, book a couples treatment in the Samsara Spa or get your hearts racing on one of the nearly 2,000 shore excursions offered, like horseback riding on the beach in Grand Turk or a Uruguayan winery tour. Once you return to the ship, test your luck at the casino or imbibe refreshing cocktails at one of the ship's bars.
Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship's Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 24 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship's Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.