10 Most Romantic Cruises for Valentine’s Day
A ship can be the perfect getaway for pairs—if you pick the right one. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll be surrounded by children playing Marco Polo in the pool and a boisterous, family fun atmosphere instead of a romantic one. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, the official holiday for lovers, we’re sharing our favorite choices for serene escapes made just for two.
courtesy Viking Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises is just a few years old, but their adults-only ships have a quiet, sophisticated atmosphere. Picture afternoon tea in the stunning Wintergarden, dinners in Manfredi’s, the gorgeous Italian restaurant onboard, and cocktails in a cozy lounge by a fireplace. Cabins are spacious and comfortable, with heated bathroom floors and verandas as well as complimentary 24-hour room service and WiFi. All of the line’s just-under-1,000-passenger ships are identical, and this one—the newest until Viking Orion launches later this year—sails around the world so you can, say, learn to tango in Buenos Aires or track down those avocado lattes in Melbourne.
Swoon-worthy detail: Use of the spa facilities are complimentary and, best of all, the steam room, snow room, and whirlpools are co-ed.
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Regent Seven Seas Explorer
courtesy Seven Seas
Billed as “the most luxurious ship in the world,” this decadent 750-passenger luxury ship was designed with no expense spared. Restaurants include Pacific Rim, a Pan Asian spot with a spectacular Tibetan prayer wheel at its entrance, as well as Chartreuse, a Modern French restaurant with a bistro-style menu. Since the line is all-inclusive, everything from wine with dinner to cocktails at night, airfare (including business class on international flights) pre-cruise hotel stays, transfers, WiFi, and shore excursions are wrapped into the rate. Best of all, you don’t have to plan for much in advance before your vacation when the line is handling everything for you.
Swoon-worthy detail: Cabins—all suites, and all with verandas—have gorgeous mahogany-lined walk-in closets and marble bathrooms, as well as high thread count, well, everything. We dare you not to hit snooze twice when the sheets are this soft.
courtesy crystal cruises
Crystal Cruises’ smallest ocean-going vessel is a unique experience. At just 62-passengers, this intimate yacht offers a quiet, low-key experience that’s still posh as can be. Instead of stage productions, several restaurants to choose from, and an extravagant pool-side buffet on sea days, you’ll find a piano bar with sing-a-longs and a small elegant pool as well as a marina with watersports and a submarine.
Swoon-worthy detail: Despite the ship’s small size, all of the cabins are suites, and all have butlers. They remember what the two of you like as the cruise progresses, from bringing those peanut butter cookies you raved over yesterday to making sure you have plenty of their gorgeously designed bath products.
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courtesy Eric Laignel
This decadent ship is the line’s first new build in five years, and—at 600 passengers—she’s a little bit larger than the others. Still, the subtle tweaks to the design are just that, and the high-level of service and indulgent food remains unforgettable. For couples who like the finer things in life, all we have to say is that the caviar and Champagne really do seem to flow here, and the onboard chophouse is a partnership with celeb chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame.
Swoon-worthy detail: One new feature on this ship: A pay-to-stay lounge full of cabanas, built around a central whirlpool, called The Retreat. Here, the robes are personalized and butlers bring you fresh fruit and spritz you with Evian mists.
courtesy SeaDream Yacht Club
This yacht-style ship is one of two in the Sea Dream Yacht Club fleet, and they’re both great choices for low-key cruises for two. Because they’re small vessels (only 112-passengers each) you can sail to smaller islands that mega-ships can’t get into. And the line offers a few unique activities, such as Champagne-and-caviar beach parties, but our favorite experience is joining the yachters for an “unplanned” visit to Caribbean beach bars that can only be reached by water. Plus, the ship has a complimentary juice bar, so if you’ve been, say, trying to replace coffee with green juice as part of a healthy new year’s resolution, you can stick with it.
Swoon-worthy detail: The two of you can sleep under the stars on deck on one of their Balinese-style day beds, complete with sheets and blankets.
courtesy Paul Gauguin Cruises
It’s hard to beat French Polynesia when you’re looking for romance, and this ship sails there year-round. The 332-passenger ship offers access to a private white-sand beach on Bora Bora, and itineraries full of gorgeous islands in the South Pacific. Onboard, there’s a pool, a spa, and a small casino as well as plenty of artwork from the region.
Swoon-worthy detail: Passengers get access to the line’s private motu (a tiny islet), where you’ll find snorkeling and other water sports as well as a beach barbecue.
courtesy Celebrity Cruises
This 2,886-passenger ship is the largest on our list, but it does an impressive job offering intimate well-designed spaces (with, say, egg chairs or daybeds) for couples to get away from the crowds. During the day, stretch out by the pool or in the spa. Plus, each evening you’ll find live music in the foyer, and a host of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Swoon-worthy detail: The spa itself may be lovely, with gorgeous heated stone lounge chairs over the sea, but we found ourselves coming back again and again to the spa’s outdoor cafe that serves complimentary spa cuisine. Spiced mango slices, anyone?
courtesy Scenic Luxury Cruises Tours
This chic little 68-passenger riverboat offers cruises on the Mekong from Cambodia to Vietnam. The scenery is gorgeous, with plenty of temples, and the food onboard often celebrates the local cuisine, including one day at lunch while the chef whips up a perfect pho. Best of all, the design is spare and elegant, with wood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows in cabins and dramatic flower arrangements throughout the ship.
Swoon-worthy detail: Cocktails include plenty of options with regional ingredients, from margaritas laced with kaffir lime leaves to rum-spiked Cambodian iced coffee.
courtesy Hapag Lloyd Cruises
Designed especially for the German-speaking market, this Hapag-Lloyd ship carries an international crowd of up to 500 sophisticated, well-traveled passengers. It’s one of the most luxurious ships at sea—we bet you’ll want to take all of the silverware and crystal home with you.
Swoon-worthy detail: The ship’s art collection of 890 pieces showcases plenty of playful modern pieces that will make you look twice, including works by Damien Hirst and Gerhard Richter.
courtesy Silversea cruises
This 596-passenger ship is the line’s new flagship, and the largest in the fleet. You’ll find even more space per person, as well as a lovely poolside pizzeria, and butler-served suites that are big enough (they start at just under 400-square feet) and decadent enough to be honeymoon-worthy.
Swoon-worthy detail: The line is owned by Italians, and you can see it in everything from the cheese to the charcuterie and the house-made pasta. Our advice? Toast to your relationship with Prosecco and burrata.
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