13 Most Romantic European Cruises for Couples
There’s no better way to rekindle your romance then taking in spectacular sights on these European cruises.
Bask in the net of a Mediterranean tall ship
Courtesy Star Clippers
Aboard the Royal Clipper, guests can sun while lying in the fabric netting at the front of a sailing ship that was modeled on a 100-year-old sailing vessel. As you sail around the Mediterranean with nothing but aquamarine water splashing beneath, you’ll have found the ideal location for sunset cocktails with your partner. Known as the only five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship in the world, this Star Clippers ship is particularly romantic for those that want a true sailing experience. Watch as the 42 billowing white sails are raised each time the ship heads for its next destination; it’s hard not to find the romance in such a majestic vessel. Learn about the 15 stunning views you can only get on a Mediterranean cruise.
S.S. Bon Voyage sets sail through the Bordeaux region
Courtesy Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworld’s newest luxury river ship, the S.S. Bon Voyage, offers four luxury suites and a brilliant Bordeaux itinerary that takes guests through the wine region’s stunning scenery. Cruising three French rivers—the Dordogne, Garonne, and Gironde—this ship makes stops at three UNESCO World Heritage sites plus extraordinary castles and numerous winemakers. There’s nothing more romantic than biking along the river to discover a private picnic in a colorful Medoc Vineyard. Celebration Collection packages come with breakfast in bed, chocolate-covered strawberries, and welcome Champagne for that added touch of romance. Check out the 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites everyone should visit.
Explore your artistic talent aboard Avalon Envision on the Danube
Courtesy Avalon Waterways
Imagine painting the scenery during a private, guided watercolor session on the banks of the Danube River. Avalon Waterways is launching the new Avalon Envision this April featuring two full decks of Panorama Suites with wall-to-wall windows and beds facing the view. Among the many excursions is the option to tap your inner artist while watching the world sail by from the serene shoreline. Don’t worry, a teacher will be there to guide you as you experience this romantic moment with your loved one. The new river ship stops in scenic port cities like Budapest and Vienna. If you really want time alone, use the free bikes to explore the shores of the Danube together or venture off into an Alpine town hand-in-hand for a locally-organized beer tasting.
The Azores with Regent Seven Seas Explorer
Courtesy Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The Portuguese Azores Islands have become a must-visit destination, and Regent Seven Seas Explorer is perhaps the most romantic way to arrive on the islands. As part of the ship’s transatlantic crossing from the Americas to the Mediterranean, this unique itinerary visits several Portuguese islands including Madeira. For maximum luxury, book the ship’s Regent Suite, which comes with its own hidden study attached to one of the restaurants—where only guests in that suite category can dine. Plus, you can order off any menu on the ship when dining there. Candlelit dinners for two in the most private of settings? Check. Plenty of one-on-one time with your loved one? Check. Here are 14 cruises you should only take in winter.
Romantic dinners amid ancient wonders
Courtesy Windstar Cruises
Couples who love the romance of ancient history should book the Evening in Ephesus experience aboard Windstar’s Treasures of the Greek Isles itinerary—it’s a top pick for honeymooners. The cruise includes a special dinner with several other couples in the ancient Celsus Library. Diners are serenaded by the Aegean Chamber Orchestra as they bask in the wonder of this historic setting where nearly 12,000 scrolls were housed two millennia ago. The white-glove service dinner is complimentary for travelers.
See the Northern Lights from the sea
As the only U.S. cruise company to offer wintertime sailings above the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights, Viking offers the ideal getaway for romantic stargazers. With champagne or hot chocolate in hand, you can cuddle with a loved one while you search for the famous Aurora Borealis from the decks of the elegant Viking Sky. This adults-only cruise sails between London and Bergen, starting with an impressive cruise through the mouth of the Thames River followed by stops in places like Tromso and Stavanger, in Norway. Check out some more excellent places to see the Northern Lights.
Renew your vows aboard the largest river ship
Tap into the original romance of your wedding day with a vow renewal aboard the AmaMagna, soon to be the newest ship sailing the Danube in the AmaWaterways fleet. A designated official will lead the special ceremony; after, you can clink glasses of Champagne on a private sundowner excursion in the countryside to celebrate your renewed love for each other. A vow renewal certificate, turndown service with rose petals, and a beauty salon service are included in the package. AmaMagna, purpose-built for the Danube, will offer double the space of traditional river ships and added amenities like a second restaurant and more spacious cabins. Learn the 12 vow renewal dos and don’ts here.
Gallop into the sunset with your true love
Courtesy Seabourn Cruise Line
Aboard Seabourn Odyssey’s three-week journey through Spain and Portugal, couples can spend a day horseback riding in Portimao, Portugal, at a local family-owned ranch that is miles from civilization. Put into practice what you learned from the ship’s guided meditation classes created by Dr. Andrew Weil as you ride along. Inbetween stops for selfies and tasting the local port, lovebirds can gallop through the countryside passing eucalyptus woods, fig and cork trees, and orange groves.
The Retreat aboard the Celebrity Edge in the Med
Bet you didn’t expect to see such a large ship in the mix of romantic vacations, but guests of The Retreat, a hideaway for suite class guests, will get just that with an adults-only haven featuring pool butlers. What makes this area special is that it comes with a private lounge and restaurant, Luminae at The Retreat, where adults can dine on Michelin Star-quality food away from families. Accommodations boast one of the ship’s hallmark features, an Infinite Veranda. A glass partition opens and closes at the touch of a button expanding the living room space by combining the terrace with the bedroom for a perfect ocean view. Cue the Moet & Chandon toast. Be sure to add these incredible cruises to your travel bucket list.
Wine and oyster tasting in Croatia
Courtesy Crystal Cruises
This seductive culinary pairing is one of the options for romance-seeking travelers aboard Crystal Serenity, which sails along various Mediterranean coastlines. On board this luxury ship, butlers attend to every need (including the option for privacy), and they can even arrange a couples’ photo shoot in the port of call of your choosing. From a wine-and-oyster tasting in Dubrovnik to a private gondola ride (with musicians serenading you) as you float through the canals of Venice, this itinerary was custom-made for couples.
Luxury barge sailing through wine country
Courtesy French Country Waterways
Perhaps the smallest cruise ship you could choose for a romantic trip would be this barge. French Country Waterways Horizon II plies the network of canals through the upper Loire Valley in France. Private wine tastings and castle tours are about as romantic as it gets. Meals are never dull either, especially the swanky dinner at Michelin-starred Coté Jardin in Gien. The ship also sails along the famous Briare Aqueduct, which was designed by an architect known for another famous symbol of romance, Gustave Eiffel.
Lovebirds flock to this famed Slovenian wishing bell
A popular excursion aboard the Azamara Pursuit—which sails between Venice and Athens—is the visit to Lake Bled and island in Koper, Slovenia. Aboard a traditional wooden “pletna” boat, guests cruise past the shadows of the Julien Alps to reach Bled Island, which dates back to the Middle Ages. There, listen for the sounds of the church’s famous “wishing bell,” where pilgrims traveled to gain new hope and peace in their lives. You’ll find the Zen in your relationship amid this stunning backdrop. Check out some fascinating themed cruises for every type of traveler.
You set the itinerary on the Sea Cloud
Courtesy Sea Cloud
Celebrate your anniversary in style with this historic sailing yacht once owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post, a New York socialite and heiress to the Post cereal fortune. These days, the Sea Cloud crisscrosses the globe with her impressive, billowing sails and itineraries designed for celebrating with the one you love. Dive off the swimming platform (unique to a smaller ship) off the coast of St. Tropez in the Mediterranean or St. Barth in the Caribbean. Popular with charters for wedding anniversaries, the ship can welcome a couple and 62 of their closest friends to a destination of their choosing. Why let someone else dictate your trip when you can set the itinerary for your ideal romantic cruise? Find out more romantic couples resorts around the world.
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