The famous cliche about cruising, in which passengers tend to be “newly wed or nearly dead,” no longer applies, as cruise lines have embraced a far more contemporary vibe. Still, there’s no question that a cruise honeymoon is a terrific, hassle-free vacation option.
And cruise lines continue to offer perks to attract the newly married, from those coveted tables for two to fresh flowers and Champagne (for which, on most lines, you’ll have to pay).
What’s the best bet for your honeymoon? It depends. Before honing in on a cruise, it’s important to figure out what type of honeymoon you want. Are you active, outdoorsy types? Do you prefer a low-key onboard ambience? Are you luxury-seekers, or do you prefer more informal, cheaper digs? And age matters, too. While most honeymooners have tied the knot at ages ranging from 20-something to 30-something, there are also plenty of choice options for more mature folks. Late-in-life nuptials deserve celebrations, too!
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- You might not get special treatment by identifying yourself as a honeymooner, but if you have a travel agent who specializes in cruises and has a good relationship with your cruise line, you might get some amenities at no charge. Don’t count on anything, but do ask your agent to let the line know that you’re on your honeymoon.
- If you plan on buying a celebration package, do it well in advance. Many lines offer several with varying degrees of amenities (such as Champagne, breakfast in bed, spa treatments and dinners in specialty restaurants), and there is often little difference in cost between the mid-range and top-level. Know what you’re getting, and book early.
- If you’re on a ship with traditional dining and you want a table for two, request it early and, particularly with this request, make sure the cruise line knows that it’s because you’re on your honeymoon. Otherwise, you could find yourself sharing those special meals at a table filled with newfound friends.
- Some cruise lines offer couples’ massages in the spa and, occasionally, in your room or suite. If you want that and the line allows you to book the spa treatment early, do so. Couples massages sell out very quickly, so book as soon as you can.
Here’s a selection of what cruise ships offer to newlyweds:
Azamara Club Cruises
Why?: Azamara is what many in the industry refer to as “luxury lite”: small-ship amenities with some big-ship style features. It appeals to honeymooners who want extra personal attention and a more intimate ambience. Plus, the line’s port-intensive itineraries offer occasional overnights in port, permitting you to immerse yourself more in the local culture or have romantic dinners onshore. And, with most gratuities included in the cost of the cruise—as well as many beverages and shuttle buses into town—you can focus more on enjoying the trip than crunching numbers.
Romantic Extras: Azamara does not offer specially designated honeymoon packages, but you can take advantage of the complimentary services of a concierge to plan your own surprises. Or, create a customized experience in advance with spa appointments, specialty dining reservations with private tables for two or breakfast in bed. In addition, wine is included with meals, all staterooms are adorned with fresh flowers, and suite guests benefit from the service of English butlers.
Caveat: Azamara has just two ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, which could limit your selection. Plus, standard cabins, while cozy, tend to be smaller than typical luxury staterooms.
Best Itineraries: Voyages in Asia and along the French and Italian Rivieras are excellent choices, not only because of the destinations they visit but also because of a unique array of shore excursions and overnight trips. Among some recent ones: Croatian liquor-tastings and Ferrari test drives in Italy, overnights in India to see the Taj Mahal, and two-night jaunts from Bangkok to Laos.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Why?: Carnival Cruise Lines offers affordable honeymoon options for cost-conscious couples; its standard cabins are some of the largest among mainstream lines, and every cabin features an ultra-snuggly Carnival Comfort Bed, perfect for cuddling together on leisurely mornings. Carnival’s newer ships also have plenty of opportunities for splurging on special experiences like dinner dates in its steakhouses.
Romantic Extras: For charges ranging from about $7.95 to $80, you (or family and friends) can order up a special romantic gift. The $7.95 will get you a six-inch honeymoon cake. For $19.95, you can get a “Just Married” memory box—to hold those special keepsakes—with photo frames and photo mailing cards. As you go up in price, the packages become more elaborate; the “Hearts Forever” package includes a bottle of Korbel sparkling wine from California with two etched “Honeymoon” Champagne flutes, a 4 x 6-inch photo frame with a heart emblem, and Tic-Tac-Toe with metal game pieces, cut in heart shapes—all delivered in a wire basket. The Honeymooners’ “High-Seas” gift set includes T-shirts, visors, beach towels, bar coupons, a photo coupon, and Korbel sparkling wine with engraved flutes.
Caveat: Tables for two can sometimes be hard to come by, especially during the set seating times (6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.). If you don’t want to share your meals with other cruisers, book early, and request a two-top. If you’re flexible, you might have better success landing a table for two during the early or later hours of the Your Time Dining open seating period (5:45 to 9:30 p.m.). In addition, Carnival’s steakhouses can only be found on its newer ships, so book accordingly.
Best Itineraries: Carnival is best known for its Caribbean cruises, which it offers from a variety of U.S. homeports. Honeymooners will enjoy relaxing on beautiful beaches or taking a more active approach to romance with snorkeling, kayaking and ATV rides. But, the line also offers trips to the Mexican Riviera, Canada/New England, Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, Bermuda, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand.
Why?: Celebrity Cruises offers a sophisticated onboard atmosphere and personal service at lower rates than the luxury lines. For extra amenities and service, book a Concierge Class cabin (for better balcony furniture, daily canapes and priority services) or, on Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships (Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse), an AquaSpa cabin (for in-room wellness amenities and priority access to the chic specialty restaurant Blu and the spa’s relaxation room and Persian garden thermal suite).
Romantic Extras: Celebrity offers evening celebrations for all newlyweds aboard the ship, featuring hors d’oeuvres, Champagne and special greetings from ship officers. The cruise line also has three honeymoon packages available, ranging in price from $50 to $225. They all include a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine, rose petals sprinkled on your bed at turndown, and chocolate-dipped strawberries in your cabin. The priciest Premium Romance package also includes robes and slippers, breakfast in bed (which, let’s be honest, you’d get anyway, via room service), and a special romantic dinner. To receive your invitation to the evening gathering (and to book the package), contact Celebrity at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 800-242-6374.
Caveat: Celebrity’s ships offer an enticing selection of specialty restaurants, but most come with surcharges ranging from $5 for a crepe at Bistro on Five to $35 for a multicourse meal in Murano (or a whopping $110 for a dinner with wine pairings).
Best Itineraries Worldly honeymooners find romance in Europe’s big cities and hidden gem destinations. Celebrity offers cruises to the Mediterranean, Baltic, Western Europe and even the Arctic Circle. Its ships also trawl places like the Caribbean, Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and Canada/New England, the Pacific Coast, Australia/New Zealand, Panama Canal, South America and the Galapagos Islands.
Why? Costa Cruises caters to travelers looking for a European atmosphere onboard. The Italian line boasts regional cuisine, a disco that rocks until the wee hours of the morning and some of the most expansive spas at sea. The line even offers spa cabins on Concordia– and Luminosa-class ships.
Romantic Extras: Honeymooners are invited to a special reception, a cocktail party for newlyweds and those celebrating anniversaries. In addition, couples can purchase the Honeymoon Package for $169, which includes two keepsake bathrobes, a bottle of sparkling wine, a floral arrangement, a photo portrait and a “Certificate of Love” signed by the ship’s captain.
Caveat: The European ambience has its drawbacks for some non-European cruisers. If excessive onboard smoking, more a la carte charges and a later dining schedule will grate on your nerves, this is not the line for your special getaway. As well, Costa’s main restaurant venues operate on a set-seating, set-tablemate schedule; book a table for two in advance.
Best Itineraries: Why, Europe, of course! Costa offers year-round cruises to the Mediterranean, so you can still book a trip after your winter wedding. As well, the line has ships based in the Middle East, the Caribbean, South America and Asia.
Why? Crystal Cruises offers an upscale, luxury experience with big-ship amenities for the best of both worlds. Enjoy outstanding service, elegant afternoon tea and gourmet Asian cuisine in alternative restaurants designed by celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa. It’s an especially good line for second honeymoons and vow renewals, with ceremonies—and even tuxedo rentals—onboard.
Romantic Extras: If you’re sailing on Crystal, the line offers a range of amenities, from flowers and candy to Champagne, which can be pre-purchased as Bon Voyage gifts. The prices start at $14, and all but one of the offerings are less than $120.
Caveat: Crystal’s formal dining scenario, with two set seatings at assigned tables each night, might not offer the flexibility some honeymooners crave; if that’s the case, a new program option allows you to change your dining time and table size on a nightly basis. However, you still have to select your dining times in advance, either by making reservations before you go on your trip or once onboard.
Best Itineraries: Go for the exotic, with cruises to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Australia/South Pacific. For the most in-depth explorations, look into Crystal’s innovative shore excursions and pre- or post-cruise land packages.
Disney Cruise Line
Why? Despite what you might think, Disney Cruise Line caters to adults as much as to kids, offering special, adults-only pools, restaurants and discos. Still, you probably should be a serious Disney fan to consider this cruise for your honeymoon. And, if you are, there’s a new, 2,500-passenger ship, Disney Dream, to consider; it sails with nearly 750 more people than its sister ships, but it also offers a second adults-only restaurant designed by a Michelin-starred chef and a trendy new nightlife area.
Romantic Extras: Disney cruises offer dozens of gift and package deals —you don’t need to be a honeymooner to book them, but it’s certainly appropriate. For about $215 per couple, the “All You Can Dream” package comes with a waterproof blanket, picnic case, plates, napkins, cutlery, a cheese board, a bottle opener and robes—perfect for an indoor picnic, perhaps? Add Champagne, a fruit and cheese platter and fresh flowers for $91 more. Dozens of other gift packages are available, too. Meanwhile, the $99 “Romantic Encounter” package includes two robes, Champagne and chocolates. A honeymoon gift registry is available. If desired, stop by the Guest Services desk to ask for a pair of “honeymoon” buttons; see if wearing them during the trip gets you any special attention.
Caveat: Your summer honeymoon cruise could be overrun with children on school holidays, so consider a spring or fall trip if that works well with your wedding plans. Know, too, that Disney offers a structured, set-seating dining system, where you switch dining rooms each night but keep your waiters and tablemates. Not only do you not choose which restaurant you visit each night, but if you don’t get a coveted two-top, you might be spending time with a table of rambunctious kids.
Best Itineraries: Seven-night Caribbean cruises on Disney Magic offer a mix of relaxing sea days, visits to beautiful islands and time spent on Disney’s fan-favorite private island, Castaway Cay. For honeymooners with limited time off, aim for the three- to five-night Bahamas cruises on Disney Dream. Disney also cruises to Alaska, Europe and Mexico.
Why? This U.K.-based, luxury-hotel, barge line has something extra special on offer: a private honeymoon cruise. European Waterways’ eight-passenger hotel barges are reconfigured to accommodate just the two of you, so you can spend your honeymoon in idyllic, private peace.
Romantic Extras: With the run of the ship, you’ll stay in the nicest suite onboard. You’ll be catered to by a personal chef and dine by candlelight—though one night you’ll be treated to dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant ashore. Special honeymoon features may include a serenaded gondola ride, balloon trip or picnic by a Scottish lake with a piper in discreet attendance. All wines and shore excursions are included in the cruise fare.
Caveat: Chartering a barge is not a cheap endeavor. This intimate option is best for honeymooners with large budgets, as a six-night charter starts at $16,400.
Best Itineraries: European Waterways offers two equally romantic honeymoon charter options. Cruise past spectacular scenery (think castles nestled between mountains and lakes) on Scotland’s Loch Ness and nearby canals onboard Scottish Highlander, or float through the Loire Valley in France—past chateaux, vineyards and windmills—on Nymphea.
Why? If you’d prefer a cozy, British, country-house ambience to the Vegas-style glitz of many mass-market ships, this traditional cruise line is a good choice. Fred. Olsen caters to an older crowd, so it’s a top pick for mature honeymooners or couples renewing their vows.
Romantic Extras: The line has a Celebration Package for honeymooners and couples celebrating their anniversaries. For £90, you will receive flowers or chocolates in your cabin, a bottle of sparkling wine and canapes, cake, a silver picture frame, and a session with the ship’s photographer to commemorate the trip.
Caveat: Formality is the key here with set dinner seatings and specific dress codes in the evenings. Also, given the more mature passenger base, the ship isn’t often hopping after dinner.
Best Itineraries: Unlike many cruise lines, Fred. Olsen is committed to cruising from and around the U.K. and Ireland. Look for cruises to England, Scotland and Ireland out of multiple U.K. homeports.
Holland America Line
Why? Holland America ‘s lovely, mid-size ships offer more intimate honeymoon experiences than the mega-ships. The line’s fleetwide Signature of Excellence refurbishments have enhanced dining, accommodations and service onboard. Honeymooners will especially appreciate the Eurotop mattresses and upscale bedding, gourmet Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurant and Greenhouse Spas on every ship.
Romantic Extras: Holland America offers a Honeymoon at Sea party to all honeymooners listed as such on the ship’s manifest. A combo of sparkling wine, a balloon, a small cake and 7×10-inch photo is $42.95. The “Romantic Voyage” package for $288 includes a flower bouquet, a bottle of Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to your stateroom, dinner for two in the Pinnacle Grill, a casino gaming lesson (including $25 in free casino chips), 25-minute couples massages at the Greenhouse Spa and a 7×10-inch photo to preserve the memory of your cruise together. The “Just For Us” package also includes the massages, Champagne, dinner for two and photo plus a dozen red roses, a pair of terrycloth robes, an in-room dessert one evening (served with Champagne) and a signature Holland America-style afternoon tea, served in your stateroom. That package costs $483.
Caveat: Holland America attracts mature travelers, so young honeymooners may not be impressed with disappointing nightlife options onboard and shore excursions geared to less-active participants.
Best Itineraries: Holland America was one of the first lines to offer Alaska cruises and is still ahead of its competitors with a wide array of itineraries and pre- and post-cruise land packages to Denali, the Kenai Fjords and even across the Arctic Circle. We especially recommend these itineraries for honeymooning nature- and animal-lovers. Otherwise, for fans of Holland America, the world is their oyster, as the line sails across the globe.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Why? If you don’t want to stick to a schedule on your romantic getaway, NCL‘s Freestyle Cruising concept lets you eat when and where you want with a choice of multiple restaurants and cuisines onboard. Plus, multiple bars, lounges and discos ensure happening nightlife if you and your new spouse like to stay out late.
Romantic Extras: NCL hosts too many honeymooners to give away costly freebies. But, you can book one of four packages, including the Deluxe Celebration package for $329. You’ll get sparkling wine and strawberries, a couple’s’ massage, a body wrap for her, breakfast in bed and in-cabin tea service (which you’d get anyway), a formal portrait and dinner for two with wine in the French alternative restaurant, Le Bistro.
Caveat: Freestyle dining offers flexibility, but it can also lead to long queues at popular venues during peak dining hours. To avoid headaches and lovers’ spats over dinner options, make reservations in advance, dine at off-peak hours, or use NCL’s electronic dining information boards to ascertain which eateries have the shortest waits.
Best Itineraries: NCL is the only line to offer seven-night Hawaii cruises, roundtrip, out of Honolulu. You can spend your honeymoon cruising past volcanoes and scenic coastlines, visiting a myriad of waterfalls and watching the surfers while you lounge on the islands’ many beaches. Ships also cruise in Europe, the Caribbean, Bermuda and Canada/New England.
Why? Oceania Cruises is an excellent choice for low-key honeymooners who want interesting itineraries, a sophisticated onboard ambience, and fantastic dining and service.
Romantic Extras: While Oceania does not make a big effort to attract honeymooners, its mature (50 and older) passengers flock to the line for the aforementioned low-key trips and affordable luxury. And, even if there are no rose-petals-on-the-bed packages, you’ll find plenty of romantic spots—such as sun deck cabanas—onboard these cozy and intimate ships. Sweet, but not honeymoon-focused, is the ship’s Champagne breakfast; a full hot and cold menu, including the bubbly, is served on your private balcony. This is, however, only available for those booking Concierge-class staterooms.
Caveat: If you’re looking to meet other honeymooners or want to dance until dawn in the disco, this is not the line for you.
Best Itineraries: Oceania sails everywhere, but particularly romantic itineraries focus on the Greek Isles or on Mediterranean ports of call in Italy and Greece. For a more exotic choice, try its South America itineraries.
Why? P&O Cruises‘ ships have distinct personalities, geared toward specific types of travelers, so there’s a perfect ship for every honeymooner, especially British ones. Arcadia and Artemis (which is scheduled to be replaced by a new ship, Adonia, in May 2011) are adults-only, so you don’t have to worry about screaming kids overrunning your romantic escape. Azura, Ventura, Arcadia and Oceana offer a contemporary vibe with a choice of fixed or flexible dining and modern spas (some with hydro pools)—great for younger honeymooners—while Aurora, Oriana, and Artemis lean toward the traditional, with set dining and formal evenings.
Romantic Extras: There are three levels of packages offered to honeymooners. The basic package includes Champagne and chocolates in your room on arrival, a formal portrait and breakfast in bed with a half-bottle of Champagne. The next level adds fresh flowers and a choice of a massage or facial, and the final level adds two fluffy bathrobes. Rates are £55 to £225 per couple. Every effort will be made to seat you at tables for two at dinner if that’s your preference.
Caveat: As the onboard atmosphere can vary radically across each ship and by itinerary, be extra careful when booking your honeymoon so you get the experience you prefer.
Best Itineraries: For easy homeporting for British honeymooners, try Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Atlantic island cruises out of Southampton.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Why? This line’s only ship, Paul Gauguin, spends the year sailing in the South Pacific and is arguably the most romantic ship in the world.
Romantic Extras: A special honeymoon package of extras includes a pillow gift, a photo, a Polynesian blessing ceremony with other honeymooning couples and a bottle of Champagne. The package is complimentary. For $500, you can upgrade to a more lavish honeymoon package that also includes a letter from the captain, canapes every afternoon, a miniature wedding cake and a box of chocolates. The cruise line also offers a gift registry option.
Caveat: No matter where you live, Tahiti is a long plane ride away. Be prepared to endure many hours on a plane before you can fully enjoy your honeymoon.
Best Itineraries: You can’t go wrong with any of these South Pacific itineraries. The seven-nighters call in beautiful Bora Bora and Moorea, while longer sailings visit more out-of-the-way destinations like the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Cook Islands and even New Zealand.
Why? “The Love Boat” line offers all amenities necessary for onboard romance—fabulous dining options, including a V.I.P. dining experience in the galley and an Italian tapas menu with ocean views at Sabatini’s; indoor and outdoor pampering with alfresco massages in The Sanctuary and a mud room for two in the Lotus Spa; and, for onboard date night, a variety of entertainment options that range from outdoor movies to small-scale performances in the Piazza.
Romantic Extras: Princess Cruises offers two packages. The Honeymoon Experience, $140, includes a bottle of Champagne, two engraved glasses and two long-stemmed red roses on arrival, plus chocolate-dipped strawberries delivered to your cabin the first evening onboard. Or, for $445 per couple, you can book the Deluxe Honeymoon Experience, which includes all that, plus two waffled fabric robes, a 25-minute massage or facial for each of you, canapes or petit fours delivered to your stateroom on one evening, a bridge tour by personal invitation from the captain and Champagne (half-bottle) delivered with breakfast one morning. Both packages also come with a personalized, engraved congratulatory card, signed by the captain—a nice keepsake.
Caveat: Many of Princess’ most romantic onboard offerings—including specialty restaurants ($20 – $25), the Sanctuary ($10) and balcony dining ($100, plus the higher cruise fare for a verandah cabin)—come with fees.
Best Itineraries: Princess cruises the world, but its Caribbean itineraries are best for enjoying Ultimate Balcony Dining on your private verandah; a lazy day in the adults-only, spa-like Sanctuary sun deck; and Movies Under the Stars at night. (We recommend you snuggle under a blanket with your sweetie, even during the warmest evenings.)
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Why? Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ upscale ships cruise to some of the world’s most romantic destinations, including the Caribbean and Europe. Service and cuisine are superb, and dining is flexible—enjoy a private two-top one night, and join with other passengers on another.
Romantic Extras: Regent ships offer a special honeymooners’ collection of amenities, which includes a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne and caviar, in-suite canapes served every afternoon, a bountiful flower arrangement, a mini-wedding cake, a box of Belgium’s famous Leonidas chocolates and a congratulatory letter from the captain. The cost is $500.
Caveat: Regent Seven Seas is definitely marketed to older (50-plus), well-traveled and sophisticated individuals; exuberant and boisterous young folks may feel out of place.
Best Itineraries: The best on this line include the Baltic, the Mediterranean and Alaska.
Why? Some active cruisers think surfing, rock-climbing and working out together is romantic—especially when you can unwind in the spa, relax in a hot tub or indulge in some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream once you’ve worked up a sweat.
Romantic Extras: You can choose from a selection of Royal Caribbean Romance Packages, which range in price from about $55 to $780. With the Classic Romance package, you get a bottle of Domaine Chandon sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, canapes for two before dinner, pre-dinner canapes and after-dinner sweets on the first formal night, breakfast in bed one morning and an 8×10-inch portrait in a silver-plated frame. But, there’s also the Ultimate Romance Package II, which includes a bottle of Dom Perignon, chocolate-covered strawberries, a dozen roses, terry robes, petit fours and canapes every evening, two spa treatments, the aforementioned silver-framed portrait and breakfast in bed one morning. The cruise line offers a gift registry for these packages and more.
Caveat: Royal Caribbean’s emphasis on active pursuits also makes it a fabulous line for families. Choose your sail date wisely (i.e., avoid school breaks) if you don’t want to contend with hoards of children.
Best Itineraries: This is a popular cruise line to see the Caribbean, Alaska, the Mediterranean and Canada/New England. Brits can even get in on the action with cruises out of Southampton to Denmark, Paris, Ireland, Spain and the Canary Islands.
Why? Seabourn‘s luxury cruises cater to the whims of its guests, making the line ideal for honeymooners who desire extra attention and pampering. The company doesn’t offer any special package deals per se, but it can arrange just about anything a couple of honeymooners might want, be it a special type of Champagne for your suite’s mini-bar or therapeutic bathing oils from London brought to your room. The ships are spacious, with more average square footage per person than most ships and ample public space—often making you feel like you have the place to yourselves.
Romantic Extras: All Seabourn ships offer alfresco dining, so, depending on your cruise locale, you could literally dine under the stars. Or, opt for a waiter to serve a private dinner in your suite. Want a stewardess to run you a bath? Pick up the phone, and she’ll be there immediately with a bowl full of flower petals to scatter across the water’s surface. At most ports of call—including some that larger ships cannot access—Seabourn can arrange for a personal shopper to accompany you, via luxury transport, on a shore excursion.
Caveat: This level of personalized attention doesn’t come cheap: Seabourn’s cruises tend to be very expensive.
Best Itineraries: While European, Caribbean and Middle Eastern destinations are available, some of the more intriguing itineraries are in South America (including the Amazon and round-the-horn sailings) and Asia (visiting Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka).
Why? Silversea is a great option for serious pampering and service. The line caters to affluent retirees and baby boomers, so younger honeymooners should not expect to find many peers.
Romantic Extras: This is the jackpot of honeymoon cruises. First of all, since Maison Pommery Brut Royal Champagne is included in the cost of the cruise, they’ll not only have a chilled bottle waiting in your cabin on the first night, but you can ask to have one iced every night (and sent with your breakfast every morning). You’ll also get a box of chocolates on arrival, and you’ll find fresh flowers in your room. Don’t feel too special—they’re in every room. But, while you knew you’d get these perks when you booked your cruise, they do manage to surprise you. You may request to have canapes delivered to your suite each night before dinner, and, if the cruise line’s Special Services department is notified at least four weeks in advance, you’ll also get a cake that says “Happy Honeymoon” in chocolate.
Caveat: If you get tired of staring into your lover’s eyes all day long, Silversea does not offer many onboard activities. While some additional activities beyond trivia and lectures have been added—including basic language and exercise classes and Ping-Pong competitions—offerings are still not as vast as on other cruise lines.
Best Itineraries: Since you’re going all-out for your honeymoon, choose a trip-of-a-lifetime destination like Africa, the Far East or South America.
Why? Thomson Cruises is a cheerful and traditional line, best for British honeymooners looking for a cost-effective holiday.
Romantic Extras: With a call to customer service (+0870 550 2599), romantic options can be ordered on an a la carte basis. Choose from any combination of Champagne, wine, candy, flowers, breakfast in bed or chocolate-dipped strawberries. You can also request a table for two.
Caveat: Thomson Destiny offers two seatings of assigned-table dining, while Thomson Spirit, Thomson Celebration, and Thomson Dream have open-seating dining at dinner. Definitely factor your dining preferences into your decision before booking your trip.
Best Itineraries: For easy, seven-night honeymoons, choose one of Thomson’s Mediterranean itineraries.
Why? The laid-back ambience onboard Windstar’s three sleek, masted ships is perfect for honeymooners who want a lot of romance without a lot of fuss. The ships are also ideal for active honeymooners interested in water sports, including snorkeling, windsailing, paddle-boating and water-skiing. Those water activities come complimentary aboard the yachts. (Scuba diving is also available for $99 to $179, depending on the destination.)
Romantic Extras: Honeymooners will receive complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries during their first night onboard and a congratulatory letter from the captain. For $169, the “Honeymooner Romantic Bon Voyage” package comes with a bottle of Champagne, more chocolate-dipped strawberries, breakfast in bed, a keepsake picture frame and a honeymoon certificate.
Caveat: No cabins on Windstar ships have private balconies, and very few suites are available. Standard cabins, though cozy and nicely appointed, are still small. If you plan on spending lots of time in your cabin, it may be worth booking early and paying extra for a suite.
Best Itineraries: Couples on their honeymoons are known to select Windstar’s Greek Isles, Italy and Caribbean voyages—ports of call include a range of the standard big ports and a few others off the beaten path. Additional trips are available in Costa Rica, Panama and elsewhere in Europe.
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