Lovers of the high seas, Honeymoons/Romantic Travel readers nominated these five cruise lines as the most romantic. On May 30, 2012 Royal Caribbean was named the winner. The number of votes each cruise line got is reflected in the order below.
Floating cities with excitement and stimulation galore, the megaships of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines — Allure and Oasis of the Seas as well as the slightly smaller Freedom and Liberty of the Seas — truly offer something for every member of the family. Kids have a Dreamworks Experience with Shrek and Friends; teens and the athletic have the challenge of its Flowrider and rock-climbing wall. Couples will find a spa to decompress in, room service for private dining, and nooks and lounges for canoodling. Several ships also have dedicated wedding chapels, and the cruise line is experienced in hosting destinations in port and onboard. RCCL is also known for its indoor ice-skating rink and spectacular shows.
Couples-friendly Celebrity Cruises has been upping its game since the 2010 introduction of Celebrity Solstice, the first in a line of five new ships that delivery a luxury experience. Features that couples love include Qsine, the coolest and most innovative restaurant on land or sea; Aqua Class, an entire deck for spa pampering, including cabins with upgraded amenities; and an adults-only swimming pool with a bar conveniently located just steps away from sun loungers. Although Celebrity welcomes families and has facilities for them, this is a sophisticated cruising experience and the child-averse won't feel overwhelmed by kids — except of course when they're out of school during holidays and breaks.
Despite its name, Norwegian Cruise Line plies the waters of Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean as well as Europe. Its ships win the hearts of lovers with its casual freestyle dining, which offers options to eat when you want, where you want, and with whom; and its gaming areas have repeatedly been named best cruise line casino. The freestyle philosophy extends to other areas of the ships, which makes NCL a good choice for laidback, casual couples. The option of weekend cruises makes quick, inexpensive getaways possible. Aboard its Norwegian Epic ship, which debuted in 2010, the Blue Man Group entertains and the first ice bar at sea keeps patrons well-lubricated.
A haven for sensualists, Paul Gauguin Cruises sail the blue-green waters ringing the islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia, and the South Pacific, enabling couples to hopscotch from one tropical fantasy island to another, yet not have to change rooms even once. The luxurious small cruise is equal to a boutique hotel at sea, the ship numbering only 151 cabins and a passenger capacity of 332. In December 2012, a second luxury ship, The Moana, will begin sailing under the Paul Gauguin Cruises banner and accommodate just 90 guests.
Tall sailing ships a world apart from the jumbo cruise ships that resemble floating hotels, the three nimble vessels in the Star Clippers fleet resemble private yachts. They are able to visit ports that can't accommodate the bigger ships. Itineraries lead passengers to the Caribbean, Europe, and Costa Rica. At sea, the mood is friendly and easy-going; you'll make your own fun. Dining is European style, with four-course dinners accompanied by fine wines in a sophisticated restaurant environment. Since there are no structured programs for children, it's unlikely they'll be underfoot.