On the best honeymoon cruises, you get exotic destinations, lodging, meals, entertainment and transportation all in one no-brainer package that delivers more escape for the money. But, of the hundreds of ships that ply the sea, which is best for you and yours? That depends on your travel style.
Easy-breezy or culturally curious? Indolent or adventurous? Gregarious or private? Here, we’ve compiled a dozen ships with high-romance IQs sailing to climates from tundra to tropical. Read on to find the best cruises for your honeymoon.
Best Caribbean Cruises – Big Ship
Ship: the 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze from Carnival
What you’ll love: Newfangled extras here include a water park, a comedy club, a tequila bar and – no kidding – 5-D movies. For some respite, there’s an adults-only deck, too.
Where to take it: Six-day trips to the Eastern Caribbean call at Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos, where you can snorkel above a 7,000-foot drop-off. In Jamaica, climb the terraced Dunn’s River Falls, and ride a [snow-free] Jamaican bobsled. At Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, spend the day at Atlantis resort’s water park, or sample conch salad at downtown seafood shacks on one of the best honeymoon cruise packages.
Best Caribbean Cruises – Little Ship
Ship: the 312-passenger Wind Surf from Windstar Cruises
What you’ll love: The five-masted ship anchors in deserted bays where you can go swimming, kayaking or water skiing off the stern’s water-sports platform.
Where to take it: The seven-day Yachtsman’s Caribbean itinerary, a roundtrip from St. Maarten, island-hops in the British Virgin Islands. Go snorkeling on Tortola, swim around the Baths rock formations on Virgin Gorda, and have signature Painkiller cocktails on laid-back Jost Van Dyke, where an overnight call allows you to party late. Then, slip on your best sundress for a day amid the swanky set on St. Barth.
Best Mediterranean Cruises – Big Ship
Ship: the 2,886-passenger Celebrity Silhouette from Celebrity Cruises
What you’ll love: Walk barefoot on the real-grass lawn on the top deck, sample some of the 32 vintages at the wine bar, and take advantage of the DIY scrubs in the water-centric spa.
Where to take it: The eight-night Adriatic cruise starts out in Venice and makes its way around the Italian boot to Rome. En route, walk the walls belting the city of Dubrovnik, and make stops in Rijeka, Split, Corfu, Messina and Naples. In Italy, taste olive oil, cruise the Amalfi Coast, and visit the ruins of Pompeii.
Best Mediterranean Cruises – Little Ship
Ship: the 49-passenger Panorama from Variety Cruises
What you’ll love: The triple-masted yacht switches to sail power in the right conditions. When it stops in remote coves, you can swim right off the boat.
Where to take it: The eight-day Aegean Odyssey departs from and returns to Athens and visits freewheeling Greek islands, including Mykonos – where the ship overnights, allowing you to sample the area’s ouzo, “mezethes” (appetizers) and legendary nightlife – and Santorini. (Tip: Rent a moped, and hit the black-sand beaches.) Wander around tiny Delos, mythical home of the sun god Apollo, and Ephesus, which has the most magnificent ruins in the region.
Best Pacific Cruises – Big Ship
Ship: the 2,138-passenger Pride of America from Norwegian Cruise Line
What you’ll love: Shipboard diversions range from lei-making lessons with a Hawaiian expert to whale-watching from your balcony.
Where to take it: Based in Hawaii, the Pride visits four major islands on a roundtrip from Honolulu in weeklong tours. An overnight call in Maui allows you to catch the sunrise at Haleakala Crater, to drive the remote road to tranquil Hana or to snorkel offshore at Molokini. Watch the lava flow on the Big Island, and cruise Kauai’s rugged Na Pali Coast.
Best Pacific Cruises – Little Ship
Ship: The 332-passenger m/s Paul Gauguin from Paul Gauguin Cruises
What you’ll love: Get your scuba training on board, and find Nemo off the stern’s water-sports deck. Wind down afterward with a traditional Polynesian massage.
Where to take it: Tour Tahiti and the Society Islands on a seven-night cruise from Papeete to neighboring Raiatea and Tahaa, where you can visit a black-pearl farm, drift-snorkel or kayak a river canyon. Next, it’s on to legendary Bora Bora to snorkel or sail its blue lagoon.
Best Alaska Cruises – Big Ship
Ship: the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess from Princess Cruises
What you’ll love: Fresh from a dry-dock overhaul, the ship has three new restaurants, an outdoor movie screen and an adults-only sunning area. Don’t miss whale-watching between shots on the nine-hole putting course.
Where to take it: The 15-day Connoisseur Escorted cruise tour in Alaska combines a week afloat and a week in Denali National Park and on the Kenai Peninsula for a thorough exploration of the 49th state. Roam the tundra before sailing to the calving Hubbard Glacier. En route to Vancouver, Canada, canoe on a glacier lake in Juneau and hike a gold-rush trail in Skagway.
Best Alaska Cruises – Little Ship
Ship: the 74-passenger Wilderness Explorer from UnCruise Adventures
What you’ll love: This ship comes with commodious cabins and extra elbowroom in public spaces. You can stargaze from the hot tub and watch wildlife on the underwater TV channel.
Where to take it: The new Northern Passages & Glacier Bay tour from Juneau to Sitka spends three full days inside Glacier Bay National Park, where rangers and guides lead hiking treks and kayaking excursions. The Explorer pokes into passages bigger ships can’t, including Peril Strait, popular with otters, whales and bears, and Chichagof Island, where the coast is lined with waterfalls.
Best Bucket-list Cruises – Big Ship
Ship: the 848-passenger Crystal Symphony from Crystal Cruises
What you’ll love: The ship’s worldly dining options include a sushi bar by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, plus Italian and French restaurants. Sign up for a couples massage in the feng shui-designed spa.
Where to take it Start from Sydney, and venture along Australia’s east coast on this 13-night venture before ultimately concluding your tour in Bali. Along the way, you’ll stop by Airlie Beach, granting access to the Whitsunday Islands. Journey on for an overnight stay in Cairns, and explore two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. After stopping by Darwin on Day 9, you’ll spend the last three nights in Indonesia.
Best Bucket-list Cruises – Little Ship
Ship: the 96-passenger National Geographic Endeavour II with Lindblad Expeditions
What you’ll love: Passage comes with yours-for-the-duration snorkeling gear, and kayaks are stowed on board for trips to deserted coves. After frolicking, don’t miss a treatment on the floating massage platform.
Where to take it Lindblad pioneered Galápagos Islands cruises, and a staff of five onboard naturalists and National Geographic photo instructors accompany its 10-day trips. Get as active or as lazy as you’d like: Options range from scuba diving to lounging poolside, with plenty of alone time rather than group herding. Catch the early-morning light from the summit of Bartolome Island, swim with a sea lion, and toast the sunset from the top deck.
Best Cruises for Ship Geeks – Big Ship
Ship: the 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International
What you’ll love: This is the floating home of nonstop wows: boardwalk games, a climbing wall, a surf pool, a 12,000-tree park, water shows with aerial acrobats and a three-level bar.
Where to take it: Eight-day trips to the Caribbean stop in Haiti, where you can gaze up at the ship from sea level aboard a WaveRunner; Falmouth, Jamaica, where you can poke around the gingerbread-trimmed buildings in the historic port; and Cozumel, Mexico, for snorkel stops and tangy margaritas. Best of all, you’ll have three full days at sea.
Best Cruises for Ship Geeks – Little Ship
Ship: the 84-passenger yacht Safari Endeavor from UnCruise Adventures
What you’ll love: This small ship offers a wine bar, hot tubs, a sauna, yoga classes, stand-up paddle-boarding and our favorite: hydrophones for listening to whales.
Where to take it: The Baja’s Bounty itinerary in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez explores the aquarium-like waters east of Baja, home to more than 800 species of fish and 20 kinds of whales, dolphins and porpoises. Though there are occasional shore calls for hiking, it’s largely about life on and in the water on one of the best cruise lines for honeymoons.