Whether it's a last minute impulse or careful planning ahead, there is no better time than now - while love is in the air this Valentine's Day - to choose a romantic cruise, say the member companies of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). CLIA members are making it easy to find the perfect voyage for two - with breakfast in bed, dining under the stars and dancing till dawn - and incredible value at the same time, CLIA reports.
"Whether you're young or just young at heart, single, married or otherwise committed, there is no vacation more romantic than a cruise. The very nature of the experience - total comfort, personalized, pampering service, fabulous dining and entertainment, exotic destinations, the pure pleasure of being at sea - points to romance. And, the incredible variety of cruises available, in every price category and every part of the world, means that there is a romantic cruise for every taste and budget," said Terry Dale, president and CEO of CLIA.
CLIA member lines are doing everything they can to help vacationers find romance at sea by offering incentives to book early as well as generous shipboard credits and other savings, even, in some cases, free airfare to Europe.
Here is CLIA’s sampling of Valentine's Day-inspired offers, programs and activities on cruise voyages around the world:
Avalon Waterways: Couples interested in a romantic getaway will find intimacy, beautiful landscapes and unique experiences on an Avalon Waterways river cruise. On Avalon's "Romantic Rhine" itinerary from Amsterdam to Basel, couples will encounter awe-inspiring landscapes through the Rhine Gorge where countless castles light up the skies. Avalon's Burgundy to Provence vacation offers unparalleled opportunities to taste France's sumptuous wines and local cuisines, traveling from Nice, the "Queen of the Riviera," to Paris, the most romantic city in the world.
Carnival Cruise Lines: Romance is always in the air on Carnival. In addition to a huge number of balcony staterooms on its ships - perfect for couples to view the beautiful passing scenery - Carnival offers tables for two in the main dining rooms and, on some ships, elegant steakhouses that are the ideal setting for an unforgettable and romantic meal. Carnival ships also offer Formalities shops where couples can purchase flowers, chocolates and other traditional Valentine's Day items.
Costa Cruises: Costa Cruises offers travelers numerous ways to experience "so much more amore" when they cruise with Europe's Number One Cruise Line in the romantic Mediterranean. Best of all, the line makes it as affordable as $75 per day, or up to 60 percent off regular fares. A warm, authentic Italian style of service sets the perfect backdrop for beautiful new ships and stunning locales throughout the Med including Italy, France, Spain and the Greek Isles.
Crystal Cruises: From special dinner requests to "Crystal Private Adventures" shore excursions to renewal ceremonies, couples can arrange pretty much anything they can imagine for a romance package on Crystal. In penthouse accommodations, guests can request dinner for two to be served by their personal butler on the verandah. The "All Inclusive-As You Wish" $500 per person shipboard credit can be used for virtually all purchases, including couples massage, flowers and formal portraits.
Cunard Line: Where better to follow in the footsteps of such starry-eyed couples as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor or Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, than aboard a Cunard ocean liner? Romance awaits on a classic transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2, with savings up to $600 per person off early booking fares on select voyages. Or make plans now for Queen Victoria's 2011 Americas season, including her first Getaway voyage to Mexico over Valentine's Day next year. Luxurious couples massages, ballroom dancing and elegant dining add to the intimate appeal.
Disney Cruise Line: Disney Cruise Line offers romantic dining experiences specifically for adults - elegant and peaceful, they are designed to suit sophisticated tastes. High atop both ships, Palo, Disney's signature restaurant at sea, treats adults to sweeping ocean views and exquisite northern Italian specialties. The Vista Spa and Salon and Spa Villas, provide exclusive accommodations and a menu of spa treatments and services such as massages, body wraps, facials, manicures/pedicures and hair styling.
Holland America Line: A cruise on Holland America can be a romantic dream from dawn until well beyond dusk. Breakfast in bed, long-stemmed red roses, champagne and caviar package, cuddly stuffed bears proclaiming "I Love You," the Valentine's Red and White Ball in the Crow's Nest, moonlit nightcaps on a private verandah: these are only some of the features of a variety of special romance packages with such enticing names as "Totally Being in Love," "Would you marry me...again?" and "The Perfect Couple."
MSC Cruises: Couples on MSC ships will find romance at every turn--from elegant Italian ambiance and white glove service, to evenings filled with dancing and live entertainment throughout the ship, seven-course gourmet cuisine and even breakfast served on the private veranda of their stateroom or suite. Relaxing couples massages and other sensual spa pleasures for love birds can be combined into spa packages, and, for the last minute romantic shopper, rates on February Caribbean cruises begin at $499.
Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line is offering suite deals to set romantic hearts aflutter. Guests who book a cruise in a Suite or Villa at least nine months prior to sailing from now through April 1, 2010 receive up to $300 in on-board spending credit per stateroom to be used on everything from romantic shore excursions and candlelit dinners to couples' spa treatments and more. Several "Romance" packages, intimate dinners for two, customized "dream dates" ashore and couples massages are other enticements.
Paul Gauguin Cruises: Escape to romantic Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific on Paul Gauguin Cruises, which has dramatically reduced prices on four popular itineraries for cruises booked by February 15, 2010, on top of already reduced cruise-only fares. Aboard the 5+-star m/s Paul Gauguin, the most highly awarded small ship in the region, guests will enjoy a spacious suite or stateroom, attentive service, world-class amenities, and sumptuous cuisine-all against the backdrop of the most romantic setting on Earth.
Princess CruiThis year, one upcoming Princess voyage will be particularly filled with love as the line holds its first ever Romance Summit aboard Crown Princess during the Valentine's week cruise, February 13 - 20. Celebrating Princess' legacy of romance in a unique way, Princess' Department of Romance members will be on board as special guests to offer their insight into all things romantic, and passengers will be treated to romance-themed events and activities, including a renewal of vows ceremony and a gala Valentine's Ball, with everyone invited to wear red.
Seabourn Cruise Line: A romantic Seabourn yacht cruise is all about tailoring the experience to what each guest wants, with attentive service staff who have an uncanny ability to surprise and delight. A Seabourn suite, with expansive views, is a cozy, commodious vacation home-away-from-home, with a minibar stocked with the couple's requested beverages, including French champagne. Gourmet dining designed by Charlie Palmer, whether in the ship's elegant restaurant or at a private candlelit table on the suite balcony adds to the romance.
Silversea Cruises: Silversea's intimate ultra-luxury ships provide a uniquely appealing option for sophisticated couples seeking a truly indulgent, romantic getaway. With stopovers in some of the world's most romantic cities, Silversea offers award-winning cuisine, warm hospitality and unparalleled service wrapped in an ambiance of European style and elegance. Couples are welcomed onboard with a glass of champagne, and then escorted by a private attendant to their richly appointed suite. Silversea's signature private teak ocean view veranda is the perfect venue for an intimate sunrise breakfast, twilight champagne toast or midnight stargazing.
Uniworld Boutique River CruisesJust in time for Valentine's, Uniworld is offering "Free Companion Air" by paying in full by February 26, 2010 on a variety of 2010 European itineraries. For those seeking romance, Uniworld's Paris & Grand European Waterways is the perfect choice as it features one of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris. Uniworld's cruises include: riverview staterooms; all meals onboard with complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks during dinner; hosted shore excursions; and all transfers on arrival and departure days.
Windstar Cruises: With its glamorous and sophisticated Wind Surf, Wind Star and Wind Spirit sailing ships, Windstar offers unique romantic adventures in the Caribbean this winter - seven day voyages from Barbados or St. Martin and seven-day explorations of Costa Rica. There are also voyages to the most romantic locales of the French and Italian Mediterranean and Greek Islands. A variety of romance, honeymoon and wedding vow renewal packages are also available.