New Romance Travel Options From Major Cruise Lines

The 170-passenger Star Clipper’s sailings from Benoa, Bali to lesser-known Indonesian ports and remote beaches offers couples a romantic adventure.

Oceangoing cruises offer couples many romance activities whether that’s a couple’s spa treatment, dining at a romantic specialty restaurant, lounging poolside, or simply enjoying much-needed “down time.” But it’s the itinerary that’s often the top draw for those seeking a romantic interlude, honeymoon or anniversary celebration. Here are some romantic itineraries from just a sampling of cruise lines. 

Bali Breezes with a Sailing Aura: The Indonesian island of Bali is certainly a hot spot for honeymoons and romantic getaways. With Bali departures, Star Clippers’ fully rigged, four-masted Star Clipper gives couples a chance to “get away from it all” on a romantic sailing adventure under canvas. From May through October, the 170-passenger ship sails seven-, 10- and 11-night cruises from Benoa, Bali to lesser-known Indonesian ports and remote beaches.

During week-long, “Eastbound Bali-Bali” cruises this summer, calls include Gili Kondo, Gili Nanggu, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, all on Lombok; Komodo National Park and Pink Beach on Komodo; and Satonda Island. Relatively undeveloped, Gili Nanggu offers a pristine natural eco-system, singing birds and white powdery beaches. On other isles, couples can walk quiet beaches hand in hand, or at Komodo Island’s Pink Beach, go snorkeling. 

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Onboard Star Clipper, couples can cozy up in the bowsprit netting — a hammock-like area stretching 30 feet forward of the bow and suspended over the ocean. It’s a one-of-a-kind place to “pop the question.” Couples also can extend their cruise with a three-night, pre- or post-cruise package at Bali’s Nusa Dua Beach Resort.

New Ship & ABC Isles: Couples, particularly veteran cruisers, love sailing on new ships, and for many travel agents, Celebrity Cruises’ new, 2,918-passenger Celebrity Edge was “2018’s Biggest Cruise Story” (see our December 21 story on www.travelagentcentral.com). With “outward facing” design, the new ship offers multiple dining options; a full-service spa; a moveable, cantilevered “Magic Carpet” for dining, cocktails and tendering, depending on which deck it’s positioned at; high quality entertainment and nightlife including Eden; and new Edge Staterooms with Infinite Verandas. 

Desire to splurge for romance? The 950-square-foot Edge Villa residences offer two stories of windows that overlook a private terrace with a three-foot-deep plunge pool. Celebrity Edge sails from Port Everglades, FL, on diverse Caribbean itineraries. We’d opt for the nine-night “Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao” cruise on November 13, 2020, which also includes a Grand Cayman call and several sea days. 

In Curacao, couples can book a Caracas Bay snorkeling excursion, while in Bonaire, they can relax on the beach or learn to scuba dive. In Aruba, couples seeking fun nightlife might book Celebrity’s “Kukoo Kunuku Dinner & Nightlife Tour” including a champagne toast, Caribbean BBQ dinner and a carnival bar-hopping adventure. 

Far-Flung Isles across the South Pacific: While many of its week-long voyages feature the islands of Tahiti, Paul Gauguin Cruises also offers new 12-night or 13-night itineraries to Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Society Islands. Renowned for its blue skies, mountains, tropical vegetation, soft beaches and azure waters, Fiji just may be the epitome of paradise for many couples, plus these two itineraries take romance seekers to lovely, off-the-beaten-path isles and ports. 

The 332-passenger Paul Gauguin’s 13-night voyage departs Papeete, Tahiti, on March 28, 2020. It calls at Moorea, Taha’a (Motu Mahana), and Bora Bora (overnight) in the Society Islands; Aitutaki, Cook Islands; Vava’u, Tonga; and, in Fiji, at Savusavu on Vanua Levu; Suva and Lautoka on Viti Levu; and Beqa Island. Couples also have four days at sea. A 12-night reverse itinerary departs June 6, 2020, and calls at the same ports except Beqa Island. 

Designed for sailing within these islands’ pristine lagoons, the ship offers an up-close, authentic South Seas experience. Onboard, there’s an elegant yet casual ambiance with luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining and Polynesian hospitality. Voyages also provide guests with complimentary access to Paul Gauguin Cruises’ two exclusive retreats on Motu Mahana and Bora Bora.  

Eden on Celebrity Edge is a grand, new space where couples can spend playful afternoons or have cocktails amid eerie night-time entertainment.

Los Angeles Style, Alaska Fun: During the late 1970s through mid-1980s, millions of television viewers tuned in to watch “The Love Boat” TV series, which featured Los Angeles sailings to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Fifty years later, Princess Cruises has a modern fleet and continues to attract romance seekers. In March, the newly revitalized, 3,560-passenger Royal Princess will begin sailing from Los Angeles (San Pedro) roundtrip to those same Mexican Riviera ports.    

In May, Royal Princess also will kick off Princess Cruises’ 50th Alaska cruising season, offering 18 seven-day “Voyage of the Glaciers” sailings between Vancouver, B.C. and Anchorage (Whittier), AK. Calls will include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, plus scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park and either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord. Honeymooners relaxing in bathrobes can simply order breakfast to be served al fresco on their private balcony while taking the eco-beauty.

In September, Royal Princess will return to the Mexican Riviera, plus operate other coastal voyages. One fun fact? Royal Princess was christened in 2013 by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge so couples can peruse an onboard display case with the ceremony’s original scissors and rope, photos and a copy of the duchess’ Dalmatian-print dress. 

Romantic Short Caribbean Cruises: Couples who’ve never cruised may be hesitant to book a week-long cruise, but one antidote is to entice these cruise rookies with a short cruise on a newly revitalized ship. It’s even better if it offers a Bahamian beach day for relaxation and, in contrast, many thrill options for adventurous clients. Royal Caribbean International’s newly revitalized Navigator of the Seas will emerge later this month from a $115 million modernization to begin cruises from PortMiami. Three- and four-night sailings to the Bahamas start in May. 

One big draw is that the ship will call at the “Perfect Day at CocoCay,” which will open in May following a $250 million makeover. New enticements include the Thrill Waterpark with 13 slides; Oasis Lagoon, the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool; Up, Up and Away, a helium balloon that floats up 450 feet; and Chill Island for beach R&R. Opening in December is CocoCay’s South Beach, with sports, water activities and exclusive Coco Beach Club overwater cabanas.

Onboard Navigator of the Seas, the new Caribbean “poolscape” deck will have a two-level Lime and Coconut bar with live music and a rooftop deck for a bird’s eye view. The ship also will have diverse nightlife, new dining venues, and such signature Royal Caribbean brand features as a FlowRider surfing simulator and rock-climbing wall. More Thrills? Couples can ride the Blaster, an aqua coaster and the longest waterslide at sea, and Riptide, a head-first mat racer.

Spa-like Digs & Mexican Flair: The new, 4,008-passenger Carnival Panorama will sail from Long Beach, CA, starting later this year; it’s Carnival Cruise Line’s first new ship to sail from that southern California port in two decades. Travelers will cruise along Mexico’s Pacific coast with port calls at Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. 

For spa-like pampering, we’d suggest couples book Cloud 9 Spa accommodations with a choice of 28 inside staterooms, eight oceanview cabins, 62 balcony staterooms and six suites. Guests in these spa accommodations have access to the 22,750-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa including a thermal suite. They’re eligible for exclusive spa packages and discounts, priority spa reservations (if made by 6 p.m. on embarkation day) and receive additional in-room, spa-related amenities. Décor in these staterooms / suites also has a soothing feel. 

Another accommodations option is a Havana section stateroom with tropical-inspired décor and a Cuban-themed bar and pool. Why not order a Mojito? Clients can expect Carnival’s signature features, including SkyRide, a bike-in-the-sky aerial ride, plus the new Sky Zone indoor trampoline and “challenge” park with dodgeball and basketball action.   

Greek Islands by Small Ship: Celestyal Cruises is among several small ship lines that show couples the beauty of the Greek Isles, famed for quaint island towns, bright blue seas, white-washed homes and small fishing villages. Couples can chow down on Greek dishes, enjoy beach / water activities and explore ancient sites. Celestyal offers three-, four- or seven-day voyages.

We’d check out the line’s new week-long “Idyllic Aegean” itinerary, sailing roundtrip on the 1,200-passenger Celestyal Crystal from Piraeus, (Athens), Greece. Many departures are planned this year and next with ports that may vary by departure. For example, the April 15 departure includes calls at Kusadasi, Turkey, plus four Greek destinations — Heraklion, Santorini, Milos and Mykonos. 

Couples can enjoy dining and nightlife ashore with an overnight call in Mykonos and an overnight and two full days in Santorini. Inclusive cruise fares cover everything from gratuities to port / service charges, a drinks package (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks), and excursions to Santorini’s Oia Village, ancient Ephesus (during the Kusadasi call) and the Minoan Palace of Knossos at Heraklion. 

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,186-passenger Pride of America sails every Saturday roundtrip from Honolulu.  

The Big Easy & Adults-Only Spaces: Family-focused Disney Cruise Line also entices many couples seeking romance and honeymooners onboard. How so? All of its ships have adult-friendly / adults-only spaces. Guests 18 and older can enjoy nightclubs and lounges for cocktails, entertainment and dancing; the adults-only Quiet Cove Pool for swimming, a whirlpool or sunbathing; a fitness center, full-service spa and salon; and adults-only dining at Palo for northern Italian cuisine, or, on Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, elegant French dining at Remy. 

Most itineraries also have adults-only Port Adventures excursions, plus Castaway Cay, Disney’s Bahamian private island, offers romance seekers the adults-only Serenity Bay. At this lovely beach, couples can relax on loungers, book an open-air cabana massage under swaying palm trees, or saunter up to Castaway Air bar for frozen specialty drinks and a beach BBQ. Best of all, this beach is typically uncrowded with quiet surf and soft sands.  

Disney home ports for the first time in winter 2019-2020 at New Orleans, and, among the options, couples can sail on the 2,713-passenger Disney Wonder’s seven-night “Bahamian Cruise” roundtrip from New Orleans on February 7, 2020 to Nassau and Castaway Cay, the Bahamas, as well as Key West, FL. 

Hawaii In-Depth with Ease:  With its American flagging, Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,186-passenger Pride of America can sail Hawaii’s islands without the need for a foreign port call (unlike other big ships of most major cruise brands that are foreign-flagged and sail to the islands). So, for couples seeking a romantic Hawaiian voyage with the ease of floating from island to island the entire week, it’s a no brainer; they’ll avoid a long sea journey or intra-Hawaii flights and airport hassles.

Refurbished in 2016, Pride of America sails every Saturday roundtrip from Honolulu. Cruisers can spend 100 or so hours of port time ashore on four islands. That includes two full days in Kahului, Maui; a day in Hilo; a day in Kona; and one full day and a second morning in Nawiliwili, Kauai. Plus, couples can gaze at the beauty of the Napali coast on one afternoon of scenic cruising. 

For more romance options, such as a look at specialty dining and accommodations on Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam, updates on MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises, plus news from upper premium and luxury lines, visit www.travelagentcentral.com.

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