Brides magazine has just come out with its Honeymoon Awards 2017 in its June-July issue, listing travel experts' options about the world's most romantic destinations for millennial newlyweds. Or is it newlywed millennials?
Drum roll! And the top three romantic destinations for millennial newlyweds are French Polynesia, Italy and the Hawaiian Islands, Brides decrees.
The magazine's survey also asked about the most romantic cruise lines, and the top five — all premium or luxury lines — finished in this order: Paul Gauguin Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Seabourn, Silversea and SeaDream Yacht Club.
Now that prime season for weddings and honeymoons has arrived, we've decided to take Brides’ lists and pair the destinations with the best cruise lines to get there in 2017 or 2018.
Here, then, are the Top 10 most romantic honeymoon destinations & cruises for millennial newlyweds.
Tahiti, the main island of French Polynesia, beckons with sparkling lagoons, emerald mountains, quiet beaches and a pleasing mix of Polynesian and French culture. Nearby, the small island of Bora Bora is home to stunning beaches and waters and offers luxurious resorts with overwater bungalows and thatched roofs that any newlywed will love.
Brides excerpt: “Flying in over dreamy reef-ringed motus (a.k.a. islets) sets the scene for an epic honeymoon. Touch down on culture-packed Tahiti, dive in the ocean from your overwater bungalow on Bora Bora, sample plates of smoked breadfruit on Moorea, or sail to the barely inhabited Marquesas Islands and you’ll learn the true meaning of paradise.”
Best cruises: Paul Gauguin Cruises offers a number of romantic escapes on its two ships, the Paul Gauguin and Tere Moana. Other cruise lines that call on French Polynesia include Windstar Cruises (and its ship Wind Spirit), Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, Celebrity and Princess.
If nonstop romance is on the agenda, you can't go wrong with the classics, including Venice, Florence and Rome. Nearly everywhere you turn you'll find architectural and artistic gems, charming streets and piazzas, rich medieval history, fantastic art, world-class shopping and rustic cuisine with Tuscan lineage (if you avoid the tourist traps).
Brides excerpt: “The Italian peninsula has lured honeymooners the world over for centuries—and with good reason. Whether you fancy world-class cuisine or simple home-cooked (carbo-loaded) meals, bustling cultural capitals or laid-back beach towns, there is an experience to suit just about everyone.”
Best cruises: Basically every ocean cruise line in the world goes to Italy. So decide on the destination first with one of Cruiseable's photo-rich travel guides.
Take it fast or take it slow: Whatever your speed, from beach-bumming to fine dining to helicopter sojourns over an active volcano, you’ll find ample reward in the islands of Hawaii. A visit to the islands captures not only the vast natural beauty of the state but also the indelible warmth and spirit of the people who call it home. Looking for a place to stay? The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island all but guarantees an unforgettable experience.
Brides except: “From culture-packed Oahu to garden-green Kauai, laid-back Lanai to resort-filled Maui—oh, and let’s not forget Hawaii, a.k.a. the Big Island, with its epic landscapes—the 50th state is a honeymooner's paradise.”
Best cruises: Because of antiquated U.S. laws that make it impossible to cruise from, say, Los Angeles to Hawaii, your itinerary can vary widely. Norwegian's Pride of America is the best-known cruise ship dedicated to the Hawaiian Islands. Other options include Silversea, Seabourn, Oceania, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Holland America.
If you're looking for an escape-from-it-all honeymoon, you can't do better than the Maldives (pronounced mall-DEEVES), a perfect little chain of white sand islands cooled by tropical breezes in the Indian Ocean. You can swim in impossibly turquoise lagoons, snorkel in brilliantly colored coral reefs teeming with tropical fish or just soak in the rays on the beach.
Brides except: “The lush, picture-perfect islands that make up this Indian Ocean archipelago are light years beyond your average beach destination. Private-island resorts—like the new Soneva Jani, St. Regis Maldives Vommuli, and Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah—are ringed by colorful coral reefs teeming with fish (and the occasional shark). Spend your days snorkeling, scuba diving, and lounging on the deck of your overwater villa; by night, dine by candlelight on freshly caught fish and organic veggies, then follow that with a stargazing sesh with a NASA-worthy telescope.”
Write it agraph. Our vote is for Corfu, Santorini or Athens.
Brides except: “Santorini, Mykonos, Hydra, Ios, Crete, Patmos—each of the Greek islands offers something unique. But what they have in common is what makes them honeymoon-worthy: dramatic volcanic landscapes, centuries-old ruins, simple flavorful cuisine, glamorous hotels, stunning beaches, and a refined yet laid-back attitude. Whether you choose to plop yourself on one island or create a multistop itinerary, each moment will seem to outdo the next.”
Best cruises: xx
Planning your trip: See Cruiseable's travel guide to Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, Corfu.
Hindu temples and culture, local arts and crafts, beaches, volcanoes, lush scenery — there are lots of things for honeymooners to see and do in Bali. There are lots of beach areas to use as a home base, including Nusa Dua, Jimbaran Bay and Uluwatu. Don't miss out on an eat-pray-love moment in Ubud, the country's spiritual heart and historic center for crafts like wood carving, stone masonry and textile weaving.
Brides except: “Exotic, far-flung, tropical—if these are the words you'd use to describe your ideal honeymoon, then book a flight to this Indonesian hot spot. Renowned for its surf breaks, golden-sand beaches, lush rice paddies, and centuries-old arts, Bali is an island that stimulates all the senses.”
Planning your trip: See Cruiseable's travel guide to Bali.
Mexico es muy romantico. The question is, which port or city to explore? We're partial to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Costa Maya/Tulum over the more touristy Cancun and Acapulco. Are you into watersports and kiteboarding? Want to explore a gorgeous underwater cenote in the Yucatan? Interested in exploring the ruins of Chichen Itza or Tulum? You can fashion a honeymoon as active or kick-back as you'd like.
Brides except: “(Choose from) the bustling Pacific Coast resort towns—Los Cabos, Punta Mita, and Puerto Vallarta. ... Then there's Caribbean-fronted Riviera Maya, home to resort areas both big and boutique—Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Isla Holbox. Travel inland and you'll find the shopping, architecture and gastronomic center of Mexico City ... and San Miguel de Allende, known for its baroque architecture and emerging food scene.”
Best cruises: There are myriad Mexican Riviera cruises on Mexico's west coast — we've liked our recent sailings there on Ruby Princess and Holland America's Westerdam — as well as Western Caribbean cruises that call on the Greater Yucatan region.
With its golden temples, monks in marigold robes and taxi cabs in candy-colored hues, Bangkok, a teeming city of 11 million, is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities, with magnificent palaces, navigable canals, busy markets, fabulous food and a vibrant nightlife. There's plenty for honeymooners to see outside of Bangkok, too, including Phuket, with its great beaches, diving and golf.
Brides except: “A trip to this Southeast Asian stunner is like smacking yourself in the face with culture. ... The chaotic energy of Asia will seep into your veins and ignite the senses from within, whether you're exploring the capital of Bangkok by tuk-tuk, walking and engaging with elephants at a luxe retreat like the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, learning traditional rice-planting techniques in Chiang Mai, or visiting the more than 400 serene, awe-inspiring temples that fill the cities and countryside.”
Best cruises: You'll find a wide range of cruise ships that visit Thailand from Silversea, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, Oceania Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line and Azamara Club Cruises.
About 1,600 miles east of Australia, Fiji's 333 idyllic islands (110 of which are inhabited) are made for romance and destination weddings, and they're also perfect for travelers looking for an active vacation or for big swaths of relaxation. You'll find blue lagoons and balmy breezes, coconut trees and sugarcane fields, lush rainforests and white sandy beaches, nautilus shells and perfect white orchids, 4,000 square miles of unspoiled coral reefs teeming with impossibly vivid tropical fish, good food and great weather.
Brides excerpt: “There may be 332 islands in the Fijian archipelago, but you need only visit one to experience the magic of this South Pacific nation. It starts with the people—happy-as-can-be locals, whose generosity will capture your heart as soon as you meet them.”
Planning your trip: See Cruiseable's travel guide to Fiji.
Millennial honeymooners will have lots to choose from in South Africa: cultural attractions, hiking, wine tasting and lots and lots of sightseeing. Cape Town, especially, is alive with style and has taken the best from both European and African cultures and incorporated them into a unique blend of heritage. The outdoors welcome hiking, swimming, sailing and mountain biking. Cape Town's cultural highlights will convince you to step inside one of its numerous museums and galleries.
Brides excerpt: “From Kruger National Park's luxe safari lodges to the stunning coastal city of Cape Town and the Insta-worthy bucolic Cape Winelands, it's safe to say South Africa is a shoo-in for world's most romantic destination.”
Best cruises: Silversea, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal Cruises, Oceania, Cunard and Holland America all offer cruises to Cape Town. One itinerary we like is Silver Spirit's 18 Night Cruise from Victoria to Cape Town, departing Dec. 18, 2017.
Planning your trip: See Cruiseable's travel guide to Cape Town.
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