Cruises can be a great choice for couples looking to recharge their batteries, ramp up the romance or simply enjoy a well-earned kick-back vacation. Yes, cruises are a good choice for families and groups, but there's nothing like a great getaway for two.
We should know: We've been cruising together for the past eight years, mostly just the two of us! While we have traveled with family and friends, there's something to be said about planning a cruise vacation for just you and your significant other. Whether you're a millennial, Gen Xer, baby boomer or retiree, you'll find activities, events and amenities on board to keep you engaged and entertained.
With that in mind, here are 7 simple steps to help you plan the perfect cruise for two.
Choose the right time of year
Have kids? Taking a special vacation for two doesn't mean you'd prefer to leave them behind — it just means everyone needs an escape now and then. While some cruise lines tend to be more adult oriented — say, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America or any of the luxury lines — the time of year you sail will also be a key factor in how many families and children are on board. To limit the number of screaming children and worn-down parents, cruising during the off season will mean fewer families and more adults on board looking for the same thing you are: some peace and quiet. September to mid-December and mid-January to May (except for spring break) will likely increase the adult quotient.
Bonus tip: During port visits, the ship gets pretty subdued during the day with most of the kids and families on shore, so you can even sneak in a waterslide or two, without the crowds, if you stay on the ship.
Find your perfect match
Picking the right cruise ship is something that you and your partner should do together. Make sure that you find a cruise that offers public spaces and activities that you both will enjoy. If you're into soft adventure then Lindblad Expeditions, Un-Cruise Adventures, Paul Gauguin, G Adventures or a some Royal Caribbean sailings could be the perfect cruise. However, if you're into art auctions, glass shows and a drink on the lawn, then a ship like Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Silhouette, Reflection, Equinox or Eclipse may be right for you. If romance is the thing, use the Bliss Filters at the right to see your best choices, including Windstar Cruises, Silversea, Seabourn, Star Clippers and Paul Gauguin. Spend time on Cruiseable and research the ships that appeal to you both.
Indulge in adult entertainment
The kids are back at home, so it's time to let loose. You remember how, don’t you? This is your chance to act like a grown-up. Feel free to go to the dance club and get down to your favorite tunes until 1 am. Or, grab the dice and play some craps or blackjack in the casino until the wee hours. Go see an adult comedy show, sip cognac, play cards or chat up some interesting strangers in a dark lounge. You're multidimensional, right?
Schedule some time together
This vacation is about the two of you, so be sure to set aside some time to rekindle the flame. Perhaps a couples massage in the ship’s spa can relieve some tension and bring you and your mate closer together. Or maybe a romantic shore excursion like a sunset cruise or horseback riding could really set the mood. Book a dinner at a specialty restaurant or surprise your significant other with a bottle of champagne and roses. Whatever it is, make sure that there are some established activities that let you spend some quality time together during the trip.
Bonus tip: Don't forget to plan some activities on shore for just the two of you, away from the crowds.
Throw caution to the wind
No one is around to see you, especially your usually omnipresent children, so now is the chance to risk it all and do something totally unfamiliar and uncharacteristic. How about an adventurous ziplining or parasailing shore excursion? Learn to scuba dive or go swimming with dolphins and stingrays. This is your chance. No worries if you're not 100% successful, we won’t tell.
Make some new friends
While you're traveling with your honey, that doesn't mean you can't make a few new friends. Cruises are great for socializing and meeting others who share the same interests and hobbies. Whether you're lighting up the dance floor or enjoying one another’s company in the pub or wine bar, feel free to strike up a conversation with your fellow travelers. Who knows where those mutual interests may lead?
Don’t forget those back home
Even though this trip is about the two of you, be sure to allocate time to connect with those back home. You can buy some Internet minutes to email the grandma/sister/babysitter or call home while at a port of call. While away, also make sure to grab the little ones some unique souvenirs and perhaps a few gifts for other family and friends back home.
With these simple tips in mind, you can begin to prepare the perfect cruise vacation for you and your significant other. Have other tips? Leave a comment below about your experiences on a cruise vacation for two.