Credit Princess Cruises with spreading the world that cruising can be an amorous experience, starting with the famed TV series “The Love Boat” that ran from 1977 to 1987. For those of you who have never cruised, it’s true, sailing on a luxurious ocean liner or the right river ship does provide an opportunity for amour.
Of course, it helps if you add a few of your own tricks to stoke the fires. We don't need to tell you how to stir your partner's passions — say, by packing a sexy outfit for him or by giving her a relaxing massage.
But we can suggest some ideas for making your next cruise a romantic getaway to remember, whether you’re a newlywed, happily married or happily single.
Here, then, are 10 surefire ways to ramp up the romance on a cruise.
Before embarkation, surprise your partner with flowers and Champagne ordered in advance in your stateroom. (Arrange it through your travel agent or on the cruise line’s website.)
Helpful tip: If you’re sailing on Silversea, Seabourn, SeaDream, Regent or Crystal, the bubbly is free but the flowers usually aren’t. On Oceania you'll have to pop for the wines, ditto on Cunard. By the way be sure to order the complimentary caviar to enjoy on your balcony, up on deck, by the pool or wherever you desire if you sail on Seabourn, there's something so romantic about digging into the beautiful plate of roe and condiments together with Champagne, of course.
Plan a romantic shore excursion that’s outside the box by hiring a limo in port to take you to a secluded beach for a picnic. Or perhaps arrange drinks at a secluded spot overlooking the cliffside and a picture-perfect sunset.
Multi-course meal on your veranda
On some ships such as from the luxury and premium lines Silversea, Seabourn, Regent, Crystal and SeaDream, you can order room service served in courses with wine and/or Champagne and even request flame-free candles to set the mood in your stateroom or on your private veranda. (Oceania brings your whole meal at once.) If you'd prefer, make a reservation in your ship's specialty restaurant, which costs a little extra (unless it's an all-inclusive sailing), but it's typically more intimate than the main dining room and serves better food.
Music or videos to set the mood
Bring romantic music for the cabin or a romantic video to watch. Most higher-end ships have music players and video players in the stateroom. Or pre-load it on your iPad or tablet and get cozy.
Give each other the option to decide what you will do each day in rotation. There are lots of diversions available, both on the ship and on shore. Perhaps one day you'll both get massages, work out together in the fitness room and let your significant other pick the night's alternative dining venue. Perhaps your S.O. just wants to hole up on deck in a chaise all day. Or maybe your dearest has a wild side and wants to go on a catamaran ride or kiteboarding or windsurfing. Just go with the flow.
Bling it up
Nearly all ships have boutiques that offer duty-free jewelry where you can buy your partner a special piece and place it on his or her pillow before bedtime. The last time we were on Crystal and Silversea, my first mate surprised me with a gorgeous bracelet from one ship shop and a ring from the other. Of course, you can also go shopping in ports but sometimes the better bargains are on board.
A cruise vacation is a great time to let go of the trappings, expectations and conventions of modern life. Make some memories by following the road less taken. How about a fire dance, or a rave, or an afternoon of skinny dipping? In the French Islands of St. Bart's and Bora Bora, you can stroll to beaches where women swim topless (and sometimes bottomless). But guys, keep your trunks on — disrobing is a definite no-no.
Swingin' on a star
On Costa neoRomantica, you can head up on to the top deck and snuggle up in a bamboo swing with your sweetie while you watch the world sail by under the nighttime stars.
Dine at the perfect place
Keep the surprises coming. Be creative. If you’re going to be in a port late at night, do your homework and find a romantic restaurant to whisk her or him to by foot, cab or limo.
Just be present
And last but not least, spend some quality time talking, since most couples today are so busy with careers, children or other diversions they don’t have for this. On this subject, unplug yourself from constantly texting or emailing your friends and be in the moment. Now that's romance.
How about you? What kind of romantic interludes have you had on a cruise? What kind of gestures did you make to surprise your loved one?