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Hawaii is for lovers: Walking along a romantic beach in Kauai. Above all else, decide on what kind of experience you're after.

Tor Johnson / Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii is for lovers: Walking along a romantic beach in Kauai. Above all else, decide on what kind of experience you're after.

Top 10 romantic honeymoon cruises

Cruiseable's 'Best Cruise Lines for Honeymoons' Awards 2016-2017

After planning a two-week honeymoon of my own, I know that selecting a honeymoon destination is an exciting, daunting task. A honeymoon is the one time it should all be about you, so where do you want to spend your first days as Mr. & Mrs.?

 
  TRAVEL ROMANCE
 
Weddings, honeymoons & more
 
 

For thousands of couples each year, cruising offers the perfect option: You get to immerse yourself briefly in a variety of locales and cultures with all the amenities that a ship provides — couples spa treatments, whirlpools, often a lively casino or dance club — minus the stress of dealing with logistics.

Choose a getaway that will provide a lifetime of memories: a wedding on land or on a ship; a honeymoon on a cruise ship or one that's combined with a hotel stay and land vacation. Some 15% of all honeymoons today are on a cruise ship. 

After consulting with fellow cruise industry experts, here are our Editors' picks for Cruiseable's first annual Best Cruise Lines for Honeymoons Awards for 2016-2017.

Use a Cruiseable travel advocate

Because there's so much that goes into planning a honeymoon, you should have a travel expert work on your behalf — at no charge to you. There are honeymoon cruises for every budget and every style. So contact a Cruiseable travel advocate in our Business Department at 1-877-322-3773 to begin planning your dream getaway.

 

Go snorkeling with your loved one in the clear waters of French Polynesia and Tahiti on Paul Gauguin.
Courtesy of Paul Gauguin CruisesGo snorkeling with your loved one in the clear waters of French Polynesia and Tahiti on Paul Gauguin.

Best Romantic Honeymoon Cruise

Tahiti or Bora Bora aboard Paul Gauguin

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When it comes to romantic cruise destinations, French Polynesia is about as good as it gets. Paul Gauguin Cruises offers a memorable voyages to Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea aboard the 332-passenger ms Paul Gauguin, which packs a lot of luxury touches to pamper the newlyweds. In Bora Bora you'll have access to an exclusive, palm-tree-lined beach on a motu just off the coast as part of your cruise. 

Complimentary Honeymoon Package

  • Special gathering featuring a Polynesian blessing ceremony performed by Les Gauguines — the onboard troupe of hostess/entertainers — and hosted by the cruise director
  • In-stateroom celebratory bottle of champagne
  • One 8"x10" photo portrait
  • Exclusive pillow gift
  • Gift Registry with a wish list ranging from shore excursions to dining and spa options. 

Cost: Free (included with your cruise fare). Upgrades available with extras such as a private dinner with the ship captain or hotel director.

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $500 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Tahiti Special Hotel-and-Cruise Package: Receive a $500 per stateroom shipboard credit on sailings through April 15, 2017 if booked by July 30, 2016.

Where to sail

Use our Bliss Filters sliders to zero in on the kind of romanic escape on Paul Gauguin you're seeking. Some itinerary ideas:

 

Captivating sugar-cube buildings line the cliffs of Oia on Santorini, Greece — one of the great views in the world.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableSugar-cube buildings line the cliffs of Oia on Santorini, Greece — one of the great views in the world.

Best Mediterranean Honeymoon Cruise

Cruise the Med on Wind Star

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With a capacity of just 148 passengers, Windstar Cruises' four-masted sailing yacht, Wind Star, brims with laid-back romance. Set sail to places like otherwordly Santorini, Rhodes, Ephesus, Istanbul, the Amalfi Coast, Mallorca, Barcelona and Lisbon. Windstar Cruises offers luxury amenities on its yacht-style cruises, and the crew will go out of its way to make your honeymoon special. The 310-passenger Wind Surf is another good choice.

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $500 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

3 romance packages

  • Honeymooner Romantic Bon Voyage: Includes bottle of champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries and breakfast in bed. Cost: $160.
  • Just For Us: In addition to the above, add a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne and caviar for two, served in your room. Cost: $350.
  • Pure Pampering: Includes a dozen long-stemmed roses, bottle of sparkling wine, chocolate-dipped strawberries, two bathrobes, in-cabin afternoon tea service, dessert and sparkling wine served in your room, plus two 25-minute aromatherapy massages. Cost: $399.

Where to sail

Use our Bliss Filters sliders to zero in on the kind of romanic escape on Windstar you're seeking. Some itinerary ideas in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South Pacific:

 

The 62-passenger Crystal Esprit brings Crystal Cruises into the yachting and river cruising worlds.
Courtesy of Crystal CruisesSee Venice, Kotor and Dubrovnik on the 62-passenger luxury yacht Crystal Esprit.

Best Luxury Yacht Honeymoon

Explore Game of Thrones territory

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Honeymoon couples can enjoy easy elegance and style aboard the new luxury yacht Crystal Esprit from Crystal Cruises. Esprit debuted in December 2015 with room for only 62 passengers, giving you the feeling that this is your sailing. It has the highest crew-to-passenger ratio of any ship in the world. Enjoy exceptional Michelin star-level cuisine created by Crystal’s own masterful culinary team. Choose from two complimentary Crystal Adventures shore excursions in every port — one culturally inspired, the other a soft adventure.

We especially like the yacht's variety of water sports equipment that can be used directly from the marina deck aft. Snorkel or swim in the inviting waters of the Adriatic; water ski and jet ski; or paddle a kayak in the early morning quiet. During the day, you'll want to explore destinations such as Venice, Kotor and Dubrovnik, with its awesome medieval fortress that has been the filming location for the real King's Landing in HBO's “Game of Thrones.“

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $500 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose, to go with your all-inclusive pricing. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Where to sail

We especially like the two-week cruise in July 2017 that starts in Venice with stops in Dubrovnik, Kotor and Athens. Here are some other Crystal Esprit itineraries, but you'll want to call us to get the best price and for flight and travel arrangements. 

 

Masjid Sultan, or Sultan Mosque, is located at Muscat Street and North Bridge Road in Singapore.
Robert Lowe / Creative Commons BYThe magnificent Masjid Sultan, or Sultan Mosque, in Singapore. See it on a Silver Shadow cruise. 

Best Laid-back Luxury Honeymoon Cruise

An all-inclusive luxury cruise on Silversea

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If you're a fan of all-inclusive luxury cruises where the emphasis is on the destinations more than onboard activities, you can't do better than Silversea. Their fleet of sleek small ships traverse the world, with many itineraries in the Mediterranean but also in far-flung places such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Along the way, you'll receive world-class, personalized service. 

Make sure you notify the cruise line at least a month ahead of time that you are Very Important Honeymooners, and during your cruise you'll receive a cake inscribed "Happy Honeymoon." All guests also receive a bottle of Maison Pommery Brut Royal Champagne (yes, you can ask for another), chocolates on arrival and fresh orchids in your room. And couples can enjoy gourmet dining and an enormous spa. 

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $500 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Where to sail

Silversea ships circle the globe. Use our Bliss Filters sliders to zero in on the kind of romanic escape on Silversea you're seeking. Some ideas:

 

Grand Peterhof Palace and the Grand Cascade in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Florstein / Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0Grand Peterhof Palace and the Grand Cascade in St. Petersburg, Russia. It's one of the sights you can see on Seven Seas Explorer.

Best Once-in-a-Lifetime Honeymoon Cruise 

Sail on the world's top luxury ship

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If you've saved up, why not splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon cruise aboard Seven Seas Explorer? The ship, debuting next month from Regent Seven Seas, is already being touted as the most luxurious ship ever to sail the high seas.  Only 750 pampered guests will be on board the all-suite, all-balcony ship. Explorer features three specialty restaurants, including Chartreuse, a French-inspired dining venue, and the line's first Culinary Arts Kitchen. On sea days, relax and enjoy the finest shipboard amenities — try a his and her spa day.

Honeymoon Package (optional)

  • Veuve Clicquot Champagne with caviar and condiments
  • In-suite canapés (served every afternoon)
  • Upgraded flower arrangement
  • Miniature wedding cake
  • Box of Leonidas chocolates
  • Private congratulations letter from the ship captain

Cost: $470

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $250 to $1,000 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose, to go with your all-inclusive pricing. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Where to sail

Seven Seas Explorer sails throughout Europe, the Caribbean and Middle East. We like the Nordic Splendors and Kingdoms of the North cruises in August 2017 that visit St. Petersburg, Russia, Tallinn, Berlin, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Be aware: Explorer sells out far in advance, so you'll want to call Cruiseable's Business Department at 1-877-322-3773 to get the best price and for flight and travel arrangements.

 

Lavender fields of Provence in the South of France.
Atout FranceLavender fields of Provence in the South of France.

Best Wine-tasting Honeymoon Cruise

Prance through Provence on a river tour 

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The perfect choice for a long, leisurely honeymoon? Consider a wine-themed river cruise on AmaWaterways, which offers more wine cruises than any other cruise line. AmaWaterways' offers a wide variety of wine cruises that include an expert host, three wine tastings and a food and wine dinner pairing. Enjoy tours to historic wine cellars to meet local owners. Visit castles along the way. You can also set up a free gift registry for your journey so your loved ones can participate in the celebration.

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $500 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Where to sail

One itinerary that we completely love is the 7-night Arles to Lyon Cruise through Provence, southern France — including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon as well as Arles, the city where Vincent van Gogh spent much of his life — with an optional pre- and post-cruise 3-night stay in vibrant Barcelona and/or 3 nights in Paris. Other great choices include Bordeaux, the Danube, Rhine, Portugal's Douro River, or Paris & historic Normandy. 

 

A caribou wanders across fields in Denali National Park, Alaska.
Lars Johansson / Courtesty of Aramark LeisureA caribou wanders across fields in Denali National Park, Alaska.

Best Alaska Honeymoon Cruise

A cruise tour to Alaska with Princess

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Princess Cruises is known for many things, but it's probably best known as the top cruise line for seeing Alaska. For honeymooners, the perfect pairing would be a cruise tour that includes visits to ports along the Inside Passage along with a scenic train ride followed by a stay in a Princess Wilderness Lodge near the entrance of Denali National Park, home to grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, Dall sheep and 20,310-foot-high Denali (fka Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak.

Deluxe Honeymoon Package (optional) 

  • Champagne breakfast in bed
  • Personal invitation from the captain to visit the bridge while in port
  • One 25-minute therapeutic massage or facial at the Lotus Spa
  • 2 take-home Princess Cruises robes

Cost: $445. A more basic Honeymoon Package is available for $150. It includes a bottle of champagne, 2 engraved glasses, 2 long-stemmed red roses on arrival, framed formal portrait, chocolate-dipped strawberries and box of Godiva chocolates.

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $1,00 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning, including the addition of a Denali National Park land tour and vacation stay.

Where to sail

Use our Bliss Filters sliders to zero in on the kind of romanic escape on Princess you're seeking. Some itinerary ideas:

 

Kayaking during a SeaDream II sailing in the Caribbean.
Courtesy of SeaDream Yacht ClubKayaking during a SeaDream II sailing in the Caribbean.

Best Caribbean Honeymoon Cruise

Escape to the Caribbean on SeaDream

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Ever wonder what it would be like to sail on an intimate luxury yacht to dreamy Caribbean destinations? You'll be the toast of the ship on SeaDream I or SeaDream II. Both feature itineraries in the Caribbean from November to April to such spots as St. Barts, St. ThomasSan JuanBritish Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and Barbados. With a maximum of 112 guests and 95 crew members, you'll have attentive service throughout your journey, plus some of the best cuisine at sea on a cruise with cruisers of all ages. 

Couple's Package (optional)

  • Private champagne breakfast overlooking the sea or sunset celebration with canapés and champagne
  • Captain-officiated ceremony, with special certificate, performed on Bridge Deck
  • Flower arrangement and lapel florals
  • Live musical accompaniment
  • Single tier cake
  • Oshi-Bori towels presented by a Thai Spa attendant

Cost: $750

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $500 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Where to sail

Here are some options for you on SeaDream if you use our Bliss Filters. You'll notice that SeaDream's yachts have dozens of unique itineraries throughout the year.

 

The Pitons, two mountainous, lush volcanic spires, loom over Saint Lucia.
Courtesy of St. Lucia Tourist BoardSee the tropical paradise of St. Lucia or visit historic Mediterranean ports on the new Koningsdam.

Best Classical Honeymoon Cruise;

Sail on the charming new ms Koningsdam

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Launched in April 2016, the 2,650-passenger ms Koningsdam — the first new Holland America Line ship in many years — is drawing oohs and aahs for its airy, classy design, inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments, and its classical music performances with performers from New York's Lincoln Center. Other highlights include a new French seafood restaurant, a new farm-to-table dinner experience at the Culinary Arts Center and an atrium with a three-deck-high space topped by a skylight with changing projections. Koningsdam draws a younger set of travelers than other Holland America ships.  And speaking of classical, Holland America is the world's oldest ship line, founded in 1873.

Honeymoon Package

  • Private Honeymooners Party at sea
  • Bouquet of fresh flowers
  • Silver picture frame
  • Honeymoon certificate

Cost: $48.95

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $500 Bonus Credit, depending on the stateroom you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Where to sail

Koningsdam spends her summer in the Mediterranean and the winter months in the Caribbean. See a complete list of Koningsdam itineraries. Some ideas:

  

Royal Clipper leads the way for Star Clipper in exploring the Îles des Saintes near Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.
Courtesy of Star ClippersRoyal Clipper leads the way for Star Clipper in exploring the Îles des Saintes near Guadeloupe.

Best Wind-in-Your-Hair Honeymoon Cruise

Sail on a classic clipper ship

10Close your eyes and imagine you and your sweetie sailing on an old-timey clipper ship, just as in days of yore ... except for the culinary delights on board, gracious service, casual elegance and charming shore excursions. Star Clippers re-creates the golden age of tall sailing ships with three breathtaking mega-yachts: Royal Clipper (227 passengers) and twin sisters Star Flyer and Star Clipper (170 passengers). Star Clippers ships are for people looking for an authentic sailing experience. Propelled by the wind, these ships can take you to small, off-the-beaten path locations that large cruise ships can't get to. 

For honeymooners, you can expect a complimentary bottle of champagne, an assortment of fresh fruits and sweet treats, and a special gift and certificate signed by the captain.

Beyond that, you can experience the luxury of a private yacht while sailing to smaller, lesser-known destinations that big cruise ships can’t visit. The relaxed yet elegant shipboard atmosphere is the perfect antidote to months of wedding planning. And you'll like the beach time, water sports and soft adventures that you'll be able to experience together.

Honeymoon Bonus: Cruiseable will throw in a $50 to $200 Bonus Credit, depending on the cabin you choose. Call our travel experts at 1-877-322-3773 for your free trip planning.

Where to sail

Star Clippers ships sail the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Far East. Use our Bliss Filters sliders to zero in on the kind of romanic escape on Star Clippers you're seeking. Some ideas:

Award winners

Recipients of Cruiseable's 'Best Cruise Lines for Honeymoons' Awards for 2016-2017:

Best Romantic Honeymoon Cruise: Paul Gauguin
Best Mediterranean Honeymoon Cruise: Windstar Cruises
Best Caribbean Honeymoon Cruise: SeaDream
Best Laid-back Luxury Honeymoon Cruise: Silversea
Best Luxury Yacht Honeymoon: Crystal Cruises
Best Once-in-a-Lifetime Honeymoon Cruise: Regent Seven Seas 
Best Wine-tasting Honeymoon Cruise: AmaWaterways
Best Alaska Honeymoon Cruise: Princess
Best Classical Honeymoon Cruise: Holland America
Best Wind-in-Your-Hair Honeymoon Cruise: Star Clippers

Note to honeymooners-to-be!

Remember, you're not limited to our top 10 list. For some honeymooners, a better fit might be on Celebrity Silhouette with its exquisite dining, or a Lindblad Expeditions adventure to the Galapagos or Sea of Cortez, or if you want to hop on the world's largest cruise ship, the just-launched Harmony of the Seas, or if you want to honeymoon in Hawaii or Bermuda, or dozens of other choices. Use Cruiseable's ship write-ups and travel guides for details about each ship, the itineraries they sail and the ports they call on. 

Claim your Bonus Credit

Then, when you've discussed it with your special someone, contact a Cruiseable travel advocate to find you the best cruise at the best rate — at no charge to you. Call us at 1-877-322-3773 for all your travel planning and booking needs and to claim your Cruiseable Bonus Credit of up to $1,000 per stateroom. 

Your take

Have you taken a cruise during your honeymoon? What was it like? What advice do you have for newlyweds? I'd love to know!

In our Travel Romance series

Shannon Kircher
Shannon Kircher is chief curator of Cruiseable and founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect, a travel blog focused on experiential travel with a luxury slant. Originally from California, she resides full time on the island of Anguilla where she and her husband operate the luxury boutique hotel Frangipani Beach Resort.

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