These 5 Cruise Lines Are Perfect for Couples
We get it. Especially after the social-distancing protocols we’ve had for the past two years, not everyone will think of a cruise vacation for a romantic getaway, but these are not your typical cruises.
SeaDream, Viking, Oceania, Seabourn and Silversea cruise lines provide an elevated experience that caters to couples, mainly because they have smaller, more intimate ships that make it a point to pull out all the stops. Think Champagne and caviar toasts, gourmet dining experiences and couples massages. But that’s only the beginning of why these are five of the best cruise lines for couples.
SeaDream’s Romantic Cruise Experience
Top destinations: Caribbean; Mediterranean; Transatlantic
Best for: Couples, romance, luxury, small ships, foodies
SeaDream Yacht Club is a unique cruising experience, somehow providing a sophisticated yacht experience while maintaining a casual elegance. The yachts attract mostly couples, drawn to the small, intimate ships and romantic perks, like two-person Balinese daybeds that allow couples to sleep under the stars. Though eight outdoor beds are available, you’ll want to reserve the largest bed at the forward deck, which is roped off after dinner and offers the most privacy. Anyone celebrating an anniversary should let the staff know, as they’ll surely decorate your cabin with flowers, balloons and chocolate.
SeaDream’s “resort casual” dress code means that you can enjoy five-star dining without having to cram your feet into formal footwear while on vacation. In the event that you miss one of the three gourmet meals prepared each day, the bar serves great food and classy hors d’oeuvres (and wine!) that make afternoons that much more fun. SeaDream’s menu also includes extensive plant-based meals, including vegetarian, vegan and raw-food options. The crew takes food allergies and sensitivities very seriously, and the chef is happy to create personalized meals in addition to the already-impressive menu selections.
Their twin “mega-yachts”, Sea Dream I and Sea Dream II, visit small harbors and ports in the Mediterranean and Caribbean that are often inaccessible by larger ships. Many of these seven- to 14-day trips end with SeaDream’s signature “Champagne and Caviar Splash” on the beach. Guests wade through warm, turquoise waters in their bathing suits as the crew passes out caviar and bubbly from the top of a surfboard-like floating dining station.
Viking’s Intimate River Cruises
Top Destinations: Europe; Mediterranean; Asia; Africa; Middle East; Transatlantic
Best for: Couples, romance, luxury, river cruises
Viking, which got its start with river cruises in 1997 and was rated the No. 1 River Cruise Line in 2019 by Cruise Critic members, is known for pulling out all the stops. In addition to its world-famous river cruises, Viking introduced ocean cruises in 2015 to take passengers on voyages around the world.
Viking’s luxurious cruising experience and explicit adults-only policy make its cruises perfect for couples looking for a bit of romance. Instead of water slides and kids’ clubs, Viking cruise ships are equipped with theaters, lounges, fireplaces, Nordic-inspired spas and infinity pools where you won’t find children splashing or throwing toys. Sailing trips through the Mediterranean, British Isles, South America and along Africa’s western shores are perfect for honeymoons, anniversaries and just-because trips for couples or parents who want to enjoy a child-free vacation.
Though the size and amenities offered on Viking River Cruises vary within each category, all of Viking’s ocean ships are sister ships, meaning they have different names but are the same size and offer the same amenities. River cruises have one main dining area, but ocean cruises also offer two alternative restaurants. In general, ocean ships tend to be larger than river cruises, as oceans allow more room for the ship to maneuver. After all, strong tides require a larger ship.
Oceania Cruises Is Perfect for Foodie Couples
Top destinations: Europe; Asia; Africa; Middle East
Best for: Foodies, couples, luxury
Oceania Cruises is one of the best cruising options for foodie travelers. In fact, U.S. News notes that Oceania “caters to foodies” by offering cooking demonstrations, gourmet dining and wine tastings. Offshore excursions include traditional city tours and less-common experiences like wine-making lessons at prestigious wine estates.
The food is great, but it’s not the only draw. Painting and sketching classes are popular with guests, as are cooking classes and enrichment lectures during the day. In the evening, enjoy a glass of champagne while listening to classical string ensembles.
Cruises range from seven to 28 days to epic 180-day adventures from Asia to Alaska to South America to the Mediterranean. Oceania has two classes of ships, the R class, which includes the Regatta, Sirena Insignia and Nautica and the O class, which includes the Riviera and Marina. The R class ships are smaller (up to 684 passengers) and make it easier to make friends, while the O class ships can accommodate 1,250 guests and offer more dining options and onboard activities.
Luxury Cruising Aboard Seabourn
Top destinations: Mediterranean; Caribbean; Middle East; Asia; Africa
Best for: Luxury, foodies, small ships
Seattle, Washington-based cruise line Seabourn wins over luxury travelers by offering a high-end, intimate experience. All the rooms are suites with ocean views, and with vessels for only 458 to 600 guests, passengers are sure to enjoy an intimate experience.
Gourmet meals are served across several specialty restaurants, with some menus created by Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller. Note that “resort casual” dress is welcome during the day, but jeans are not permitted in The Restaurant, the ship’s most elegant dining option.
Seabourn’s five ships have nearly identical services, venues and amenities but the Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation are larger and have dedicated sushi restaurants, Artlink-curated art collections and an additional top deck. Known as The Retreat, this outdoor space has 15 private cabanas, plus a private spa cabana that can be rented for a half a day or a full day.
Go Big or Go Home With Silversea Cruises
Top destinations: Asia; Africa; Middle East; Europe
Best for: Luxury, couples, small ships
Silversea might be one of the most luxurious — and expensive — cruises out there, but, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Silversea’s small ships are equipped with chic cabin suites that afford stunning ocean views, and some itineraries include offshore excursions.
Classic Silversea ships have anywhere from 294 to 608 passengers while their smaller expedition ships only accommodate 100 to 254 guests. Silversea, which is owned by Royal Caribbean, offers trips to over 900 destinations around the world, including ports in Russia, Japan, Alaska and the French Riviera. Guests tend to be over the age of 50 and are a mix of couples, small groups and solo travelers that enjoy premium perks like gourmet restaurants and cabin butler service.
Silversea’s larger, classic ships are the Silver Spirit, Silver Wind, Silver Whisper, Silver Shadow and Silver Muse. These larger ships offer more dining options and public areas such as the popular Arts Cafe, which features a curated library and revolving Italian art exhibits. The SilverGalapagos, Silver Cloud and Silver Explorer, are smaller expedition ships. Though smaller in size, these ships are able to visit hard-to-reach ports of call and feature special guest lectures and shore excursions.