With so much to plan for your wedding, the last thing you want to do is stress out about your honeymoon. Cruises make excellent honeymoons because they combine pampering with travel – you can vacation to fabulous destinations, without having to do the hard planning work. Plus cruise ships have plenty of ways onboard to relax, with spas, celebrity-chef restaurants, culinary classes, butlers and swanky bars, plus the sea as your backdrop.
Cruise Critic breaks down cruise honeymoon perks and packages, so you can get from the aisle to the gangway as breezily as possible. The following 10 best cruise lines for honeymoons offer the right mix of relaxation and romance.
At first glance, the party hearty vibe of a Carnival cruise might not jibe with visions of romance. But who doesn't like fun in the sun? And let's face it, weddings can be more stressful than you think. Carnival is the perfect environment to be able to cut loose, with just the two of you. If you're looking to do the Big Day onboard, the line has several packages to choose from. But if you want to spend time with just the two of you, the line has a Honeymoon Registry, so your guests can help contribute to your big trip, by gifting spa treatments, shore excursions, cabin upgrades or dinners for two in specialty restaurants. If you note that you're honeymooners on your booking, we're told that waiters will sing to you, in true Carnival festive style.
The line also sells special occasion cakes that you can order in advance, as well as flowers and sparkling wine, or a fluffy suite robe you can keep. Or go all out with cheerful and fun Just Married cabin decor.
Celebrity Cruises offers a sophisticated onboard atmosphere and personal service at lower rates than the luxury lines. For top amenities and service, book a Retreat cabin, which comes with a private butler and access to an exclusive lounge and suite restaurant.
If you're avid spa-goers, spring for an AquaClass cabin, with in-room wellness amenities and exclusive access to the chic specialty restaurant Blu as well as the spa's relaxation room and Persian garden thermal suite. Concierge Class provides access to nightly canapes, priority boarding, pillow menus and more, without the full cost of booking a suite.
Celebrity offers three celebration packages that can be ordered to commemorate your honeymoon. The Classic package includes a bottle of wine, flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries, while Deluxe includes Champagne, in-cabin breakfast with mimosas, fresh flowers, a dozen chocolate-covered strawberries and your choice of a personalized cake.
The Premium package includes everything from the Deluxe package, except the flowers are red roses, the Champagne is Dom Perignon, and you also get reservations for two at one of the specialty restaurants onboard. Or kick your honeymoon off right with the Premier Pass package, which includes priority boarding; a bottle of Veuve Cliquot; Wi-Fi for two devices; an Inside Access tour and Officer's Lunch for two; and a wine pairing for two. You also get a bag of laundry per stateroom, which means you don't have to worry about the little things.
Despite what you might think, Disney Cruise Line caters to adults as much as to kids, offering special adults-only pools, restaurants and nightclubs along with a stellar spa. Still, you probably should be a serious Disney fan to consider this cruise for your honeymoon. If you are, keep in mind Disney's Dream Class, which offers a second adults-only restaurant designed by a Michelin-starred chef as well as a trendy nightlife area.
Disney cruises offer dozens of gift and package deals. You don't need to be a honeymooner to book them, but it's certainly appropriate. Four romance packages at different price points include all the cute extras: chocolates, roses, sparkling wine and robes. If you abstain from the hard stuff, Disney offers two nonalcoholic romance packages with sparkling cider instead. You can also stop by the guest services desk to ask for a pair of "honeymoon" buttons; wearing them during the trip might get you some special attention.
If you don't want to stick to a schedule on your romantic getaway, Norwegian's "freestyle" concept lets you eat when and where you want, with a choice of various restaurants and cuisines onboard. Plus, multiple bars, lounges and discos ensure happening nightlife if you and your new spouse like to stay out late.
Norwegian hosts too many honeymooners to give away costly freebies, but you can book one of five packages. With the Ultimate Romance package, you'll get sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, a dozen red roses, a couple's massage, breakfast in bed (twice), in-cabin tea service, nightly canapes, two formal portraits and dinner for two with wine in the French restaurant Le Bistro as well as Cagney's Steakhouse.
Norwegian also offers a partnership with Honeymoon Wishes, allowing couples to set up an onboard registry.
Oceania Cruises is an excellent choice for low-key honeymooners or perhaps those embarking on a second marriage who want interesting itineraries, sophisticated onboard ambiance, and fantastic dining and service.
While Oceania does not make a big effort to attract honeymooners, its mature (50 and older) passengers flock to the line for the aforementioned understated trips and affordable luxury. And, even if there are no rose-petals-on-the-bed packages, you'll find plenty of romantic spots onboard these cozy and intimate ships.
The ship's Champagne breakfast -- available only to passengers in Concierge-class rooms -- is sweet; a full hot and cold menu, including the bubbly, is served on your private balcony. If you and your new spouse bond over food, Oceania pairs its onboard Culinary Center and kitchen with Culinary Discovery Tours -- exclusive culinary enrichment and dining experiences in port.
Paul Gauguin Cruises, a small-ship cruise line, spends the year sailing in the far-flung South Pacific and has repeatedly been voted a top cruise line for romance by Cruise Critic.
The honeymoon package includes a Polynesian blessing ceremony with other honeymooning couples and a bottle of Champagne. The best part? The package is included if you indicate at the time of booking that you will be on your honeymoon.
For a fee, you can upgrade to a more lavish honeymoon package that also includes a letter from the captain, an invitation to dine with the captain or hotel director, canapes every afternoon, a miniature wedding cake, a box of chocolates, a special flower arrangement, and Champagne and caviar. The cruise line also offers a gift registry Honeymoon option.
"The Love Boat" line offers all the optional amenities necessary for onboard romance: fabulous dining, including a VIP dining experience in the galley and catered dinner on your private balcony; indoor and outdoor pampering with alfresco massages in The Sanctuary and couples' treatments in the Lotus Spa; and, for onboard date night, a variety of entertainment options ranging from outdoor movies to Broadway-style production shows scored by multi-award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz.
Princess Cruises offers two honeymoon packages. The first includes a bottle of Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, two engraved glasses, a framed portrait from your time on ship, as well as a special note from the Captain. The deluxe package adds two robes that you take home; a free Champagne breakfast, along with canapes or petit fours; a free trip to the Lotus spa for one facial or massage per person and a personal bridge tour with the Captain.
Some active cruisers think surfing, rock climbing and working out together is romantic -- especially when you can unwind in the spa, relax in a hot tub or indulge in some Ben & Jerry's ice cream after you've worked up a sweat.
You can choose the Royal Caribbean romance packages, which includes a bottle Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries (price depends on how fancy you want to get with your bubbly and chocolate lovers take note -- you can also upgrade to truffles). The Just Married room décor package features a mirror cling and magnetic door sign, decorations and a commemorative frame. The cruise line offers a gift registry that applies to these packages, as well as to shore excursions.
While Holland America Line usually draws honeymooners from later-in-life marriages, it makes a point of offering a full array of romance packages that are sure to appeal, no matter what your age.
The Romantic Voyage package comes with a Bon Voyage bouquet; a bottle of sparkling wine; a photo sheet to keep; six chocolate-covered strawberries; dinner for two in the Pinnacle Grill; two 25-minute massages and a card lesson with $25 in casino chips. Or supersize your togetherness with the Just for Us package, which includes a dozen roses; a bottle of Champagnel two spa robes that you can bring home; an afternoon tea served in your stateroom; an evening dessert and sparkling wine in your cabin; a guaranteed table for two in the dining room; two 25-minute aromatherapy massages; dinner for two at the Pinnacle Grill and an activity photo sheet to keep.
The laidback vibe onboard Windstar is perfect for honeymooners who want a lot of romance without a lot of fuss. The ships are also ideal for active honeymooners interested in water sports, including snorkeling, windsailing, paddleboarding and water skiing. Those water activities come complimentary aboard the yachts. (Scuba diving is also available for an additional fee, depending on the destination.) The onboard al fresco restaurant Candles is one of the most romantic at sea.
The line has a Honeymoon Bon Voyage package that includes champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries and breakfast in bed. There's also a Pure Pampering package that comes with roses, champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries and two aromatherapy massages. On the line's super-romantic South Pacific sailings, couples have the option to book an over-water bungalow in Bora Bora for a fee. Accommodations feature views of Mount Otemanu and direct and private access to the water. Plus, the overnight stay comes with three meals.