Cruise ships and romance go hand in hand. If you take a look at any of the cruise lines’ advertisements you’ll find pictures of couples snuggled up at the bow during sunset or sipping Champagne by themselves on their private balcony.
Cruising can be one of the most romantic vacation options for couples. Cruising promises romantic dinners in upscale specialty restaurants, relaxing getaways to private islands, and much more.
With so many cruise lines to choose from, selecting the right cruise line for your romantic vacation might feel overwhelming.
You don’t want crowds out deck when there are sunsets to enjoy or have to sit through a dinner with loud children running around.
When it comes to our top picks for the most romantic cruise lines, we considered all the criteria that might spell romance in the modern world. We looked at staterooms with private balconies and bathrooms; extra-special amenities; dining options for two; cozy nooks; and date-night venues and entertainment.
7 Best Cruise Lines for Couples
Here is our list of the seven best cruise lines for couples looking for a romantic vacation.
- Best Cruise Line for Traditional Romance: Princess Cruises
- Best Cruise Line for Young Couples: Virgin Voyages
- Best Cruise Line for Active Couples: Royal Caribbean International
- Best Cruise Line for Couples on a Budget: Carnival Cruise Line
- Best Cruise Line for Go-With-The-Flow Couples: Norwegian Cruise Line
- Best Luxury Cruise Line for Couples: Celebrity Cruises
- Best Cruise Line for Small Boats: Viking Ocean Cruises
Princess Cruises excels at offering a diverse, entertaining, and engaging vacation across its fleet. From impressive mega-ships to smaller and more intimate vessels, there is a Princess ship for every cruiser.
This Carnival-owned cruise brand offers a variety of itinerary options around the world, including sailings to the Caribbean, Bahamas, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Their cruise ships offer plenty of intimate and romantic activities for couples. The Sanctuary, the exclusive adults-only retreat, offers waiter service and couples’ massages. Cabanas can be booked for added privacy.
When the sun goes down you can catch a movie under the stars while relaxing on reclining loungers in the warmth of wool tartan blankets. And for a quiet conversation, the Adagio private lounge can be found on older vessels.
There are plenty of dining options for two, but the most extravagant romantic option is the Ultimate Balcony Experience. For an extra fee, you can get treated to a full-course lobster dinner with Champagne. (Note: you must have a balcony stateroom)
Virgin Voyages is the new kid on the block, with an added focus on young adults and kid-free vacations. The cruise line is a perfect fit for young couples. Operated by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, the cruise line promises incredible nightlife and a top-tier party at sea.
Virgin’s ships offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience with over 20 onboard restaurants and bars. Virgin Voyages has done away with the standard main dining room and buffets, in favor of an authentic restaurant experience. Each restaurant has its own unique menu and dining atmosphere, with items created by Michelin-starred chefs.
The nightlife onboard Virgin Voyages is unlike any other cruise line. Onboard nightclubs and pool parties are sure to have you dancing the night away. And if you’re sailing on one of the cruise lines Caribbean itineraries, your cruise will include a stop at the lines private island, Beach Club at Bimini.
At the Beach Club at Bimini, the cruise ship will stay docked late into the night with a late-night beach party, featuring a live DJ. Past sailings have seen celebrity DJs such as Mark Ronson and Diplo spin the night away. Passengers can enjoy quiet time at the private island by renting a cabana, snuggling under starry skies, or relaxing by the beachside bonfires.
Although they are new in the industry, Virgin Voyages has proven themselves as one of the top-tier cruise lines. They should definitely be on your radar when booking a couples cruise.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International is the go-to cruise line for active couples. Couples can race to the top of the rock climbing wall or see who can hang ten longest on the FlowRider, all before a relaxing couples massage.
For an intimate dinner, couples can choose from a wide selection of specialty restaurants that offer everything from pizza to sushi, and Mexican favorites to the Chop steakhouse.
In our opinion, Royal Caribbean shines with its world-class entertainment. Newer vessels are home to unique venues, such as the Aqua Theatre on Oasis-class vessels, or the technology-enhanced Two70 on Quantum-class cruise ships. Their nightly entertainment features original stage productions and traditional Broadway classics like Grease and Hairspray.
You will always find live music throughout the ship featuring a wide variety of musical genres. At the pool deck, you’ll find plenty of hot tubs and even an aft infinity pool on Wonder of the Seas.
Best of all, nearly every Caribbean itinerary features a stop at Royal Caribbean’s private island CocoCay. The private island is home to pristine beaches, ziplining, private cabanas, and North America’s tallest waterslide. Our favorite attraction is the helium-filled balloon that rises 450 feet above the island and provides once and a lifetime view.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival might not be your first choice for a romantic cruise. They’ve made a name for providing family-friendly cruises, which means lots of kids running around the pool deck. But, if you sailing on budget, Carnival Cruise Line is an excellent choice.
The cruise line offers some of the lowest prices in the industry. And despite the low fares, Carnival’s fleet contains some of the largest and most innovative cruise ships in the world.
Couples looking for a romantic dinner will find plenty of excellent options aboard the ship including American steakhouse Fahrenheit 555, Bonsai Teppanyaki, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse | Brewhouse. Carnival’s new ships like Mardi Gras also feature Shaq’s Big Chicken. Unlike most cruise lines, many of the specialty restaurants are included with the base fare.
The Serenity Adults-Only Retreat is the perfect spot to reconnect with your partner, finish that book, or do absolutely nothing at all.
Carnival cruises are also known as a “party cruise,” and for good reason. Dine-in movies, nightclubs with live DJs, the Sports Bar, Punchliner Comedy Club, and the relaxed Piano Bar provide plenty of entertainment for every traveler.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line’s casual approach to cruising is perfect for go-with-the-flow couples. Norwegian’s newer ships are full of Las Vegas flash and incredible entertainment choices while also offering quiet spaces for couples to relax and reconnect.
Active couples can race around the go-kart track or to the top of the rock climbing wall. While those looking to relax can take a dip in the thalassotherapy pool, or lay about in plush chaise lounges with stunning views in the glass-enclosed Observation Lounge.
For a romantic dinner, stop by Cagney’s signature steakhouse, or try the French cuisine at Le Bistro.
Come evening time, you will not find entertainment insufficient. At night, snuggle up to your honey while enjoying a drink and some entertainment. Take in the theater performance of Broadway or even rock out with your lover at The Cavern Club!
Signature bars include Sugarcane Mojito Bar and District Brewhouse with live music and unique drinks – the best spot to spend your evenings enjoying each others company!
In addition, comedy shows, themed parties, cover bands, and live music will have you partying well into the night.
Celebrity Cruises fleet consists of sophisticated and hip vessels that are perfect for romantic cruises. If you’re looking for a large mainstream cruise with a touch of luxury, Celebrity is an excellent option.
Onboard their ships, you’ll find plenty of spaces to enjoy quiet time with your loved one. From wine bars to multiple dining venues and double pool loungers, Celebrity Cruises is perfect for lowkey romantic cruise holidays.
Celebrity’s Edge-class ships feature a Rooftop Garden where couples can snuggle up to live music. The cruise lines Solstice-class ship’s signature Lawn Club delivers a romantic picnic for two on a real grass lawn.
Looking for a romantic candlelit dinner? Celebrity features some of the best restaurants at sea, with menus created by Michelin-starred chefs. On date night, enjoy Italian favorites at Tuscan Grille or fresh sushi at Sushi on Five.
Celebrity’s newest ships, Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex offer one of the most unique dining experiences at sea – the Magic Carpet. Hanging over the side of the ship, Magic Carpet offers open-air panoramic views. It is the world’s first cantilevered venue at sea to move 15 decks.
Viking Ocean Cruises
If you and your partner prefer smaller, more intimate cruise ships, then Viking Ocean Cruises is an excellent choice. The brand pioneered river cruising with immersive shore excursions and simple elegance onboard its riverboats.
Viking offers some of the most high-class ocean cruise vacations on its growing fleet of ocean vessels. The cruise line is noted for providing luxury without feeling pretentious. They deliver exceptional customer service and inclusive cruise fare.
What makes Viking a favorite on our list is that they don’t nickel and dime passengers. Bottled water and specialty coffees are included with the base fare, and so is the onboard Wi-Fi. Beer and wine are complimentary at lunch and dinner, and all the specialty restaurants are included with the base fare.
The dining menus are inspired by the destinations you visit, and the menu items feature locally sourced ingredients. The accommodations are some of the best among any cruise line with king beds, heated bathroom floors, and premium bath products. Your stay will feel more like a 5-star hotel rather than a cruise ship.
At every port of call, you get one tour included with your fare. Local guides will provide you with an authentic tour of local landmarks and historical sites.
Viking Ocean Cruises’ attention to detail, outstanding customer service, inclusive base fare, and luxury experience are why they make our list for the best cruise lines for couples.
If you’re looking for a luxury vacation do not overlook Viking Cruises.