7 Best Cruise Lines for Couples: Romantic Getaways at Sea

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Young Couple on a Cruise Ship with Drinks in hand

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You’re planning a romantic getaway with your partner, and what’s better than a cruise?

Cruise ships and romance go hand in hand.

Whether you’re after traditional romance, adventure, luxury, or something more budget-friendly, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the seven best cruise lines for couples. So, sit back, relax, and let’s set sail on your dream vacation.

Princess Cruises: Best Cruise Line for Traditional Romance

Island Princess World CruisePin

Princess Cruises excels at offering a diverse, entertaining, and engaging vacation across its fleet. If you’re after traditional romance and elegance, Princess Cruises is your best bet.

The cruise line offers a wide range of balcony accommodations, wine and chocolate pairings, private balcony breakfast or dinner options, and even romance packages.

This Carnival-owned cruise brand offers a variety of itinerary options around the world, including sailings to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, 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.

The wine and chocolate pairings are another highlight for couples. The wines are paired with gourmet chocolates by master sommeliers, creating a decadent experience to indulge in with your partner. Plus, Princess Cruises’ romance packages can add that extra spark to your trip, offering a variety of amenities such as couples massages, champagne, and fresh flowers.

There are plenty of dining options for two, but the most extravagant romantic option is the Ultimate Balcony Experience.

The Ultimate Balcony Experience treats you to a full-course lobster dinner with Champagne for an extra fee on your balcony. Enjoy the breathtaking ocean views as you enjoy a culinary experience. What could be more romantic? (Note: you must have a balcony stateroom).

Virgin Voyages: Best Cruise Line for Young Couples

Virgin Voyages Valliant Lady docked in Europe cruise portPin
Rendering Credit (Virgin Voyages)

Virgin Voyages is a great choice for young couples seeking an adventurous and lively sea holiday. The kids-free cruise line is purpose-built for young adults, creating an exciting, high-energy environment. It’s the best cruise line for young adults seeking an out-of-the-ordinary romantic getaway.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group operates the cruise line and promises a top-tier party at sea.

Every aspect of Virgin Voyages is designed to create unforgettable experiences. You’ll find unique dining venues, vibrant nightlife, and a range of activities that push the boundaries of what’s traditionally offered on cruise lines.

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 line’s private island, Beach Club at Bimini.

Virgin’s adult-only cruise ships offer a one-of-a-kind experience experience with over 20 onboard restaurants and bars on Scarlet Lady. 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. If you’re looking for the best pizza at sea, be sure to stop by Pizza Place for a late-night snack.

At Virgin’s private island, Beach Club at Bimini, the cruise ship remains docked late into the night. The late-night stay includes campfires on the white sand beach and a beach party under the stars featuring a live DJ. Past sailings have seen celebrity DJs such as Mark Ronson and Diplo spin the night away.

Couples can enjoy quiet time on the private island by renting a cabana, snuggling under starry skies, or relaxing by the beachside bonfires.

Virgin Voyages isn’t your typical romantic couple’s cruise. It’s a place where you can let loose, have fun, and make lasting memories with your partner. Whether you want to dance the night away at their onboard nightclub, rejuvenate in their wellness spa, or explore exotic destinations, Virgin Voyages has you covered.

Royal Caribbean International: Best Cruise Line for Active Couples

The pool deck and waterslides on Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas cruise shipPin
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International is the go-to cruise line for active couples seeking an adventurous getaway. Couples can race to the top of the rock climbing wall or see who can hang ten the longest on the FlowRider, all before a relaxing couples massage.

When you sail with Royal Caribbean, you’re not just booking a room on one of their cruise ships. You’re signing up for an adventurous journey where every moment is an opportunity to try something new.

Imagine yourself rock climbing on the high seas or surfing on the FlowRider surf simulator. How about ice skating or ziplining? Royal Caribbean International has heart-stopping thrills you won’t find on any other cruise line.

Each day of your cruise can be filled with heart-racing action, making it the perfect choice for couples who don’t just want to lounge by the pool.

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. 

I highly recommend dining at The Chef’s Table, which offers a unique culinary experience unlike any other cruise ship restaurant.

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 and Bahamas 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: Best Cruise Line for Couples on a Budget

Carnival Celebration Rendering in opean oceanPin
Rendering Credit: 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 Carnival Cruise Line is a great option for couples when you’re watching your wallet. The cruise line offers affordable packages without skimping on fun or quality. Carnival is best suited for couples seeking a budget-friendly vacation that doesn’t compromise on amenities or entertainment.

The cruise line offers some of the lowest prices in the industry. And despite the low fares, Carnival’s fleet contains some of the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ships.

Regardless of the type of couple you are, you’ll find something to enjoy.

Carnival cruises are also known as “party cruises,” 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.

From thrilling waterslides to cozy couples’ spa treatments and an array of dining options to suit every palate, Carnival Cruise Line ensures a memorable trip. You can dance the night away at their themed parties, try your luck at the onboard casino, or simply relax and watch the sunset from your private balcony.

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.

The Serenity Adults-Only Retreat is the perfect spot to unwind, relax, reconnect with your partner, finish that book, or do absolutely nothing at all.

Norwegian Cruise Line: Best Cruise Line for Go-With-The-Flow Couples

Norwegian Joy SailingPin
Photo Credit (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. 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.

Signature bars include Sugarcane Mojito Bar and District Brewhouse with live music and unique drinks – the best spot to spend your evenings enjoying each other’s company!

Norwegian Cruise Line also offers a plethora of entertainment options. From Broadway-style shows to live music, there’s something to suit your mood. And, when you’re ready to unwind, the cozy staterooms provide the perfect sanctuary.

Celebrity Cruises: Best Large-Ship Luxury Cruise Line for Couples

Celebrity Apex, ship sailing in open waterPin

Celebrity Cruises, known for its high-end amenities and unparalleled service, is a top pick for luxury-loving couples. Celebrity is an excellent option if you’re looking for a large mainstream cruise with a touch of luxury.

On board their cruise 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 line’s Solstice-class ships feature the signature Lawn Club, perfect for 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. Enjoy Italian favorites at Tuscan Grille on date night 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: Best Cruise Line for Small Boats

Viking Octanis docked in Port Colborne Ontario CanadaPin
(Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)

Viking Ocean Cruises is an excellent choice if you and your partner prefer smaller, more intimate cruise ships. 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 fares.

Being adults-only, the atmosphere on board is calm, refined, and focused on relaxation and exploration. You can spend your days taking in the stunning ocean views from the private lounge or exploring the beautiful islands that are part of your itinerary.

The all-inclusive cruise fare includes onboard Wi-Fi, gratuities, and a free shore excursion at every port of call. 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.

Each cabin on these vessels is designed with comfort and luxury in mind. You’ll enjoy a spacious, elegantly decorated room with a view of the ocean, making your journey as breathtaking as your destination. Your stay will feel more like a 5-star hotel rather than a cruise ship.

The cruise line’s attention to detail, outstanding customer service, inclusive base fare, and luxury experience are why they make our list of the best cruise lines for couples.

Viking Ocean Cruises are renowned for their ability to dock in smaller, less crowded ports. This means you’ll get to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and immerse yourself in local cultures in a way few other travelers can.

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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