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Best romantic cruises

Get lost with your sweetie at sea.

Updated

Happy couple on a cruise enjoying a champagne toast at sunset

What defines a romantic cruise? Intimate surroundings. Complimentary wine and champagne, so you can indulge stress-free. A balcony or two. And extra brownie points for a no-kids-allowed policy. We feel you.

On these cruise lines, you don’t have to worry about packed, sweaty corridors or overcrowded patios. They’re known for understated elegance and, in some cases, total luxury. We even included a budget option because, well, love don’t pay the bills.

Prepare to swoon.

Best for couples that want all-inclusive amenities, but not butler service: Azamara

These country club-style cruises are classy without being stuffy, stylish without feeling staid. Wine, beer and drinks are all included — as is the yummy food. Azamara puts an emphasis on immersive experiences, so you'll spend longer days at each romantic island along the way — perfect for longs walks along white-sand beaches in Aruba, Bonaire, St, Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and more.
  • Mid-size ships dock at unique ports
  • Adult-focused, but kids are allowed
  • Some itineraries include overnight stays on shore
Price ($-$$$):
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Best for couples that enjoy organized tours and onboard seminars: Viking Ocean Cruises

Is there anything more romantic than short lines and nearly empty cobblestone courtyards? Wander through ancient, sun-soaked cities like Šibenik (Croatia), Ephesus (Turkey), Crete (Greece) and spend quality time with your sweetie during hands-on shore excursions like culinary lessons and dance classes.
  • Adults only
  • Onboard experts and guest lecturers
  • Fully stocked library
Price ($-$$$):
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And if your sweetie's style is Scandinavian — natural light, clean lines, minimalist decor — Viking Cruise Line's ships will be an aesthetic paradise. Wine and beer are included with meals, and Wi-Fi is free.

Best for couples aged 50+: Seabourn

Relax into the lap of luxury with your love on cruises through the majestic Alaskan wilderness. On Seabourn, you'll get unlimited caviar and champagne from the moment you board. The line's known for superior staff and special touches — like a surprise bottle of wine on your pillow at night.
  • Adults only
  • Onboard experts and guest lecturers
  • Fully stocked library
  • Wine tastings and hands-on seminars along the way
Price ($-$$$):
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Together, you'll marvel at calving glaciers, wonder at misty fjords and meander through rustic villages before retreating into your warm cocoon-for-two at night.

Best for couples that want a premium luxury getaway: Crystal Ocean Cruises

Crystal's elegant Espirit yacht sails to off-the-beaten-path villages and peaceful seaside towns with no more than 62 passengers aboard. Its Indian Ocean cruise around the Seychelles is particularly thrilling.
  • Daily afternoon tea
  • Staff of 90 with just 62 passengers
  • Butler service
  • Adult-focused, but kids are allowed
Price ($-$$$):
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Everything from shore excursions to premium boozy drinks, gourmet food and Wi-Fi is included in your fare. So if you want to spend all afternoon watching the world go by, sipping cocktails and clinking cheers, you can.

Best for active couples: Windstar

These cruises feel more like sailing on a private yacht than a shared ship. Windstar's itineraries are designed to enliven the senses — you'll eat and drink delicious Tahitian fare bursting with flavor, kayak and swim through sparkling water and revel in the privacy of tiny island coves. Tahiti's fiery, South Pacific sunsets are nothing less than extraordinary.
  • Partnership with the James Beard Foundation
  • Themed cruises for foodies and wine lovers
  • Adult-focused, but kids are allowed
  • Ships hold less than 310 guests
Price ($-$$$):
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Best for couples that want a premium luxury getaway with flights included: Regent

Medieval castles, rapturous ballets, lavish palaces and fragrant, rolling vineyards characterize lively itineraries through the likes of London, Lisbon, Barcelona and more. Regent Seven Seas includes complimentary shore excursions that focus on the art, history and music of each destination.
  • Onboard destination expert
  • Gourmet dining with sommeliers
  • Culinary classes, trivia and live evening entertainment
  • Adult-focused, but kids are allowed
Price ($-$$$):
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And Regent Seven Seas treats passengers like royalty. Not only is it all-inclusive — from fancy lattes to premium alcoholic drinks, gratuities and more — it also pays for business-class plane tickets to and from ports.
Budget option

Best for couples on a budget: Norwegian

Hawaii is nearly synonymous with paradise. NCL's best-in-class itineraries around the islands will take you and your boo to nirvana — for less than $100 per day on some itineraries. Surprise your significant other with red roses and chocolates or spring for a couples' massage.
  • Awarded Best Hawaii Itinerary 14 times by Porthole Magazine
  • Norwegian's frequent Free at Sea deals include free beverages, shore excursions and more
Price ($-$$$):
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Hoping to save cash? It's possible to have an absolutely lovely time without spending an extra cent on board. Adults-only lounges and evening entertainment abound.

How we chose these cruises

We looked at the ambiance that each cruise line is known for, prioritizing cruises with onboard experiences designed especially for couples and itineraries to beautiful, serene ports. We focused on elevated packages that fuse thoughtfully-curated food, drink and service to pamper passengers.

While we favored cruises that cater to mostly adult passengers, we also looked for companies that are known to deliver the highest value for the price — weighing stateroom amenities, dining options and the range and quality of shore excursions.

Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation for delivering special-occasion celebrations.

Top deals on romantic cruises

Bottom line

Cruises can be the perfect way to relax with your boo, far away from the stress of everyday life. Keep in mind that you can often use a travel credit card to earn points and rewards when you book that romantic cruise.

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