The Best Cruise Lines for Couples

windstar cruise
••• Couple enter the water off the stern of a Windstar ship.

Windstar

A cruise can be a brilliant choice for a honeymoon or vacation together. Romantic and relaxing, a cruise is the perfect complement to a hectic wedding. Finally you're alone to unwind, eat well, have someone make your bed, and explore new destinations together. Since each cruise line is different, it's important to choose one that meets your needs — and understand the pros and cons of cruising.

Will you prefer an intimate river cruise that calls at a new city daily (and it's rare to encounter children onboard). Or a big, ocean-worthy vessel that offers tons of onboard activities and entertainment and appeals to different generations? The best cruise lines for couples follow; discover what makes each one unique.

  • 01 of 10
    viking gullveig
    ••• Viking Gullveig long ship docked in Budapest.

    Susan Breslow Sardone

    Named "Best for First-Timers" by Cruise Critic, Viking River Cruises will appeal to honeymoon couples who haven't traveled overseas before. With this cruise line, there's none of that "where do we go now?" anxiety, as Viking reps meet you at the airport and guide you to your ship. Vessels hold fewer than 200 passengers (no crowds!) and sail each day into the middle of a different port city, where you can explore on your own or join a free walking tour. Sleek, Euro-style ships feature two places to eat, complimentary beer and wine at lunch and dinner, and free wifi. There's no casino or production show, so Viking is best for couples happy to entertain themselves. 

    Tip: The Danube Waltz itinerary is magical in November and December, when Christmas markets flourish in each port.

  • 02 of 10
    windstar yacht
    ••• Calm seas on a Windstar yacht.  Windstar. © Tim Thompson.

    Windstar's six ship fleet includes both sailing ships and power yachts that carry 150 to 300 passengers. Both offer a true wind-in-your-hair experience and are nimble enough to sail into ports beside tropical beaches that big ships can't reach. Couples have the option of candlelight dining under the stars as well as indoors. Some ships have a spa and salon.

  • 03 of 10
    river cruise swimming pool
    ••• Petite pool on the sun deck.

    Susan Breslow Sardone

    AmaWaterways goes the extra knot in delivering amenities that couples appreciate. It's the only river cruise ship with a swimming pool on the top deck, and the newest ships have both full and French balconies and a specialty restaurant that delivers gourmet dinners with wine pairings. Ships also carry bicycles, so you can explore ports on two wheels. In-cabin wifi is complimentary.

    Tip: If your honeymoon is set for spring, take a Tulip Time cruise from Amsterdam. Keukenhof Gardens in bloom will become your next happy place.

  • 04 of 10
    celebrity eclipse
    ••• Adults-only pool on the Celebrity Eclipse.  Susan Breslow Sardone.

    The first big ship on this list, Celebrity's modern fleet features comfortable, high-style cabins. Celebrity doesn't cater to families with children, so you're unlikely to run into any on board. Consequently, the cruise line draws many couples who appreciate pampering and serenity at sea. There's an expansive spa, martini and coffee bars, a casino, and sophisticated shops that add to childfree grown-ups' pleasure. At night, catch a show or curl up under the stars on the top-deck Lawn Club that's landscaped with real grass.

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  • 05 of 10
    Paul Gauguin cruises
    ••• Pausing at Motu Mahana, Taha'a.  Paul Gauguin Cruises.

    Voyages on the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin call at Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, and the Motu Mahana private island. Airfare from Los Angeles, tips, and 24-hour room service are included in the cruise fare. Meals in the ship’s three dining venues feature menus from a Michelin-starred chef. And if you've always want to learn to scuba, this cruise line offers programs and dives from the ship’s marina and destination beaches. 

  • 06 of 10

    Honeymoon couples typically spend a lot of room in their cabin, and Regent's all-suite ships boast accommodations that are among the most spacious and well-designed at sea. Down comforters, fine linens, flat-screen TVs, a separate bathtub and shower, and wifi are provided on the five-ship fleet. And when the company says it’s the world’s most all-inclusive luxury cruise line, they mean it—fares include the suite, round-trip air, meals, fine wines and spirits, free shore excursions in every port, a pre-cruise luxury hotel package, and tips. 

  • 07 of 10
    Azamara Journey
    ••• Azamara Journey plies the sea.

     Azamara Club Cruises

    Ideal for couples who want to immerse themselves in a destination, Azamara's three mid-size ships linger in ports and sometimes stay overnight so you won't feel like teenagers with a curfew. Land programs offer experiences to help couples dine, play, and live like a local and explore the arts, culture, history, and natural beauty of a destination. On most voyages, a complimentary AzaMazing Evenings event offers a unique way to experience a port after dark.

  • 08 of 10
    Seabourn cabin
    ••• A handsomely decorated suite aboard Seabourn.

     Seabourn

    This ultra-luxury cruise line has worked with some of the world's best-known brands on its latest ship, Seabourn Ovation. Contemporary interiors were fashioned by designer Adam D. Tihany, Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil offers guests a holistic retreat, and The Grill by Thomas Keller is a classic American restaurant. All-suite accommodations have a private veranda spacious enough for al fresco dining, a comfortable living area with sofa and a desk/dining table, a walk-in closet, many in-suite entertainment choices, and a marble bathroom with separate bath and shower. A personal bar and refrigerator will be stocked according to your preferences and coordinated before arrival.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    ••• Silversea Cruises

    Fewer than 600 fortunate travelers sail each journey with Silversea. Combining lush accommodations (95 percent contain a private balcony) and high-end amenities, Silversea ships dock at smaller ports and visit major cultural centers. A butler and junior attendant are assigned to each suite. Couples also appreciate the gourmet cuisine, Pratesi bed linens, marble bathroom, and itineraries that span the globe. In-room binoculars help couples focus on their adventures ahead.

  • 10 of 10
    Harmony of the seas climbing wall
    ••• On-board rock climbing wall.

    Susan Breslow Sardone

    A cross between a floating amusement park and a three-ring circus at sea, Royal Caribbean cruise line's latest ships, such as Harmony of the Seas, seem designed for couples that prize constant stimulation. Holding almost almost 9,000 people at capacity (that's 6,780 passengers in 2,747 staterooms plus 2,100 crew members), ships have abundant diversions including two FlowRider simulators, zip line, a full-sized basketball court, climbing wall, and miniature golf range. There's comfort food (Johnny Rockets, Starbucks) and multiple places to eat as well as a fine for-fee restaurant, 150 Central Park.