The Best Cruises for Couplesby Sherri Eisenberg | November 20, 2015
Whether you’re cruising for your honeymoon, an anniversary, or just taking a vacation for two, a cruise can be an ideal couples retreat. Of course, all it takes is a few pictures showing kids racing down waterslides or lining up for character autographs to realize that not all cruises are designed for grown-up vacations. These seven lines have just enough peace and quiet for your next escape.
Why It's Best for Couples: Like the river cruises that inspired this oceangoing line, Viking Ocean is for adults only. The Scandinavian-inspired design on Viking Star and Viking Sea goes beyond modern and sleek to dramatic — the infinity pool seems to pour into the ocean, and it’s conveniently located right next to a bar. Best of all, the coed spa has steam rooms and hot tubs as well as a snow room where you can cool down together — before letting things heat up all over again.
Don’t Miss Date Night: Manfredi’s may be the best Italian restaurant at sea right now. Work your way through plates of just-carved prosciutto, handmade pasta, and tiramisu before retiring for cocktails or coffee on your veranda.
Why It's Best for Couples: The lines’ two newer sophisticated ships, Marina and Riviera, are like modern boutique hotels at sea, with elegant Ralph Lauren-designed suites and a cooking school where you can pair up with your sweetie and duplicate whatever the celebrity chef at the front of the room is whipping up. What better souvenir than a new shared repertoire in the kitchen?
Why It's Best for Couples: That’s a tough call. We love the rotisserie chicken and impressive cheese course at Jacques, celebrity chef Jacques Pépin’s eponymous, very personal homage to his hometown. But we also love La Reserve, an intimate dining room that seats about a dozen couples for exquisite wine pairing dinners. Consider yourselves warned: It’s a communal table. If you want to be alone, go with Jacques instead.
Why It's Best for Couples: Paul Gauguin sails around the South Pacific all year long, so this line knows Tahiti better than any other. Shore excursions include motu visits that will top your private island fantasies, and you can learn to tie pareos or take scuba diving classes and snorkel in the lagoon right off “the back of the boat.”
Don’t Miss Date Night: After dinner, head to Le Grand Salon to watch a Polynesian dance troupe perform. They shake their hips faster than Hawaiians do with the hula as they use drums to tell their story.
Why It's Best for Couples: Crystal woos passengers with stellar service that’s attentive without being intrusive — a hard mark to hit. The result: some of the youngest passengers in the luxury market, who flock to Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony for the attention to detail.
Don’t Miss Date Night: There are two great choices on these ships. Prego, the Italian restaurant, serves memorably rich dishes that are presented beautifully — think mushroom soup in a sourdough “bowl” and delicate handmade ravioli topped with foam. But our money is on Silk Road, the Japanese spot helmed by legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Come early, order off menu, and then head to the Magic Castle, a show put on by LA’s famed private magic club.
Why It's Best for Couples: SeaDream I and SeaDream II feel a bit like country clubs at sea. There are private beach parties, complete with Champagne and caviar served on rafts in the sea, and the ship also makes “unscheduled” late-night visits to beach bars, where you can sip rum punch with your toes in the sand.
Don’t Miss Date Night: After dinner, put on your pajamas and head up on deck to sleep out under the stars. The crew will have made it up with sheets and blankets. Our advice: Reserve the most forward bed on the sun deck, for extra privacy, on a night when the ship doesn’t have far to go to the next port (and therefore isn’t likely to be sailing as quickly).
Why It's Best for Couples: Older couples flock to Silver Shadow, Silver Spirit, Silver Whisper, and Silver Wind for an all-inclusive cruise that focuses on quality: The house Champagnes — which you can sip wherever and whenever you like — include Pommery, bath products are by Bulgari, and blankets are Italian cashmere by Loro Piana.
Don’t Miss Date Night: Head to Le Champagne, the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea, for a tasting menu of seasonally inspired dishes. It’s exactly as decadent as you’re picturing: caviar, truffles, a soufflé, and even a little gold leaf.
Why It's Best for Couples: Seabourn’s all-suite Odyssey, Quest, and Sojourn have fewer than 500 passengers per sailing, which allows the crew to get to know you a little better. Food-loving couples will also appreciate that Seabourn recently partnered with Thomas Keller of California’s famed French Laundry, who is rolling out new menus across the entire fleet.
Don’t Miss Date Night: Restaurant 2 is a gorgeous modern space befitting any major city, so it should come as no surprise that these tables fill up fast. If you want a prime spot on a sea day, book yours as soon as they open up, 48 hours in advance — or risk missing out on decadent indulgences like foie gras crème brûlée and shellfish carpaccio.
Sherri Eisenberg is the New York City-based editorial director of ShermansCruise.com.