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World's Greatest Romantic Cruises

Queen Mary 2

Courtesy of Cunard Line

Anyone looking for romance at sea should talk to Irene and Jim Manion, who celebrated their 60th birthdays on a Windstar ship cruising the Greek isles last summer. “You could reserve a table outdoors for a candlelight dinner,” says Irene Manion. “And we watched the sunset while looking out at the Greek islands. It was pretty incredible.”

For many, the term “romantic cruise” conjures up cheesy 1970s visions of matchmaking shuffleboard on The Love Boat. But for those who’ve actually sought out romance on the high seas, the reality is a whole lot more alluring. In fact, cruising can create a memorable experience with your loved one. What’s not romantic about admiring the open sea and holding hands while a crew waits on you hand and foot?

While romance is never guaranteed, choosing a love-inspiring cruising destination is a good first step. Going to Antarctica to ogle penguins is fine, but cruising, say, around the breathtaking volcanic peaks and crystal blue lagoons of French Polynesia on the Paul Gauguin is, well, sexier. Or go sailing in the Greek isles: whether you’re on small ships (like those of Windstar) or big vessels (like the Celebrity Equinox), it’s easy to see why these islands—with their beautiful sandy beaches, clear seas, and ancient ruins—are a favorite of die-hard romantics.

Constant views and a relaxed vacation ambience only serve to enhance the romance. Whether you choose a big ship with such accoutrements as lavish casinos, theaters, and lounges, or go with a more low-key small ship is a personal choice. But to assure amore on any ship you’ll want to book the biggest cabin you can afford—you don’t want to be on top of each other at all times.

Ships like the über-luxurious Seabourn Odyssey promise space with all-suite accommodations that include separate sitting areas, walk-in closets, and generous-size bathrooms. Look, too, for a cabin with a balcony, which adds a pleasant open-air retreat for private dining (and canoodling).

Further impress your sweetheart on the high seas with a couples’ treatment in the spa (the Canyon Ranch spa on Queen Mary 2 is one of the best). And plan a “date night” shipboard with an intimate dinner for two at a specialty restaurant like the fancy Crown Grill steak house on the Ruby Princess. Fittingly, that’s the same ship christened by reality TV couple Trista and Ryan Sutter (of ABC’s hit television show The Bachelorette) in celebration of their fifth wedding anniversary.

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