Sea of Love
Late-night walks on deck, dinners cooked by world-class chefs—nothing delivers romance like a cruise ship. Here, our picks for the six sexiest sailings.
CUNARD | SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
SHIP Queen Mary 2 ITINERARY Transatlantic DETAILS On the classic voyage from New York to Southampton, England, passengers travel in aristocratic style, with five days of nothing to look at but the horizon. Care for a couples' massage?Check into the 20,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch SpaClub. View the stars from the uppermost deck, No. 13, then step into the planetarium. On the QM2 formality reigns, so leave that T-shirt in the suitcase and break out the evening attire for dinners in the two-story Britannia Restaurant.
SEADREAM | A YACHTING EXPERIENCE
SHIP SeaDream I ITINERARY Caribbean DETAILS The next-best thing to chartering your own yacht is sailing on the SeaDream. It has just 55 staterooms and a flexible itinerary, so passengers can request a detour, a dive, even a vow-renewal ceremony. On Jost Van Dyke, a sliver of sand in the British Virgin Islands, guests enjoy a private beach party with champagne and grilled lobster. On board, there are dozens of diversions, including water-sport toys, a Thai spa, and daybeds for sunning (or sleeping under the stars).
WINDSTAR | SAILING ADVENTURE
SHIP Wind Spirit ITINERARY Greek Isles DETAILS With the ship's ivory sails billowing in the mist, you glide through the deep-blue seas much as ancient mariners did—except those mariners never got frozen, lemon-scented towels to keep the heat at bay, fully loaded iPod Nanos, or meals devised by famed California chef Joachim Splichal. If food is your (other) love, sign up for a chef-led tour of a local market, then team up with the cooks to prepare your meal. Too much exertion?Just climb into a hammock for two on the ship's prow and rock to the rhythms of the Med.
SEABOURN | SMALL-SCALE PERKS
SHIP Seabourn Legend ITINERARY Italy DETAILS On this trip from Monte Carlo to Rome, the gleaming white vessel calls on Calvi, Corsica, where you can take a drive into the nearby Bonifatu forest and frolic in secluded rock pools. From there it's on to Portovenere (the name means Port of Venus—need we say more?) and heart-stopping Portofino. Between dockings, reserve the hot tub on Deck Five, where a waiter will serve you champagne (or hot-fudge sundaes) by moonlight. Or stay in your balcony suite and enjoy course after course from the Charlie Palmerâ€“created menu. If you do venture out for a free massage by the pool, you'll be far from the madding crowd: though the number of amenities suggest otherwise, this ship holds just 208 passengers.
CRYSTAL | THE ULTIMATE BIG SHIP
SHIP Serenity ITINERARY Mediterranean DETAILS Serenity serves 1,080 passengers—fewer than half the amount that similar-sized mega-ships carry. That means plenty of space at its Nobu restaurant and on deck. And the stops are as exotic as they come: from Rome, you travel to Libya, where you can wander ancient souks, then to Cairo's Catacombs of Kom el Shuqafa and to Kusadasi, Turkey. Back on board, return to modern times with a hot-stone massage to relax your mummified muscles, or sink into your suite's full-size soaking tub while your butler sets out caviar on your veranda.
REGENT SEVEN SEAS | FULL FANTASY
SHIP Seven Seas Mariner ITINERARY The Pacific DETAILS It's sugary shores, crystalline bays, and storybook romance on this epic voyage from Auckland to Los Angeles. With Regent Seven Seas Cruises' new Circles of Interest program, you can book the Romance Package and let the concierge customize your dream trip with a Polynesian vow-renewal ceremony on Bora-Bora or a helicopter tour of New Zealand's Bay of Islands. After leaving the Marquesas, you'll have a six-day at-sea stretch to Los Angeles—plenty of time for in-suite couples' spa treatments and candlelit dinners, followed by restful nights in your rose-petal-strewn bed.
800/728-6273; www.cunard.com; six-day QM2 cruise from $1,399*.
SeaDream Yacht Club
800/707-4911; www.seadreamyachtclub.com; seven-day cruise from $2,500.
800/258-7245; www.windstarcruises.com; seven-day cruise from $2,949.
Seabourn Cruise Line
800/929-9391; www.seabourn.com; seven-day cruise from $3,996.
888/799-4625; www.crystalcruises.com; 11-day cruise from $3,550.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
877/505-5370; www.rssc.com; 18-day cruise from $5,925.
*All prices per person, double occupancy for next available sailing.
travel-romance.com/cruising for more ship details and itineraries