A cruise can be a phenomenal way to spend a vacation - it combines the best of an all-inclusive resort with multiple stops so that you can explore more than once place at a time. Cruises are available for all budgets, all lifestyles, and all kinds of places, and while the huge number of cruise options is absolutely incredible, it can also make choosing the best cruise for you a little bit daunting. How do you know which cruise is the best... and which is going to be a bust? As with any other vacation, it all depends on what you are looking for, and these questions should help any couple figure out where to take a romantic holiday on the open seas.
10 What is your budget?
This should be an obvious question, but it's definitely something that you want to work out before you start booking - and it's not just the budget for the cruise itself that you have to think about. In addition to the cruise, consider how much you may want to spend at the stops - are they long enough that you will want to go out to eat? Are you planning on bringing back souvenirs? Finally, consider whether you want to go all-inclusive on board or not, and look into what that will include (spa treatments, for example, are often not included even if food and drink is), and if you need to set aside some cash to tip the staff as well.
9 Is the cruise adults-only?
This one may not matter to everyone, but if you are looking for a truly romantic experience, you may want to consider booking a cruise that is adult-only. Nothing is going to ruin the mood of your romantic vacation like little kids running around everywhere, shrieking and playing. While kids can be adorable, adults-only cruises can certainly offer a more relaxing experience, as well as a few adults-only perks (like more space for bars and spas, and restaurants that don't bother catering to little palates).
8 How Many Stops?
Some cruises are all about the itinerary, with stops almost every day, and most of the daytime being spent off the ship itself, exploring different locations. However, other cruises are all about the experience on board, with fewer stops and more full days spent at sea. Are you enjoying the cruise for the shipboard experience, or is seeing as many new places as possible more important to you? If you aren't concerned about the stops as much as the experience, the size and luxury of the ship itself should be a bigger concern than the cruise route itself.
7 What's your top priority?
Obviously, your number one priority is going to be having a relaxed vacation with your partner... but beyond that, what is the biggest deal for you? Are you more interested in a cruise with phenomenal food, or the one with the best entertainment?
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Maybe you and your partner are really into physical fitness, in which case you should look at ships with the best gyms and classes, or perhaps there is something else that is a passion of yours. Figure out which elements are the most important, and look at reviews for those first - this will help you narrow things down.
6 How large of a ship do you want?
Some cruise ships are quite small and intimate, while others are floating cities, with incredible amenities. Are you looking for the kind of cruise where you could get lost on board, and you will be able to try a different restaurant for every meal... or does that sound just a little overwhelming? If you think that you might get bored easily, a bigger ship may be for you -but bear in mind that some of the biggest ships can't dock at as many ports, so if lots of stops is an important factor, then a smaller ship may be the way forward.
5 Are you interested in a theme cruise?
If you are looking for something really special, a theme cruise might be for you. Disney cruises may be on the pricier side, but for fans of the House of Mouse, they are one of the best options - and definitely luxurious! It may seem like a no-go for couples, as Disney is such a family company, but there are even adult-only Disney cruises where you can live your own romantic fairytale. On the opposite end of the spectrum, for the intellectual couple, think about one of the cruise lines that focuses on culture and learning, with talks and cultural events.
4 How much of an itinerary do you want?
Are you the kind of independent couple who wants to spend the day doing whatever you want... especially if all you want to do is absolutely nothing? Or would you rather not have to make any decisions about what to do, and have your experience carefully curated with a detailed itinerary packed with activities.
Some cruises are definitely more activity-oriented, and will involve lots of pre-set activities and events, while others are more about relaxing - and which one suits you is completely up to you.
3 Do you want to meet other couples?
As well as considering whether you want to have a detailed itinerary or not, consider whether you are interested in mingling and meeting other couples... or if you want to keep your cruise time just for the two of you. Some cruises are definitely geared toward group events, meeting other people, and making new friends, while others are going to keep couples to themselves.
2 Consider Seasonal And Non-Beach Cruises
Cruises may bring to mind the image of time by the pool, tropical cocktails, and stops at islands, but this doesn't have to be the only kind of cruise that you choose. There are plenty of options that aren't about the beaches, from Alaskan cruises to European trips that are all about stopping at picturesque seaside towns. You can even go for seasonal cruises - a Christmas cruise is a romantic way to spend the holiday (and not have to do any dishes, or deal with family craziness!).
1 The Final Practicalities
Of course, there are a few other things that you will have to consider for any cruise. How long are you able to take time away for? Some cruises can last for months, while others only last a few days. Some cruises may launch from a local port, while others may require a flight to get to the initial launch port (although that's often worth it, if you are looking for a truly unique experience!). Language and visas are also something to consider - although the vast majority of cruises will make sure that any required visas are taken care of as part of the package. Make sure to cross the is, dot the ts, and then you can relax and just enjoy some couple time away from it all.