Romance & Honeymoons

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 6 August 2014 | 0 Comments

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6 August 2014
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Savvy tips to help you create the perfect honeymoon cruise. 

Imagine sunning on a secluded deck with your new spouse, enjoying an intimate dinner in a pillow-filled banquet overlooking the ocean, toasting with piña colada’s as the ship slides into yet another exotic port, or getting dressed to the nines to play blackjack in a glittery casino. Get out your sequins, cruising is the happening honeymoon.

WHY A CRUISE

It’s a no-brainer. Cruises mean “all-inclusive,” so you don’t have to think about pulling out your wallet; there’s something to do for every personality; there’s food at all times; entertainment galore; and plenty of new locations to explore.

CHOOSE INTELLIGENTLY

The biggest mistake cruising newbies make is booking the wrong ship. Most people focus on the destination(s) and don’t pay enough attention to the ship itself. Cruise lines—even individual ships within a line—vary greatly in terms of atmosphere and facilities. Some have a party-allthe-time ambiance and/or a luxurious spa; others are ideal for curling up on deck with a good book. So work with a professional travel agent who specializes in cruising. Here are some other considerations to keep in mind.

  • Are honeymoon packages available?
  • Does the line offer complimentary perks for honeymooners, such as free Champagne?
  • Can you book a table just for two in the dining room?
  • Are there likely to be other couples your age onboard?
  • If the line offers room service, can you order from a full menu, or are you just offered breakfast and sandwiches?

BEAT THE RUSH

On most cruises, you’ll want to schedule all kinds of daily activities. And so will everyone else—usually at the same time. Shore excursions are described in a brochure that comes with your cruise tickets. Be sure to book excursions you can’t bear to miss early on; this also holds true for those all-important spa treatments. (Increasingly, lines allow you to book them before you leave home.)

GET ACTIVE

Thankfully cruises have lost the image as a couch-potato holiday. Shipboard workout centers have gone high-tech with the latest state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Many ships offer guests basketball courts, computerized golf simulators, and rock climbing walls. Still others offer amazing excursions including heli-hiking, snorkeling, diving and windsurfing are just a few options. And for a day at the beach, many cruise lines will take you to their own private island, where you and your fellow cruisers have unlimited use of kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats and snorkel gear. You may even want to join a beach Olympics competition.

FEEL LIKE ROYALTY

Inquire about cruise lines that pamper their passengers with in-room extras like terry cloth robes, fruit baskets and the like. Be sure to let the cruise director know you’re newlyweds. Ask about dinner at the captain’s table and other special recognition. You can also purchase add-on packages that include a formal portrait in an engraved frame and a champagne breakfast in bed. Most lines also tailor packages for couples who want to kick off their honeymoon with a wedding.

PACK RIGHT

A very wise travel journalist once said, “There are two types of luggage: carry-on and lost.” It often takes hours before your baggage gets to your cabin. So pack for survival: Put a little of everything you’ll want and need in a carry-on bag. Include shirts, socks, a bathing suit and something to wear to dinner. As added protection, buy travel insurance that covers you for lost, stolen, damaged and delayed luggage.

SET SAIL

Here are some of the best cruise lines which off er all the creature comforts and then some. Need we say more?

CELEBRITY CRUISES

Long considered the plushest of the mid-priced cruises, Celebrity (celebritycruises.com) is more attentive to service than you might expect on big ships. The design is also elegant: Exterior glass elevators look out over the sea, and specialty restaurants have wood paneling and artefacts from famed ocean liners.

MSC CRUISES

This relatively new Italian cruise line attracts mostly Europeans but also markets to North American travelers. MSC Cruises (msccruisesusa.com) have a decidedly European fl air and are well-suited to couples celebrating a new life together. Innovations on the newest MSC ships include the ultra-luxurious MSC Yacht Club, a marvellous “ship within a ship” concept for passengers and off er an exclusive sanctuary for privacy. Yacht Club cabins provide guests with 24-hour butler service, private Top Sail Lounge with panoramic lounge and breathtaking views and prestige services, private access to the spa and sun deck.

 

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

This line attracts a varied bunch of couples and families with its rock-bottom deals, especially in the Caribbean. Norwegian Cruise Line (ncl.com) has also done a lot to change the way cruises operate today. Its “freestyle” cruising concept—which did away with dress codes and assigned tables—was radical in 2000. Other lines have followed, but none off er as many restaurant choices, everything from a Hawaiian restaurant to sushi bars, teppanyaki grills, and tapas bars (quality varies, however). The entertainment is equally creative: NCL consistently one-ups the competition when it comes to stage shows, including comedy acts by Chicago’s Second City troupe and Bollywood-inspired productions complete with contortionists and fi re-eaters.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL

Royal Caribbean (royalcaribbean.com) sells itself as the active choice for all who fear boredom. The interior of the behemoth ship looks like a shopping mall, cluttered with boutiques and cafés. With ice-skating rinks, rock-climbing walls, and those supercool wave pools, there really is a lot more action than on your typical cruise. Their fleet includes some of the largest ships at sea. If you’re worried about an expanding waistline on the cruise—a common enough cruise affliction—you’ll be pleased to learn that Royal Caribbean has some of the largest fitness centers.

SILVERSEA CRUISES

Silversea (silversea.com) is the epitome of luxury cruising with a sophisticated ambiance. All suites have an ocean view, and most include a private verandah; and there’s the added indulgence of a private butler, there to pamper to your every whim. All meals, beverages and even gratuities are included. The advantage of smaller ships (from 114 to 590 passengers) is the ability to explore secluded and rarely seen harbors that are inaccessible to larger vessels. More space, less crowds – and truly personalized service.

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