Close your eyes and think about this. You’re standing on the windswept top deck of a cruise ship, the wind blowing through your hair as the ocean moves gently beneath you. The sun is setting in the distance & your loved one is sitting right next to you or standing in your arms.
How was that? Are you already more relaxed?
Cruising can be, and often is, one of the most romantic holidays you can take anywhere in the world. The open ocean provides a back drop like no other, and the onboard experience can’t be replicated at any land-based holiday resort anywhere on the planet.
In fact, cruising was considered so romantic, Aaron Spelling successfully built an iconic TV show set around the premise of love on a boat (well technically, a ship). But the facts stand for themselves. From multiple dining options spanning nearly every cuisine on the planet, to a world of entertainment you can take in with your one and only, a cruise for two has it all.
In an effort to help you have the most romantic Valentine’s Day ever (particularly if you’re yet to buy a gift), we have set out to give you the expert tips on finding that special spot aboard your favourite vessel.
As you can imagine, most of the speciality dining venues on every ship typically book out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, so ensure you get in early to secure a table in your desired venue.
Our pick for the most romantic restaurants at sea include P&O Cruises’ Salt Grill by Luke Mangan. The intimate restaurant, found on each of the line’s five ships, is popular on every voyage, but its romantic setting – particularly on Pacific Dawn and Pacific Jewel, where it is positioned on Deck 14, high above the water and delivering a perfect view – delivers a wow factor for all who enjoy the cuisine.
The menu is something of a culinary wonder in itself with highlights including a one-kilogram bone in rib eye steak for two – perfect to share with your lover – and a devilish gooey chocolate tart, served with honeycomb and caramel ice cream.
For something a little more exotic, consider Royal Caribbean’s Izumi sushi bar. The intimate venue offers a wide selection of traditional Japanese sushi and sashimi and is neatly perched in an upper corner of Royal Caribbean’s sister ships Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, boasting uninterrupted views of the sea.
Romantically inclined diners can enjoy sushi boats for two and hot stone dining experiences which allow you and your partner to partake in meals-for-two and food sharing activities as you sample little bits and pieces from each others’ plates.
The venue is naturally floodlit by the daylight during a lunch seating but at night, sees tables adorned with a dimly lit red candle, with fragrances accentuating that oriental feeling.
Once dinner is finished and you’ve polished off the last of dessert or your bottle of wine, take some time to stroll the outdoor decks of your ship as you’re sure to stumble upon a romantic spot such as the front bow on the wrap-around decks of Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess and Diamond Princess.
Those seeking something a touch more exhilarating yet still retaining an element of romance can participate in the activities which make up P&O Cruises’ Edge activity program.
This program, available in varying degrees across the line’s fleet of five, provides couples (or even singles if they wish) with the opportunity to recreate a particularly romantic and iconic moment – the famous scene from Titanic with both you and your partner can scale the bow of the ship and stand on the railings, just like Jack & Rose did in the movie.
It may be a bit of a mood killer but it’s also very necessary, but in line with modern safety concerns, guests are harnessed to the railing, avoiding any chance for a potential dip in the the ocean, significant fall and subsequent rescue effort from the ocean.
If you’re not so much of a fan of the James Cameron masterpiece, you may prefer to stand on top of the ship’s outdoor movie screen and look down on your fellow passengers below. While only available on certain ships (make sure you check in advance), you can even arrange for a special message to be displayed on the movie screen while you stand atop, in a proud display of your affection for your one and only.
All of these activities can be bundled together to create the ultimate Valentine’s Day at sea – renewing your vows or even getting married onboard.
Most major cruise lines offer the ability for you to design a commitment ceremony or vow renewal aboard their ships. While some attract a charge, others can be complimentary as Valentine’s Day often sees cruise ship Captains conduct a mass vow renewal in one of the ship’s lounges. On selected ships, guests can even choose to get married in the onboard chapel which sits quietly on some ships such as Golden Princess and Voyager of the Seas.
But don’t let the variety of couple-focused activities deter you if you’re “single and ready to mingle”, as Valentine’s Day can also be taken as a perfect opportunity to meet new friends or that potential special someone at the singles mixer most ships offer on a near daily basis.
These meetings usually take place over lunch or in a bar in the early evening and will connect you with like-minded fellow travellers who may also be looking for company during a cruise.
What sort of romantic experiences have you shared on a cruise? Tell us in the comments!