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5 best honeymoon cruises for newlywed bliss

April 09, 2022
11 min read
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After all the wedding hoopla, it can be truly fabulous to celebrate married life with a honeymoon cruise.

Walk the deck hand-in-hand, admiring scarlet sunsets set against the impossibly turquoise sea. Come morning, indulge in mimosas and waffles on your private veranda as soft ocean breezes caress you with the gentlest, most sensual touch. Later, lounge in a poolside cabana for two, toasting your honeymoon choice with craft cocktails.

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We've done the work to pair five fabulous ships with the idyllic destinations that suit them best for a blissfull honeymoon cruise.

Read on to find which cruise style and locale are calling your newlywed name.

Silver Origin in the Galapagos

Silversea Cruises' Silver Origin in the Galapagos Islands. (Photo courtesy of Silversea Cruises)

Perhaps you’re a nature-loving adventuresome duo who think the best honeymoon cruise involves exploring unspoiled islands like the Galapagos, meeting the most amazing, endemic species close-up.

That is, if you can do it in style. The 100-passenger, environmentally sensitive Silver Origin, a new ship purpose-built for the region by Silversea Cruises, ticks all those boxes. The most elegant ship sailing the Galapagos islands off Ecuador’s coast, Silver Origin delivers all the nature-based exploration from a luxurious home base.

All-suite accommodations, designed in neutral hues with rattan and richly woven furnishings, create an upscale sense of place. Soak away the day snapping pictures of flightless cormorants from your ocean-view bathtub; bonus if you spot a whisker-twitching sea lion. Your butler — yes, all suite occupants enjoy butler service — is a white-gloved, tuxedo-clad personal pamperer who will happily draw an aromatherapy bath, scatter rose petals and light battery-powered candles to flicker around the tub.

When you can be lured out of your luxurious suite, you can dive deep into Galapagos adventures, exploring several of the 19 UNESCO World Heritage Site islands, like Isla Bartolome and Isabela, with a team of high-energy expedition experts. They’ll lead you on riveting explorations via Zodiacs to seek out marine life or on foot to tiptoe close to wildlife such as blue-footed boobies, scarlet Sally Lightfoot crabs and giant tortoises. The ship’s Basecamp, information central for all facts Galápagos, makes learning fun with an interactive wall.

Related: 9 things I wish I had known before taking a Galapagos cruise

When not exploring, discover much to savor on board. Tuck into authentic Ecuadorian cuisine like freshly prepared ceviche and red snapper then learn to make such dishes yourself so you can recreate them back home as a couple. Hop a treadmill in the gym or refresh your wedding manicure in the beauty salon. For a romantic evening, sip craft cocktails while listening to the Explorer Lounge pianist or cuddle around the Deck 7 fire pit, watching for meteors shooting across the sky.

Celebrity Beyond in the Greek Isles

Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Beyond. (Image courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Doesn’t every honeymooner deserve to feast on a magic carpet? Celebrity Cruises’ new 3,260-passenger Celebrity Beyond lets you share a meal or drinks with your new spouse on a cantilevered platform (aptly named the Magic Carpet) soaring 15 decks above the sea.

If that type of modern, edgy experience is what you crave on your trip of a lifetime, this stunning 17-deck vessel will have you celebrating in a big way. Stroll hand in hand through the reimagined Rooftop Garden, with cantilevered float pools extending over the water’s edge. Share a soak in a two-story, martini glass-shaped hot tub.

If you’re foodies, you will surely fawn over Le Voyage, the first at-sea restaurant from superstar chef Daniel Boulud, Celebrity’s global culinary ambassador. Boulud promises globally inspired plates, like smoked salmon loin with cream of caviar, pickled cucumber and dill, in a stunner of an establishment.

Related: The 5 best cruise lines for romance

And oh, the places you will go. The Greek islands are made for romance. Fall in love all over again strolling the soft sands of the curvaceous Mykonos shoreline as pelicans swoop above and friendly fishermen tip their caps to you. Slip into alluring alleyways and explore the town, so buzzy with locals and visitors tucking into the freshest seafood at excellent tavernas while blingy shops beckon with colorful bikinis and exquisite jewelry.

In Santorini, sip local wines, buy island-made ceramics or visit tombs dating back to the 9th century (if that’s your thing). In Athens, go gaga over the Acropolis and the treasure-filled Acropolis Museum.

For the ultimate honeymoon digs, book a suite in the Retreat, a swank enclave within the ship. Celebrity’s newest Retreat introduces an expanded two-story sun deck, private lounge and Luminae restaurant starring Boulud’s signature dishes.

Retreat dwellers relish the best of both Celebrity worlds: more space and privacy by day along with Beyond’s 32 eateries and buzzy bars at night. (The Martini Bar, in the piazza-style Grand Plaza center, is a cool hangout.) Keep date night going with interactive theatre and comedy shows or dance until dawn to DJs.

Create a temporary home together in the wellness-leaning AquaClass Sky Suites (with special spa perks) or the Edge Villas, two-story suites with private plunge pools. Or if you really want to splurge, snag a 1,892-square-foot Iconic Suite with a 689-square-foot veranda; this giant residence ensures that if your in-laws tag along (fine, if they foot the bill), you’d hardly see them.

Wind Surf in the Caribbean

Windstar Cruises' Wind Surf in St Lucia. (Photo courtesy of Windstar)

Seeking a yacht-like honeymoon where sexy sails billow in the breeze? Pick Windstar’s Wind Surf for mellow Caribbean island-hopping cruises, where turquoise seas are calm and the wind gentle. Few ships are better meccas for romance than this 342-passenger, five-mast ship. Best of all, the onboard ambiance is casual, so packing is a snap.

On such a small ship, expect countless personal touches, from signature bowls of fragrant flowers and fresh fruit in cabins to the softest Egyptian cotton linens. Crew members learn mighty quickly who’s honeymooning — there’s nearly one crew member per two passengers — and magically appear when you want service and vanish when you don’t. Wind Surf may lack private verandas, but on a ship this small, intimate outdoor spaces are easy to find.

When ready to socialize, meet fellow passengers at the alfresco Terrace Bar at the ship’s aft, where marvelous martinis are shaken and glasses of Champagne are poured. Afterward, head to dinner, in main restaurant AmphorA, in French-inspired Stella Bistro or under the stars at Candles Grill.

The spacious fitness center may beckon, but you might like the water sports’ platform best. Snorkel, water ski, kayak, windsurf – if water and weather conditions align, you’re in for total fun. Then go ashore and lose yourself in the magic of Caribbean isles, each so different from the next.

The French St. Barts vibes downright sexy, with nearly everyone speaking French and billionaire yachts bobbing in the azure sea. You’ll find shopping and dining as fine as in Paris. St. Maarten lures with pastel-painted shops and authentic Creole restaurants. Find a secluded corner on the powder-soft white sands of Jost Van Dyke or snorkel amid the most colorful fish imaginable. Don’t miss wading through the natural bath pools at The Baths on Virgin Gorda.

Clean up in the WindSpa or the salon, where you can get manicures and pedicures, facials (so healthy after all that wedding party makeup) and body wraps. Afterward, book an acupuncture treatment, sure to eliminate any remaining stress from the wedding whirlwind.

Norwegian Prima in Iceland and Northern Europe

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Prima. (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Iceland’s on everyone’s bucket list, so why not check that box on your honeymoon? If the weather’s chilly, your partner can keep you warm.

Consider this getaway for a summer honeymoon when Norwegian Cruise Line’s 3,215-passenger Norwegian Prima, the first of a new class debuting in August 2022, sails around Northern Europe.

In Iceland, see active volcanos and glaciers, hike wildflower-strewn mountains and soak in iconic hot springs. Gawk at the beyond-beautiful fjords in Norway, explore sophisticated Amsterdam and wander the cobbled streets of Bruges, the quaint Belgian city that charms with canals and medieval architecture.

The ship itself embraces an elegance not seen before on a typical fun-loving NCL sail. Roar around Prima Speedway, the first three-level racetrack at sea. Zoom screaming down the Drop, the first freefall dry slide at sea. Race your spouse on the Rush, which has 10-story tall dueling, twisting slides.

Norwegian Prima also delivers lots of outdoor deck space, impressive staff-to-guest ratios for a big ship, upgraded cabins and an elevated Haven, NCL’s ship-within-a-ship enclave. All 107 Haven suites provide access to an expanded sun deck, a new infinity pool overlooking the ship’s wake and an outdoor spa with glass-walled sauna and cold room. You even score a 24/7 butler, Haven restaurant and private lounge.

When ready to leave your cabin cocoon, beeline it to Ocean Boulevard, an outdoor boardwalk wrapping around the entire ship. Here you’ll find Indulge Food Hall, NCL’s first open-air marketplace, where you can tuck into Texas barbecue, Thai noodles or Spanish-inspired street food, among numerous choices. Indulge at Just Ice Cream with over-the-top desserts – go ahead, you already fit into your wedding attire.

Keep strolling and find the Infinity Beach with two pools, the impressive Concourse sculpture garden and Oceanwalk glass bridges, where you feel as if you’re walking on air over the sea.

Fleeing an escape room together in the uber-cool Galaxy Pavilion is a fun way to flex your teamwork muscles. Here, too, are lots of virtual reality games. Luckily, when you step outside the Pavilion, your actual reality feels equally great, if not better.

Paul Gauguin in French Polynesia

Paul Gauguin in French Polynesia. (Photo courtesy of Paul Gauguin/Facebook)

Picture this: white sand beaches, shallow lagoons where multi-hued fish swim through crystal-clear water, misty mountains and intoxicating breezes scented with tropical flowers. If this sounds like your ideal “Love Island” (the monogamous version), you should choose French Polynesia for your post-wedding getaway. Besides, all honeymooners deserve a Polynesian blessing ceremony to celebrate the occasion.

Few ships sailing to French Polynesia lure more honeymooners than the 330-passenger Paul Gauguin. Now owned by French line Ponant, the luxurious ship was renovated in 2021. Think South Sea elegance, evoked by precious woods, antique engravings and a lagoon-inspired color palate. Feel the Polynesian vibe on board through local art and a virtual museum with more than 150 paintings by artist Paul Gauguin, the famed French painter who captured these magical islands in iconic artworks.

No need to rise early for adventure on these sails; 24-hour room service means dawdling over breakfast, lunch or dinner in bed or on your veranda (more than 70% of suites and cabins feature private balconies). Dive deep into cultural immersions on board, including dining (lobster with Tahitian vanilla sauce, anyone?). In select cabins and suites, attentive butlers unpack luggage, arrange private cars and make lunch reservations on shore.

Toss to-do lists and just go with the flow. Explore local villages on foot or wander lush rainforests. Float — just float — as long as you like in blue lagoons. Spend a day on a Paul Gauguin private islet or secluded beach, sipping drinks from coconuts, shaded by palms with baby-soft sand sifting between your toes.

Ready to move? Kayak, snorkel, hit the gym or swim. Dance to live music as stars blanket the sky. Wiggle your hips with Polynesian dancers and try local crafts. Just when you think the honeymoon can’t get any better, a sunset jet boat ride takes it over the top.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
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Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases