The Best Cruise Lines For A Romantic Couples Getaway, According To Reviews

Cruising and romance are often synonymous, thanks in part to Hollywood and Douglas S. Cramer with his then-groundbreaking "Love Boat" TV show from the 70s. However, over the years, cruises have largely been associated with affordable family vacations — high-seas adventures not ideal for honeymooning couples, empty-nesters, and parents looking to get away from kids. It's hard, after all, to stare lovingly into someone's eyes across the diner table next to screaming, hangry toddlers in the buffet line, or sunbathe with a glass of wine with splashing tweens in the pool.

With that said, couples-oriented cruises do exist, and entire cruise lines are now catering to romance. Romantic cruises include budget-friendly options, such as Princess and Celebrity, that offer larger ships and more destinations without skimping on industry-leading service, as well as cruise lines like the Paul Gaughin and Windstar that prioritize intimacy and small-harbor destinations. Finally, there's the top-shelf luxury like Silversea and Regent that pull out all the stops with butler service, five-star shipboard dining, and more.

Cruise line advertising tends to paint every itinerary as a couples-first experience. So, by digging deeper and incorporating cruiser reviews, we've zeroed in on cruises with romantic, adult-oriented activities and accommodations to help you plan an unforgettable romantic getaway at sea.

Princess Cruises - Something for every couple

Princess Cruises is actually the owner of the vessel that hosted the aforementioned "Love Boat" show. The cruise line touts itself as "MedallionClass" for all passengers, not just its top-deck dwellers, with a personalized touch to know your name, your preferences (Americano with two espresso shots, no creamer), and any important dates like anniversaries and birthdays. 

The line's fleet of 15 mid-to-large ships makes landfall everywhere from Alaska to Europe. You can plan a long weekend, a week at sea, or leave your home's mainland for a full 111 days. Excursions focus on Instagrammable romance, whether it be rum-tasting in Aruba or fjord-fording in Norway. Princess offers full-service staterooms to travelers who wish to spare no expense, as well as your standard interior cabins for romance on a budget. Fine dining gives you on-demand eateries with private balconies overlooking the sea and plenty of tastings for wine and chocolate as a palate cleanser.

On-ship entertainment runs the gamut from competition game shows to Broadway classics courtesy of Stephen Schwartz (one of the minds behind "Wicked" and "Pippin.") "The production shows were amazing, so professional, especially the lead singers, the soprano singer and the dancers," a reviewer wrote on Cruise Critic. Romantic activities also include ballroom dance courses, disco parties on the deck, and endless unwinding in the Lotus Spa.

Paul Gauguin - Romantic Polynesian getaway

Paul Gauguin (named after the esteemed French-Polynesian painter) isn't a fleet, but rather one 330-passenger ship named, well, the Paul Gauguin. Her destination is the South Pacific, particularly Tahiti's slice of French Polynesia. Service is five-star, with a reputed 1:1.5 crew-to-guest ratio and a unique onboard troupe of native Tahitians. On the ship, 70% of Gauguin's cabins feature balconies, and all guests receive complimentary 24/7 butler and room service.

The Gauguin's main selling point is its intimate size, perfect for gaining access to lesser-known ports that competing cruise hulks cannot reach. Think pristine beaches with undisturbed wildlife versus sharing ports with invasive, roving bands of tourists. As a bonus, the line gives you exclusive admission to a private beach near Bora Bora and a Gauguin-only retreat known as Motu Mahana.

Despite its uniquely small size, the Gauguin is no slouch in terms of amenities. The ship offers a full fitness center, pool decks, a library, and tons of cultural activities hosted by local experts. Most stunning of all, though, is the watersports marina built onto the ship. This is a platform off the ship's stern from which you can launch paddleboards and kayaks. You can also take a certified SCUBA diving program, or simply enjoy the crystal-clear waters on the lazy days you decide not to disembark for excursions. "This was the perfect vacation to celebrate our 10th year wedding anniversary," one reviewer wrote on

Silversea Cruises - Luxury, fine dining, and romance

Silversea Cruises adheres to one mantra: small craft, big luxury. All passengers on Silversea's 13 intimate ships get the red carpet rolled out for them. Every stateroom is an expansive suite with ocean views, and personalized, white-gloved butlers pamper guests from the moment of embarkation. Silversea is the sort of line where you order Kaiseki traditional teriyaki to your bedside for lunch, then request chocolate-dipped strawberries to surprise your partner in the evening. Need extra pillows and a nightcap to help those sleepless nights? Call your butler; the 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio gives you your own Alfred, 24/7.

The cuisine is Silversea's other strong suit, thanks to its renowned S.A.L.T. (Sea And Land Taste) diners, which showcase the flavors of your current port of call. As one example, you can see how the sausage gets made (literally) at an organic farm on the Greek island of Paros. Expert cooks will share their secrets and then let you try the results. S.A.L.T. destinations include dozens of foodie capitals throughout Sicily, Wales, and Norway.

Unlike Paul Gauguin, Silversea's destinations span the globe. Silversea sails to hotspots like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, plus once-in-a-lifetime conversation–starters like Ecuador's Galapagos Islands and the raw tundra of Greenland. Its all-encompassing Grand Voyage packages allow you to experience it all in your region of choice, so make sure to get your cruise visa ready to enjoy all Silversea has to offer.

Virgin Voyages - Ideal for newlyweds

While cruising is often associated with older travelers, Virgin Voyages seems to cater to a somewhat younger crowd — or at least younger at heart. The cruise line's four, adult-only "lady" ships feature wild, extravagant nightly entertainment. Drinks are free on tap, and Virgin has eased any cruise ship tipping anxiety by axing it entirely. Offering everything from yoga classes to bungee workouts, state-of-the-art fitness centers allow gym-loving couples to bring their fitness goals with them aboard. There's even an onboard tattoo parlor in case you'd like to ink a certain someone's name for all to see.

Virgin Voyages loves to wake up late and stay up later. For example, the "Sail the Med" cruise features overnight access to all the Corsica and Mykonos partying you can dance to, or you could choose an itinerary through Puerto Plata and Cozumel, depending on which side of the globe you fancy. Shore excursions tick all the biggest destinations off the list, whether you want to kick back at Virgin's Bimini's beach club in The Bahamas or stroll the picturesque streets of colonial Oranjestad in Aruba. Virgin Voyages also offers a Splash of Romance Package, which includes complimentary champagne, spa passes, and pressed juices, and on CruiseHabit, a couple reviewing the package described it as a "no-brainer." 

Viking Cruises - The cruise for uncommon destinations

Viking serves a niche that not many cruise companies are keen on: rivers. While the mammoth liners scour every ocean port deep enough to moor them, Viking heads inland on the Mississippi, the Nile, and the Mekong with a fleet of modern-day Viking longships. In its words, the cruise line provides a "Thinking Person's Cruise" bereft of thumping music and parties — excellent for couples in search of a more quaint experience.

The aim is culturally enriching experiences deep into the heartland of destinations via their Privileged Access program — i.e., after-hours access to places the masses cannot reach. You won't just visit these places; you'll prep with your beloved by reading cultural profiles and cinematic videos. Experience the local life during a culinary tour in Budapest, or see how a working man once operated the Kinderdijk windmill.

Rather than eye-popping luxury, the longship fleet hones itself with minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired interiors and staterooms. Its cozy lounges and terraces make for the perfect atmosphere to sip a hot coffee, contemplate, and watch the Rhineland meander by. On a Viking river cruise, you can stroll the top deck's garden hand-in-hand to take in the fresh air and budding herbs with unparalleled views of passing villages and mountains.

Scenic Cruises - A leader in all-inclusive options

Scenic Cruises differentiates itself from the competition in several ways. First, the cruise line has a highly unique fleet of ships. Ride the ocean-bound discovery yachts (effectively "superyachts") like you're Jeff Bezos, or board their river prowlers custom-made for shallow waters. 

Second, Scenic really means it when it says "all-inclusive." Complimentary beverages, stateroom minibars, restaurant gratuities, and Wi-Fi all come standard. And that promise extends to their onshore excursions. You won't need to debate whether to shell out an extra hundred bucks to rent an e-bike to peruse Bordeaux; it's baked into your bill. Budget-conscious couples can rest assured their credit card won't be put into a chokehold once they're back on land. "All Inclusive simply means this and we would highly commend Scenic to other travellers," a reviewing couple wrote on Cruise Critic.

Third, they don't make mealy-mouthed environmental promises for those who enjoy cruises but find climate change entirely unromantic. When you take a European tour of Amsterdam, Vienna, and Budapest, your ship won't drop anchor into vulnerable seabeds, and all of Scenic's ships utilize high-efficiency engines and quality low-sulfur fuel.

National Geographic-Lindblad - Ideal for adventuring couples

Adventure is a word that cruise adverts toss around left and right, but usually amounts to a behind-the-glass, wine-in-hand encounter with "adventure." National Geographic's partnership with the Lindblad fleet bucks that trend. Their world-spanning voyages leave behind traditional cruises to pierce the globe's polar regions on icebreaker vessels. Truly adventurous couples can ditch the dime-a-dozen Titanic bow pictures in favor of candid shots surrounded by the penguins of South Georgia or with polar bears in the backdrop. Rest assured, though, you won't be curling into an igloo to get some shut-eye; there's plenty of comfortable shipboard luxury to kill the chill after a day navigating ice floes.

More impressive than that, the guides running NatGeo's cruise line are world-renowned scientists and explorers. Marine biologists, anthropologists, and even paleontologists will be the ones directing wildlife sightings while sharing the benches of a Zodiac boat with you. Perhaps best of all, you get the assurance that your romantic outing is going toward a good cause; NatGeo cruises contribute to the LEX-NG fund for furthering education and research.

Azamara Cruises - An immersive cruise of discovery

Cruising tends to favor quantity over quality, with single-day excursions ending with a shoreside tour guide rushing you back to the ship. Instead of a rapid-fire itinerary, Azamara Cruises takes the approach of small ships, small travel groups, and in-depth exploration. The ships wiggle into smaller harbors and linger at anchor late into the night, allowing you to fully explore a destination through a locally guided tour.

Couples who hate mid-trip FOMO can sleep in later and meander from one excursion to the next on flexible Grand Voyages. And "grand" is an appropriate descriptor, as you can sail from Japan to Greece, or South Africa to Italy. Cultural immersion continues onboard with their AzAmazing Celebrations that feature region-specific entertainment from native performers. Aside from the typical promise of A-class cuisine and spa, you get a chance to dust off that once-worn, white dress for date night by attending a signature White Night event.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises - The ultra-luxury, small-ship option

Sometimes, planning for romance is simple: Look for something to pamper you and yours like you're sheikh royalty, even if just for a weekend. Regent Seven Seas aims to make the Queen of Sheba jealous with personalized service that starts before you even set foot onboard, such as complimentary pre-cruise hotel packages. 

Regent's smaller ships — hosting no more than 750 guests – feature large balconies, walk-in closets, and dedicated suite attendants to satisfy your needs. You'll even get your own guide and driver for their small-group shore excursions. Whether five-star dining or lounging, Regent touts its staff as the sort that takes "off-menu" requests very seriously. So, if you need the lights down low and the music jazzy for a surprise proposal, Regent can accommodate.

With top-shelf amenities like these, it's easy to think that you'll need to pull out your wallet every five seconds to keep the luxury coming. Not so with Regent. The operative word here is "unlimited." Unlimited drinks, Wi-Fi, and even shore excursions. Couples who spared no expense for a Regent cruise can then leave their wallet in the stateroom safe and put finances out of their minds while sailing. "This was my husband's and my first cruise with RSSC and we had high expectations – and let me state this first: they were met in most fields," a satisfied reviewer wrote on Cruise Critic

Seabourn Cruises - Committed to guest space and privacy

On many cruises, the cheapest interior (windowless) staterooms make you feel like Jack on the Titanic when you'd rather feel like Rose on a romantic cruise. Seabourn Cruises touts its industry-leading ratio of space-to-guest, with almost one staff member per guest to match. The cruise line is also one of the youngest, making use of the latest in seafaring tech. Just look at their brand spanking new Seabourn Pursuit, a polar-class vessel that houses two submarines for deep-sea exploration. Most couples can't say they've seen the depths like James Cameron and eaten big-ticket cuisine in the same afternoon.

This is another cruise line oriented toward small ships that benefit from going everywhere big-ship competitors cannot. They focus on must-see ports with hidden harbors. Couples in search of serenity can kayak through Alaska's untouched fjords or explore 100-year-old mosques in Muscat while avoiding hordes of other tourists.

Celebrity Cruises - The celebrity experience at sea

While luxury is great, it's nice to also incorporate a little glitz and glamor of Hollywood or Dubai. Celebrity Cruises aims to make your onboard couple's pics look like you spent the week rotating through a dozen five-star venues. The ships are all about upscale, stylish spaces to relax, eat, and laugh in. Go from the Solarium to the Rooftop Garden, before grabbing a cocktail in the pub-like Craft Social. While Celebrity Cruises are considered upscale and stylish, they're not as expensive as other luxury lines on this list, offering a balance for couples looking for quality without sinking their savings.

You may not exactly spot Taylor Swift with salt and lemon at the swanky Sunset or Eden bar, but you will get to watch the bartender juggling bottles and setting your drinks ablaze. The ship's overall atmosphere makes you feel like you're about to spot a celebrity in Los Angeles, even if you're just playing pickleball or at the archery range. There's also a fully equipped casino, and the ships offer bombastic, mainstage theater productions. If gift-giving is in the cards, you can buy a new bag at Bulgari or find an iPhone 15 Pro at the first Apple store sailing the seven seas. 

Cunard Line - The refined, thoughtful approach

High class isn't just about gold-capped tequila bottles and caviar on rye. It's the subtlety, the refinement. That's what Cunard Line brings to the table, especially for older couples looking for a more measured ambiance. To put it in a sentence, Cunard styles itself as the line for a prim and proper English gentleman who'd recoil in horror if you cut his cigar with scissors.

The cruise line's ships feature social hubs with names like Commodore Club and Card Room, and its four-ship fleet hearkens back to Victorian times with black hulls and white tops, sailing under names like Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Cunard appeals to dress-code romance with galas and cabaret, and there's even a daily tea hour. Bespoke shore excursions keep to the mantra of fun with refinement, too, such as lobster fishing off Halifax, though Cunard lets you customize these excursions to your taste.

Keeping with its old-world spirit, Cunard doesn't skimp on service. Turndown service freshens up your lodgings twice a day, and the upper staterooms come with all the butler bells and whistles. You can book a relaxing couple's massage at Mareel Wellness & Beauty Spa before unwinding further by selecting from the cruise line's extensive wine collection.

Windstar Cruises - Literally sailing the seas

Sailing (as in, literally propelling yourself with mast and sail) is little more than a hobbyist sport these days, but If you'd prefer a romantic Odyssean adventure, Windstar Cruises may be the ideal choice. In addition to traditional diesel vessels, half of their fleet comprises three yachts with fully functional sails. You can enjoy a drink with your partner to the serene tune of the rippling of sailcloth, then watch the crew raise sails as you come into port. You can go where the wind takes you, and if there is no wind, the ships come equipped with diesel-electric engines to avoid making the experience too realistic.

These intimate ships still offer plenty of perks to spend unforgettable moments with your beloved. Staterooms, despite the ships' small sizes, still provide ample amenities like queen-sized beds and spacious showers. Like the wind that carries the ships, the tempo of your journey will be variable, and the itinerary is one of the most flexible in the industry. "Hubbie and I booked this to celebrate our 25th anniversary. It is the best value for money to see the French Polynesian islands hands down," one reviewer wrote on Cruise Critic