What turns you on when it comes to a cruise ship cabin for you and your sweetie? Some might fantasize about a lavish bathroom, complete with ocean views and a rose petal-filled whirlpool; others might say a big, cozy bed is their ultimate desire. Luckily, a number of cruise lines have cabins and suites that were specifically designed with couples in mind. We've handpicked our favorites to help you find your cabin soulmate. Do your research and don't settle for anything less than one of these 10 romantic cruise ship cabins. (Blind dates are awkward, anyway.)
Photo: Cruise Critic
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection's Suites
If romantic cruise ship cabins were judged on looks alone, Uniworld's suites would take the cake. The one-room accommodations seduce cruisers with luxurious, English country-style decor framed by river views. Mattresses are handcrafted by Savoir Beds, bathrooms are equipped with towel warmers and heated mirrors and -- unlike many river lines -- you can order in room service round the clock, when you want to continue your canoodle through mealtime. Because Uniworld's riverboats hold no more than 150 passengers, its suites can offer generous square footage akin to what you might see on an ocean ship.
Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Hapag Lloyd Cruises' Grand Ocean Suites on Europa 2
From its warm, rose-tinged color scheme to a massive whirlpool tub overlooking the ocean, Europa 2's Grand Ocean Suites (also called Spa Suites) are some of the most romantic at sea. The layout is open and airy, and includes a bedroom, seating area and large balcony with padded lounge chairs. Sultry touches include mood lighting, a large shower with a steam sauna and free mini-bar for romantic sunset toasts.
Photo: Hapag Lloyd Cruises
Princess Cruises' Suite With Balcony
We've all had those nights on a cruise when we're so exhausted from the day's festivities that we lose all motivation to get dressed for dinner. If you're in a Princess Suite with Balcony, the solution is simple: Snuggle up with a four-course meal in the comfort of your own room, courtesy of the line's Ultimate Balcony Dining experience. Princess' suites offer the largest balconies in the fleet, setting the stage for candlelit dinners over wine and Champagne (or refreshing breakfasts). To top it off, the suites also include Club Class perks such as complimentary evening canapes and an exclusive anytime dining option with expedited seating and expanded menu options.
Photo: Cruise Critic
Windstar Cruises' Suites on Wind Surf
There's something romantic about cruising with wind-blown sails, and the suites on Windstar's "flagship" yacht capture the essence perfectly. At 376 square feet, the suites feel secluded and intimate. The bed is tucked away in its own nook, which opens onto a living room (a divider curtain is available for more privacy). We especially love the two separate bathrooms, but who says you can't meet in the shower?
Photo: Windstar Cruises
SeaDream's Yacht Club Staterooms
When it comes to the bedroom, bigger is not always better. Ahem. We're talking about SeaDream's cozy cocoon-like cabins, which make the most of their space with a sleek, marble-lined bathroom and large shower, picture window and bed topped with Belgian linens. Slip on your bathrobes and slippers (provided by the cruise line), and order a midnight snack from the 24-hour "small bites" menu. Those who fancy more space can combine two cabins to create a Commodore Suite.
Photo: SeaDream Yacht Club
Oceania Cruises' Penthouse Suites
Considering Oceania is one of the top lines for foodies, it's no surprise one of our favorite things about its Penthouse Suites is that there are dining tables both inside the cabin and on the balcony. They're perfect for intimate dinners on those nights when you just want to stay in with your honey rather than make small talk in the main dining room. Even better: You can order in from any of the ships' restaurants. Another standout detail? The suites provide cashmere blankets, which are ideal for snuggling up on your balcony under the stars.
Photo: Cruise Critic
Norwegian Cruise Line's "Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony" Haven Suites
Norwegian's Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony is the most romantic suite available in The Haven. Couples in this colorful hideaway enjoy a round queen-sized bed (or regular king-sized bed), large bathtub and spacious balcony with padded loungers. Indugle in Haven-exclusive goodies such as 24-hour butler service, a private sun deck with a pool and hot tub and white tablecloth in-suite dining. After a week here, it's easy to feel like you're back in the "honeymoon phase" with your loved one.
Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line
Crystal Cruises' Standard Suites on Crystal Esprit
Although on the smaller side in terms of suites, Crystal Esprit's Standard Suites gets big points for their swoon-worthy amenities. Couples can enjoy a king-sized bed, Soundbar for streaming mood music, full-size couch, beautiful lighting arrangements and a large marble bathroom with a rain shower and TV mirror -- and yet, the space never feels too crowded. We also love that two types of bathrobes (one light cotton and another heavier terrycloth) are offered.
Photo: Crystal Cruises
Royal Caribbean's Royal Loft Suites on Oasis- and Quantum-Class Ships
Don't forget to hang that "Do not disturb" sign on your door -- Royal Caribbean's Royal Loft Suites were made for sleeping in. The sprawling, two-story cabin features a king-sized bed, perched on a loft overlooking a floor-to-ceiling window with breathtaking ocean views (a privacy curtain can be drawn to enclose the space). The master retreat continues with a bathroom that includes an oval tub and a separate shower with dual showerheads, and three private balconies feature a wet bar, alfresco dining table, small whirlpool and faux wicker hammock chair -- perfect for curling up with a blanket on cool nights.
Photo: Cruise Critic
Regent Seven Seas' Regent Suite on Seven Seas Explorer
Got room to splurge? (And by splurge, we mean $10,000 per night.) Seven Seas Explorer's Regent Suite is as luxurious as it gets, with standout features ranging from a Savoir Beds-brand mattress and a 958-square-foot balcony with a hot tub and dining table, to a bathroom that doubles as a spa, complete with two heated ceramic lounge chairs, a personal sauna and unlimited in-suite spa treatments. As if that weren't enough, Regent Suite passengers also get a personal car and guide in every port. That means even on a 750-passenger cruise ship, you can spend much of your time alone with your sweetheart.
Photo: Cruise Critic
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Free. Money. Are there two more beautiful words in the English language? While money doesn't grow on trees, increasingly it can be found somewhere else -- on the high seas. Call it an incentive, call it a bonus; whatever you want to call it, onboard credit lets you spend more freely with less guilt. You've paid your cruise fare, and now you can splurge on those enticing extras -- Swedish massage, specialty restaurant, an excursion to snorkel among shipwrecks -- without busting your budget. Not many need convincing as to why onboard credit -- money automatically deposited into your onboard account-- rocks, but finding out exactly how to get it and where you can spend it is a bit trickier. We found eight ways to hit the OBC jackpot and offer even more suggestions on how to burn through it, although you probably have your own ideas already.
The moment you step aboard a luxury cruise ship, a hostess is at your arm proffering a glass of bubbly while a capable room steward offers to heft your carry-on as he escorts you to what will be your home-away-from-home for the next few days. You stow your things (likely in a walk-in closet) and then emerge from your suite to get the lay of the ship. As you walk the decks, friendly crew members greet you ... by name. How can that be? You just set foot onboard! First-class, personalized service is just one of the hallmarks of luxury cruise lines. You can also expect exotic itineraries, varying degrees of inclusivity in pricing, fine wines and gourmet cuisine as well as universally high crew-to-passenger ratios. That being the case, you might think any old luxury cruise ship will do, but that's not quite true. Like people, cruise ships have their own unique personalities -- and some will be more suited to your vacation style than others. Lines like SeaDream might not offer the most spacious suites, but their intimate yachts can stealthily visit ports that large ships can't manage. Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises are owned by the same parent company but Regent offers a completely inclusive vacation experience, while Oceania draws travelers with a more independent streak. Take a look at Cruise Critic's list of best luxury cruise lines and ships to see which one resonates with you.
You might expect loud noises, close quarters and crazy maneuvers in the dance club onboard your cruise ship -- but not in your cabin. Even if you don't plan to spend much time there, it should be a restful and private place so you can maintain that much-needed vacation stamina. To help you do so, we've compiled a list of cabins you'll want to avoid booking if closet-like dimensions or scraping chair sounds overhead aren't appealing to you. Heed our advice, and you might be feeling a bit less claustrophobic and a tad more refreshed come disembarkation.
Like any vacation, cruising can come with good and bad surprises. Finding out your favorite specialty restaurant is bargain-priced for lunch or that spa treatments are discounted on port days might make you feel like you've discovered buried treasure. On the flipside, realizing you have to pay a $15 corkage fee to drink the wine you brought onboard or that the room service you ordered is saddled with a surcharge can be a real letdown. Despite the "all inclusive" lingo commonly used to describe cruises, all lines have "hidden" cruise fees. Additionally, each cruise line has its own policy when it comes to tipping, room service and more. Ordering bacon and eggs from your cabin might be free on one cruise line, but cost you on another. If you're under the impression something is included, having to pay can put a damper on your worry-free vacation mood and potentially leave your budget in a bind. So how do you prepare for fees that aren't as obvious? Here are 13 cruise fees that might take you by surprise.
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. For example, fall foliage enthusiasts will find September and October the best time to cruise Canada/New England, whereas families prefer to sail in summer when temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.