If you are already married, what you are looking for is a way to get away from distractions so you can focus on each other, and that doesn't include playing golf or bingo, unless you do it together.
For the younger, unmarried set, here is my personal recommendation; A single person should not go to sea looking for a new mate, unless it is on an organized singles cruise (see our singles cruisers area). But if you have already dated someone very special, and want to make it into a serious relationship, take them on a cruise.
Now guys, be a sport and pay their way, old fashioned chivalry (almost) never disappoints a woman. Gals, you can suggest that each of you pay your own way, unless you are a high earner and want to treat your object of affection.
But, before you jump in the deep end, here a couple of concerns. First of all, be absolutely sure you are compatible with this person before you set out on this journey. Once you are on the ship there is no, "I'm going home to mother." Extra cabins are rarely available on cruise ships these days and if they are they will cost you the price of a double fare (singles have to pay a supplement for the room because it is designed for two people). So no matter how bad the fight is you will still be sleeping in the same room with this person the entire voyage, unless you sleep on deck.
The second thing, before you invite someone, first find out if your object of affection is prone to sea sickness. You don't want to inflict any undue pain in the beginning of a relationship (that is reserved for married couples). If he or she is prone to mal de mar, there are truly many ships, mostly of the mega-ship (greater than 100,000 gross tons) that hardly even move while they are sailing. But if the sickness does occur, there are very effective pills that should be carried at all times just in case.
No matter what your budget, everyone needs romance in their lives and it is hard to beat the high seas for evoking the feeling of love. So, below is something for everyone, budget to ultra-luxury; our personal picks for the ships with the best environments, food and service to deliver the perfect romantic setting.
Article continues below
Celebrity Solstice and Equinox (Celebrity Cruises) -- These sister ships are included for their spa offerings which include double massage rooms (man and wife get massaged at the same time for a bargain price) and private mud bath and aroma-therapy rooms where a couple can lock the door and spend an hour covering each other with therapeutic mud and rinsing it off in showers infused with aromatic oils, and then end it in the thelassotherapy pool where strong water jets massage every millimeter of your body. For the ultimate romantic experience, book the owner's suite which includes in cabin dining from the restaurant menu to be delivered by your butler and served on your private balcony or your dining room. These suites also have two jacuzzi-style hot tubs, one indoors and one on the balcony.
Star Clipper,Star Flyer (Star Clippers) -- Built in the early 1990's, these authentic design clipper ships silently move beneath the stars, the huge sails billowing overhead. There is almost nothing to do on board at night except watch the stars or lay in bed and talk. What woman doesn't love that? However, only recommended for those who have their sea legs!
Wind Spirit, Wind Star (Windstar Cruises) -- These larger motorized sailships go to some of the best ports on earth like the deep Caribbean or the Greek isles. The smaller ones carry 148-passengers in casual, nautical elegance, with roomy cabins, warm service and excellent cuisine. The most romantic thing to do on board? Watch a movie on your cabin TV and order up pizza and popcorn from room service.
Oceania Riviera and Marina -- these two ships are comfortable and posh in their decor, making a couple feel like a king and queen. The food is so delicious it is sensual, and the Ralph Lauren linens and amenities will leave you feeling clean and sexy. This is a cruise ship that feels like an indulgence, and the ship does NOT cater to children so there is never a worry about the romantic mood being broken.
Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper (Silversea Cruises) -- If your romantic holiday includes all the champagne and wine you can drink, then Silversea is your cup of "tea". The suites on these ships come with refrigerators stocked with Perrier-Jouet Champagne and a very generous serving of caviar can be dialed up from room service 24-hours a day. On a side note, these lines also include alcohol and caviar gratis: Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, SeaDream Yacht Club.
Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony (Crystal Cruises) -- Full size ships with around 1,000 passengers, these elegant ships feature ultra comfortable suites with the plushest fabrics on the couches and thickest duvets on the beds imaginable. At night, dress to the nines and savoring wonderful restaurants and nightlife with classy fellow passengers or stay in your suite and have your butler deliver a dining room menu course by course. Gentlemen hosts on many sailings.
Seabourn Legend, Pride, Spirit (Seabourn Cruise Line) -- It's indeed romantic to sail on a yacht, and the three Seabourn vessels are the next best thing. With the highest levels of food and service, these 208-passenger ships also boast the best itineraries (Central America, Asia, Europe, South America). Be sure to book a cabin with a "French Balcony", doors that open to the sea.