It was Emperor Claudius II who took a strong dislike to a young priest by the name of Valentinus in the year 269, to such an extent that he had the prospective martyr beheaded for refusing to denounce Jesus Christ.
Prior to his death, Valentinus is said to have cured his jailor’s daughter of blindness, and the legend of St Valentine went on to be immortalised in the pages of that Middle Ages best-seller the Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine.
Okay, so the story was pretty obscure, but St Valentine’s Day is now a near-worldwide phenomenon and it is, therefore, appropriate to bring his story right up to date and wonder where he would have recommended that the young couples who he married should go on their honeymoon.
Well, wonder no more – we are here to offer eight gorgeously romantic cruise ideas for honeymoons in 2019, and you can be sure that any of our suggestions would be more than fitting for this week’s Saint.
SeaDream Yacht Club
Named the No.1 honeymoon choice by influential website Brides.com, SeaDream’s two boutique bateaux are almost purpose-designed for that more intimate, stylish touch. Their idea of unique features for couples includes the signature platform Balinese Dream Beds that can be turned down to sleep under the stars, complete with luxury duvet and linens, and their Sunrise (or Sunset) Romance Ceremony that is designed with couples in mind. They also specialise in some of the most alluring destinations for newlyweds, including gorgeous Gustavia and Jost Van Dyke in the Caribbean (frequently home of SeaDream’s beachside Champagne & Caviar Splash), and captivating Capri and Venice in the Mediterranean, as well as some excellent Wine Voyages.
Here’s another ideal choice for that special occasion – the cruise line voted ‘Most Romantic Luxury Line’ by Cruise Critic three years in a row. And it’s hard to argue with Windstar’s three sailing vessels that all have maximum eye appeal to go with their relaxed, polished onboard style. This trio is the very epitome of sea-going romance and there are numerous touches that ensure couples feel extra-special during their voyage, including dinner under the stars, couples’ massages and an uber-attentive crew. You can even renew your vows or have the ceremony performed by the Captain. When it comes to where to go, Windstar’s Treasures of the Greek Isles Cruise includes the superb setting of Santorini as well as the quixotic castles of Monemvasia.
For those who want even more of that dreamy, sail-powered grace and elegance on honeymoon, it doesn’t get any better than the magnificent Royal Clipper, the flagship of the Star Clippers fleet. The only five-masted barque in the world, you and your partner can sail off into married life together on the bowsprit net or even the cosy crow’s nest. The ship also offers two unique private balconies on the bow, while the onboard ambience is distinctly grown-up and totally attuned to couples looking for that post-wedding glow. And, for special cruises, you need look no further than the seven-night Amalfi and Sicily voyage, which takes in the sizzling Sorrentine Peninsula, Taormina in Sicily and a night-time sailing past the active volcano of Stromboli. A honeymoon with nature’s own fireworks!
As an adults-only cruise line, Oceania is already well-suited to providing the right kind of onboard vibe, and they also ensure newlyweds the type of additional touches that go a long way to making the holiday extra-special, with the likes of sun-deck cabanas, champagne breakfast on your balcony and a signature Dom Perignon Dinner. All six ships ensure an identically smooth, low-key ambience, so you have the whole fleet to choose from, and some of their itineraries are straight from the pages of a romantic novel. French Polynesia is a true honeymoon dream, with Tahiti renowned as one of the most idyllic islands in the world, and makes the perfect start and end port, while Bora Bora is simply sea-going eye candy of the finest kind with its turquoise waters and sugar-white sands.
A fine wedding deserves a fine finale, right? And, when it comes to that perfect combination of discrete stylishness and genuine luxury, Seabourn’s Odyssey-class trio have raised the bar to 11. Large enough to provide for an expansive feel, but small enough to cater to just 450 passengers, they offer the ideal mix of distinguished pampering and personal appeal, which pretty much sums up a honeymoon to a T. The Spa & Wellness facility alone features the kind of service that makes newlyweds feel like the special couple they are, while the ability to enjoy a private meal in your suite, served course by course, should have universal appeal. With Seabourn, you also have a full global choice, but, if pushed, we might just suggest the line’s culturally immersive experience to Cuba for a holiday with true salsa flair.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
You remember what we said about French Polynesia? Well, Paul Gauguin Cruises can offer the very essence of that South Seas splendour as they are based there year-round. Their individual vessel, the Paul Gauguin, is staffed by local Tahitians and has the kind of timeless, languid vibe that goes hand in hand with the honeymoon ethos. They offer full honeymoon packages – including champagne, pillow gift, photo and a unique Polynesian blessing ceremony – that require little extra forethought, and there are even additional upgrades, such as a miniature wedding cake, to ensure an unforgettable holiday experience. The regular seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands sailing takes in each of Bora Bora, rugged Moorea and the private slice of paradise that is Motu Mahana, and you shouldn’t really need any further embellishment than that.
For a company that has gone out of its way to redefine luxury cruising in recent years, with extras like private jet charters and their forthcoming six-star expedition vessel, you’d expect Crystal Cruises to be able to offer an unforgettable honeymoon, and you wouldn’t be wrong. The two big-ship options of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are both suitably varied and highly elegant, but the boutique style of the 62-passenger Crystal Esprit is tailor-made for an intimate, personal voyage for that special occasion. Not only does the Esprit feature Michelin-level cuisine and service, as well as gorgeous staterooms and public spaces, she visits a positive Bucket List of great honeymoon destinations, from the Greek isles and British Virgin Islands to the Adriatic and the Seychelles, ensuring a romantic occasion from start to finish.
For the more adventurous at heart – but those who still want genuine honeymoon heaven – this expedition-style company has a special package with bags of newlywed appeal. The 36-passenger Safari Explorer features a Romantic Hawaii cruise that comes with such tantalising extras as a Welcome bottle of Dom Perignon; chocolate-covered strawberries, fine cheeses and grapes; petal-strewn bed; a honeymoon fête one night at a private dinner; and premium wines stocked in the Wine Library. This ‘Romance Package’ is exclusively available when booking an Admiral cabin, Jr Commodore Suite or a top-deck Commodore Suite (with master bedroom, living room, step-out balcony and fridge), and all feature a king bed and Jacuzzi tub.
As a final possibility for that perfect post-wedding memory, here’s another adults-only line that ticks all the boxes for newlywed harmony. Not only do they take extra care of those just starting out on married life together, Azamara offers the ultimate indulgence of their signature Nights in Private Places, a special butler-catered evening event featuring champagne, dinner for two, a private outdoor terrace and an outdoor bed for a night’s sleep under the stars. The line features a wide range of global possibilities, including blissful Bermuda and the Caribbean, but also an 18-night voyage that takes in both Tahiti and Hawaii for the kind of romantic adventure that provides memories to last a lifetime.
Are you interested in a honeymoon cruise or have you taken one? Give us your thoughts in the Comments section below.