The Azamara Quest — Photo courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises
Thinking about taking your romantic partner on a cruise?
While the destination is important, the stateroom itself is really the first and most important ingredient in planning a romance-filled cruise.
"Be sure to get a room with a balcony so you can savor moments alone – sailing out of a city, admiring the sunset, greeting morning in your pj's with room service breakfast," says Anne Chalfant, a former Bay area travel editor and cruise expert and author of the travel app 'Cruise! A Guide to Ships and Trips'($3.99 on iTunes and Google Play).
Once you've got the balcony, you have some privacy - note the emphasis on the word some. Security cameras are everywhere, and we mean everywhere on ships these days, so best to avoid the temptation to join the balcony club – the cruise version of the mile high club.
There's no chance of completely avoiding kids on a cruise, as no line has gone completely kid-free. But if you think upscale and upmarket, your romantic factor increases. Azamara, Seaborne and Oceania, among others, cater to wealthier, older adults - and that means fewer amenities for kids. And be sure to avoid kid-friendly seasons of the year: spring break and summer vacation times.
By cruising slightly off-season - January through March for many European destinations - you can find the best deals, even on the most expensive itineraries.
We find engaging your stateroom attendant is an excellent way to ensure your alone time is sacred - and surprises are delivered. Once on board, find your attendant and make arrangements for special turn-down services, including delivery of love notes or champagne and chocolate, or other little gifts. (Be sure to show your appreciation, too - add a nice tip even if crew gratuities are included in the tariff).
Mercat St. Josep la Boqueria, on Las Ramblas in Barcelona - the perfect spot to find all the makings of a romantic picnic lunch in this port city — Photo courtesy of Madeline Davies
If splurging on a balcony or upgraded room has emptied out the piggy bank, take heart. Do your research about the ports of call ahead of time, so when you and your beloved arrive, you can have your days planned out with some special touches: a must-visit chocolate shop, the perfect picnic spot in port or a quiet evening of star-gazing from the sun deck as you sail away from port. Your time together should focus on the shared experiences, not the souvenirs you pick up.
The Azamara Quest departs from France, under a brilliant (and romantic) display of fireworks — Photo courtesy of Madeline Davies
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