Whether it’s a milestone birthday, anniversary, or romantic proposal, why not mark the next big occasion with your significant other on a cruise holiday?
Even if there’s no specific event to celebrate right now, a cruise ship forms the perfect base from which to explore the world and spend more quality time together.
For a round-up of top destinations for couples to try on their next romantic escape, Nick Wilkinson, Norwegian Cruise Lines Regional Vice President for South Africa, offers his pick of top destinations:
1. Barcelona and Monte Carlo
Great for: Young culture-seeking couples who have always dreamed of visiting Europe, or more mature romantics looking to return.
Spain’s enchanting coastal city of Barcelona and the always glamorous Monte Carlo in Monaco form a dynamic duo in the Western Mediterranean. These are Wilkinson’s top recommendations for couples wanting a taste of boundless culture, fabled architecture and a good dose of glamour.
“There is no shortage of cruise routes that embark from Barcelona, and make their way through Monte Carlo,” he says. “This is the main sailing for our Norwegian Pearl, which sails over 10 nights and includes stops in Italy Rome (Civitavecchia), Venice, and Florence, as well as visiting ports in the Greek Islands, and Croatia, too.”
2. The Greek Islands
Great for: Partners seeking that quintessential fun-in-the-sun holiday, plenty of laughter, and romantic onboard dinners.
From plate-smashing to shots of ouzo and copious amounts of tzatziki and skewered meats, if there is a destination where celebrations are done right, it has to be Greece. “Greece is a great place for a high-spirited celebration, while the Greek Islands were almost made for honeymooners and couples looking to celebrate a milestone with a sun-and-sand element,” says Wilkinson.
“Cruise holidays that sail the Eastern Mediterranean region include a broad range of areas that extend from Greece, including Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Ukraine, and even Russia, blending ancient history with laid-back beaches, nightlife, cuisine, and local culture.”
3. Bali, Jakarta and Surabaya
Great for: Easy-going and free-spirited partners looking to reconnect with each other, and to learn more about Asian culture.
Indonesia is an historically scenic destination renowned for its culture and cuisine and most cruise voyages arrive in in Bali where you can get the most out of the island’s wonderful beaches, affordable economy, and discount shopping.
“Indonesia is not just about visiting Bali, though, explains Wilkinson. “Jakarta, the massive capital located on the northwest coast of the island of Java, is also worth a visit, with its eclectic and historic mix of cultures – Javanese, Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and European.” He also recommends the city of Surabaya in East Java, not as well-known on the tourist trail as other places even though it stands as the second largest city in the country.
For couples wanting to experience all that Asia has to offer in 2020, Wilkinson recommends a holiday on the new Norwegian Spirit in 2020, where all venues and accommodations have been upgraded as part of a multi-million-dollar revitalization.
“The Norwegian Spirit is ready to take you from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the tiny villages in Indonesia in style. Choose from 5 to 24-day itineraries, each with at least one overnight stay, meaning more time to immerse yourself in the Far East culture,” he adds.
4. The Hawaiian Islands
Great for: Couples seeking out their next big adventure in a completely new location.
This collection of eight lush, volcanic islands offers plenty in the way of dreamy sunsets, fiery volcanoes, sweeping beaches and busy nightlife. “Each island has a different character, appearance and climate, so a cruise is the best way to find your favourite,” says Wilkinson. “Maui and Kauai are popular with honeymooners. Big Island is the most geographically diverse, while Molokai is the most ‘Hawaiian’.”
If couples are undecided when to travel, the Norwegian Pride of America operates a seven-day round-trip Honolulu sailing, the only cruise sailing four Hawaiian Islands in a week, year-round.
Great for: Loved-up romantics wanting an exotic, dreamlike destination that is closer to home, natural and untouched.
There is no better way to explore the Indian Ocean in style than to board a cruise ship bound for the Seychelles. “This is a place to find adventure,” says Wilkinson, “with white sandy beaches, shimmering waters and intriguing wildlife.
“It is a great place to go snorkelling along the shore and explore the local culture. Some of the most typical ports of call in this area include the islands of Cousin, Aride, St. Pierre, Mahe, Curieuse, and La Digue.” These destinations are a little more off-the-beaten-path than your average cruise, and also typically include visits to Réunion island, Mauritius and the Maldives.
“The logistics of holiday planning can distract couples from the romantic moments, and that’s inherently why I think cruises are so romantic: everything is planned for you,” concludes Wilkinson. “A cruise lays out the itinerary, including the cities or ports you’ll visit, the excursions you can partake in, leaving you even more time to spend with each other,” he concludes.