Following the recent blog posts on the top 5 locations to “pop the question” at sea and our guide to getting married at sea, here’s how to plan the perfect honeymoon cruise.
There was once a famous saying and cliché about cruising that revolved around cruise passengers being either “newly-weds or nearly dead’s”, we are happy to report that not only is this cliché out of date, it’s also far from the truth. A cruise a fantastic honeymoon option and offers superb value along with the ideal hassle free escape choice.
Deciding on the perfect cruise for your honeymoon can be a little tricky. There are certainly many attractions to a cruise for your honeymoon such as the little treats on arrival including champagne and flowers, but deciding on the right cruise for you is not always easy. There is no denying the appeal but deciding on the specific cruise itself is a different matter. This is where Bolsover Cruise Club’s experienced Cruise Consultants step in.
Choosing The Cruise
What’s the best honeymoon option for you? Tough question, one that will have endless answers from all different opinions so the best advice we could ever give would be to avoid other opinions and go with what you feel is the best option for you. Before making the decision to cruise for your honeymoon, it’s a good idea to decide on what matters most in your honeymoon, what you want from your time away and what best suits the two of you.
Are you looking for an active, outdoorsy experience? Do you like to laze the day away in the sunshine? Do you prefer a more intimate ambiance or are you more inclined to go for something with a bit more buzz? Are you seeking ultimate luxury or happy with more informal surroundings? All these questions matter and certainly apply to finding the perfect honeymoon for you.
After all, a honeymoon is not your average holiday, it is something you want to be perfect and you’ll find yourselves striving to achieve it. The most important thing to remember is that planning this part of your life is a happy time and does not have to be stressful, hence why we decided to give you a little helping hand along the way.
The Perception Of A Cruise Holiday
Cruise holiday honeymoons are for all ages. Do not let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. Whether you are spring chicken or more mature, later in life nuptials are just as important so don’t be told otherwise.
The first piece of advice is to plan your budget. Think about the aforementioned questions and then put these decisions to good use. Decide where you’re at financially and use that to plan what and when to book. There is often the urge when planning your honeymoon to get things done and dusted, almost as if your thinking, “that’s that out of the way, now I can concentrate on the big day”, well speaking from experience, the honeymoon is just as important so be sure to put the right amount of time into deciding what’s right for you, trust us when we say, it’ll pay dividends in the long run.
The budget decision is important because of the cruise market in the modern day. It was always the case that when you booked early, you received a better deal not only when planning a cruise honeymoon but in general. Whilst this still applies to some cruise lines, the majority of cruise operators have varying offers in place and the last thing you want on your honeymoon is to feel like you’ve paid over the odds. Decide what’s best for you and do this with these tips in mind. Booking early means that you have peace of mind in place, it also means that you have the ability to pick your specific desired cabin and its position on the ship. Booking early also means that if you are planning to request a romantic table for two in the dining room, you are much more likely to get what you require.
Now for the pros and cons of booking closer to the time. This may well work well for you. There is no denying that the cruise industry has shifted over recent years and late bookers are now seeing great value but there are important points to consider here. Although late bookings can represent very good value, they do not come with the added benefits you receive when booking early and when we’re talking about your honeymoon, these can be make or break factors. With late bookings, you will often not be able to choose your specific cabin number.
These bookings often mean you are only able to decide your grade of cabin, for example a balcony, but not be able to decide where that balcony will be on the ship, it could be anywhere and your stateroom number will be allocated by the cruise line. Dining is also important to consider. Returning to the point about a table for two, when booking late, this request cannot be guaranteed.
A good piece of advice for when to book is to decide again what is right for you. If you like the idea of peace of mind, knowing exactly where you will be on board and that your dining arrangements are confirmed then booking early is the right decision to make. Alternatively if you are happy to be anywhere on board and would prefer to see if you can pick up a brilliant honeymoon cruise deal then booking later could be the ideal solution.
Many cruise lines do not offer complimentary benefits when you are on your honeymoon but booking with the right agent can often help. If you have a travel agent that specialises in cruises and also boasts a good relationship with cruise operators, there is no harm in asking your agent to let the cruise line know that you will be celebrating your honeymoon on board. Whilst it does not guarantee to get you extra amenities at no charge it can help.
Many cruise lines now offer celebration packages on board at a charge. These packages often include features such as Champagne on arrival, breakfast in bed, photography, canapés, speciality restaurant reservations and spa treatments. If you do decide to go ahead with one of these packages then these can often be found online. Most cruise lines will provide you with the ability to log on to your very own cruise pages on their website using your booking reference where you can read all about the packages available and make an informed decision.
We’ve mentioned dining a few times but there’s no harm in bringing it up again. Dining is a big part of your holiday and when you are on your honeymoon you want it to be just right. With that in mind the big decision for many is whether to opt for Traditional Dining or the more recently popular Anytime Dining choice. Traditional Dining is where you will have the same table and waiting staff ready for you each and every evening on board in the Main Dining Room. You have the choice between either an earlier or later sitting, usually 6.30pm or 8.30pm. If you decide this is right for you then you can request a specific table size of your choice. For many this is a table for two and another important reason to make sure the cruise line knows you are celebrating your honeymoon. The last thing you want is to be sharing those special moments at the dining table surrounded by a table filled with newly made friends, as nice as this can be, it’s not exactly ideal when your trying to inject a bit of romance into the evening so be sure to let them know.
The alternative choice is to opt for Anytime Dining. This can be confusing for first time cruisers as cruise lines seem to enjoy calling this type of dining many different names to keep us on our toes but really they all mean the same thing. It can be referred to as Freedom Dining (P&O Cruises), My Time Dining (Royal Caribbean) and many more but just remember it is all the same thing.
This is where you can dine anytime throughout each evening usually between the hours of 6pm and 10pm. Simply head for the restaurant at a time that suits you and you will be seated to the first available table, it’s that easy. This offers more flexibility to your cruise and can be a good option if you’re planning on heading ashore to do excursions during the day. You may prefer to go down for dinner later some nights than others and for that this option is excellent. It is also a way of guaranteeing a table for two as all you have to do is ask for one on arrival to the restaurant, if one is available you will be seated, if not, grab a drink and you’ll be notified when it is.
Try not to worry too much about your dining choice though. Modern day cruise ships have so many dining venues on board that the choices are endless. Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest ship, Norwegian Getaway for example, has 27 different dining venues on board. From the Main Dining Rooms to the Speciality Restaurants and Buffet Venues, you’re guaranteed to find something that’s right for you.
Spa treatments are next on our list of advice, they are hugely popular on board especially for newly married couples!
When planning your honeymoon cruise, be sure to book these spa treatments early as they can sell out very quickly but one great piece of advice I have been giving out ever since my first cruise is to take advantage of the “embarkation day offers”. On the first day of your cruise, when you get on board, there are often certain offers in place as long as you book before a certain time. Head to the Spa and see what’s going on, take a tour of the facilities and they’ll no doubt be a few hidden offers to take advantage of.
Hopefully this information and advice can help you in planning your perfect honeymoon cruise but the most important thing to remember is to do what you feel is right for you. This is just a guide, take in the facts and you make the decision for you, the best piece of advice I’ve ever heard is to just make sure you enjoy it!