The complete Bolsover Cruise Club guide for couples cruising
You’ve browsed the brochures and scoured the advertisements to find the perfect romantic cruise for two, by this time you’ll have scanned over countless glamorous brochure covers with an abundance of shots capturing the perfect couple in each other’s arms with a gorgeous sunset in the background looking out over the seas from the comfort of their on board veranda, maybe even a little like the one we’ve used here (left). We understand that sometimes you might feel like you wish all the glamour and over exaggeration would just be taken away and stripped back to the basics to help you choose the perfect cruise line for you. The truth is that cruising is actually one of the best choices for a romantic holiday you can find but the thing that will really make the holiday for you is often going to be the on board lifestyle not the occasional sunset as beautiful as it may be. Deciding on the right cruise line, the right ship and the right destination can be really difficult, especially when you’re planning a romantic getaway. The last thing you want is your romantic holiday escape ruined so here at Bolsover Cruise Club we put our heads together and decided to come up with the best suggestions and advice for choosing the ideal cruise for couples. We also did a similar blog recently for suite accommodation on board, which you can view here.
Romance and cruising do walk hand in hand, they’re made for each-other but it’s our job to point out why and to then advise you on the best possible cruise line choices to make sure you experience it for yourselves. Therefore we took the time to consider all factors that make up the perfect romantic holiday. It was important for us to consider that there are many different perceptions of romance and what it means to people is never the same. It would be almost impossible for us to narrow down the perfect cruise for every single person so we thought best to choose our cruise lines and ships based on what we believe to be universally romantic. Our criteria included ships that offer a great selection of exclusive romantic amenities, private verandas, spacious and comfortable bathrooms, dining options and even potential date night choices but most of all it was based on cruise lines that offered ultimate relaxation both day and night.
We’ll start with two of the most luxurious cruise lines at sea, Seabourn and Crystal Cruises. The two cruise lines differ in the ships available as Seabourn provide intimate yacht cruising whilst Crystal Cruises offer big ship features but with small ship luxuries. Despite the differences in their fleets, the two cruise lines do have one definite factor in common; they are both exceptionally good when it comes to romance.
Let’s start with Seabourn, this fantastic cruise line continuously attracts couples both and young and old with their exquisite style of indulgent cruising. The staterooms on board are tremendously well designed and offer a great amount of space and comfort, most providing a spacious veranda and separate living room area. The superb spa’s on board Seabourn ships are some of the best in the business and ideal for relaxation but if you feel like being a little bit more active there’s also the unique feature of the water sports marina. This is an area at the aft of each ship that folds down to become a brilliant marina and haven for water sports such as windsurfing, jet-ski’s and much more. If you are looking to explore as a couple and see new, off the beaten track destinations then this line is also perfect as the smaller, intimate ships allow Seabourn to venture where larger ships cannot go. As for romance on board, the pool areas on these ships are gorgeous and not in any way crowded but it’s often the little outdoor hideaways that steal the show, especially towards the aft of the ships on deck 5. On board these ships you also have the opportunity to hire a private spa villa for the day that comes with your own hot tub, terrace, sunbathing area and treatment beds, sound good? We think so to!
When it comes to dining with Seabourn, the gourmet menus are spectacular and the formal dining is perfect for getting dressed up to enjoy a romantic evening for two. The unobtrusive service is truly excellent and the ambience of both main dining rooms on board makes for a create evening just be sure to ignore the somewhat lack of creativity that went into the naming of the dining rooms; The Restaurant and Restaurant 2 doesn’t exactly blow you away with anticipation but believe us, when you sit down and try the food you’ll forget all about that. The only potential downside is if you like a large, diverse range of dining options. Seabourn serves incredible cuisine but the range of venues is limited in comparison to larger ships.
Now for Crystal Cruises and the mid-sized luxury purposed vessels that maintain the charms of smaller ships. The accommodation on board these ships is out of this world and the suites in particular really are beautiful. We’re looking more closely at the Crystal Serenity although both ships are extremely good for couples. As stated, the suites really are the pinnacle of romance on board and come with butler service, marble bathrooms, your very own hot tub and much more but we understand not everyone is looking for a suite. We still would suggest Crystal however as all stateroom grades on board are highly impressive. As for on board romance, well on board this ship, there’s plenty. The terraced decks right at the aft of the ship provide a lovely area to take a stroll, especially in the evening under moonlit skies and we also love the Sunset Bar at the forward of the ship for its private corners, ideal for watching a sunset together. When it comes to dining Crystal also earn rave reviews. The speciality venues on board are perfect for a candlelit dinner for two, especially Northern Italian Prego but the Asian Silk Road venue is also a treat. Alternatively you could always opt to order room service and enjoy the sumptuous cuisine from the comforts of your own private veranda.
As luxury cruise lines Seabourn and Crystal Cruises are magnificent choices, however we also wanted to look at cruise lines that not only provided luxury but that also provided exceptional value for money for a romantic cruise. Seabourn and Crystal Cruises are breath-taking but this does not mean that larger ships should not be considered. With that in mind, next on our list is Princess Cruises.
Princess Cruises are just about to release their brand new ship, the Royal Princess and the romantic features on board this new vessel are outstanding. We cannot wait for the arrival of Royal Princess and sister ship Regal Princess due to be launched in June 2014, but when writing this blog we wanted to base it on ships already in service and as such chose to focus more on the previous new additions to the Princess fleet, these being the Crown Princess and Ruby Princess. These ships are fabulous and the one thing we really admire about the design is the ability of the vessels to blend big ship diversity with an intimate-ship atmosphere. Plus when a cruise line has an annual offer known as the Love Boat sale, you know you’re in good hands when it comes to romance.
Both Ruby and Crown Princess boast the cruise lines splendid selection of suites and mini suites, all offering refined indulgence and complete with excellent benefits such as daily canapés, thermal suite access, luxury bathroom amenities and much more. The balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms also provide spacious, exquisitely designed accommodation and are definitely worth looking at. As for dining on board, guests have the choice in the main dining rooms of anytime open seating dining or traditional. The main dining rooms are very popular and it’s not hard to see why but for a unique romantic dining experience, opt for the Ultimate Balcony choice. This option is available at a supplement and you will be treated to a sublime dinner accompanied by Champagne. Obviously this option is only available if you are travelling in a stateroom with a balcony. The speciality dining venues on board are also gorgeous. For an authentic Tuscan experience head for Sabatini’s for a romantic Italian dinner or try the Crown Grill for an excellent choice of steak and seafood dishes in intimate surroundings.
So we’ve covered the dining and accommodation with Princess Cruises but what about the genuine romantic feature available on board? Well for starters one of the best choices has to be “Movies under the Stars”. This fabulous Princess creation is an al fresco movie experience reminiscent of a retro drive in feel where you can put your arms around each other, wrap up with a blanked should you feel a chill and even indulge in a tub of popcorn. That’s an idea for the evening but for the day there’s also the cleverly designed Sanctuary. This area was created exclusively for adults and provides a top deck retreat to relax. Here you’ll find shaded cabanas, waiter service, and a spa menu with massages available poolside with even the option for a couples massage.
The next cruise line we would recommend looking at is P&O Cruises. Similar to Princess we love how P&O are able to combine larger vessel facilities with the grace of a smaller ship and this is none more evident than aboard their adult only ships. Oriana is a beautiful ship that holds timeless glamour and continues to attract many repeat P&O passengers. Adonia is the smallest ship in the fleet but still manages to boast a great collection of amenities for couples to enjoy but for the purpose of this blog we have decided to focus on Arcadia. This glorious cruise liner is also our Cruise of the Week choice and with that in mind, what better time than now to look at her excellent attractions for a romantic cruise?
Arcadia is a great selection for passengers looking a romantic holiday. She holds a fantastic range of upscale dining options as well as the opportunity for weddings at sea and having been designed specifically for the British market, she is perfect for British couples. For an accommodation splurge, choose a suite and you will be treated like royalty. The suites are huge in size and offer special amenities including Champagne on arrival, a daily delivery of canapés and exclusive luxury bathroom toiletries from Molton Brown. As for dining, as we mentioned before, Arcadia has a wonderful array of upscale choice and we particularly recommend the Ocean Grill, Marco Pierre White’s restaurant on board. Dinner here is at a supplement, usually around £20 per person but believe us, it’s worth it! It would be silly to forget about the other dining venues on board however, as although the Ocean Grill is a beautiful venue for exquisite cuisine, the Orchid Restaurant is a superb setting for a romantic meal and there’s the Orchid Bar right next door for a drink afterwards with it’s warm, rich décor. If we had one bit of constructive criticism and an important bit of advice to pass on its to be mindful of requesting a table for 2 in the main dining room as they are quite limited so try and book early if that’s something you really want. A table for two is a must if you’re planning a romantic escape.
Celebrity Cruises are also a sensational cruise line and without a doubt, a great choice for a romantic couples cruise. The cruise line has long been renowned for superb service and excellent on board amenities but since the arrival of the Solstice Class, Celebrity Cruises really have made the rest of the world stand up and take notice. The arrival of the Celebrity Solstice, Equinox, Eclipse, Silhouette and Reflection has taken the cruise line to the next level and we pay tribute to that by 100% advising you to consider them when planning a couples cruise. The new vessels portray a contemporary, lavish style of cruising and cater more for adult escapes than family holidays. As such this makes them a great choice. One of the main attractions of these ships is that they are huge in size but offer an incredible amount of open un-crowded deck space to enjoy. The ships have a great selection of couple orientated venues on board from speciality dining venues to chic wine bars; we also really like the touch of double pool lounges.
In terms of accommodation with these Celebrity ships as you can imagine the suits are pretty special, ranging from 300 to 1,636 square feet in size. The suites are fabulous but the biggest recommendation we suggest is to consider the Aqua and Concierge Class staterooms. Aqua Class staterooms provide a spacious cabin with a private veranda but also the pampering added touches of spa-orientated toiletries, massaging shower heads, upgraded bed linens and complete free access to the AquaSpa relaxation areas and Persian Garden as well as the healthy eating speciality restaurant, Blu. Celebrity Cruises provides a great choice for couples looking for luxury cruising without the need to break the bank. As for romantic features, well where do we start? They are everywhere on board these ships but we’ve chosen a couple to highlight. Firstly, the Lawn Club is a great place to go and chill out just the two of you. This is a real grass lawn on the top deck of the ship and the cruise line will even organise a romantic picnic on the lawn for two in the sunshine if you wish. The pool areas are also great with the aforementioned double loungers and the addition of hammocks for cuddling up under the sun. During the evening we particularly love the bar areas on Deck 4. Here you’ll find an array of wine and martini bars to enjoy, each with their own delicate corners to hideaway in.
Dining is the real star of the show on board Celebrity’s Solstice Class ships. The main restaurant is a haven for great food but we book a lot of passengers on Celebrity Cruises and our passengers always come back singing the praises of Murano. This is a speciality venue on board and is an absolute must when cruising aboard these ships with its refined, upscale a la carte cuisine. The other superb choice is the Tuscan Grille, an Italian dining venue with a wine country style. The entrance alone at the Tuscan Grille is enough to set the mood for a romantic evening on board.
There are many other fantastic cruise lines for a romantic couples holiday and be sure to browse our cruise lines for all the latest information on each cruise ship we offer but for now we hope this blog provides a little help with narrowing down your ideal romantic getaway.