Pictured above: Princess Cruises, Sanctuary Cabana
You’ve said “I do”, and, now it’s time to relax, and celebrate. A cruise can be a wonderful honeymoon choice – after all, what other type of holiday enables you to unpack only once, but wake up in a different beautiful destination each day?
CruiseCritic.co.uk, the cruise reviews, and planning site share this advice on planning a happy honeymoon cruise.
Key considerations to start:
• Dates – Do your travel dates coincide with any events, such as school holidays?
• Destination – do you have a specific destination or region you’d particularly love to visit? If so, don’t forget to research the destination’s seasonality in line with your travel dates.
• Budget – do you have a strict budget, or are you looking to splurge?
1. Knowledge is power
With many itineraries to increasingly exotic destinations, plus amazing ships to choose from, selecting a cruise can be difficult. But, with research, all newlyweds can plan the cruise of their dreams.
Research everything from destinations to ship choices, cabins and onboard dining options. You can utilise sites such as Cruise Critic to read ship reviews, from experts, and others cruisers. Also consider chatting with other cruisers, and make the most of the dedicated honeymoon & wedding forum in the community section of the site. You could also speak to a travel agent for advice.
2. Early vs late booking?
If you can plan at least a year ahead, you’ll have a better chance of securing your preferred cabin. You may also get a number of added-value benefits, such as drink packages, prepaid gratuities or airfare, which are costs you’ll pay anyway, and could, therefore, save hundreds of pounds.
If you’d rather wait, you might find a great last-minute deal – but you’ll need to be flexible on dates and cabin selection. Though we tend to find fewer last-minute deals these days, they do still exist, especially on shorter cruises that last less than a week.
3. Cabin romance
If you can afford to treat yourself, a balcony cabin means you can enjoy private outdoor space to watch a sunset or dine alone.
If you’re really keen to splash out, a suite comes with quality added perks. Be sure to check with the line, but some offer access to reserved seating for shows and events, and a designated suite-only restaurant, sun deck or lounge. If you prefer extra space, suites tend to be a good option, however, they vary considerably, so do investigate – on some ships, a balcony can be similar in size to a lower-end suite.
4. Be vocal
When you book, tell the travel agent or cruise line you’re on honeymoon, so that the ship is notified. Once onboard, follow up with the maître’d to help ensure you’re able to get what you’d like. For example, you might prefer a romantic table for two in the main dining room, rather than join a larger table.
For speciality restaurants, book ahead of sailing to secure your preferred time and date. Don’t forget that some speciality venues include a per-person cover charge, while others are a la carte. These alternative restaurants generally offer a higher-quality or more personal experience than you’d get in the main dining room and can be a real treat.
5. Check what’s included
Your honeymoon should finish on a high, so ensure you check what is – and isn’t – included in your cruise fare to help you budget properly. Most mainstream cruise lines don’t include things like alcohol, tips, spa treatments, shore excursions or speciality restaurants in their fares, and these items can really add up, so plan accordingly.