Celebrate Valentine’s Day with these romantic cruising tips

Michelle and Karl Teel

Remember The Love Boat? Most baby boomers and a few Gen Xers probably have the opening tune memorized. For a lot of Americans, The Love Boat was their first glimpse at cruising for people other than millionaires. Cruising has been closely associated with romance, and the television series certainly wove many a plot around various romantic themes.

Celebrity SpaSometimes, a little help can take a so-so cruise and make it a memory maker for years to come. The key to that can be found in little moments you create for yourself and your special someone. Some are free, while others may cost a little bit. Why not cruise from Baltimore and use the airline savings to do them all? Here are our Top 10 tips:

Ditch the kids for a night

Children bring a lot of love into the family, of course, but they aren’t exactly the formula for a romantic evening. If you opted to take the family on a cruise, make sure you take a night for yourselves. Virtually all cruise lines have well-staffed, affordable programs and babysitting services. Check it out in advance and plan ahead for a special date night.

Star-lit deck walks

It always amazes us how few cruisers we see at night while strolling around the top deck. Perhaps the crowds are in the theater, lounge, or casino. The stars are often much brighter at sea without the light pollution near the coast. It’s generally warm, and if not, walking closely with your arms around each other helps. Take an open lounge chair and ponder and talk. And remember, this one is free!

Take a dance class

You can’t be much more “together” then when dancing. Learn something new together and have a great excuse to go out and practice later on. These classes are either free or very low cost and pay dividends for a lifetime. Your friends will ask, “Where did you two learn to dance like that?” The romance can become habit forming. Be the couple others are envious of at any wedding party.

Take a martini or cooking class

These are often free or low cost. The martini classes are typically the cost of two cocktails (and you get four). The best part is that you learn something to share and do together in the future. You have to eat and drink every day, so learn to make it more enjoyable. This learning promotes togetherness, which is the foundation for romance.

Have flowers and champagne sent

Everyone loves these surprises. It’s not just limited to your spouse, either. Surprise another couple. Most cruise lines offer this service online. As long as you know their name, the cruise ship’s name, and the departure date, you can set this up. Surprisingly, it’s as inexpensive as your local florist. Many cruises are planned around anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebratory times. Make it special!Celebrity_Solstice_(ship,_2008)_001

Upscale dining reservations

Everyone knows you are going to eat pretty well on any cruise, but let’s up the ante. Main dining areas have you paired with many others which can be fun and engaging. Tables for couples aren’t always in the more desirable locations. Most cruise ships now have one or more upscale restaurants that are a true bang-for-the-buck.

For a fee ranging from $10 to $50 a person, you can upgrade to a high-end, white-glove service, seven-course meal that would run $300 to $400 a couple if you were to do it near home. We’ve never met anyone who regretted this decision and have received countless thanks for this advice.

Balcony night

Sometimes, quiet and simple is the key. If you have a balcony room, this is superb. Get a bottle of wine and room service, dim the lights, and sit on the balcony slowly savoring your meal as conversation weaves its way through the evening. We often begin our day with room service breakfast on our balcony. It’s even better if you are facing a sunset. Either way, the quiet simplicity of sharing a meal with the one you love is memorable.

Play your song

Slide a note and a tip to the musicians and have them dedicate your favorite nostalgic song to you and that special someone. This little show of thoughtfulness can take a plain nightclub moment and make it yours. Don’t feel awkward, because the entertainers are used to it. Or, try singing a karaoke duet. Have a cocktail first to give you both a little liquid courage and feel the love as you croon to one another while staring lovingly into each other’s eyes.

Special excursions

Do some research and plan in advance. Depending on the ports of call on your particular cruise, there can be a wide variety of options to fit every taste, every budget, and every flavor of romance. A private sail for two on a sloop? A picnic in a sublime location? A horse-drawn carriage ride? The possibilities are endless.

Hit the spa

Splurge a little and spend a day at the spa together. Hot tubs, saunas, and a couple’s massage (hot stone is our favorite) create a memory that

will long outlive the brief pain in the checkbook. Pamper the relationship as you pamper yourselves.

Show your sweetheart how much you care by sharing the romance of a cruise together.

A cruise can be the most exciting, fun, relaxing, delightful, fulfilling, or romantic time you can have.

Do some research by contacting one of the travel agents in these pages or by visiting any cruise line website. There is sure to be a cruise that fits your personality, budget, or ideal itinerary.

Your Valentine will be sure to thank you.

Bon voyage!

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