For all the men and women whose spouses or "significant others" were disappointed by the gift they received this year, next time say "I love you" with a well-deserved cruise. According to Fielding's Guide to World Wide Cruises, the three most romantic cruises are aboard the Star Clipper and Star Flyer, Crystal Harmony, and the Seabourn Pride and Seabourn Spirit.
The Star Clipper and Star Flyer visit the beautiful Caribbean islands, such as St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and the Grenadines, and the Mediterranean--Corsica, Bonifacio, and Costa Smeralda, to name a few. The cabins with the upper and lower beds do tend to be small. The best staterooms are found at 108-116 midships on the Commodore Deck as well as 302-308 on the Clipper Deck. Double staterooms on the main deck have jacuzzis and tubs.
If you are into water sports, this is the cruise for you. Scuba is free, and snorkeling equipment is given to you to keep throughout the trip. If you would like to learn water sports, instructors are available. A favorite sport by passengers is the "banana boat"--a long, inflated tube, holding four passengers that hold on for their lives while being pulled by a high-speed Zodiac.
When all the activity makes you hungry, the Dining Room -- filled with rich burgundy and rose fabrics, and warm lighting -- has an open single seating with excellent meals and cuisine. Fresh produce is loaded from ports. You never have to eat the same meal twice unless you want to. After dinner, you might try the popular covered outdoor bar for conversation, crab races, crew fashion shows, and dancing. Try the piano bar for drinks and late night sing-alongs. While aboard, don't miss the Captain's "story time" -- the previews of the day's events or the evening constellation lessons. If you are daring enough, you might try the hammock-like nets beneath the bowsprit.
Currently, the Crystal Harmony is making full-transit Panama Canal cruises before moving to Alaska in May. Late summer finds her going trans-Pacific to Beijing, and she spends fall and winter in the Orient and Australia before returning to her Canal transits at the start of the new year. All cabins are equipped with TV/VCR with CNN and ESPN, mini-refrigerators, safes, hairdryers, and direct dial telephones.
A 3000-square foot spa can be found aboard this vessel as well as two large pools, aerobic classes, personal fitness instructors, and a sauna. There is even a tennis court and a golf course!
For your dining pleasure, the Main Dining Room -- furnished with cut crystal and brass lamps -- has two seatings. On the Starboard side, there are also two restaurants -- Prego for your Italian cravings and Kyoto for your Japanese tastes. Both restaurants require reservations. In the mornings, cappucino and croissants are served at the European-styled sidewalk cafe, Bistro Cafe. So many delicious choices add variety to your diet.
To take in some late night dancing, try the Palm Court -- a plant-filled oasis. If you just want to relax, the three-tiered Vista Lounge is the place with its white reclining chairs, ceiling of twinkling stars, and 270 degrees of floor to ceiling windows. Not to mention the casinos ready to serve your gambling needs.
The Seabourn Spirit voyages to the Far East while the Seabourn Pride journeys to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Amazon River. Both travel to the Baltic, Western Europe, and Mediterranean in summer. Aboard these vessels, all cabins are suites of 277 square feet, decorated in soft beige, with a five-foot picture window and TV/VCR, stocked mini-bar, and writing desk with personalized stationery. In addition to twin or queen beds, there are walk-in closets with safes. Most suites also have private verandas; all suites are tidy and provided with fresh flowers.
Some cruises may include water sports with waterskiing, inner tubes, and "banana boats." The vessels have spas and fitness centers containing sufficient equipment to continue your daily workout. Also, there are supervised aerobics, a saltwater pool, and three jacuzzis.
Meals are cooked to perfection and to your specifications in the Restaurant, which offers open dining. No tipping is allowed aboard this vessel. The waiters know your name and take the time to listen to your preferences. Fresh produce is picked up at every port. The Veranda Cafe supplies an al fresco breakfast/lunch overlooking the sea.
Seabourn Cruise Line provides an excellent evening cabaret, featuring accomplished entertainers; cocktails and dancing in the Club, which is adjacent to the casino; a well-stocked library with complimentary video tapes; and a beauty salon.
If you want to get married on a cruise, most cruise lines have departments to provide and arrange every detail for you. Want to renew your vows? Sure! 4000 couples renew theirs aboard Princess Cruises ("The Love Boat") on Valentine's Day every year. So Enjoy!
To book any (or all!) of these cruises, or for further information about them, please contact your favorite travel agent.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please