Honeymoons on the High Seas

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A honeymoon at sea is idyllic – newlyweds board a sleek vessel and head to a destination where the afterglow of romance mingles with the salty air.

For many couples, ships epitomize romance and a tranquil way to see far-off lands. Couples will long remember standing at ship’s rail with a loved one, speculating about the wonders beyond the horizon.

Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, offers vessels that consistently rank among the best in the business for starry-eyed newlyweds and company CEO Kevin Sheehan says that this is cause for rejoicing within the company.

“Couples sailing on Norwegian will undoubtedly find the romance of the sea to be one of the best reasons to cruise,” he says, adding that crew and service personnel have been instructed to welcome honeymooners as “if they were family.

“[We strive to make the atmosphere so relaxed and welcoming that] guests often forget about [the wonders of] stepping out on to an open deck with the starry night above and to bask in the relaxing sound of the waves rushing by.”

Sheehan adds that couples on Norwegian can truly have a romantic dinner for two with the line’s freestyle-type of dining, where couples can find a remote table to bask in each other’s company.

“After all,” he says, “have you ever heard of a romantic table for eight?”

Norwegian, with 11 cruise ships calling on ports from Alaska to the Caribbean and from Europe to the Americas, offers excellent flexibility for its passengers who often take the opportunity to customize their cruise before sailing. The line also has a selection of special offers for honeymooners, including what it calls a De Luxe Romance Package costing $329 per stateroom and including champagne, personalized tea service, breakfast in bed, a keepsake portrait, and spa treatments.

Meanwhile, the idyllic snapshot of what constitutes a honeymoon out at sea is what newlyweds inevitably will find aboard any of the three luxury cruises sailing under the Windstar Cruises flag where they are able to bask in the tranquility and comfort typical of its vessels.

Surrounded by the elegant but casual atmosphere on a Windstar ship is like having the run of a private yacht. The line’s motor sailers hold a relatively low number of passengers (either 148 or 312) while dropping anchor in a cluster of enchanting ports and snug harbors in more than 100 destinations in Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas.

“[We are always pleased when] guests choose to celebrate their special occasions with us,” says Diane Moore, president, Windstar Cruises. “Our relaxed attitude, picturesque destinations and pampering service help ensure that the romance of Windstar endures.”

The romance definitely endures in the mind when one sees a Windstar ship under full sail when it most resembles the clippers of a by-gone era. The vessels cut a fine figure plying the waters around the Greek Islands and Turkey after leaving their homeports of Athens, Barcelona or Rome in their wake.

This November, the line is banking that honeymooners will discover the astonishing Canary Islands, a cluster of picturesque landmasses in the eastern Atlantic, where romance and incredible sights await. The vessels will begin their journeys from Tenerife or Lisbon and will afford passengers the chance to explore these dots on the map.

Prices for these cruises are yet to be determined, but introducing the Canary Islands to its list of destinations will enhance the company’s already sterling reputation. Company officials agree that Candles, a popular program initiated by Windstar, where passengers can sample haute cuisine while admiring open water views, sunsets and starry nights will be retained during the new voyages.

Like most Windstar shipboard activities, Candles is bathed in an aura of romance, exemplifying the line’s nonpareil service. Limited to 30 passengers who congregate near the ship’s poolside grill, Candles offers the same sumptuous dishes served in the main dining room, but presents them in an outdoor, luxurious setting on the aft deck.

The line’s stamp of efficiency and a tradition of having its crews working unobtrusively are evident in Windstar’s ships. Captains frequently invite passengers to the bridge to watch the computerized sails being hoisted. On shore, expert guides point out the best-kept secrets of a destination and, returning to ship after a call on a port, passengers unwind in plush lounges or bask in the ship’s spa.