Finding a cruise that's both affordable and romantic can be challenging. The most romantic cruises are typically those offered by pricey luxury lines (think: Azamara, Regent, and Oceania). At the other end of the spectrum are cruise companies that cater to families and budget travelers. To help find the sweet spot of romantic and affordable, we tapped the experts at Cruiseline.com. For couples who want to escape the crowds (at least a little bit) and have quality one-on-one time without spending a fortune, Cruiseline.com experts recommended looking to the midrange cruise companies.
"You will rarely find a deal for $40 per night on these lines, but for prices that usually start around $65 to $80 per night, you get a superior level of cabin, service, and dining, which are the traditional pillars of a romantic cruise experience," said Cruiseline.com's Thomas Faddegon. All prices were researched in late January. Cruises are round-trip unless otherwise noted. (Note: Prices and availability are subject to change.)
ULTIMATE CARIBBEAN: CELEBRITY
Departure: March 23
Starting price: $799 (about $80 a night)
The Caribbean is certainly a romantic backdrop for a couple's getaway. This 10-night escape departs from Fort Lauderdale and includes stops in St. Johns, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; and two days in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. There are also four days at sea to enjoy romantic dinners on the ship, lounging by the pool, spa time together, and more.
EXOTIC SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN: CELEBRITY
Departure: April 1
Starting price: $999 (about $71 a night)
The experts at Cruiseline.com say the southern Caribbean is particularly ideal for a couple's getaway. The region is known for having the best beaches and the least-congested ports. This 14-night trip on the Celebrity Eclipse departs from Miami and explores Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Johns, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Willemstad, Curacao; and Oranjestad, Aruba. There will also be four days at sea.
SOUTH AMERICA AND MEXICO: CELEBRITY
Departure: March 24
Starting price: $1,099 (about $73 a night)
If you don't mind paying for an airline ticket to Chile, this 15-night, one-way cruise from Santiago to San Diego is a truly intriguing option for a couples escape. It includes the ports of Coquimbo (La Serena) Chile; Lima, Peru; Manta, Ecuador; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Huatulco, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
7 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN: PRINCESS
Departure: March 4
Starting price: $649 (about $93 a night)
Departing from Fort Lauderdale, this cruise's ports of call include Princess Cays (the cruise line's private island), as well as Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten. During the three days at sea aboard the Regal Princess, couples can indulge in fresh oysters or caviar at the ship's Ocean Terrace or spend some time in the expanded, adults-only Sanctuary, which features a retreat pool surrounded by plush cabanas.
EASTERN CARIBBEAN: PRINCESS
Departure: March 20
Starting price: $899 (about $90 a night)
Share 10 days of quality time with your significant other aboard this eastern Caribbean getaway, which includes stops in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; St. Johns, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre, St. Kitts. While aboard the Royal Princess take a stroll along the SeaWalk, a first-of-its-kind glass-bottomed enclosed walkway that extends 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship and offers spectacular views. The ship also features movies under the stars and dazzling evening water and light shows.
VOYAGE OF THE GLACIERS NORTHBOUND: PRINCESS
Departure: May 26
Starting price: $614 (about $88 a night)
A one-way cruise departing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Princess' romantic Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary includes the Alaskan ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. There will also be days spent cruising through College Fjord, Alaska, and Glacier Bay National Park (a vast area flanked by the high peaks of Mount Fairweather and glaciers like the huge Grand Pacific Glacier).
CABO SAN LUCAS GETAWAY: PRINCESS
Departure: Feb. 26
Starting price: $434 (about $87 a night)
In addition to being known for its beaches and nightlife, Cabo is the site of Playa del Amor -- otherwise known as Lover's Beach. It is also home to the stunning El Arco, natural archways in the sea. All of which makes for a romantic few days of exploration. Princess will take cruisers from Los Angeles to Cabo on a five-night journey that includes two days spent in Cabo.
CIRCLE CARIBBEAN: PRINCESS
Departure: March 18
Starting price: $1,049 (about $75 a night)
Princess' 14-night Circle Caribbean itinerary provides an in-depth exploration of this sun-drenched region. Ports of call include many of the Caribbean's well-known stops as well as a few less-often-seen options. The trip starts in Fort Lauderdale and includes stops in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; St. John's, Antigua; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Fort-De-France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; Port of Spain, Trinidad; Willemstad, Curacao; and Oranjestad, Aruba.
EASTERN CARIBBEAN: HOLLAND AMERICA
Departure: March 18
Starting price: $449 (about $64 a night)
One of the most budget-friendly romantic cruises identified by Cruiseline.com, Holland America's eastern Caribbean trip aboard the Eurodam departs from Fort Lauderdale with a seven-night itinerary that includes Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The ship features five dining rooms, including The Pinnacle Grill, which was created in partnership with New York City's famed French restaurant Le Cirque.
PANAMA CANAL: HOLLAND AMERICA
Departure: Feb. 28
Starting price: $769 (about $70 a night)
This 11-night voyage aboard the Zuiderdam represents a great value for a round-trip visit to the Panama Canal, while also including some romantic stops throughout the Caribbean. The trip departs from Fort Lauderdale and includes Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; Cartagena, Colombia; entrance to the Panama Canal at Cristobal; cruising the canal and Gatun Lake; Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.
SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN: HOLLAND AMERICA
Departure: March 11
Starting price: $999 (about $71 a night)
This romantic 14-night, southern Caribbean trip on Holland America's Rotterdam will take cruisers from Tampa to Key West, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; St. John's, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia; Willemstad, Curacao; Oranjestad, Aruba; and George Town, Grand Cayman. There are also five days at sea to enjoy the Rotterdam's Culinary Arts Center or its Greenhouse Spa & Salon. The ship also hosts world-class musicians at its B.B. King Blues Club. Cabins start at $71 per night.