When planning our honeymoon, a great amount of thought went into it. Granted, not as much as the actual wedding itself, but close enough!
I’d be more than happy to lie on a beach for eight hours a day listening to the waves brushing against the powder white beaches of a Caribbean island. My husband, on the other hand, would be bored stiff. So, I needed to find something that appealed to us both. The most important aspect of the honeymoon had to be that we would both have a great time.
Pro tip: If you enjoy different things, combine both of your interests into one holiday.
My initial honeymoon ideas
We got married at the end of August and I had read that it would be a good idea to leave the honeymoon for a few months after the wedding rather than jetting off on the honeymoon immediately after the wedding as people traditionally do.
With all the emotion building up to the big day, it was advised to enjoy time after the wedding with friends and family to reflect on the big day and have your honeymoon as something to look forward to. So that’s what we did.
A cruise was initially considered along with other popular honeymoon choices such as the Maldives, a cruise and stay or a land-based holiday in the Caribbean.
I spent hours researching options, after all, as travel agents w,e spend our lives planning holidays for our customers, so our honeymoon needed to be a once-in-a-lifetime dream holiday. There was a lot to consider – cruise line, destination, time of year and, of course, price.
Pro tip: Don’t rush your honeymoon planning. If you don’t have time to do it, focus on the wedding and take your honeymoon a few months later.
The honeymoon cruise we booked
After much consideration, we decided on a cruise on-board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas sailing in April 2019 around the Bahamas and Bermuda for 14 nights.
Having sailed on Anthem of the Seas previously, I knew it had lots of variety to offer such as different dining venues, entertainment and activities. We also opted for a two-night pre-cruise hotel stay in New York.
The pre-cruise stay in New York
We wanted to visit New York on our honeymoon as my husband hasn’t been to New York before, and when I went I didn’t get the opportunity to explore Central Park, so that’s definitely on the agenda.
I chose two nights for the pre-cruise stay in New York as we would need to be there at least one night before the cruise to ensure we were there in good time. Having two nights here will also allow us to adapt to the time difference and give us time to explore.
Initially, I booked a hotel that offered Penthouse-style rooms with panoramic skyline views of Manhattan. I then came across a different hotel that was a star rating higher, had much better reviews and was the same price. I chose to change our booking, as I’d rather enjoy a more luxurious hotel and better service rather than have a hotel room with great views. After all, how important is the view when you’ll be out and about all day?
Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to change your plans if you find something better at a later date. You want the very best for your honeymoon.
The cruise itinerary I chose really appealed to both of us. It gives us lots of opportunity for animal encounters, which we both love!
Firstly, we’re going to visit Nassau in the Bahamas where we will swim with dolphins. Then it’s on to Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s own private island in the Bahamas where we will swim with pigs!
We also plan to visit Orlando and enjoy a day at SeaWorld, as well as spending two days in Bermuda where we will visit the aquarium. While in Bermuda, we also plan to see the Crystal Caves and to go on a catamaran sunset cruise as the ship stays in port overnight. We’ll also visit Boston, where we’ll probably go on foot and explore.
Pro tip: There are so many excursions available that you can tailor them to your own interests to personalise your holiday.
On-board our ship
Our cruise itinerary sounds busy, but one of the best things about cruising is that there are days at sea to break it up.
We’re looking forward to enjoying the facilities on-board Anthem of the Seas such as the indoor sky diving and the North Star experience – a glass capsule that elevates 300 feet above the ship.
One of the things I like about Anthem of the Seas are the dining options. On a 14-night cruise we could dine somewhere different almost every night.
On a previous cruise, I visited the Wonderland restaurant and I can’t wait to go again. I’d recommend anybody going on one of the new Royal Caribbean ships to experience Wonderland – it’s an enchanting experience which you’ll never forget. We’ll certainly be dining in Jamie’s Italian and Chops Grille too.
Pro tip: Don’t worry about non-stop sightseeing on port days. Sea days will give you plenty of time to relax and rejuvenate.
When to book your cruise?
When booking any cruise holiday, but even more so for something special like a honeymoon, I’d recommend checking the weather online to decide when to go.
You’ll want to look not just at temperatures, but also research rainy or hurricane seasons for the destinations you plan to visit.
Also, school holidays or events such as Easter may affect prices or how busy the ship will be so these are worth considering. I’d recommend that you don’t travel at a busy and expensive time if you don’t have to.
Pro tip: If you want to avoid a ship packed with children, check the school holiday dates in various countries, such as the USA if you’re cruising in the Caribbean.
When to book a honeymoon cruise?
It pays to book as early as you can once you’ve found your dream honeymoon. This gives you the complete peace of mind that your honeymoon is booked and all that you have to do is look forward to it. Plus, book early and you’ll have the best choice of cabins, dining times and, generally speaking, the best prices. I’ve sat back and watched my cruise price rise, knowing that it pays to book ahead.
I wouldn’t recommend booking a honeymoon at the last minute as you’d be very limited for choice and run the risk of not finding anything suitable, or finding that all the suitable cruises have become very expensive.
Pro tip: Get your cruise booked as soon as you can. You can arrange the finer details such as hotels and excursions at any point before you travel.
Rebekka has been a Cruise Concierge with Cruise118.com since 2012 and has over ten years’ experience in travel. She likes to take as many mini-cruises as possible, to get a taster of each individual cruise line and explore how each one offers different on-board experiences.
Her favourite cruise line is Royal Caribbean because of the huge variety of bars, dining options, activities and entertainment venues on each ship. She loves sea days and is often tempted to book her next cruise whilst on-board, as the offers are too good to resist!