Cruising the High Seas: A Look at 5 New Luxury Cruise Ships

Luxury cruise line Ritz Carlton's newest ship, Ilma, in Valletta, Malta.

The union of the physical element water with the metaphorical fire of a newly forged marriage creates an entirely unparalleled match. Take your wedding or your honeymoon to the next level and indulge in luxury ocean travel aboard new luxury cruise ships to celebrate and mark your love.

Romantic milestones such as weddings and honeymoons can be incredibly stressful to plan—but they don’t have to be. Cruise ships are an excellent way to cross all your needs off the list and have every last detail taken care of for you, down to the minutia. Ranging from decadent food made to suit every guest’s dietary needs to a naturally stunning setting for nuptials (the ocean!), everything one could require for a special occasion is at your fingertips.

Weddings

It’s time to ditch the old-fashioned image of cruise ships being comprised of waterslides and overzealous children on holiday. Instead, the modern cruises we’re showcasing here evoke the opulence of a destination wedding while preserving the intimate warmth reminiscent of a family road trip experience.

Imagine reciting your vows to your significant other in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea while watching the sun slowly sink into the horizon, transitioning from hues of gold to a rich ember mirrored in the placid water, all the while surrounded by those you love. Or choose your own adventure and imagine saying your vows in the middle of the ocean, or on a Mediterranean island with all of your loved ones nearby. These first memories as a married couple would be entirely one-of-a-kind—personalized to you and your significant other—and, of course, you’d have some sharp photos to eternalize the moment for years to come (with a nod at the Instagram feed).

Practically speaking, it’s challenging to find a more convenient and stress-free venue to host a wedding than a cruise ship because all of the vendors—from food to photography—live under one roof (on one boat!), leading to easy communication and organization. Many cruise ships have wedding planners to oversee these efforts.

What’s most inviting, however, is that instead of just having one night with all of your loved ones around, you’ll have a multi-night celebration, all the while circumnavigating the globe and venturing to new lands—together. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to slow down and spend quality time with long-distance family members, friends and connections. This way, your guests don’t have to make the choice to spend their PTO on your wedding or their vacation—they too can have it all.

Honeymoons

Honeymoons are an excellent time to decompress from the stress of planning a wedding. Like hosting a wedding on a cruise ship, celebrating a honeymoon on a cruise provides the opportunity to indulge in every direction with minimal effort. Whether you’re interested in staying in and watching the world go by from your private balcony while indulging in 24-7 room service, spending a day at the spa or exploring meticulously curated excursions and adventures, there’s plenty of opportunity for both you and your new spouse to relax and explore the world together while having your varied moods and interests catered to.

Here are five of the latest luxury cruise ships ready to ferry you in comfort and style to some of the world’s most mesmerizing destinations.

Riverside Luxury Cruises

Riverside Luxury Cruises entirely reimagines the cruise experience with the Mozart cabin.

A new European river cruise line, established in 2022, Riverside Luxury Cruises entirely reimagines the cruise experience. For every two guests, there is one crew member—an otherwise unparalleled ratio of staff to guests. Each guest has a butler, and their services are just a message away. Dining times are at your convenience, and food is prepared à-la-minute for you and your loved ones. All rooms have the luxuries of elegant hotels, including king-size beds and ample space, making it the ultimate honeymoon experience. On Riverside Luxury Cruises, itineraries can be completely customized to your liking, ranging around the central themes of architecture and design, fine arts and cuisine, ancient history and nature. With a fleet of three ships to choose from, itineraries can be extended and combined as desired. The fleet’s short routes are perfect for newcomers to the world of river cruising; a variation of excursions can be booked according to personal interests and preferences. Excursions include the Rhone, France; the Rhine; and the Danube, with stops in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Netherlands.

Royal Caribbean: Icon of the Seas

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas features its own swim-up bar.

Designed with family in mind, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas entered service on January 27, 2024, from the Port of Miami. This ship is perfect for those wanting exciting experiences with family and friends. Branded as the largest waterpark at sea, the ship has six record-breaking slides. Every day aboard presents the opportunity to try a new pool—there are seven, with Royal Bay being the largest cruise ship pool at sea with its own swim-up bar. Icon of the Seas boasts its own rock-climbing wall, Adrenaline Peak, which offers spectacular views of the sea and is constructed for novices and speed climbers both in mind. From your thrill-seeking kid nephews to your relaxed grandmother, all family members will be entertained. The cruise ship also has its own surfing setup, the FlowRider, which is entirely complimentary for guests. Guests can play games ranging from pickleball to mini golf. Icon of the Seas also features more than 15 buzzing spots and live music venues. Nightlife opportunities include karaoke, casinos, arcades, sports bars and more. On board, there are more than 20 ways to dine. Royal Caribbean encourages guests to have an “appetite for adventure” and fill whichever craving you may have in the moment.

Oceanwide Expeditions: Hondius

Oceanwide Expeditions' Hondius is the world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel and was built from the ground up for expedition cruising.

Perfect for nature-loving newlyweds, Hondius offers the honeymoon of a lifetime—a remote, wildlife-rich adventure beyond the Arctic Circle. The first registered expedition cruise vessel designed for remote exploration, Hondius offers an equal balance of comfort and adventure. With the goal to take you off the ship and into the action as often as possible, sea routes are short and direct, allowing for maximum shore time; activities are designed to accommodate a wide range of interests and fitness levels. Get the chance to see whales, seals, exotic land mammals, amazing ice formations and much more. Designed with earth-conscious travelers in mind, Hondius is one of the most environmentally friendly ships on the polar seas, using biodegradable paints and lubricants, LED lighting, steam heating and an efficient power management system that optimizes fuel consumption and keeps emissions low. Though the weather outside may be chilly, the inside of this cruise ship has been designed with comfort in mind. The ship offers grand suites with balconies, junior suites, superior cabins and twin cabins. On board you’ll find interactive workshops and guide-led presentations particular to Hondius.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht: Ilma

On the Ritz-Carlton’s newest luxury cruise ship, Ilma, each room has its own balcony.

Ritz-Carlton’s newest superyacht, Ilma, will embark upon its inaugural voyage across the Mediterranean Sea in the second half of 2024. Aboard this cruise ship, expect nothing less than luxury. A feature unique to this cruise ship is that each room has its own balcony. Ilma is the ideal setting for a honeymoon. Let the ocean’s sparkling and vibrant sunset serve as a canvas for the new memories you will make as a married couple. The cruise ship hosts six bars, five restaurants and a wine vault for dining and drinking options expanding in every direction. Ilma also boasts its very own Ritz-Carlton spa. On a more intimate cruise, at just under 500 guests, prepare to forge lifelong connections while celebrating your recent union with your significant other.

Cunard: Queen Anne

On Cunard's luxury cruise ship, Queen Anne, a modern approach to the venues, suites and décor design, luxury suite accommodations include a dedicated dining room and adjacent butler’s pantry, walk-in wardrobes, marble-finished bathrooms with views out to sea, spacious bedrooms and the largest balconies on board.

With its maiden voyage set for May 2024, the Queen Anne is Cunard’s first new vessel in 14 years. The 3,000-passenger ship spans 14 decks and offers travelers several breathtaking moments, including the largest curated art collection at sea—4,300 pieces of art by young contemporary artists. With a modern approach to the venues, suites and décor design, luxury suite accommodations include a dedicated dining room and adjacent butler’s pantry, walk-in wardrobes, marble-finished bathrooms with views out to sea, spacious bedrooms and the largest balconies on board. The ship boasts the widest selection of fitness, beauty, thermal and spa facilities so far seen on a Cunard ship. And with 50 signature Shore Experiences across 60 ports, travelers have a variety of immersive encounters with local culture, history and natural wonders all over Europe to choose from. For those who want to celebrate a wedding (or vow renewal) on board, Queen Anne offers White Star Service for such celebrations. You’ll never feel more special than the moment you descend the stairs of the Grand Lobby and are escorted by an iconic Cunard bellhop to The Admiral’s Lounge for your private celebration. The ship also features a private rooftop terrace overlooking the sea—another area for a private reception.