Now that you have taken the plunge into celebrating life together with a marriage, the fun has just begun! Planning a honeymoon is a joyous experience and choosing the right vacation is half the battle won. While Europe is fast becoming THE destination for many honeymooners, options are varied – you could take a sunny cruise along white sandy coastlines or book a luxury resort on land.
If you are torn between the two, we will tell you why a cruise wins over a land holiday – on budget, experience and fun!
And what place better than Spain to head out for your amazing honeymoon. It has a great mix of culture, heritage, food, nightlife and entertainment along its beaches and cities. MSC Cruise’s 7-day cruise to Spain, France, Italy and Malta onboard their Splendida cruise ship is one of the best and most affordable options out there.
There is no winning on the airfare as flying to your port of entry is pretty much the same as landing in Spain for your land holiday. However, let’s look at the other parameters:
Cruise: The beauty of a cruise is that no matter which country/city you are in, your room is not more than 10 minutes away! On board, you have an option to choose from various room types – Inside (sans any view), Ocean View, Balcony, Royal Suite, Executive and Family Suite, and Deluxe and Regular Suites. All rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, Wi-Fi and all basic amenities. Prices range from INR48,500 per person for the Inside room to INR83,533 per person for the Balcony for 7 days onboard Splendida. Honeymooners can purchase pre-paid liquor packages; access to the buffets, gym and public areas is complimentary. In many cruises- newlyweds are offered a special price package, a captain dinner and even decorated cabins!
Land: As you are on a honeymoon, a luxury resort with a rooftop Michelin star restaurant, a giant pool and all around ambiance that speaks love at every minute, are a must! In Barcelona, try the El Palace Hotel located on the city’s main avenue Gran Via where rooms are priced at INR20,000 per night. However, you will have to do all the deal hunting yourself. Also, if you are planning to visit more than one city, separate hotel bookings will have to be made, which can turn out to be quite a hassle. Multiple check in and check outs also prove to be a problem as piles of documents will have to be maintained. On an average, 5 star resorts in Spain run upwards of INR25,000 a night (just the room cost) – so the stay cost of a 7 day honeymoon will be INR1,50,000.
Cruise: The options on board a cruise are many. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets along with varied dessert counters for satiating that sweet tooth! You can also buy dinner at an extra cost onboard at one of the specialty restaurants. Grab a meal or two on the ports when the ship docks! However, make sure to make reservations in advance though, considering you have limited time in each port. Also, when onboard, you can eat what you want, when you want as the food counters are open 24/7!
Land: Spain has a rich gastronomy scene. From paellas to cured meats and from gazpacho to tapas, its food is extensive. A meal at an upscale seafood restaurant such as Con Majo with lobster, wine and dessert will extend to EUR75 per person or INR5,300. Don’t forget to try Sangria, a wine concoction served by the litre on the streets of La Rambla. But if you are feeling the midnight munchies, a snack will be around a kilometer away! Also, dietary restrictions are hard to keep track of and most local bars will not have vegan or gluten-free food.
Cruise: Considering you will be at sea for a significant amount of time, there is a range of entertainment and activities which are all included in the cruise cost. And all of these are designed to help you spend more quality time with each other instead of just taking selfies on land all day! Take a couples’ massage, or a cooking class, head to the gym, laze around on the deck or even grab a performance show in the evening! You have all the lavish privacy honeymooners yearn for. Most cruises also have specialised land excursions – such as city tours, a culinary tour with wine pairings, or a day at the beach. Onboard Splendida, you can indulge in a tour of the Gothic quarters, bathe in the beauty of chapels and museums, or check out the Vatican at an extra cost. Make sure to book these excursions in advance! It also has a casino – so try your luck with the cards and earn some extra honeymoon cash. Alternatively, you can use the local transport to plan your own short trips.
Land: In the land of the Flamenco dancers, catching a performance must be on the top of your list! Spain has a vibrant beach life – so relax on the commercial beaches or take a trip to El Saler. The views on Montjuic offer some fantastic sights on cable cars with great picture points. Spain has a vibrant nightlife with bars and open air restaurants on major streets. Walking tours around the city, bicycle tours at the Sagrada Familia, the Andalucian quarter, the Gothic Quarter along with a museum tour at the El Prado should be experienced.
Cruise: Onboard Splendida, the sea is your oyster and the views are endless! Your pictures will have a combination of the sapphire Mediterranean Sea and colourful landscapes. Couples can have beautiful moments gazing at sunsets and moonlit skies while relaxing on the deck. Also, by virtue of their great design, luxury yachts make for awesome backdrops as well!
Land: Europe offers the best views and the sunsets are to die for! The open spaces at Park Guel or the majestic palaces of Alhambra, the Spanish landscape is diverse. Don’t forget to check out the Gaudi houses and the narrow street art which are quirky and the pride of Spain! However, hotels with breathtaking views are extremely expensive and even if you want to spend on one, remember that the same view everyday gets dull after a while.
- Destinations and travel
Cruise: Most Mediterranean cruises with duration of around 7 days will take you to at least more than one country. Portugal, France, Italy and Spain are the most visited and hence a cruise is more bang for your buck. A cruise with the combination of three countries gives you a great opportunity to explore its major ports and culture. As all travel costs are included, you save on the hassle and money. And the added beauty – it’s almost like a hop on, hop off sightseeing tour where all you need to focus on is enjoying the attractions!
Land: The must-do spots in Spain are Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Seville. All the cities have fantastic local transportation with metros, so make sure you know how to navigate them! Intercity travel is mostly through rail averaging at about EUR100 or INR7,000 per person. Luxury buses are your second option, but the travel time is significantly more. You can take in low-cost flights, but the cost adds up, so keep an eye on that.
Cruise: Cruises have a significant advantage here as your bags and precious belongings will not be more than 10 minutes away! Now, all your time can spent schoozing with your significant other! You will have to worry about your bags only once during embarking and disembarking.
Land: Luxury resorts are great to live in, but it’s when you have to pack and unpack for your next destination, it becomes such a chore! And with Spain, there is so much to see, so you will have quite the itinerary. Lugging bags is a definite mood dampener. On a honeymoon, you would rather have your bags lugged across, than having to make all the airport transfers and pickups yourself. After all, a holiday like this comes only once in a lifetime!
- Medical services:
Cruise: Don’t get us wrong, we wish you well. But in the eventuality that you need medical facilities, cruises have it covered. Medical experts are always on call and not more than 5 minutes away while cruising. The doctors are experienced and the procedures stay simple, no matter which country you are in. Emergency services are available and land services can be contacted instantly.
Land: With a language and cultural gap, finding a hospital with proper care is extremely troublesome on land. Even in the major countries, their procedures are different and so is the staff service. It is best to study the options available and have a travel insurance that covers any emergencies you may encounter.
While a cruise is great for a honeymoon, it does have some cons. Your itinerary is fixed and you don’t have an option of extending your stay in a city more than the stipulated amount of time. However, the onboard experiences, the views and the all-day entertainment more than make up for it.
Our suggestion – don’t get into the stressful planning, let the cruise just sail you away into a blissful honeymoon.