It’s hard to avoid the Valentine’s clichés when looking for ways to woo your significant other. Few ideas compete with the thrill of a yacht charter or river cruise. Time spent on the water is as about as romantic as it gets. And there’s plenty of scope for getting adventurous with the theme, too.
A red superyacht, such as the 262-foot Leona, colloquially called “the Red Bullet,” or the 81-foot Highland Fling VXIII, which is the first unit in the flagship Gunboat 80 series, might suit those who like to wear their heart on their sleeve. Yachts with an amorous name, like the 155-foot Abbracci (meaning “kiss” in Italian) or Feadship’s 303.5-foot Royal Romance say it how it is.
If going all out to declare your love feels like the way to go in 2024, then an onboard proposal or maritime wedding could be as good as it gets. From getting the captain ordained to taking the yacht on a Caribbean honeymoon charter, followed up with gastronomic meals taken alfresco with a heart-red sunset as the backdrop, the options are endless.
Here are eight of the best Valentine’s yacht-themed surprises that will raise your loved one’s heart beat this year.
Best Yacht Wedding: ‘XOXO’
Get married aboard 118-foot XOXO this Valentine’s. Fresh from a refit in 2023, the boat provides an intimate setting to tie the knot in front of friends and family, with the ordained captain presiding over the ceremony. From romantic private beach set ups in the British Virgin Islands to a sumptuous Florida-style reception in one of three onboard dining areas, the boat’s crew of five will out of their way to make the day feels special, including a personalized wedding cake whipped up by the XOXO’s chef. Post nuptials, there’s a large collection of water toys to enjoy, a Jacuzzi to soak in, and a full-beam king master suite for the happy couple to ease into married life. From IYC, starting at $77,000 per week.
Best Spa Week: ‘Alchemy’
Relax together on a romantic spa day aboard 215-foot Alchemy. Launched in 2023, the hybrid superyacht has a dedicated beach club spa, complete with a sauna, waterside access, treatment rooms with onboard masseuse and private balcony to make it a week-long Caribbean pamper session that every couple will remember. Thanks to its hybrid diesel-electric propulsion, the yacht has less noise and emissions under way than with a traditional yacht, allowing guests to fully immerse in the tranquil, tropical surroundings. From Burgess, starting at $637,000 per week.
Best Scenic River Cruise: ‘Hisui’
Take a private boat tour in Kyoto in cherry blossom springtime. Japan’s unique culture, coupled with incredible cuisine, makes it a re-emerging destination in 2024. In late February, the river valley is engrossed in cherry blossoms giving couples a vibrant pink backdrop in which to enjoy a private cruise aboard Hisui, an authentic, glass roof boat. Guests can sip on matcha green tea and dine on an assortment of Japanese sweet treats as the boat glides down Arashiyama’s Ōi River, showing off Kyoto’s breathtaking landscapes and temples. From Hoshino Resorts, starting at $250 per party of four.
Best Gastronomic Meal: ‘Virtuosity’
Caribbean cruising in the month of February means warm weather, balmy water and an absence of crowds, at least on the water. Add to that a gourmet meal aboard 187-foot Virtuosity, one of the newest yachts to hit the charter market in 2024, and it’s a leveled-up date night. A five-course Valentine’s meal whipped up by Chef Levi includes king crab, caviar, white truffle, and a cherry, white chocolate, salted caramel and almond dessert named—what else—“Love Boat.” Guests have a choice of dining areas, from a private terrace with hot tub that adjoins the owner’s suite, to an intimate setting by the water’s edge in the beach club. With fold-out doors on both the port and starboard sides and a wet bar for refreshments, it’s the ultimate gastronomic Caribbean getaway. From Fraser, starting at $435,500 per week.
Best City Cruise: ‘La Venezia’
Few countries embody romance more fully than Italy, and no waterside city demonstrates a passion for music and culture than the canals of Venice. A stay aboard the 361-foot river barge La Venezia will transport guests to waterfront shops, colorful facades, and the charm of Venice Lagoon. Aboard La Venezia, last refitted in 2020, fine Fortuny fabrics and Murano glass are twinned with gilded accents and artistic etched elements paying homage to popular Venetian aesthetics of the early 20th century. As part of a Valentine’s special, guests can make the most of a private evening and lighting ceremony at St. Mark’s Basilica, followed by a trip to the southern port city of Chioggia. From Uniworld, starting at $3,299 for eight nights.
Best Silver Screen Date: John Wayne’s ‘Wild Goose’
What better way to immerse in the romance of Hollywood’s Golden Age than aboard a boat once owned by the Duke? American actor John Wayne’s dozens of hit films include “The Sea Chase” and “How The West Was Won.” Off screen, he spent time aboard his 136-foot yacht Wild Goose, a U.S. Navy Minesweeper that he converted into a luxury vessel in 1962, the same year his second-largest grossing film, “The Longest Day,” hit cinemas. He made big changes to incorporate as many friends and family on board as possible. The large main salon, which holds up to 127 people, entertained such Hollywood luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Henry Fonda, and Sammy Davis Jr. It features a fireplace, poker table, and wet bar. Wayne also mandated raised ceilings to accommodate his tall stature. Three decks of detailed woodwork, murals, intricate carvings, and even a bridal suite make a California charter aboard this yacht a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s showdown. From Boatsetter, starting at $12,000 for four hours.
Best Historic Expedition: ‘Aqua Blu’
Travel back in time for Valentine’s this year aboard Aqua Blu, a former British Naval long-range explorer whose original 1968 name HMS Beagle was in honor of the legendary ship that carried Charles Darwin on his expeditions. Converted into a yacht in 2006 and permanently based in East Indonesia following a 2019 interior refit penned by Cor D. Rover, Aqua Blu provides late-season romance in March when it sails from Raja Ampat to the Spice Islands. Dive with turtles and whale sharks in the marine-rich coral reefs of Raja Ampat and drink in the aromatic air and culture of the Spice Islands, scattered with volcanoes and palm-lined beaches. From Aqua Expeditions, starting at $16,400 for 12 nights.
Best Bahamian Sunset: ‘Valhalla’
Paint the sky pink in the Bahamas aboard Valhalla. In the realm of Norse mythology, Valhalla is celebrated as a realm of honor, glory, joy, and paradise. In yachting, it’s a 151-foot Northern Marine superyacht, with a professional crew of nine and a sundeck seat for the ultimate sunset cruise. The top deck provides ample space for dancing or just basking in the sun’s warmth before it slips below the horizon. There is a large Jacuzzi forward of the mast, a horseshoe-shaped bar for aperitifs and a barbecue to savor the freshest of Bahamian crawfish. From Worth Avenue Yachts, starting at $185,000 per week.