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9 Top Cruise Ports for Getting in the Mood
Cruises by nature can be super romantic: the undulating sea surrounding you, the windswept hair, the endless food and drinks, and of course, all those sexy ports. Sure, not every cruise port is hot (the blandness of Nassau and St. Thomas don't do it for me, for example), but there are plenty that sizzle. Read on.
There's no match for this remote South Pacific paradise. The beaches are divine, the water is an impossible shade of turquoise green, and the snorkeling qualifies as a religious experience. The waters of French Polynesia are dotted with tiny motus, or little coral islets, which are ringed with palms and powdery sand -- you'd have to be dead not to feel amorous on one of them.
New York City, New York
The unmistakable skyline viewed from the Hudson River is the foreplay to a city that pulsates with great restaurants and cutting-edge fashion. The energizing ambiance is ideal for strolling hand in hand for miles, and miles, and miles.
The approach into Santorini's bowl-shaped harbor will send shivers down your spine, as will the views from atop of the steep-sided island. In the main town of Fira, a cluster of whitewashed buildings and cobblestoned lanes, find a quiet lunch spot along the cliff. As you soak in the panoramic harbor views, savor the sensual seafood, olives and feta, and the reddest tomatoes you've ever tasted.
Full of dramatic hills, white-sand beaches, and gorgeous people in tiny bathing suits, French-flavored St. Barts is red-hot. There's no need to do anything more than hang out at one of the sexy strips of sand, such as St-Jean Beach and Grand Cul-de-Sac -- and go topless like everyone else. Most beaches have hip open-air cafes that serve up seafood, salads and other fresh fare.
Wandering along Venice's canals is what romance is all about. From its hundreds of stone bridges to its Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture, the maze of lanes and canals simply beg visitors to get lost.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Clinging to a rocky promontory that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea, the tiny Principality of Monaco is filled with zippy sports cars, public flower gardens, and that divine Beaux-Arts architecture. Stroll here like a couple of celebrities.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio's famed Copacabana beach brims with deeply-tanned (and often topless) locals in teeny thong bathing suits, which are called tangas. Other heart-palpitating Rio experiences include the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain and the sultry music, such as samba during the Carnaval season in February.
This mellow port has easy access to stretches of Bermuda's incredibly fine sand, such as Horseshoe Bay and the many nameless off-the-beaten-track beaches wedged along the jagged coastline.
Tor Johnson/The Hawaii Tourism Authority
Hawaii's beaches are straight out of Hollywood -- top spots include Hanalei Bay Beach on the northern coast of Kauai, Kapalua Beach along the west coast Maui's Keanae Peninsula; and Hapuna Beach on the Big Island. Couples can also bond by trekking through a rain forest, exploring the volcanoes, and marveling at groves of orchids.