Summertime is far off ahead but getting set for a great escapade on one of those super Royal Caribbean cruises as early as now and knowing the tricks of the booking game can get you discounts and better deals. Cunard Line ships maintain the class tradition of ocean liners and have separate dining rooms for different types of suites, while Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises have a standard dining room and “upgrade” specialty restaurants that require pre-booking and cover charges.

The line’s newest addition, the 184-passenger Le Lapérouse , is the first of at least six Explorer-class ships designed for a combination of luxury expedition-style cruising, each featuring an infinity pool, an underwater viewing lounge, and itineraries that include destinations as far-flung as Papua New Guinea and West Africa’s Bissagos Islands.

Many cruisers favor the Celebrity Summit for its fine dining opportunities and spa options, while others would point to the Celebrity Solstice as their favorite ship because of the Lawn Club feature, where you can relax on real grass, as well as the ship’s hot glass art classes.

Pricey luxury cruise lines such as Seabourn, Crystal, Regent, Sliversea are all inclusive but Oceania, Celebrity, Norwegian and MSC (Caribbean) offer drink packages in some promotional fares to make them all inclusive”, meaning, you can have all meals and basic bar in one fare.

Romance and cruising would seem to go hand in hand, particularly if you’ve spotted any of the cruise lines’ advertisements showing photos of couples snuggling at the bow at sunset, or sipping orange juice on their private veranda in bathrobes, or even – and this one we have a hard time believing – spending time alone on a deserted beach with their mega-ship anchored in the background.