Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Love boats and sexy submarines: 7 romantic riverside retreats

updated 9:50 AM EST, Thu February 14, 2013
Couples looking for a water-side adventure this Valentine's Day, can book a ticket to ride on the converted Beatles Yellow Submarine hotel in Liverpool. Couples looking for a water-side adventure this Valentine's Day, can book a ticket to ride on the converted Beatles Yellow Submarine hotel in Liverpool.
All you need is love
Sweet river cruise
Pearl hunters
Lighthouse love-in
Arctic adventure
Picture-perfect Med
Underwater snappers
  • This Valentine's Day, ditch the chocolates and try a unique nautical excursion
  • CNN brings you the top 7 dates for adventurous aquatic-lovers
  • Includes chocolate-making cruises and pearl diving courses
  • Beatles fans can stay on converted yellow submarine hotel

Editor's note: MainSail is CNN's monthly sailing show, exploring the sport of sailing, luxury travel and the latest in design and technology.

(CNN) -- Valentine's Day is about spending quality time with that special someone who floats your boat. And what better way to show your love is deeper than the ocean than by treating your sweetheart to a romantic sea-themed excursion?

But if you thought watching sunsets over water was going to cut it, think again. From staying on the Beatles' famous yellow submarine in Liverpool to pearl diving in the Persian Gulf, CNN takes a look at the top seven dates for adventurous aquatic-lovers.

All you need is love on a yellow submarine

The Beatles may have sung "You can't buy me love," but that doesn't mean you can't buy a romantic getaway on the Fab Four's yellow submarine.

Heartache cure: Share misery with others
Testing the Olympic sailing waters
Extreme sailing in Rio
Best sailors of 2012 crowned

Inspired by the submarine that featured in the band's 1968 animated film of the same name, the floating hotel is moored in the pop idols' hometown of Liverpool.

The converted narrowboat features a psychedelic lounge adorned with gold Beatles records and the original mod scooter from the 1979 British rock film "Quadrophenia."

Read: Fantastic floating hotels for every traveler

Film buffs will have extra reason to twist and shout -- the narrowboat also featured in the 1990 Sean Connery thriller "The Hunt for Red October," before its current reincarnation.

Chocolate-making cruise

From the time of the ancient Aztecs, chocolate has been sending us into raptures of aphrodisiac bliss.

But the process of cooking sweet treats can be just as sensual as eating them -- particularly when you're puttering down the Thames in a vintage 1960's boat.

Alan Whatley, former chef at London's prestigious Savoy restaurant, shows guests the fine art of creating sumptuous chocolate desserts -- all while meandering through the south England countryside on a 12 meter wooden vessel.

Read: Sailing the world's most beautiful lakes

Setting sail from Henley-on-Thames, the picturesque three-hour journey offers views quite literally fit for a Queen -- Her Majesty's official home, Windsor Castle, backs on to the river.

"It's something a bit different from your standard chocolate in a box," charter manager, Daisy O'Halloran said. "You can learn a new skill but you've also got the romance of the river."

Persian Gulf pearl diving

For hundreds of years, the Persian Gulf has been a rich source of the world's pearls, with divers plunging up to 40 meters below the water to get their hands on the "jewels of the sea."

Now adventurous couples can also try their luck, with Bahrain's Al Dar Island offering day trips on traditional wooden sailboats, called dhows.

After an onboard history lesson and demonstration, guests use a weighted rope to navigate down to the shallow seabed in search of riches.

Once back on deck, they can admire their haul over a lunch of freshly prepared middle eastern dishes.

It's different from your standard chocolate box -- you can learn a new skill but you've also got the romance of the river
Henley Sales & Charter manager, Daisy O'Halloran

Lighthouse love-in

"Love has no age, no limit, no death," said 1932 Nobel Prize winning English writer, John Galsworthy.

If you want to show your love is forever, the thousand-year-long musical piece playing from London's only lighthouse comes pretty close.

Lovebirds can take in glittering views of the city from the lighthouse on the Thames, while listening to a unique composition of ancient Tibetan singing bells.

The haunting music, played from loudspeakers, began in 1999 and aims to continue without repetition until 2999.

"It's incredibly romantic," said administrator, Victoria Burns. "You can daydream together whilst enjoying magnificent views of the City through diamond-leaded windows."

World's most romantic islands

Arctic hot tub adventure

Scented candles, a hot tub and breathtaking views of the northern lights -- it's not a honeymoon suite, but a unique floating hotel in the Arctic.

Introducing Vulkana, a 1950s fishing trawler converted into a luxury spa moored in northern Norway.

The 23 meter vessel offers safaris along the dramatic Arctic coastline and boasts a wood-fire sauna, saltwater hot tub and seven-meter diving board for the more adventurous.

When not marveling at the snow-capped views from the comfort of a steaming spa, sweethearts can take part in winter activities, inclduing reindeer-sledding and skiing.

"There's something spiritual about the boat itself," co-owner Erlend Larsson said. "It's had a long life, and many different owners, and all of them have said how safe and calm everybody feels onboard."

Read: Sailing the Arctic in fishing boat turned luxury spa

Painting the Turkish Riviera

Roman general Mark Antony was supposedly so taken with the stunning south coast of Turkey -- known as the "Turkish Riveria" -- he gave it to Egyptian Queen Cleopatra as a wedding gift.

Boasting dramatic cliffs perched over the sparkling Mediterranean Sea, it's easy to see why.

Hundreds of years later, creative couples can also capture the scenes that so besotted Anthony -- in an island-hopping painting course.

Setting sail from the small fishing town of Kas in south west Turkey, the tour winds past sun drenched islands before arriving at the ancient sunken city of Kekova.

There, artistic lovebirds can sketch the 2nd Century ruins from the comfort of their wooden sailboat.

Read: Dangling on the edge -- Life of a daredevil photographer

Tropical underwater photography

It's the enduring problem of holidayers: the photos never quite live up to the reality. And if you're going to take your beloved on an expensive tropical getaway, you may as well capture it properly.

Thailand island Koh Lanta, on the south west coast, offers vibrant coral reefs, thriving marine life and sparkling clear waters.

And perhaps the best way to capture this spectacular underwater world is with a deep sea photography or video course.

Divers are quipped with specialist underwater cameras and taught everything from spotting unusual aquatic animals to creating a dramatic composition.

Anatomy of a romantic hotel room

Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:41 AM EST, Thu February 14, 2013
Lloyd and Marian met at a California high school in the 1940s, when Bing Crosby was big, a stamp cost 3 cents, and war raged around the world.
updated 2:37 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
Hannah Brencher never planned on starting a worldwide movement.
updated 12:59 PM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
This Valentine's Day, we're turning to some of our favorite celebrity couples for tips on keeping those romantic flames burning.
updated 7:46 AM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
By pronouncement of the sheriff, there will be no Valentine's Day this Friday.
updated 10:04 AM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
Less than a week after releasing its 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, Amazon is out with a new list: 150 Love Stories for Every Romantic Mood, just in time for Valentine's Day.
updated 12:19 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
Carly Holbrook came to Aspen, Colorado, for the Winter X Games but left with the love of her life.
updated 3:19 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
Here's some background information about Valentine's Day, celebrated every February 14th.
updated 3:11 PM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
The scenes from these movies might set the mood.
updated 9:53 AM EST, Thu February 14, 2013
Americans spend quite a bit of money to show their love on Valentine's Day (Thursday just in case you needed reminding). Here's a breakdown, by the numbers.
updated 10:51 AM EST, Tue February 12, 2013
When it comes to romance, texting is often seen as a bare-minimum form of communication. It's fine for firming up dinner plans, but for expressing heartfelt sentiments? Not so much.
updated 11:36 AM EST, Thu February 14, 2013
The language of love connects us, no matter if it's in a letter or an e-mail.
updated 9:50 AM EST, Thu February 14, 2013
Love boats and sexy submarines: We pick seven of the most romantic sea-themed excursions for you and your loved one on Valentine's Day.
updated 1:21 PM EST, Tue February 12, 2013
Are we losing the ability to interface in person after hiding behind screens and keyboards? It's time to reclaim lost dating instincts.
updated 10:40 AM EST, Wed February 13, 2013
What's on tap for you and your partner this Valentine's Day? A romantic dinner, a box of chocolates, maybe a bouquet of roses?
updated 4:49 PM EST, Wed February 13, 2013
Many people don't know the first thing about breaking the ice with strangers they're attracted to. Enter flirting coaches.
updated 10:44 AM EST, Wed February 13, 2013
In honor of all the romantic getaways, we asked some relationship gurus for their romantic room essentials and added a few or our own.
updated 6:14 AM EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
Breaking up in a foreign land isn't as bad as you might imagine.
candy heart
Where should you take your date? Which wine is the best pick? Need last-minute recipes? Eatocracy has it all, whether you love or hate the holiday.