When planning your dream wedding, here’s a tip: You don’t have to limit yourself to your own back yard. For the ultimate in romance, consider getting married on a cruise ship at sea or in an exotic cruise port of call.
Photo courtesy: Jennifer Werneth Photography
Cruise destination weddings are an increasingly popular choice for couples seeking both value and hassle-free planning. They are also a great way to stand out from the crowd, as in “Wow! You’re getting married where?”
There’s a reason that thousands of couples each year are holding their nuptials on cruise ships. Everything you need to plan and customize your wedding is already onboard from the florist to the caterer and bartenders to the hairdresser to the photographers – a floating creative team at your service.
Whether you go intimate, just the two of you or over-the-top with all your nearest and dearest, tying the knot on a cruise is about beautiful views, bonding and togetherness, with your honeymoon a built-in bonus.
It’s also about getting a great deal. Compare, for instance, a $25 per person luncheon at an intimate cruise ship specialty restaurant to what you’d pay for a topflight, multi-course meal on land.
More than 2,600 couples each year say their “I Dos” on Carnival Cruise Line ships alone. You can get married on embarkation day while your ship is in port – an option that allows non-sailing guests to help you celebrate without actually going on the cruise – or tie the knot in paradise, choosing from beach destinations in the Bahamas and several beautiful ports of call in the Caribbean.
Or for something completely different, consider a dream wedding at sea. Princess Cruises debuted the first-at-sea shipboard wedding chapel on the Grand Princess in 1998, and has been offering weddings onboard (and on shore) ever since. A “Love Boat” Captain – coined after the famous “Love Boat” TV show, which was filmed on a Princess Cruises ship – or other senior officer will conduct your at-sea ceremony, your commemorative marriage certificate detailing the coordinates of where you said your vows.
British line P&O Cruises is celebrating 10 years of shipboard weddings this year – the first couple married in April 2006 while cruising the Canaries. In the past decade, the British line has helped couples celebrate their shipboard nuptials with more than 7,000 bottles of champagne and thousands of wedding cakes.
On Cunard’s three ocean liners, shipboard weddings take place on sea days, including during transatlantic crossings. Wedding packages packed with niceties include a White Star Bellman to escort the bride to the ceremony venue and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne.
Do your wedding on Holland America Line and happy couples become one in such exotic destinations as the pretty little white wedding chapel at the cruise line’s private Bahamas island of Half Moon Cay. Or start your journey together at Bluebeard’s Castle on St. Thomas; overlooking the sacred pond of King Kamehameha on Kona, Hawaii; or on top of a glacier in Juneau, Alaska.
Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Cairns, Newcastle, Fremantle and Auckland are places where passengers on P&O Cruises Australia ships can romantically tie the knot pierside on embarkation day.
The German line AIDA Cruises arranges wedding ceremonies shipboard in 10 ports, with backdrops including the spectacular beaches in Dubai, under the Greek sun or amidst the natural splendor of Norway.
Same sex couples will find options including commitment ceremonies and legal weddings. Carnival Cruise Line, for instance, can arrange legal ceremonies in select ports of call.
If you’re already married, consider gathering your family and friends to witness a romantic vow renewal ceremony. For those not yet engaged, cruise lines can help you arrange and elaborate a surprise proposal.
It’s all about creating memories of a lifetime, click here for 10 tips on how to plan your wedding on a cruise ship.