If photos are your thing, a cruise ship wedding features some of the best and most creative backdrops in the world, both on the ship and in port. You can hire a full photo team of the cruise ship, with edited and printed photos, or do it yourself. No matter where you want to get married, you`ll need to get a marriage certificate from the United States or a foreign port well in advance of your cruise. Policies vary from country to country, so you`ll save yourself a lot of headaches by helping the wedding department or cruise line consultant with the details. Check with these people before booking your cruise to make sure the wedding venue is available on the desired date. At the time of writing this article in March 2022, one cruise line we studied was full for the rest of the year (for weddings). This is surprising considering it`s not even spring! However, other lines were open and available, but this suggests that it`s best to book early if you`ve put your heart into a particular business or route. To give you a general idea, most cruise wedding packages include a private venue dedicated to the ceremony, a photographer, floral arrangements, and a private room for the reception, whether it`s a simple cake-cutting event or a meal on the plate. Some will also contain champagne to bring to the couple. Virtually all mainstream lines have wedding packages, with Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean being the romance guides, followed by NCL, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, and Costa. In almost all cases, a local justice of the peace, notary or minister must officiate; Even if you decide to hold your ceremony aboard a ship, it must take place while the ship is in port, not at sea.
Princess`s Grand, Diamond and Coral class ships have wedding chapels on board, as do Royal Caribbean`s Freedom, Voyager and Oasis class ships, Carnival`s Spirit class ships, and NCL`s Norwegian sun, Star, Dawn, Jewel, Pearl, Gem, Jade and Pride of America ships. Other ships hold ceremonies in lounges decorated for the occasion. However, marriages at sea on lines other than Princess become difficult: when a ship sails, it is in international waters, but the ship is registered in a particular country. For example, Celebrity Cruises requires you to get a marriage license from Malta, as its ships are registered there. A notary or religious celebrant always receives the wedding package from a cruise line. Joanne Byrne of accessible cruise and travel blog Byrne Voyage got married on a P&O cruise in 2019, she told us: “In May 2019 we tied the knot for life aboard the P&O Arcadia on a Baltic Sea cruise and it was a truly unforgettable experience! We love cruising and made the decision to get married at sea very quickly – we didn`t consider any other options! A traditional wedding wasn`t for us, we wanted something simple, intimate and as stress-free as possible and cruises ticked all the boxes, with the added bonus of an amazing backdrop for our photos! Getting married on a cruise ship is the ultimate wedding. It`s an affordable, efficient and fun way to combine your wedding with a honeymoon for you and a vacation for your guests. Whether you want to set sail at sunset, bring your whole family to see you exchange vows on a Caribbean beach, or hike to the top of a glacier in Alaska to say “I want,” a cruise ship wedding can do just that. But in addition to the many wedding professionals on cruise ships, there are also a few drawbacks that you should consider. Below, we`ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of a cruise ship wedding. A downside to a wedding at sea is that you may be forced to hold indoor events due to strong winds, rain, or limited deck space, and the rental times of a particular venue must match the other requirements of the ship`s program, including other weddings. If you want guests at your ceremony, they will have to book and pay for the entire cruise (or you will have to get up for their cabins).
Going back to a point we mentioned earlier – guest accommodation is often not included in the wedding package. However, this does not mean that they need an accommodation. Many cruise lines are very flexible and allow you to have friends and family docked (as long as they don`t stay beyond curfew). “This is a type of marriage that can suit everyone. People are ready to sail again, they`re ready to sail, and they`ve waited a while before getting married,” says Liz Bernal, an itinerary planner who helps couples organize their cruise weddings on behalf of Celebrity Cruises. “It`s not just couples who are getting married for the first time, [and] not just second or third marriages. As a final note, you should consider the possibility of bad weather when you are at sea. Unfortunately, cruise ships may not be able to dock at a specific location when the water is rough, so you may need to prepare a Plan B. And if you were expecting a legal marriage, the worst-case scenario is that you can still make your wedding symbolic and official once you get home. Windstar Cruises` small yacht-style ships attract many couples who are planning a cruise, either with them or with just a few guests. Many couples love the upscale yet unobtrusive feel of escaping on their own yacht, where entertainment focuses on eating well, relaxing on deck and exploring the harbor instead of running to shows, climbing walls, and other crazy attractions for big ships.
According to Princess Cruises, two-thirds of its weddings have fewer than 10 people in the group and the average size of larger weddings is 25, with about two weddings a year with 40 or more guests. When the cruise line was put back into service after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it reported that smaller, more intimate ceremonies became increasingly popular. Being married by the captain at sea is still by far the most coveted package, known as princess cruises. Many cruise lines offer legal marriages for same-sex couples. Carnival launched same-sex marriages in Bermuda in 2018 and Cunard`s first same-sex marriage is expected to take place in November 2018. “The norm [for port weddings] is to sail with the whole group,” she says, rather than asking guests to come for the ceremony. Gorgeous orange sunsets and sparkling turquoise waters – no wonder honeymoon cruises are so popular. But why not get married at sea? Many cruise lines offer wedding packages that make it easy to plan and execute nautical weddings. Before you dive deep into the wedding mode, here`s everything you need to know about cruising weddings, including do`s and don`ts to say “I want.” Another popular option is to get married while the ship is at sea. This is a fantastic option as you won`t have the time pressure of the day of boarding, nor will you have to give up fun activities or the beach at the port. Princess Cruises reports that 75% of her weddings take place at sea. While many brides plan their dream wedding a year to 18 months in advance, don`t jump by scheduling land celebrations after the cruise too early – or ordering invitations, souvenirs with the wedding date, etc.
Couples have been pushed back from their wedding cruises — because of the full charters after booking — forcing them to reschedule everything. At the end more casual and festive, Carnival Cruise Line weddings start at $1,499. MSC Cruises weddings cost about the same price. At the luxurious end, Cunard`s Royal Ceremony at Sea package starts at $3,300. Of course, you still have to pay your own cruise price, in addition to the wedding package prices, as well as your guests.