Why Do People Get Married On A Cruise?
A cost-effective alternative to expensive weddings is a cruise-ship ceremony, where nuptials and honeymoon can be rolled into one. Many cruise lines offer dedicated wedding planners and packages, and with limitless venue choices — a secluded Caribbean cove, perhaps, or the top of an Alaskan glacier — the wow factor for that exchange of vows is pretty much guaranteed.
Many ships registered in Bermuda or the Bahamas provide this service, with the captain overseeing proceedings. Alternatively, consider a vow renewal or blessings service for an at-sea replay of your special day.
Here are cruise lines to consider for ceremonies at sea or ashore.
On Top Of The World
Exchanging vows at the summit of an Alaskan glacier must surely give new meaning to a white wedding. In partnership with Royal Ocean Events, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) offers this as one of its 'destination' options for ceremonies, enabling you to bypass planning intricacies.
The fee of $6,270 secures the services of a marriage officiant, return transport to the helipad and a thrilling helicopter ride to the summit of the glacier, along with music, sparkling wine, flowers, certificate and wedding cake.
Licence fees are charged separately, but NCL can help with all the legal procedures, leaving you free to enjoy both the wedding and the ensuing honeymoon on a cruise of Alaska that calls at Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan.
Scaling New Heights
With ships registered under the Bahamian flag, Royal Caribbean International offers an array of unusual and legal alternatives to the on-board chapel. You could exchange vows while scuba diving in the Caribbean or get married with a tropical rainforest backdrop.
With wedding co-ordinators working closely with you on choice of wording, music and decor, it is possible to create an entirely personalised ceremony. A wedding package costs from $4,360 a couple, including bouquet and boutonniere, photography, cake, Champagne, music and certificate.
And The Family Came Too
For some couples, leaving family behind can be a blessing, but if that’s not the case and you have deep pockets, consider chartering a ship and share your cruise wedding and honeymoon with your favourite relatives and friends.
Several smaller ships offer this service, although you need to think ahead in order not to clash with planned sailing programs. Azamara Club Cruises has experience in wedding charters, and offers 341 staterooms and suites on each of its two ships.
Obviously, the smaller your party, the more expensive the charter price, although with the right number of people and enough notice, you can book a long-weekend voyage and save on the per-diem charter rate.
Chartering offers enormous flexibility. You can chart your own voyage, and if the sunset is in the wrong spot for those photos the captain will happily turn the ship around.
Either bring your own wedding planner or let the ship deal with the all the wedding minutiae of customised napkins, decor, flowers, entertainment and menus.
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Vows Beneath The Sails
Recall the golden era of sailing in the most romantic way with Star Clippers’ complimentary vow renewal service. Perfect as a blessing following a wedding, it is available on board any of the line’s three fully rigged ships — Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer — during voyages in the Caribbean, Central America and Mediterranean.
The captain conducts the service on the polished teak upper deck, or next to the traditional wooden steering wheel, with a fully uniformed crew in attendance. Afterwards you can relax in the bowsprit net and enjoy a Champagne toast.
Blessing In Bora Bora
Offering an exotic twist on vow renewal is Paul Gauguin Cruises’ Tahitian Blessing Ceremony, with the island of Bora Bora as a backdrop. Performed by the ship’s troupe of Polynesian entertainers, the ceremony is held in a small lounge and comprises a special dance performance and poem and follows the ritual of wrapping the couple in a Polynesian blanket.
The price of $430 a couple also includes cake, Champagne, a photographic portrait, flower crowns and a private invitation to dine with the captain.
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This article was written by Louise Roddon from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.