10 Tips for a Perfect Cruise Ship Wedding


Tying the knot at sea is one of the most romantic, exciting and memorable nuptial options a couple can choose. Whether you say your vows on a tropical palm tree fringed beach or walk down an isle that’s surrounded by the open ocean, cruise ship weddings are a wonderful alternative to traditional church bells and altars.

However despite all the benefits, there are some important planning issues that need to be considered. If you’ve got your heart set on getting hitched at sea, read on for our top 10 tips to ensure that your big day is absolutely perfect!

1. Choose the right liner

The first step to planning your cruise ship wedding is to find out what lines offer on-board wedding services. Most of the mainstream companies such as Carnival and RCI have wholeheartedly embraced the trend however some just aren’t equipped for such events.

2. Investigate any levy surcharges

As cruise ship weddings have grown in popularity, so too have the extra charges that lines can slap onto the overall cost. Companies such as Celebrity, Carnival, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Azamara all have levy surcharges in place for the high season.

3. What about the guests?

While getting married on-board a cruise ship is a fabulous idea, it can be difficult to convince all your friends and family to join you at sea. For this reason, it can be a great idea to be wed while the ship is still docked at its homeport.  This means guests can attend the ceremony and after party before embarking at the end of the night. And you get to set sail on your honeymoon that very evening!

4. Captain’s orders?

If you’ve got your heart set on being married by the captain you’re going to be limited on what lines you can cruise with. This is because of the strict legal restrictions that are dictated by the ship’s country of residency.  With ships registered in Malta and Bermuda, Celebrity, Azamara and Princess make the ‘can do’ list.

5. Choose your port of call wisely

When opting for an on-shore wedding, make sure you are very careful about what port you choose to tie the knot in. If your ship has to cancel the call your wedding could be in dire straits! Grand Cayman is notorious for high winds while Caribbean ports are often skipped during the hurricane season which runs from June to November.

6. Opting for an island wedding?

Island weddings can be incredibly romantic and are made much easier with operators such as Disney Cruise and Holland America that own their own private islands. Do keep in mind that often couples will be required to sign papers and be ‘legally’ married prior to the actual ceremony which can be considered a bit of a buzz-kill.

7. Understand the logistics

While it might sound like a breeze, getting married at sea comes with several legal complications which you’ll need to be on top of.  This is when a cruise line wedding planner comes in very handy!

8. Don’t plan too far in advance

In worst case scenarios, couples have been ousted from their wedding cruises due to full-ship charters being issued after they had booked. It’s therefore best to leave things such as invitations and dated wedding gift keepsakes until a little later on in the planning process.

9. Organise a photographer

It’s your dream day and of course you’re going to want the photographs to remember it by! Some lines will offer on-board photographers as part of their wedding packages while others may require you to do some research and find a port based professional.

10. Be prepared for the downsides

While a cruise ship wedding is the ideal option for some, others may not appreciate the finer details that go hand in hand with taking nuptials at sea. You may not be able to hand-pick things such as your flowers, catering and entertainment and may also have to reduce your guest numbers, be willing to endure small cabins and spend evenings dining with fellow passengers.

With these useful tips in mind, you’ll have all the knowledge and insight that you need to make your big day at sea truly unforgettable! If you’d like help with a cruise ship wedding, call us today on 0808 2746 777

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About Author

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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