Having Wedding at Sea

By John S. Hanson

wedding at sea

wedding at sea – image details

A wedding, whether it is your first or fifth, can be the best, and the most stressful, experience of your life. Except for, certainly, if you select to tie the knot at sea. When getting married on a cruise ship, you’ll have a host of professionals trained to put up your every need during your cruise wedding. From cakes to tuxedos, accommodations to the reception hall, you won’t have to go off-board for anything. Unless certainly you opt for having your reception on shore. In which case, the amenities come to you. Imagine saying your vows on the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean, on a hillside vineyard in Italy, or on the snowy-white glaciers of Alaska. The possibilities are never-ending.

There are a few stipulations when getting married on a cruise ship. First, the captain usually does not marry the couple (except with Princess Cruises). A wedding officiant will be provided by the cruise line for that purpose. Second, cruise weddings take place while in port, not while at sea. You can select to get married on board when in port or at a chosen location on shore. Lastly, the bride and groom must be sailing on the cruise in order to get married on it. Your guests can, however, board the ship for the wedding without sailing on the cruise.

A lot of cruise lines offer cruise wedding packages and coordinators to ensure that your day is special and runs smoothly. Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International, all provide wedding packages for couples sailing on their ships. Crystal Cruises and Cunard Line do not allow weddings on their ships. The cost of tying the knot at sea ranges from $900 to $2,400 and generally includes transportation to and from the port, wedding facilities, wedding officiant, wedding coordinator, ceremony music, flowers for the bride and groom, cake, champagne, photographer, wedding album, and dinner. Many will also arrange spa and hair appointments, as well as tuxedo rentals. Certainly, each line has their own packages. Read below for information on the most well-liked cruise lines and their wedding options.

PLEASE NOTE: Prices provided on this page are general indicators of wedding package costs. They are provided to give a general indication of costs for couples in the early stages of planning their weddings. Stated prices are not guaranteed and do not include taxes.

wedding on the cruise

wedding on the cruise – image details

Carnival Cruises

For those looking to celebrate a special occasion, Carnival offers a variety of packages designed to suit every need. Wedding ceremonies are performed by a wedding officiant before the ship sets sail and Carnival provides a photographer who takes pictures both during the ceremony and the reception. These photos are available for purchase during the cruise.

The basic cruise wedding package is for eight guests (including bride and groom) and includes the ceremony, bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, bottle of sparkling wine, wedding cake, wedding music, and photography service. This package is priced starting at $750, prices vary depending on the port. The other wedding packages offered by Carnival add to the basic package with a combination of wedding luncheon, open bar, champagne, and the accommodation of up to 20 guests. These packages range in price from $1,050 to $1,450. Guests may wish to add a videographer, tuxedo rental, additional food and beverage service, or live entertainment.

Holland America Line
Holland America Line offers a variety of packages for those celebrating weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions.

Weddings
Holland America’s wedding package is called Anchors Away. It includes the ceremony setup, personal wedding coordinator, personalized wedding ceremony, bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, wedding cake, champagne, and a cruise album. This package starts at $1,295 USD.

Renewal of Vows
Holland America Line’s renewal of vows package is priced at $99USD and includes flowers in your stateroom, renewal ceremony with hors d’oeuvres and beverages, as well as a photograph and photo album.

Special Occasion
The basic celebration package includes flowers in your stateroom, champagne, a special dessert in the dining room, framed photograph, and special recognition. This package is $79USD. You can add to this package with amenities like a dozen roses, a pair of terrycloth bathrobes, a special chocolate pillow gift, couple’s massage, and a guaranteed table for two in the dining room. The price for the more elaborate package is $410 USD.

If your special occasion is of a romantic nature, Holland America has a romantic package that provides you with flowers, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, a framed photograph, $25 in casino chips, and an aromatherapy massage. This package is priced at $169 USD.

Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Lines gives passengers a variety of options when planning a wedding on one of their ships. Wedding packages range in price from $1200 USD to $2,399 USD and can accommodate anywhere from eight to twenty five guests.

Wedding Package
Norwegian’s basic package will accommodate a maximum of eight guests (including the bride and groom) and includes the wedding officiant, wedding music, keepsake marriage certificate, ceremony location, wedding cake, champagne, and a photograph package. The photograph package provides the bride and groom with twelve portraits, a mini-album, and two 8″ by 10″ selected portraits. You can add to this package with such amenities as additional guests, a one-hour, open bar reception with hors d’oeuvres, additional champagne, additional photographs, a two-hour sit-down lunch with wine, and live music.

Anniversary and Honeymoon Package
Whether you’re looking for a deluxe package with all the fixings or a small combination of some simple luxuries, Norwegian Cruise Line can accommodate your needs. With prices ranging from $79 to $329, the basic package includes champagne and strawberries, canapes in your stateroom, photograph, and romantic dinner for two in the bistro with a complimentary bottle of wine. The most deluxe offer gives couples champagne and strawberries, spa wrap, massage, breakfast-in-bed, a formal portrait, and a romantic dinner for two in the bistro with a bottle of wine.

Princess Cruises

Weddings
Princess Cruises offers customizable cruise wedding packages that include everything from bouquets and wedding cake to portraits and tuxedo rental. You and your Cruise Consultant can work together to create the package that suits all of your wedding needs. One special bonus with Princess is that your wedding ceremony will be conducted by the captain of your ship.

Renewal of Vows
The basic package costs $205 and includes the ceremony, bouquet, boutonniere of orchids, commemorative certificate, a bottle of champagne with engraved champagne glasses in your stateroom, and a framed portrait of the ceremony. For an additional cost, the package can be upgraded to include champagne and breakfast-in-bed, two Princess terrycloth robes, a thirty-minute massage or facial per person, and a visit to the bridge while the ship is in port.

Special Occasion
Celebrating a birthday, promotion, or graduation? Do it in style on a Princess ship. Princess Cruises offers a variety of packages for people celebrating something special. The most basic package includes a bottle of champagne, framed formal portrait, hors d’oeuvres delivered to your stateroom, and breakfast-in-bed with champagne. All for $135 per couple. Passengers can add to that package with amenities like Princess terrycloth robes, spa visit, a visit to the bridge, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Prices range from $135 to $430 per couple, depending on the package.

Royal Caribbean International – Weddings
Royal Caribbean offers seven wedding packages ranging in price from $1,095 to $1,595.

Duet, the simplest onboard package, includes the wedding coordinator, wedding ceremony, wedding officiant, ceremony music, bride’s bouquet of roses, groom’s boutonniere of roses, wedding cake for four, photographer, one wedding photo, wedding certificate keepsake, and champagne. Additions that are made for other packages include more wedding photos, larger bridal bouquet, champagne and breakfast-in-bed for two, round-trip transportation to the port in a chauffeured limousine, and chocolate-covered strawberries in the couple’s stateroom.

These packages can be enhanced to include live music, videography, beauty appointments, tuxedo rentals, wedding invitations/announcements, wedding reception, and marriage license processing. Ask your Cruise Consultant about the cost of these additions.

Shore Weddings
For weddings on shore, Royal Caribbean includes many of the same amenities found in the Duet package, but adds indigenous wedding flowers, escorted transportation to and from the territorial court and ceremony site, local wedding cake, and secured, marriage license documents.

Renewal of Vows
If you would like to renew your vows on a cruise ship, you can do so for $400. Your vows can be renewed in the wedding chapel (if there is one) or in a designated spot on board. This cost includes the ceremony, ceremony music, bouquet for the bride, boutonniere for the groom, keepsake certificate, wedding cake for four, photograph, and champagne.

PLEASE NOTE: Prices provided on this page are general indicators of wedding package costs. They are provided to give a general indication of costs for couples in the early stages of planning their weddings. Stated prices are not guaranteed and do not include taxes.

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