Since 1989, cruise ship weddings have been a unique, and often cheaper alternative to the regular chapel wedding. With cruise lines such as P&O Cruises and Cunard offering cruise wedding packages, you could tie the knot, or simply renew your vows, onboard the most beautiful ships at sea or in port, creating some truly unforgettable memories with friends and family.
Booking a cruise ship wedding
Getting married on a cruise is much easier and more cost-effective than you think! With cruise lines preparing special packages to help you plan for the occasion, you'll be able to enjoy the perfect ceremony at sea or in a stunning shoreside destination, followed by a relaxing honeymoon.
One of the biggest reasons for getting married on a cruise is that every part of this special occasion can take place onboard. Expert wedding specialists will go above and beyond to perfect the details of your day, so from the ceremony officiated by the captain, to the flowers in the chapel, to the beautiful wedding breakfast, your cruise wedding will be just as you envisioned. If your wish is to get hitched at sea by ordinance of the captain, your ship will have to be registered to either Malta, Bermuda or the Bahamas for legal reasons, but not to worry - many top cruise lines have done just this, meaning your dream wedding at sea can become a reality.
Another reason to get married on a cruise is that the world becomes your oyster! Get married on deck surrounded by the breathtaking cliffs of the Norwegian Fjords, or walk down an aisle on a sandy beach in the sunny Caribbean - the choice is entirely yours. If not all guests can join you on your wedding cruise, the ceremony can be held on embarkation day, allowing non-sailing guests to join in the celebration before you set off on your voyage.
What's more, for same-sex couples looking to make their dream cruise wedding a reality, numerous cruise lines offer both legal and symbolic marriage ceremonies at sea and at a range of ports. Whether you've got a dream destination in mind or would like the captain to officiate at your gay cruise wedding, just get in touch with your cruise line who will be happy to help with all the finer details.
Cruise wedding packages
Cruise wedding packages vary depending on the cruise line and your budget. Below are the basic necessities that are included in most wedding packages:
- Ceremony with the Captain officiating
- Official marriage certificate
- A wedding planner
To customise the finer details, there are a number of additions that can be included in your wedding package. Some cruise lines include the following as complimentary extras, such as a bottle of champagne to toast to your marriage, private seating for your wedding party at dinner, and even romantic stateroom decoration for your wedding night.
- A photographer and photo prints
- A wedding cake
- Bouquet and buttonholes
- A reception party with drinks
How to book a cruise ship wedding
Since there may be additional extras that you'd like to include in your wedding package, it's best to call to discuss your requirements when booking cruise ship weddings. Looking for something extra special for your honeymoon? Opt for a cruise and stay package with a hotel stay at the end of your cruise, allowing you to explore a stunning destination and truly unwind before you head home.
Best cruise lines for cruise ship weddings
While not all cruise lines offer dedicated cruise wedding packages, most will be happy to accommodate you and your wedding party to the best of their abilities. However, we've put together our top five cruise lines who offer various wedding packages to suit you and your partner. Below is a quick overview of our top five as well as their approximate pricing as of 2020.
|Cruise line||Wedding package approximate starting price as of 2020||What's included|
This traditional and historic cruise line has played a role in iconic love stories throughout the years, including in royalty and Hollywood stardom. Cunard cruise ship weddings are a grand affair, with your first dance taking place in the beautiful ballroom. Choose from numerous breathtaking venues, delectable menus and many finishing touches to make your big day as special as it can be.
Bookable at a minimum of three months in advance, P&O Cruises have perfected the wedding planning process, making your special occasion smooth from start to finish. You'll begin your cruise with complimentary champagne and flowers in your cabin, and helpful staff will be there every step of the way to assist with the big day. P&O Cruises also offer fantastic benefits for wedding parties of 16 guests or more, such as £200 onboard credit for the bride and groom.
Princess Cruises made history when it became the very first cruise line to host weddings at sea in 1998, and since then, their wedding packages have been enhanced to create truly unforgettable memories. A cruise wedding with Princess is elevated with elegance and luxury, with a wedding coordinator on hand to ensure your dream wedding - from the cake to the photographer - is just as you'd like it. Princess Cruises also offer a high-tech live streaming service for guests who cannot attend your cruise wedding in person.
Whether you're simply looking for a symbolic ceremony, a celebration with friends and family or a wedding ceremony officiated by the Captain themselves, Celebrity Cruises offer a cruise wedding package to suit every couple. Simply choose your dream destination, a package to fit your needs, and Celebrity's expert Event Manager's will take care of the rest! Celebrity Cruises are also proud to offer legal same-sex wedding ceremonies at sea.
Enhancing your cruise wedding package has never been easier. From priority check in to live musicians, to couples' massages and custom honeymoon registries, Royal Caribbean have an endless array of luxury add-ons to make your wedding day truly special. While on most ships there isn't a dedicated chapel, venues can be transformed into the perfect setting for your ceremony - including the North Star!
Top tips for cruise ship weddings
While most cruise lines will go above and beyond to ensure your wedding day is picture perfect, there are some things to keep in mind when preparing for the special occasion.
1. Check for seasonal surcharges
Since cruise lines experience busier times of the year, you may find that if you're looking to book your cruise wedding during a peak season, this may incur a seasonal surcharge.
2. Prepare your marriage license ahead of time
If you are assigned a pre-cruise event coordinator, they will be able to assist you with ensuring that the marriage ceremony is legal in the port that this will take place in. However, do your research well ahead of time to ensure you'll have a marriage license at the time of your ceremony.
3. Take advantage of group savings
Some cruise lines such as P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line offer fantastic rates for large group bookings, including on group shore excursions. Get the whole family and all your friends together - you'll all enjoy the holiday of a lifetime and get great value for money!
Now you've read all there is to know about weddings at sea, why not take a look at our guide to honeymoon cruises. Whether you're looking for a week of sunshine or a city adventure, take to the seas on a honeymoon you'll never forget.