Can You Get Married Onboard A Cruise Ship?
Looking for a destination wedding but can’t decide between 3 different places? A cruise wedding could be the perfect option for you! Book onboard a cruise visiting a variety of ports and enjoy the beauty of each destination as you tie the knot. Take a look below to find out all about weddings at-sea.
The first official wedding onboard a cruise ship was held in 1998 onboard Princess Cruises – it was also conducted by the ships captain! It may be surprising that cruise weddings haven’t been going on longer, but they are a very popular choice now-a-days. Although it’s popular, you don’t tend to see many during one cruise trip, there’s only usually one or possibly even two.
Since 1998, many cruise lines have followed in Princess’ footsteps and offered weddings onboard their ships. Marriage laws do differ from country to country so some ships don’t allow the Captain or anyone else to marry couples on their ships.
Below are details about which cruise lines offer guests the chance to tie the knot onboard!
Princess offer “Tie the Knot” packages which are available on all of their ships. They also have dedicated wedding chapels onboard most of their ships. Their “Tie the Knot” packages come in three different tiers:
Tie the Knot at Sea – Includes use of the onboard chapel, candlelit ceremony officiated by the captain, a wedding coordinator, live music, two floral arrangements, a rose bouquet for the bride, grooms boutonniere, photographer services, wedding cake, champagne and two keepsake flutes, and a keepsake wedding certificate.
Tie the Knot Harbourside –Based on the destination, this package includes priority check in and boarding for the couple and guests, onboard wedding ceremony performed by a nondenominational officiant, a wedding coordinator, recorded music, silk floral arrangements, a rose bouquet and boutonniere, photographer, wedding cake, champagne and a keepsake certificate.
Tie the Knot Ashore – Includes a ceremony at a beach or garden, transportation for the couple, an officiant, wedding coordinator, bouquet and boutonniere, photographer, cake for two, chamagne and a keepsake certificate.
Receptions, photography packages and enhanced ceremony features are available at an extra cost.
Celebrity offer a variety of options onboard their ships to cater for every couple on their special day.
Nautical Nuptials at Sea – This package includes a captain-led ceremony, event coordinators service, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, champagne, bouquet and boutonniere and additional romantic amenities for the couple post-ceremony.
Shoreside and In-port shipboard – These options are led by an officiant instead of the captain. It includes everything in the Nautical Nuptials package except for the romantic amentites. Shoreside ceremonies also include transportation to the ceremony site.
Romantic Amenities – Chocolate covered strawberries, bottle of champagne, two champagne flutes, his-and-hers robes, fresh floral arrangements and rose petals on the bed.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival packages are available to buy onboard all of their ships, although there are only chapels onboard the Spirit, Pride, Legend and Miracle ships. They offer five packages onboard their ships which are outlined below.
Just You & Me – This package accommodates up to 8 guests, including the bride and groom. It includes wedding planner services, wedding coordinator, private shipboard location, priority check-in, ceremony performed by a nondenominational officiant, bouquet and boutonniere, champagne toast with keepsake flutes, tiered cake with topper, recorded wedding music, decorated aisle and a photographer.
Time to Celebrate – Accommodates up to 20 guests. Includes all amenities in the Just You & Me package, plus a cocktail hour with an open bar and hot and cold hors d’oeuvres.
Time to Celebrate…Big! – Includes all of the above plus a 90-minute open bar reception and an ice carving, also accommodating 20 guests.
Let Us Serve You – Includes all ceremony amenities mentioned above, plus a multicourse sit-down meal with wine and champagne, rather than a cocktail reception. Accommodates a minimum of 8 guests including the bride and groom.
Island Breeze – Similar to the ‘Just You & Me’ package, but without the priority check-in. Ceremonies may take place outdoors or in a local courthouse. Transportation for the couple is included.
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL offer three wedding packages, as well as legal same-sex ceremonies in destinations where they are recognised by local law.
Wedding at Sea – Performed onboard whilst at sea and officiated by the ship captain onboard the Breakaway, Getaway and Escape. Includes a bridal bouquet, boutonniere, 6-inch cake, recorded music, sparkling wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, canapes, one 8×10 portrait and a keepsake certificate. Also offers a group service coordinator who can make reservations, organise seating at shows and assist the couple and their guests.
Harborside – Allows couples to be married onboard at certain ports of call such as Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean. The couple and their guests will also receive priority embarkation.
Destination – Offers a range of exotic onshore locations to hold ceremonies eg. glaciers in Alaska or a bay in St.Thomas. This also includes round-trip transportation for the bride and groom and champagne instead of sparkling wine.
There are a wide range of a la carte options available on top of the basic packages. Couples can choose any of the following to add to their package at an extra cost:
- Spa and beauty services
- Live music
- Transportation to and from the ship or location
- Tuxedo rentals
- Wedding receptions
- Conch shell aisle (shoreside)
- French rose arch (shoreside)
Royal Caribbean offer a wide range of packages including the option to get married at sea, with the captain or first officer officiating the ceremony.
Paradise Shipboard – Most basic package they offer and includes priority check-in for couple and guests, wedding coordinator, onboard ceremony with an officiant, photographer and 20 prints, bouquet and boutonniere, chocolate-covered strawberries and sparkling wine.
Paradise Destination – Allows the couple to get married onboard or at a number of exotic locals eg. Alaksa, Hawaii or Greece. Including the amenities in Paradise Shipboard, this package offers a wedding cake, nicer flowers in the bouquet, taxi transportation to and from the ceremony. A photographer is included, but prints aren’t.
Royal Romance at Sea – Allows the couple to get married whilst the ship is at sea, with a ceremony officiated by the captain or first mate. The package includes upgrades such as an 8-inch wedding cake, one dozen white roses, a bottle of champagne, breakfast in bed and dinner for two in a speciality restaurant.
Reception options are available at an extra cost:
- Formal wedding lunch
- Buffet with bar service
- Hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and bar service
Certain P&O ships are adult only (18+) therefore you must think about who you want to invite when choosing which ship you’re going to go on.
Wedding at Sea – Includes ceremony venue, ceremony conducted by the captain, floral arrangements, music, commemorative certificate, champagne, wedding coordinator, invitations and thank you notes.
Added extras are available on request and come at an extra charge:
- Wedding album
- Champagne breakfast in bed
- Spa and Salon services
Holland America cater for a mature, sophisticated clientele, which makes them the more attractive choice to older couples wishing to wed.
Couples Only – This package is offered to couples without any guests and includes priority check-in, wedding coordinator, officiant and keepsake wedding certificate.
Anchors Away Shipboard – Also includes a bouquet and boutonniere, single-tier cake, table with flowers and linens, bottle of champagne, photographer, one 8×10 photo, commemorative photo album and recorded music.
Rembrandt Shipboard – Available in Fort Lauderdale, San Diego, Seattle and Vancouver offers all the Anchors Away package does plus 10 5×7 photos and transportation for the couple in a limo.
Royal Dutch Deluxe – Includes a more elaborate bouquet, bottle of premium champagne, additional 20 5×7 photos, in-cabin floral arrangement, chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne at turndown, and a 30 minute massage for the couple. Available in Fort Lauderdale, Seattle and Vancouver.
Half Moon Cay – For those wanting to wed on HAL’s private island. Included a Bahamian officiant, marriage licence fee, copy of the marriage licence, tropical bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere, chocolate covered strawberries set up on a table with linens and fresh flowers, bottle of champagne, recorded ceremony music, photographer, one 8×10 photograph, commemorative wedding album and a keepsake wedding certificate.
Cunard offer their wedding package onboard all of their ships. The captain can conduct ceremonies at sea if the couple wish.
Royal Wedding at Sea – Includes wedding license, wedding coordinator, two floral arrangements, traditional wedding music, commemorative wedding certificate, invitations and thank you cards. Also includes a bottle of champagne and a champagne breakfast in bed for the bride and groom.
Additional features are available for a fee:
MSC are one of the only cruise lines which allows couples to legally get married onboard – only available on MSC Divina. They offer two packages to those wishing to tie the knot.
Onboard – Includes pre-cruise consultant, priority check-in for the couple and guests, pier-to-cabin escort service, wedding coordinator, nondenominational officiant, recorded music, bouquet and boutonniere, cake for two, bottle of sparkling wine and one hour photography services.
Shoreside – Allow couples to marry in destinations such as Grand Cayman, Barbados, Jamaica, San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. There is also the option to marry on embarkation day in Miami or New York. Includes a pre-cruise consultant, wedding day coordinator, nondenominational officiant, bouquet and boutonniere, cake for two, bottle of sparkling wine and one hour photography services. Also provides taxi transportation for the couple to and from the ceremony destination.
Upgrades and extras are available at an extra cost:
- Photography and videography
- Fresh flowers
- Food and drinks
- Favours and aisle runners
- Personalised stationary