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CRUISE WEDDINGS


The wedding sea in your special day


Say your vows on a tropical beach, on a sunset-pink deck or with one of the most iconic views in the world as your backdrop; weddings at sea are big business for cruise lines and most off er some form of package. Whether you want to be married at sea or even on a private island, we have your questions answered


Can the captain marry us at sea? Only on ships registered in certain countries is the captain legally able to wed couples. Cruise lines on the offi cial ‘can do’ list are Celebrity Cruises, P&O, Princess and Azamara. From April 2012, Cunard will be re-registering its ships to Bermuda, so couples can celebrate their nuptials on board the QM2, including on the unique transatlantic crossing to New York. Alternatively, if you’re happy to fi ll in the paperwork and legally wed before you embark, you can opt for an unoffi cial ceremony, in which the captain or a wedding offi cial blesses the marriage. Exact locations vary from on deck, in a private lounge or in the ship’s chapel (available on Princess).


How much will it cost? For a ceremony which promises romance and a wow-factor venue, getting married at sea is surprisingly good value. Packages start from £1,100 and include the ceremony, coordinator, fl owers, cake, champagne and photographer. Extras include photographs, the reception (usually included for fewer than 10 guests), and any romantic treats like a couples’ massage or champagne breakfast in bed.


What if I want something more bespoke? Looking for a live band, an intimate meal under the stars or a tower of champagne? Azamara prides itself on remembering all the little details, whilst Seabourn eschews packages for a tailor-made service.


Can I renew my vows? Yes. Last year P&O hosted 370 weddings and 205 renewal of vows ceremonies. Prices start from £250.


Any tips? Book early. It can take 10 weeks to process your marriage licence for weddings at sea and the availability of the captain will be limited. You also need to budget time for any special requests; remember, those couples’ massages get snapped up quickly!


56 | APRIL/MAY 2012


Lisa and Steve Hatfull were married aboard P&O’s Oriana


››Cruise couple experience


Lisa and Steve Hatfull from Redditch celebrated their wedding day aboard P&O’s Oriana on a 30-night transatlantic cruise to the USA and the Caribbean. “We decided to get married at sea


because we love cruising. We had already been together for 11 years, so we wanted a romantic ceremony, which was small and personal. “It is really easy to get married on a


cruise ship. There was a legal form to fi ll in and we had to send in our birth certifi cates for the notice of intended marriage and a form detailing all of our requirements, and that was it. “The wedding coordinator took care


of the rest. I just had to take my dress, shoes and tiara and turn up. The on- board fl orist made up my bouquet. “The day was fantastic. We were married by Captain David Pembridge in the Captain’s Lounge and treated like VIPs from start to fi nish – with free champagne, fl owers, chocolates, fruit baskets, canapés on formal evenings and invites to pre-dinner drinks… the list was endless! “We didn’t take any guests with us because it was such a long crossing, but


we had made so many friends with the organisers and crew by the time the big day arrived that it felt like a giant wedding reception. “Our best memory was having our


photographs taken around the ship. Our photographers were great fun and every time we bumped into our fellow passengers we were given a round of applause. At dinner we had a table for two which our waiter had decorated with balloons and confetti and all of the staff and guests clapped. That evening we went up to the tropical deck party, as by now we were somewhere between Bermuda and the Bahamas, and danced to the disco and live band. “I would suggest you book the


ceremony for 3pm, so you have time to visit the salon for your hair, nails and fi t in a relaxing massage beforehand. You’ll then have enough time for photographs and a celebratory drink before dinner and the evening celebrations! “Wedding ceremonies have to take


place on days at sea, so plan for yours to take place the day before you arrive into a romantic port of call, so you can make it your honeymoon location.”


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