LuvTrip Romantic Getaways

Cruising into Marriage

Sunshine glistens off waves like strands of precious gems, and I shade my eyes from their blinding reflection as the sun dips below the horizon. In spite of the brilliance, it doesn’t force me to retreat into the interior of our cruising oasis. In fact, I’m rooted to the deck rail while my soul mate lovingly wraps his arms around me. No, it’s not a scene from the award-winning love story, The Titanic. But it could easily be the setting for any newlyweds who begin their wedded journey together on a cruise.

There’s no doubt about it, cruising is big business. It’s just about as big as weddings. And that’s what your matrimonial day will be when you combine the two. Whether it’s your inaugural nuptials or ninth time around, any sea-lover will tell you, there’s no better way to tie the knot than the nautical way! And while you’re cruising by scenic sites and sandy shores, your own professional planner will be taking care of all your wedded whims. From reception rooms and honeymoon suites –this conjugal way of one stop shopping will literally get you and your spouse sailing into that sensational sunset.

There are a few minor glitches for those who want to go completely ‘Love Boat’ style and state their vows onboard. Unfortunately their pledges won’t be accompanied by rocking waves. Due to regulations, the ceremony must take place in designated ports –not on the sea. The happy couple must also be paying passengers on the cruise. Their invited friends and family members can come aboard specifically for the blessed event, without the option of journeying onward. (That may be a benefit for those who want a romantic honeymoon without familiar faces around) And one last little item –unless you’re choosing the Princess line, your officiator won’t be the captain of the cruiser. Fear not, the chosen facilitator will be totally legit –it just won’t be a Gavin MacLeod type, A.K.A. Captain Merrill Stubing, from the famous Love Boat series.

Some couples may opt to hop off board, and exchange their life-altering vows on a pristine strip of sand, a flower-laden field or a snowy glacier. Whether you choose a cruise to the Caribbean, Greece or Alaska, there are endless romantic spots en route to say ‘I do.’

And here are three liners that promote lots of marriage making

Carnival Cruise Line

When it comes to wedding packages, these ‘Fun Ships’ certainly live up to their name. They are tailor made to suit the need of any couple –from first time ring wearers, to returning vow renewers. A number of Carnival’s glitzy vessels have wedding chapels designed for these celebratory unions.  The ‘Weddings at Sea’ program includes a champagne toast with keepsake flutes, flowers for both bride and groom, a wedding cake with cake topper, pre-recorded wedding music, a decorated bridal aisle and photographic services. The ‘Welcome Aboard’ package offers all of these amenities, as well as a reception with one-hour open bar and hors d'oeuvres for eight guests (including the bride and groom) a traditional two-tiered wedding cake and coffee service. And for couples who want the works, the ‘Deluxe Romance’ package includes a one-and-a-half hour reception and an ice carving, as well as all the above.

Holland America

This cruise company honors any special occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary or graduation. And when it comes to the wedding scene, their Anchors Away package lures lots of lovers to the high seas. With the help of a skilled coordinator, the ceremony is personalized to grant every wish. The bridal bouquet, groom's boutonniere, wedding cake, champagne and an album of photos are all included. For those who already have some longevity, and are looking to replenish, the Renewal of Vows may meet your need. As well as the ceremony and reception with hors d'oeuvres and beverages, you’ll have flowers in your stateroom, and that memorable album of photographs to take back home.

Princess Cruises

You’ll feel like royalty when totally customizing this cruise wedding. Not only will everything from corsages to cake be taken care of, but your special ceremony will be conducted by the Captain of the ship. The cruise consultants will meet the need of any princess, even if renewal of vows is the order of the day. 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 are included in this occasion. And 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. Now that’s a regal way of celebrating!

Other cruise lines who offer the complete matrimonial meal deal for their passengers:

And how much will this type of ceremony set you back? There’s a wide variance of cost for getting married at sea and each line will have its packages and perks. The ballpark price can range anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. It’s a pretty price to pay, but it is your special day? And when you and your soul mate are snuggled next to the deck rail at the end of each glorious day, you, too, may feel just a little like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

By Jane Cassie

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