Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, contributing editor of The Compass

Forecast: Cruising With a Chance of Love

Your clients’ love is as deep as the ocean as they’re embarking on a romantic journey together for the rest of their lives. They’re not interested in traditional weddings; the couple is searching for a unique, one-stop ceremony to tie the knot. Is anything better than a built-in honeymoon after the big day? Dip your feet into these helpful cruise wedding tips and great cruise wedding packages.

5 Tips for Booking Cruise Weddings

  1. Cruise weddings are typically non-commissionable; however agents can earn money by pre-booking commissionable shore excursions and the cruise fare depending on the cruise line.
  2. The price of wedding packages doesn’t include the cruise itself.
  3. During peak cruise seasons or holidays, a surcharge on the wedding package should be expected.
  4. Same-sex marriages are performed in nations where same-sex unions are legal. Cruise lines typically arrange symbolic ceremonies where they’re not legal yet.
  5. Couples interested in legal weddings rather than symbolic are required to obtain their own marriage license. Marriage licenses from weddings at sea must be obtained from the nation where the ship is registered.

3 Types of Weddings at Sea

Cruise weddings can truly work for any couple’s preferences: intimate small weddings, a grand ceremony with all of their friends and family, or even the ultimate proposal in preparation for the big day. However, cruise weddings are best fit for your clients craving simplicity within their music, flowers, decorations and cake. Three-tier wedding cakes mirror cruise weddings with three basic flavors:

  1. Shipboard weddings in port at the point of embarkation or in a port of call (embarkation day weddings are recommended when numerous wedding guests aren’t joining the cruise).
  2. Destination weddings ashore during port calls.
  3. Legal shipboard weddings at sea performed by the ship’s captain while sailing between ports.

4 Cruise Wedding Package Picks

  • Intimately Yours Wedding Package from Royal Caribbean

    Clients desiring a personal connection with each guest while sticking to a budget and providing a luxurious experience for guests invited will adore this package. It features a non-denominational wedding officiant, pre-recorded musical accompaniment, two-tier wedding cake and chocolate-covered strawberries, along with a dinner for the couple. But that’s not all. A private wedding venue, keepsake wedding certificate, photography service for one hour, mimosa breakfast-in-bed and a bottle of Moët and Chandon Champagne top it off.

  • Wedding at Sea Package from Norwegian Cruise Lines

    A legally recognized ceremony will be performed onboard by the captain. Popular destinations to say “I do” in while cruising on this line are the Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda, Hawaii, Alaska and Europe. This package consists of a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere, chocolate-covered strawberries, couples cake (five options to choose from), priority embarkation and debarkation, one hour of photography services and finally one bottle of Prosecco, house wine and sparkling wine!

  • Nautical Nuptials from Celebrity Cruises

    If the Master of the Ship performs a marriage under the Maltese flag, while the nuptials are sailing above crashing waves and salty air for miles on end, a magnificent wedding day is to be expected. Included in this wedding package are special nautical vows, live ceremony music and rose petals on the bed at turndown. Two bathrobes, fresh flowers in the stateroom and ivory flowers within the boutonniere and bouquet are also included. Of course there’s chocolate-covered strawberries and one hour of photography service on the wedding day, with leading photo packages being available to purchase just 48 hours later, so reminiscing on this celebration can begin right away; however, not before the bottle of champagne is popped and the delicious wedding cake is devoured.

    If your clients are unsure if the sea is calling for their magical day, don’t worry. Celebrity features a unique Test the Waters Pre-Wedding package where couples can spend 90 minutes onboard a Celebrity ship, which includes a 30-minute tour of wedding and reception locations, 30 minutes consulting with a wedding coordinator and 30 minutes sampling the delicious buffet.

    An intimate Platinum Engagement Package is another specialty of Celebrity’s. If your client is planning to create the night their partner will never forget, why not leave it to the pros? This engagement package features photography services to capture the question, chocolate-covered strawberries, dinner for two and a celebratory bottle of wine.

  • Grand Ceremony Platinum from Carnival Cruises

    Your clients anticipating lots of friends and family (up to 50 non-sailing guests) joining their special day will enjoy this package. The festivities begin breakfast in bed, including mimosas. It also includes a keepsake silk flower petal bouquet and boutonniere; silk flower petal decorations; Carnival wedding coasters; music; photography and a keepsake wedding certificate. This seems like everything needed to toast to. Yet there’s a private venue, local officiant, honeymoon dinner and a bottle of sparkling wine as well for this perfect embarkation day or at-sea wedding.

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