Not long ago the few weddings that did take place aboard cruise ships were small in numbers. As often as not the cruise ship ceremony was for a renewal of vows attended by only the couple a very few friends.
That has all changed. Just as there has been explosive growth in sun destination weddings, the all in one wedding and honeymoon has become important to most cruise ship lines. The wedding can take place on board the vessel or at a romantic location in one of the countries where the ship has a port stop.
All of the major players in the industry offer wedding packages, including Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Holland America, Norwegian, Premier, Princess, Regal, and Royal Caribbean International. In fact Carnival has stated that they will have over 2000 on board weddings this year.
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Most of the lines have now added specialty organizers for the wedding market and can, working with your travel agent, arrange almost every detail. Like sun destination weddings, there is often an extra cost for a private reception for the wedding group. Prices will vary based on the lavishness of the event.
Depending upon the country in which you plan to marry it is important to plan well in advance, to make sure proper licensing can take place. Some countries have residency requirements which could affect your plans in certain ports of call.
While some ships still require you actually marry at a specific port, others allow and encourage on board ceremonies. Likewise some cruise lines require you to bring along your own minister or other authorized individual to perform the actual marriage. Often cruise lines are able to arrange for a clergyman in a number of cruise ports where the countries laws allow.
There are some differences between a cruise and resort wedding. Often the all inclusive resort is not only the base, but frequently the guests languish around the pool and the beach, not taking advantage of the attractions around the area. Shore excursions seem to be part and parcel of the cruise ship wedding, with couples and guests sharing in the exploration of the countryside's they discover together.
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