By Michael Coleman
Some of the top mass market, premium and luxury cruise lines are playing cupid.
Here’s a sampling of the top cruise lines and how they’re taking romance to new heights on the high seas.
Carnival Cruise Lines – Some 2,300 couples will take advantage of Carnival’s all-inclusive wedding packages this year, a 50 percent increase from a decade ago. Programs include an official civil ceremony, reception and other value-added features and can be tailored to the couple’s wishes. Shipboard ceremonies are available on embarkation day in Carnival’s U.S ports and many Caribbean destinations. Vow renewal packages are also available.
Celebrity Cruises – Celebrity’s most popular wedding package is the “Nautical Nuptials” program featuring a captain-led wedding ceremony at sea offered on all Celebrity ships except Celebrity Xpedition. Other packages available include a “Bridesmaids’ Tea Party,” a “Cigar and Cognac Party,” a “Test the Waters” package and a “Welcome Reception.” Vow renewal celebrations are also offered.
Holland America Line — Wedding couples enjoys a free stateroom upgrade and a commemorative wedding cake with at least eight staterooms booked and the entire group enjoys numerous amenities, including a Pinnacle Grill lunch, private wine tastings, and chocolate-covered strawberries and Chase Limogere Brut in their staterooms.
Norwegian Cruise Line — NCL offers two wedding packages — “Onboard Aisles” and “On Shore Aisles” — available in ports in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and Bermuda. Both include a ceremony conducted by a local official plus all the features of a wedding, from music to wedding cake and sparkling wine. Norwegian also offers vow renewal packages and an “Engagement Aisles” program for the ultimate proposal at sea.
Princess Cruises – Princess pioneered weddings at sea more than a decade ago, and since then ship captains have married thousands of couples while sailing in locations around the globe. The unique “Tie the Knot at Sea” program offers ceremonies in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Alaska and other exotic locales, which couples can customize with live music, flowers and reception options. In addition, a harborside option enables couples to be married in port, and ashore weddings are available in a variety of scenic ports.
Regent Seven Seas Cruise – Guests wishing to make customized wedding plans in conjunction with a Regent Seven Seas cruise may use the services of Royal Ocean Events, which can handle all the details and requests. A honeymooner package features a letter of congratulations from the captain, Veuve Clicquot Champagne and caviar, in-suite canapÃ©s every afternoon, a miniature wedding cake and Leonidas chocolates and more.
Royal Caribbean – In addition to a “Royal Romance” package featuring a one-hour wedding ceremony onboard ship or on shore on embarkation day, couples on Royal Caribbean can exchange vows while climbing the ships’ rock walls or ice-skating or even catching the waves on the shipboard Flowrider. Shoreside wedding venues include the glaciers of Alaska, European castles, rainforests and an Italian vineyard.