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Cruise ship weddings: Get hitched on board!

Cruise lovers will be familiar with the magic that descends when you cast off from your disembarkation port and sail away into the sunset. Why not capture that special atmosphere for one of the most important days of your life? Getting married on a cruise ship is a breeze, with customizable packages available across many lines cruising from Australia. With wedding planners onboard, it is an easy and affordable option- perfect for anyone who loves cruising almost as much as they love their future spouse.

We had a look at just a few of the major lines operating in Australia and what they offer to brides and grooms who want to celebrate in style on a cruise:

P&O Australia
You can celebrate with the whole clan on P&O's family-friendly ships. The recently-introduced Ceremonies at Sea program has packages for wedding ceremonies, vow renewals and commitment ceremonies designed to be worry-free for the couple and their family.

A ceremony on a P&O ship includes priority check-in, florals, cake, sparkling wine for toasting, a photographer for three hours, reserved group seating at dinner, spa treatments and more at a cost of $2,500. There are discounted fares available for groups with 16 or more guests, and all wedding guests must be sailing on the cruise.

To fulfil legal requirements, P&O holds weddings while the the ship is still in the port of embarkation, and this means you can choose your own celebrant who can then get off the ship before it leaves and you sail away with your guests!

Added extras you can choose (at extra cost) to round out the celebrations include drink and canape receptions and wine packages. If you want to go all out, you can even book out the Salt Grill for dinner with the whole group.

Of course, the best part of a P&O wedding is the cruise which comes after! Spend time with your family or friends or hole up with your spouse while they enjoy themselves- it's up to you.



Princess Cruises

Princess is known as a cruise line for the romantics, and they do not disappoint with their wedding packages. There are three options for a Princess wedding- At Sea, Harbourside or Ashore.

An At Sea wedding is the ultimate for those who love the nautical aspect of cruising- and this applies to many keen cruisers! Couples are married by the ship's Captain in long-standing tradition, and the basic package includes a ceremony venue, an onboard wedding co-ordinator, florals, a photographer, cake, champagne and keepsake flutes. Receptions can be held in the ship's lounges and are customisable with food and drinks. Bring along your guests as passengers and enjoy extended celebrations.

Harbourside weddings are perfect for those who want to invite non-sailing guests. If the ceremony is on embarkation day, you and any guests joining the cruise will have priority check-in. Up to ten non-sailing guests are free, and more are allowed if you choose to host a wedding reception onboard. Harbourside weddings can take place in many ports of call, and combine the best of both worlds for many couples!

Ashore weddings combine the traditional destination wedding with the fun of a cruise for you and guests. Get hitched on a tropical beach or in an exotic garden whilst you enjoy all the services of a cruise wedding package- including flowers, photographer and a wedding co-ordinator. This option is especially great for eloping couples who want to get away from it all!



Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean offers weddings both onshore and on the ships through their "Royal Romance" program. They allow shipboard weddings in-port, for which you can invite non-cruising guests, and also weddings at sea for those who like the idea of starting their married life on a nautical note. These are officiated by the ship's captain or first officer and can include only guests who are passengers on the cruise. Destination weddings at the ports of call can also be arranged through the line, and they will handle everything.

Basic packages will take care of all the necessary details for any wedding, and you can customise your event in many aspects- venue, food, videography, music, style of reception and more. A formal wedding luncheon in the main dining room is a great way to celebrate with non-sailing guests, and a more casual lunch buffet with bar service offers a party atmosphere. Hors d'oeuvres receptions are also available.

Royal Caribbean also offers vow renewals and can even plan a proposal right down to the last detail!



The options are endless
These lines are just the beginning of your choices when it comes to tying the knot on a cruise- you can get hitched with Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America and Cunard. As for the high-end luxury lines- Azamara Club offers weddings in port (non-sailing guests can be in attendance), while Seabourn and Silversea offer vow renewals only.



Get hitched with no worries
The best part of a cruise wedding is the ease with which plans can be made. Wedding packages cover all of the basic necessities, and you can work with dedicated coordinators to refine the details such as reception menus, drinks packages, number of guests, venues and more. Cruise ships are made for hosting special events- there are numerous bars and restaurants, amazing views, they are stocked with food and drinks, and they add a special nautical atmosphere to your wedding celebrations. There's no need to bring in caterers, hire chairs, or any of that jazz. Everything is there and waiting!



Plan your dream wedding
The first thing you need to consider is what kind of wedding you want to have. If you would like to be able to invite lots of friends and family, you will need to make sure it is somewhere that allows non-sailing guests (unless your loved ones are all available to go cruising!). Embarkation day weddings are usually the best option for having your loved ones in attendance. If you are envisioning a small group of your nearest and dearest who are willing to join the cruise, you could go for a ceremony at sea on a cruise line which allows it. Eloping? You can do whatever you want- that's the whole point!

Keen to get hitched onboard? Get in contact with our groups division. They have plenty of experience with organising special occasion cruises, and can talk you through the process of booking a cruise wedding. Call or email the team to help you get started!

Written By: Sarah Glover, Content Editor of Cruise Sale Finder

I have enjoyed visiting as much of the world as possible over the years. Europe and the Mediterranean are personal favourites, but there is so much to see very close to our little Australasian corner of the globe- one of my top travel experiences was snorkeling with tropical fish and turtles in New Caledonia! Cruising is a fantastic way to see it all, and we hope to make booking a cruise easier for both first-timers and old salts. From ship tips to destination news and views, we will keep you up-to-date. Happy cruising!

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