Happy Valentine’s Day cruise passengers!
On this love filled day, thousands of couples have been taking to the seas to renew their vows or get married on their favourite ship.
P&O Cruises has the only dedicated Australian wedding planner, Natasha Bhan who celebrates her 500th event this year.
So far for 2020, she has 70 ceremonies at sea booked. From the many couples she has met, her favourite would have to be two childhood sweethearts.
“Corey and Belinda de Bruyn met in primary school, had two beautiful little boys and became engaged. Neither of them had been on a cruise before but decided that getting married onboard a ship was for them,” Ms Bhan said.
“They had joked about having their wedding on a cruise because they wanted something different but had no idea it was even possible and that’s when they got in touch with me.
“The de Bruyn’s wedding was our very first ceremony on flagship Pacific Explorer. Corey and Belinda became cruise-converts and have been sailing with us ever since.
“Ceremonies are such a memorable and emotional experience for our guests. It is something couples cherish forever and to be able to bring that to life for them is an amazing thing.”
If you’re thinking about planning your wedding or vow renewal on a ship, P&O’s weddings start at $2,500 for the ceremony, photography, cake and flowers.
In addition to spending valuable time onboard with loved ones, the bride and groom are treated like a VIP with some extras to make their day special including a spa voucher, complimentary dinner, bathrobes to take home and an invite to the ‘Meet the Officers’ party on applicable cruises.
Australian and New Zealand laws require a registered celebrant to perform a wedding ceremony. Guests can choose their own celebrant to officiate the ceremony. He/she must be registered in either Australia or New Zealand, depending on the port of marriage.
Wedding ceremonies are held onboard while the ship is in port on the day of embarkation, allowing the celebrant to disembark prior to sail away.
P&O’s flagship Pacific Explorer offers weddings on the open deck where guests can enjoy the spectacular views of Sydney Harbour when the ship is docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
Couples looking to renew their vows can also choose to have this performed by the ship’s captain or senior officer.
Generally speaking, the event begins mid-morning with most ceremonies taking place at lunchtime followed by a reception and dinner at one of the ship’s restaurants for the wedding party in the early evening.
P&O Cruise Wedding Package inclusions:
- Priority check-in
- Ceremony venue – inside or outside
- Rose bouquet and buttonholes
- Wedding cake
- Sparkling wine for the toast
- Commemorative wedding certificate
- Reserved group seating for evening dinner
- Light refreshments in the bridal room on arrival
- Complimentary take home robes
- Dinner in Salt grill by Luke Mangan or equivalent
- Spa treatment to the value of AU$170
Example timeline of a wedding on Pacific Explorer in Sydney
10.45am Couple and guests arrive at the wharf
11.00am Begin priority cruise check-in
11.15am Ceremonies at Sea coordinator to meet the wedding party
11.30am Ceremonies at Sea coordinator escorts wedding party onboard and shows the bride to her room
12.15pm Celebrant arrives at the wharf and is escorted to the ceremony venue
12.45pm Groom and wedding guests meet in reception and are escorted to the ceremony venue
1.00pm Ceremonies at Sea coordinator escorts the bride to the ceremony venue
1.15pm Ceremony begins
1.45pm Celebration toast and cake cutting
2.00pm Party to commence photo session and celebrant disembarks
3.00pm Wedding party return to their rooms to collect life jackets for guest drill
4.30pm (onwards) Celebrations continue at your leisure
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Cruise from Sydney to Tangalooma Resort on the world’s 3rd largest sand island, Moreton Island. Or departing from Brisbane, sail to stunning Airlie Beach – the gateway to the GBR where you can take day trips to iconic locations like Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach.