No wonder they call them the love boats. Saying “I do” onboard cruise ships is becoming a growing trend.
There are two reasons behind the boom in brides at sea: the incredible value when compared to a land-based celebration; and how could you go past the romance of the ocean?
The average price of a wedding in Australia is $65,482 – a huge amount dedicated to just one day.
Now, starting from just $2,000, couples can have their fairytale wedding scuba diving in Bermuda or even on top of an Alaskan glacier.
P&O Cruises Vice President Sales, Marketing & PR Simon Cheng said P&O’s wedding offering continued to grow in popularity, with bookings expected to rise from around 70 weddings in 2015 to an estimated 90 this year.
“The expansion of our fleet with the addition of Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria last year and an increase in the number of shorter SeaBreak cruises – which are ideal for wedding parties – means we’re conducting more weddings than ever before,” Mr Cheng said.
“Most of our happy couples are already keen cruisers and they love the fact that we look after all the detail and make their big day such a stress-free and special occasion – with a great honeymoon at sea afterwards.”
Spring and summer are the most popular months for wedding bookings and Brisbane is the most popular port for ship ceremonies, followed closely by Sydney.
So if you’re thinking of something different for your nuptials, take a look at some cruise lines that offer wedding experiences.
Royal Caribbean offers the Ultimate Love Story Wedding Package, which includes a personal wedding planning, day-of-wedding coordinator, a private wedding venue, a non-denominational wedding officiate, photographer, three-tier wedding cake, musical accompaniment, bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, honeymoon suite and much more.
On Ovation of the Seas, the ship’s bridal chapel can accommodate up to 40 people, so when she heads to Australia at the end of the year, you could think about holding your wedding aboard the largest ship in the southern hemisphere.
Packages begin at $3,195 to $3,995 – compare that with the hire of church and priest, limousines, restaurant and hall for a reception on land.
The line also organises unusual vowel exchanges – you could say your nuptials underwater while scuba diving in the Caribbean or with a tropical rainforest backdrop.
The original Love Boat cruise line, Princess Cruises offer their brides and grooms amazing wedding packages. The Tie the Know at Sea is priced from US$2,985 includes a wedding chapel venue, candlelit ceremony, captain to perform the ceremony, wedding coordinator, floral arrangements, boutonnier, photography service, single-layer cake, two Princess keepsake flutes, chocolate covered strawberries, deluxe breakfast for two, dinner for two at a specialty restaurant, rose petals on your bed at turn down and more. Princess also offer a range of destination weddings in the Bahamas, Hawaii, Alaska, the Mediterranean, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. You can also customise your wedding both on the ship and onshore – from the flowers, to the cake, ice sculptures and the food.
Norwegian Cruise Line
If you’re after a truly white wedding, Norwegian Cruise Line offers weddings at the summit of an Alaskan glacier. The glacier is one of NCL’s ‘destination’ options for ceremonies. For US$4,596 you’ll get a marriage officiant, return transport to the helipad with a helicopter ride over the summit of the glacier as well as music, sparkling wine, flowers, certificate and wedding cake.
If you’re looking to renewal your vows, P&O offers packages which cost $550. The ship’s Captain or Senior Officer will perform the ceremony. If you’re looking to get married, P&O’s wedding packages start from $2,500. If you opt for this package, you’ll get to choose your ceremony venue, an iced wedding cake, a photographer for three hours, reserved group seating for dinner, dinner in Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill, a spa treatment and more. If you’ve got a large group of family and friends, your wedding specialist can create a drink and canapé reception.
Azamara Club Cruises
The premium cruise line organises small charters if you want to bring along your family and friends. Azamara Club Cruises offers 341 staterooms and suites on each of its ships. This means enormous flexibility – you can bring your own wedding planner or let the cruise line organise the entire affair. Prices vary according to duration, date and destination.
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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.