A cruise is often considered to be a wonderful choice for honeymoons or vow renewals, and now many couples are combining a wedding and honeymoon in one memorable seagoing vacation. To learn more about the various wedding packages offered, click any cruise line name below.
The first step in planning is to decide where your ceremony will take place: on shore or on a ship, and whether in port or at sea.
Symbolic Weddings at Sea or in Port
Perhaps the most hassle-free way to go is to marry legally at home, prior to your cruise, and plan a symbolic ceremony during your trip. You can avoid the hassles and costs of foreign wedding permits and processing fees, yet still enjoy the romance of a traditional wedding ceremony. At sea or in port, all cruise lines that offer wedding packages can arrange this type of ceremony.
Weddings at Sea
Azamara, Celebrity, Cunard, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, P&O Cruises, Princess and Royal Caribbean offer a variety of wedding packages for legal weddings at sea. Your ceremony can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. It will be performed by the ship's captain, followed by a reception that can range from an intimate romantic dinner to a full reception with guests.
Weddings in Port (on the Ship or Ashore)
A wedding in port, whether officiated on the ship or ashore, can be a wonderful way to celebrate your special day. You can keep it small, with just the two of you, a wedding officiant and witnesses supplied by the cruise line. Or, you can invite friends and family to sail along with you or meet up with them at the site of the wedding.
Having a wedding in port requires a great deal of planning, so many couples opt to have the ceremony on board the ship before embarkation. Depending on which package you purchase and the policies of the cruise line, there may be restrictions on how many guests can attend, especially for guests who are not sailing with you.
Typically, the wedding will be held inside, either in the chapel, the ship's library, a reception room or in one of the onboard entertainment areas. For couples who plan to wed on the day of embarkation, we recommend arriving a day before departure.
Regardless of your ceremony location, here are some important issues to consider:
Licenses: You and your future spouse are responsible for obtaining a marriage license, for a fee, from your wedding destination. You also will need to be familiar with the regulations for marrying in that destination. Some places require that you apply for a license in person, while others allow you to submit an application remotely. Often the cruise line’s wedding coordinator can assist you in obtaining your license.
Attendees: The wedding package you purchase through the cruise line will determine the number of guests you can invite to your ceremony and reception. Guests who are paying passengers on the cruise will be allowed to participate in your wedding. Non-sailing guests are generally permitted to come aboard for weddings and receptions, but you will likely have to provide the cruise line with an accurate list of guests, including legal names, birthdays and/or state-issued identification numbers. Your guests will be asked to show proper identification upon boarding.
The strictness of these regulations varies by cruise line and port. In some ports, particularly foreign ports, you may not be allowed to bring non-sailing guests on board at all. Sailing and non-sailing guests count toward the maximum allowed number of guests for the wedding package you purchase.
Booking your cabin: All cruise lines require you to book a cruise before you reserve a wedding package. Also, only a limited number of weddings are allowed per sailing, so you should book early. A Vacations To Go cruise counselor can secure your cabin and put you in touch with a wedding coordinator who can confirm availability for your ceremony and answer any related questions.
The charts below show cruise line wedding policies and marriage license requirements.
On Shore Weddings
|Celebrity||Yes; except on Celebrity Xpedition||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Crystal||Symbolic ceremony only||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Disney||No||Yes||Yes; available at Disney Resorts and on Castaway Cay||Yes|
|Norwegian||Yes; available on Breakaway, Escape and Getaway only||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|P&O||Yes; except on Britannia||No||No||Yes|
|Paul Gauguin||No||No||Varies by destination; local restrictions may apply for legal recognition||Yes|
|Princess||Offered on all ships, availability may vary based on itinerary||Offered on all ships, availability may vary based on itinerary||Offered on all ships, availability may vary based on itinerary||Yes|
|Regent Seven Seas||No||No||No||No|
|Star Clippers||Symbolic ceremony only||No||No||No|
|Voyages to Antiquity||No||No||No||No|
In all cases you should contact the relevant government officials or a cruise line wedding coordinator for marriage license requirements and fees. The following chart should be used only as a resource and not as a definitive list. It is subject to change without notice.
|Country||Application||Marriage License Requirements||Licensing Fees|
|Bahamas||By mail||Must swear in at U.S. Consul at American Embassy in Nassau||$225 fee; plus additional $40 day of ceremony if the bride or groom has been married before ($75 for non-U.S. citizens)|
|Cayman Islands||By mail||$250|
|Cabo San Lucas, Mexico||
|Blood test must be done in Mexico. Cost is $100.||$350|
|Cozumel, Mexico||In person, blood test||Blood test must be done in Mexico. Cost is $100.||$250|
|Dominican Republic||By mail||$455|
|England||In person||May be required to reside in the district of marriage up to 29 days prior to wedding.||Approx. $150|
|France||In person||Residency requirement of 40 days prior to wedding.||Varies by region|
(Cost varies depending on the couple's marital status and the number of documents to be translated into Greek.)
(Cost varies depending on the couple's marital status and the number of documents to be translated into Italian.)
|Montego Bay, Jamaica||By mail||$200|
|Ocho Rios, Jamaica||By mail||$145|
|Puerto Rico||In person, blood test||Must arrive one day prior to wedding no later than 10:00AM, blood test can be in hometown and medical certificate signed by physician in San Juan||$200|
|Spain||In person||Varies by region|
|St. Croix||In person||Application fee by mail but couple must swear in at Territorial Court||$100|
|St. John||In person||Application fee by mail but couple must swear in at Territorial Court||$100|
|St. Kitts||In person||$80|
|St. Lucia||In person||Must arrive 3 days prior to sailing to obtain a license. (Cost for expedited license is $540.)||$335|
|St. Maarten||By mail||$250 plus $210 for six witnesses and translation fee of $45; Total fee $505|
|St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands||In person||Application fee by mail but couple must swear in at Territorial Court||$100|
|Alaska||By mail||Application information must arrive 3 days before license can be granted, couple must pick up license in person.||$25|
|Florida||In person||$150 ($180 if within 30 days of sailing)|
|Hawaii||In person||Payable in cash||$50|
|Up to $50 (varies by region)|
|New Orleans||In person||$27.50|
|New York||In person||$30|
|Texas||In person||Must arrive 3 days prior to sailing to obtain a license||$36|
|British Columbia||In person||$100|
|Nova Scotia||In person||$119|