After taking our first cruise in January of 2010 on Serenade of the Seas I was hooked! Couldn't stop talking about the cruise, loved the ships, the whole concept, I found a new obsession. So, when I proposed to my partner of 5 years on that 1st cruise I was lucky enough to talk him into having our wedding on a cruise ship! We wanted to invite as many friends and family as possible, do it on a Royal Caribbean Ship, and cut out airfare for people, so a cruise from Boston worked well for our New England based life. It just happened that it was the Jewel of the Seas-the sister ship to the Serenade, which was very neat!
We ended up having 50 people attend the wedding, and 30 sailed with us. Royal Romance is the company we used through RC for the planning. We had the wedding on-board followed by a buffet lunch and open bar. It certainly wasn't as expensive as a land based wedding, but there are MANY little costs that add up. Just be aware of things or it quickly becomes expensive. You also need to have a very open mind and let go of a lot of control. Royal Romance would get a 3/5 from me on the planning and communication levels through the whole process. We set this up 18 months before the wedding, and we still felt like it was a little rushed at the end. You can't pinpoint the venue, you can't guarantee the cake will look a certain way, or the flowers will be what you want. You kind of sign a check, make a handful of selections and hope for the best. This was actually a good thing for my partner and I as we are super controlling and we had no choice but to relax and let someone else deal with the planning.
We stayed at the Westin Boston Waterfront the night before with many of our guests. It was a great hotel and is in a wonderful location for a cruise departing Boston. The cab ride is less than 5 minutes from hotel door to the cruise terminal.
We were met by our officiant and his two assistants at the terminal that morning. I was totally freaked out about 50 guests all asking me where to go and not knowing what to tell them. The officiant and the wedding coordinators (you pay for them, and are required to have extra coordinators depending on the number of guests) did a great job of organizing everyone so you can stop playing cruise director and focus on the face that you are getting married in a couple of hours.
Customs delayed our priority boarding, so we only had 30 minutes to get ready for our wedding once we were on the ship-luckily it was just two men, I don't know how a traditional bride would handle that. Your guests must arrive at the pier dressed and ready for the wedding. The wedding was great, the officiant was really nice and personable, and the coordinators did a wonderful job of moving everything along. We had the wedding and following reception in the Vortex Lounge at 1PM. We requested another venue, but were told we had to use the Vortex, period. They did mess up our perfectly planned reception play-list by putting it on shuffle, just an example of having to go with the flow in this type of wedding.
The reception, drinks and food were great, but it flew by. I do wish you weren't limited to a 2 hour reception so you could spend more time with non-sailing with guests before they have to leave. We did walk around with the photographer for about 20 minutes taking pictures before going back and enjoying the reception.
We had a great cruise with our 30 guests that sailed with us. It was a mix of seasoned and first time cruisers, everyone said it was a great trip. The ship is very nice, I love the layout and design of the Radiance Class. There is so much glass, and it feels like a quality ship. We had friends on this cruise that went on a NCL cruise the year before. This was their first RC ship and they said it was FAR nicer that their NCL experience. It was very fun cruising with a large group. Everyone commented on how nice it was to do your own thing during the day and meet up at dinner and spend the evening together.
The ship is starting to show it's age. She's still beautiful and well kept, but it's time for some upgrading. I found the carpeting in some areas and the furniture showing the most signs of wear.
Overall it was a wonderful way to celebrate our marriage and spend 7 nights having fun with our family and friends. It's not for the couple that wants a romantic private honeymoon and a traditional wedding, but if you are open to new things, want to have fun and build some great memories, a cruise wedding will do just that!