This is big news because previously, couples on these and most lines only had the option to get married in port or partake in onboard vow-renewal ceremonies. Most captains were restricted from officiating marriages at sea based on ships' countries of registry. In fact, the only other North American line up until now that was able to host onboard weddings officiated by its captains was Princess, whose ships are registered to Bermuda. That's all changed now. Celebrity has re-registered its ships in Malta, where new regulations permit legal marriages at sea. Azamara's two ships are registered in Malta as well.
If you're planning to fuse your love of all things cruising and the affections you have for your special someone with an onboard wedding ceremony, the cruise line will put you in touch with "The Wedding Experience," a wedding planning organization that handles cruise ship and destination weddings. Prices start at $2,500 and include the following:
Event coordinator's services
Deck wedding (weather permitting)
Photography services (photographs sold in separate package)
Fresh floral arrangement and rose petals on bed in stateroom on wedding night
Bottle of champagne
Two champagne flutes
Dinner for two in onboard specialty restaurant
Bouquet and boutonniere
One couples' massage
Licensing and regulatory fees are not included, and the number of wedding ceremonies performed on each sailing is based on the captains' availability. Azamara and Celebrity recommend that couples book their wedding package in advance to allow time for the processing of marriage licenses and legal documents, though the cruise lines haven't finalized an exact recommendation.
A specific date for the availability of onboard weddings is not confirmed yet, but Azamara and Celebrity plan to make these ceremonies available by summer 2008.
--by Caroline Costello, Editorial Assistant