What can you do if you want to get married in a beautiful location but don't want the hassle of wedding planning? Get married on a cruise! Many cruise lines offer a variety of services to help you plan a shipboard or shoreside ceremony, followed by a romantic cruise honeymoon. Plus, a wedding on a cruise ship can be a great value, with prices starting around $1,500 (the sky's the limit) on top of the cost of the cruise. Family and friends can join you for just the ceremony or the full cruise.
These 10 cruise lines offer a variety of ceremony options and price points for anyone looking to plan a cruise wedding. Before you sign on to a wedding at sea, make sure you've read our 9 Things to Know When Planning a Cruise Wedding.
Why? Princess is a prime choice because, of all the lines offering shipboard wedding options, it provides one of the best combinations of features, services and facilities. Princess' "Tie the Knot" packages are available on all ships, and most ships have dedicated wedding chapels. Also noteworthy is that the line has 13 ships registered in Bermuda, where same-sex marriage was legalized in May 2017. Accordingly, Princess is developing a new program of legal same-sex wedding ceremonies aboard these ships; other lines, like Cunard and P&O Cruises, which also have ships registered in Bermuda, are similarly following suit (see further details below).
Package Details: Princess offers three wedding packages. The "Tie the Knot at Sea" package, for $2,500 plus a $498 license fee, includes use of the onboard wedding chapel or other select ship venue, a ceremony officiated by the captain, a wedding coordinator, live music, two floral arrangements, a rose bouquet for the bride and groom's boutonniere, the services of a photographer and a selection of prints, wedding cake, bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine and two keepsake flutes, a commemorative wedding certificate, chocolate-covered strawberries, deluxe breakfast for two, dinner for the couple at a specialty restaurant and rose petals on the bed at turn-down.
The "Tie the Knot Harborside" package -- ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 plus licensing fees up to $500, based on the destination -- includes priority check-in and boarding for the couple and guests, an onboard wedding ceremony in the chapel or library performed by a nondenominational officiant, a wedding coordinator, recorded music, two silk floral arrangements, a rose bouquet and boutonniere, a photographer, wedding cake, bottle of sparkling wine and a keepsake wedding certificate.
The "Tie the Knot Ashore" package, ranging from around $3,000 to $5,000, includes a ceremony at a beach or garden (or even at a glacier in Alaska), transportation for the couple, a nondenominational officiant, a wedding coordinator, a bouquet and boutonniere, a photographer, cake for two, bottle of sparkling wine and a keepsake certificate. Receptions, photography packages and enhanced ceremony options are available at extra cost.
Coolest Quirk: Not only can your ceremony be conducted at sea by the captain, but the line also features state-of-the-art technology that allows you to broadcast the ceremony live, via webcam, to friends and family on land. Some Princess captains are pretty romantic. On one particular cruise over Valentine's Day, the captain casually announced he'd conduct vow renewals for anyone who wanted them, and about a half-dozen couples showed up.
Caveat: Keep in mind that licensing fees can add up to an additional $500 to any selected wedding package. There may also be surcharges of up to $200 for weddings held during busy peak season or holiday travel periods.
Why? Celebrity captains can perform both legal and symbolic ceremonies at sea (except on Xpedition). The line's fleet of ships offers a pleasant mix of fun and luxury, leaving the happy couple and their guests with plenty to do before and after the big day. Celebrity also offers special supplementary "celebration packages" (for a fee) such as a welcome reception, tea service, cigar and whiskey party and trash-the-dress photo shoots to set the tone for a customized wedding cruise. Bonus: The line launched an interactive wedding website in early 2017, teeming with info and imagery about the line's wedding packages around the globe.
Package Details: The "Celebrity Weddings" program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings. The "Nautical Nuptials at Sea" package begins at $2,995 and includes a captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator's services, live music, one hour of photography (photographs sold separately), cake for two, a bottle of Champagne, a bouquet and boutonniere, plus additional romantic turn-down amenities post-ceremony (see Coolest Quirk below). Couples can also arrange shoreside and in-port shipboard weddings, presided over by an officiant instead of the captain. Both in-port shipboard weddings (starting at $2,495) and shoreside weddings (starting at $2,995) include all of the "Nautical Nuptials" features (with the exception of live music and turn-down services) and a variety of enhancement options. Shoreside ceremonies also include round trip transportation to the ceremony site for the couple.
Coolest Quirk: Couples who book the "Nautical Nuptials at Sea" package each get some romantic extras, such as chocolate-covered strawberries, one bottle of Champagne, two Champagne flutes, his-and-hers robes, fresh in-room floral arrangements and rose petals on their bed on their wedding night.
Caveat: Licensing and regulatory fees are not included. (A license for a legal wedding at sea is $750, for instance.) Also, the number of wedding ceremonies performed on each sailing is based on the captain's availability. Couples should book their wedding packages in advance to allow time for the processing of marriage licenses and legal documents; for legal ceremonies at sea, all documentation should be completed and submitted about 10 weeks prior to sailing.
3. Disney Cruise Line
Why? It's a fun and quirky choice, particularly for second-wedding folks who have young kids, and Disney offers a low-stress, low-hassle package.
Package Details: Disney Cruise Line's "Fairy Tale Weddings" are available on all four Disney Cruise Line ships. Packages start at $3,000 and include fresh floral options for the couple, the services of a Disney wedding coordinator and officiant, a solo musician (typically a pianist), Champagne toast, an elegant wedding cake with keepsake topper, a commemorative Disney wedding certificate, $100 onboard stateroom credit for the wedding couple and dinner for the bride and groom at Palo, the line's adults-only alternative restaurant, found on all Disney ships. The package can accommodate eight guests, plus the couple.
Coolest Quirk: Dress-steaming is included in the package price. We also love that you can opt for a ceremony on Castaway Cay, Disney's private Bahamian island. (Packages start at $4,000.)
Caveat: Beyond the cake and Champagne, Disney's wedding package does not include a reception or other services for wedding guests, though an appetizer/open bar reception is available at an additional cost. You can invite additional guests to your wedding ceremony, but events with more than 10 guests will incur an extra cost. Note that, if the couple are married onboard, the captain or a ship officer will preside over the ceremony. Disney Cruise Line weddings do not include the marriage license, so the couple are responsible for providing any necessary legal documentation. If the wedding occurs on Castaway Cay, the ceremony will be performed by a Bahamian official, but it is not a legal marriage; the couple will need to already be legally married before the ship departs the U.S.
Why? Carnival appeals to younger couples with its fun amenities and spirited ships. Carnival Spirit, Carnival Pride, Carnival Legend and Carnival Miracle have onboard chapels, though you can buy Carnival's wedding packages on any of the ships in the fleet.
Package Details: Carnival offers two wedding packages, one for shipboard and the other for in-port weddings. To get married on the ship (ceremonies are held while the vessel's docked in the port of your choice), sign up for the "Our Love Story Begins" package, which starts at $2,495. The package includes services of a personal wedding planner, assistance of a wedding coordinator, a private shipboard ceremony venue, priority check-in (for embarkation day weddings), a ceremony performed by a nondenominational officiant, a bottle of sparkling wine, a tiered wedding cake, recorded wedding music, ceremony decor, a honeymoon dinner for the couple, chocolate-covered strawberries for two and a photographer. (Prints are extra.)
The basic ceremony package can be supplemented by special reception add-ons, including hors d'oeuvres (from $12/guest for one hour), cocktails (from $16/guest for one hour) or a three-course sit-down luncheon (from $40/guest); a minimum of 20 guests is required for any add-on package. The line can also arrange personal touches like floral arrangements, live entertainment or tuxedo rentals, at an additional charge.
From $2,645, Carnival also offers an on-island ceremony package called "Island Breeze," which is similar in its inclusions to the "Our Love Story Begins" package. Ceremonies, available in select ports, may take place outdoors in locations like the beach, at an island resort or in a garden, or at a local courthouse. Round trip ground transportation for the bride and groom is included, but guests are extra. Prices for packages and marriage licenses, which are extra, vary based on the port in which the ceremonies are performed.
Coolest Quirk: We like the free and easy-to-use online gift registry that makes it simple for guests to contribute to a couple's destination wedding. It provides couples with a wedding website, blog, email wizard, photo album and Facebook/Twitter uploaders.
Caveat: Plan ahead, if possible; weddings are available only when in select ports (including embarkation ports), and there's a limit to how many weddings can take place on the same day. A maximum of 50 non-sailing guests may attend a wedding on the ship (note that if no add-on food package is purchased for guests, a $16 per person fee is automatically added on to cover lunch at the Lido buffet). Surcharges (ranging from $100 to $200) apply for ceremonies during popular seasons, including Thanksgiving, winter holidays, Valentine's week and all of May and June. Note that wedding packages on the following ships carry a $1,000 surcharge: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Magic, Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon.
Why? Norwegian Cruise Line offers a vast array of options, which can turn basic packages into full-blown extravaganzas, and its ships feature a wide range of restaurants with easily available romantic dining for two. The cruise line offers legal same-sex ceremonies, available in destinations where same-sex marriages are recognized by local law.
Package Details: Norwegian offers four wedding packages. Its "Wedding at Sea" ceremony, priced from $2,995, is performed onboard while at sea and officiated by the ship captain onboard Breakaway, Getaway, Epic and Escape. This package includes a bridal bouquet; boutonniere; 6-inch cake; recorded music; Champagne toast; a bottle of sparkling wine, house wine and prosecco; chocolate-covered strawberries; canapes; one hour of photography service (prints are extra); and dinner for two in the French restaurant. It also offers the use of a group service coordinator, who can make dinner reservations, organize group seating at shows and otherwise assist the couple and their guests, in addition to overseeing the wedding. Marriage certificates will be issued by the Bahamas. There is also a "Symbolic at Sea" package (from $1,999), which offers similar inclusions, but is performed by a senior ship officer in lieu of the captain and is not legally binding.
The "Harborside" package, starting at $2,995, allows couples to be married onboard at select ports of call. Packages are available in a wide range of ports in the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean and Bermuda. This package adds priority embarkation for the couple and their guests (if the wedding is on embarkation day).
The "Destination" weddings vary in price according to port, but start at $3,495, and offer a range of exotic onshore locations to hold nuptials: a glacier in Alaska, a bay in St. Thomas, the sands of Bermuda and more. It adds round trip transportation for the bride and groom to the wedding location in port.
Marriage licenses are extra in all cases, and prices vary depending on local authorities.
In addition to the basic packages, there is a huge range of a la carte options, including spa and beauty services (not available on embarkation day), flowers (including custom orders), live music and a wide variety of wedding receptions -- from cold hors d'oeuvres with an open bar at $37 per adult to a full sit-down luncheon for a minimum of 25 guests at $52 per person (only on sailings 5 p.m. or later and must commence by 3 p.m.).
Coolest Quirk: Couples can add a conch shell aisle ($250 and up) or fresh rose arch ($700 and up) to shoreside ceremonies.
Caveat: An extra wedding coordinator, at $250, is required for every 25 guests above the first 25.
6. Royal Caribbean International
Why? Royal Caribbean offers a wide range of wedding packages, including an option to get married at sea, with your ship's captain or first officer officiating a ceremony that includes special nautical vows.
Package Details: The line offers three avenues to tie the knot onboard. The "Vows at Sea" option starts at $3,850, including use of a private onboard wedding venue while the ship is at sea, the services of a wedding planner and coordinator, onboard ceremony with a nondenominational officiant, a photographer (prints are extra), recorded music, a three-tier wedding cake, dinner for two at a specialty restaurant, chocolate-covered strawberries and a mimosa-accompanied breakfast-in-bed for the couple in their decorated stateroom, a bottle of Champagne and a keepsake wedding certificate.
The "Embark on Romance" option, from $5,600, lets the couple get married onboard the ship while it is in port on embarkation day, allowing non-sailing guests to participate in the ceremony before the ship embarks. This package allows for similar inclusions to the "Vows at Sea" option, but also works in priority check-in and a pier-to-ship escort for the couple and their guests. Note that both packages are priced for up to 50 guests; there is a $250 surcharge for every additional lot of 25 guests.
The most basic and intimate wedding option with Royal Caribbean is the "Intimately Yours" package, which allows the couple to get married onboard while the ship is sailing, with up to 10 guests. The package, starting at $1,950, features similar inclusions to the other two ceremony options.
There is also one wedding package available to get hitched ashore: the "Destination I Do" offering, starting at $4,650 (for up to 50 guests). Couples can choose from a destination in port (or opt to stay on the ship while it's docked there) in locations like Antigua, Bermuda and Florida, and get local transportation for the bride and groom, a bouquet and boutonniere and a cake for two. Plus, the package includes the services of an officiant, wedding planner and coordinator, and also throws in a bottle of sparkling wine and keepsake wedding certificate.
Note that the cost for in-port marriage licenses vary by destination, in the range of $200 to $700; a shipboard marriage license costs $900. Additional services for floral arrangements, live music and photography can be arranged at an additional cost.
Receptions are not included in the price of the ceremonies, but several add-on options are available, ranging from open bars and hors d'oeuvres spreads to sit-down lunch and buffet meal service.
Coolest Quirk: Shoreside ceremonies run the gamut from simply scenic (a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico) and funky (a winery in Santorini, Greece) to exotic (a ceremony atop a glacier in Juneau, Alaska).
Caveat: Watch out for a la carte charges that can add up. For instance, couples who want to plan a wedding less than 45 days from sailing pay a fee that varies based on package. Note, too, that wedding parties of more than 50 guests require an additional wedding coordinator for an additional fee. Beyond that, an additional surcharge applies to weddings and vow renewals scheduled in May, June, September and October. Holidays -- such as New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve -- are also subject to higher rates.
Why? Not all of P&O's ships cater to the same clientele; knowing who you're sailing with comes in handy when planning an event as important as your wedding. Adonia, Arcadia and Oriana are child-free (nobody younger than 18 is allowed onboard), while Aurora, Azura, Brittania, Oceana and Ventura allow children. New for the line as of January 2018, P&O Cruises will become the first British cruise line to conduct same-sex weddings at sea (ceremonies will be available fleetwide, excluding aboard Brittania), given that the line's ships are registered in Bermuda, where same-sex marriage was recently legalized.
Package Details: Beginning at £1,200 (depending on the region), the "Weddings at Sea" package includes the ceremony venue, ceremony conducted by the ship's captain (a civil service legally recognized under Bermudian law), floral arrangements, music, a commemorative certificate, Champagne, an onboard wedding coordinator, invitations and thank-you notes.
Coolest Quirk: In wedding parties of 16 or more, the bridal couple will receive up to £200 in onboard credit, each couple within the party will receive up to £100 onboard credit (both credit amounts are dependent upon the party size and cruise selected) and up to three complimentary cabins may be provided (one for every 20 booked).
Caveat: Other services -- like the cake, professional photographer, wedding album, Champagne breakfast in bed, reception parties/dinner, videography, and spa and salon services -- are not included. Pricing is available upon request.
Why? Holland America offers a variety of ships and itineraries worldwide, extra amenities when a minimum number of staterooms is booked and cool in-port offerings like onsite ceremonies at a glacier in Juneau. The line caters to a mature, sophisticated clientele, making it attractive to older couples looking to wed. Almost all of Holland America's ships have dedicated chapels.
Package Details: Weddings start at $1,399 for an onboard "At Sea Symbolic" ceremony with up to eight guests on all sailings. That price includes an onsite wedding coordinator, a ship officer to perform the ceremony, an 8x10 photo and commemorative photo album, recorded music and a keepsake wedding certificate.
The line also has two additional wedding packages with increasingly stepped-up amenities for either legal or symbolic ceremonies at select ports in North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The "Anchors Away Harborside" package, starting at $2,000, adds on to the inclusions of the "At Sea Symbolic" ceremony with priority check-in for the couple and their guests, a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere, a single-tier wedding cake, an elegant table with flowers and linens, a bottle of Champagne and additional photography services. Shipboard weddings or symbolic ceremonies take place on the day of sailing, prior to departure in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Grand Cayman, New York, Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Honolulu and Vancouver.
The "Ashore" package, starting at $2,450, offers all the amenities of the "Anchors Away Harborside" package, but it brings the wedding or symbolic ceremony ashore to a beach, garden, chapel, villa or glacier setting, depending on the destination. The package is available in Fort Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Half Moon Cay (Holland America's private island), Honolulu, Juneau, Jamaica, Kona, Malta, Santorini, St. Lucia, St. Thomas and Sydney.
Coolest Quirk: The line offers special wedding extras when at least eight staterooms are booked for an At Sea Symbolic or Anchors Away Harborside wedding through its Group Advantage Program. The bride and groom get a free stateroom upgrade and a commemorative wedding cake for 16 guests. The entire group gets lunch at Pinnacle Grill (Holland America's upscale alternative restaurant), a private wine tasting and chocolate-covered strawberries, plus a bottle of in-room Champagne.
Caveat: The line levies a $150 surcharge on package prices for sailings from December 24 to January 4 and February 11 to February 18. There's a $100 surcharge for weddings in May and June.
9. Cunard Line
Why? Cunard can offer you a "Royal Ceremony at Sea" onboard the majority of its voyages and on any of its ships. Couples are drawn to the line's historic charm, formality and British influence, which all make for a timeless experience. Similar to Princess and P&O Cruises, Cunard's three ships are also registered in Bermuda where same-sex marriage is now legal; accordingly, LGBT couples can sign up for legal same-sex wedding ceremonies at sea, officiated by the ship's captain.
Package Details: The line's at-sea wedding package starts at $2,800 and includes a choice of ceremony venue, a captain-officiated ceremony, priority check-in (and disembarkation, for the bridal couple), wedding license, an onboard wedding coordinator, two floral arrangements for the ceremony, traditional wedding music (recorded, although live music such as a pianist, harpist or string quartet is available for a fee), commemorative wedding certificate, a bottle of Champagne and wedding invitations and thank-you cards.
Reception packages for lunch (from $20 per person) or dinner (from $35 per person) service can be arranged at onboard dinning venues like The Verandah, Todd English or Britannia, dependent upon the ship; there are additional possibilities for canapes and cocktail receptions, too.
Coolest Quirk: Wedding packages additionally include some above-and-beyond extras, like a White Star Bellman to escort the bride to the ceremonial room and pressing service for bridal outfits.
Caveat: Weddings can only take place on sea days and on cruises lasting at least seven nights. There are only two time slots available for ceremonies daily (11 a.m. or 3:30 p.m.), and wedding parties with more than 20 guests are requested to reserve the 11 a.m. slot. Additional cake, flowers and photography services are available for a fee.
Why? MSC allows couples sailing in the Caribbean to legally tie the knot onboard or ashore with its wedding packages. Couples aren't required to be married before the sailing, nor do they have to worry about bringing legal documents onboard.
Package Details: MSC offers two packages: onboard weddings and shoreside weddings. The onboard option includes a pre-cruise wedding consultant, priority check-in for the couple and guests, pier-to-cabin escort service for the couple, a wedding coordinator, a nondenominational officiant, recorded music, a bridal bouquet with matching boutonniere, cake for two, a bottle of sparkling wine and one hour of photography coverage. Prices start at $1,600 for a shipboard wedding, which makes allowances for non-sailing guests to come onboard, too.
Shoreside weddings allow couples to marry in destinations such as Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, San Juan, Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Couples also have the option to marry on embarkation day in Miami or New York. Similarly, the package includes a pre-cruise consultant and wedding day coordinator, a nondenominational officiant, a bridal bouquet with matching boutonniere, cake for two, a bottle of sparkling wine and one hour of photography. The couple also will receive taxi transportation to and from the ceremony location. Prices start at $2,200 for a destination wedding.
Couples can customize either package by upgrading with photography and videography services, music, fresh flowers, food and beverages, specialty items such as favors and aisle runners, transportation for shoreside events, and personalized stationary for announcements and invitations.
Coolest Quirk: For a wedding photo to remember, couples can opt to have their pictures snapped on the ships' dazzling Swarovski crystal-encrusted staircases.
Caveat: MSC Divina is the cruise line's only ship to offer legal weddings, though the soon-to-arrive MSC Seaside (debuting December 2017) will soon join ranks to offer the same.