A cruise wedding combines one of the most important days of your life with exciting travel destinations, plenty of entertainment and an array of things to eat, do and drink. Most major cruise lines offer a variety of services to help you plan your wedding, and options range from onboard wedding ceremonies to weddings before you embark, on top of a glacier or on a sandy beach. Even better? Cruise ship weddings come with a built-in honeymoon.
But before you start planning, let's start with the basics: What does a cruise ship wedding cost? They start around $1,500 (plus the cruise costs) for Carnival’s Intimate Gold wedding package. From there, prices climb depending on the line you choose and what you add on to your ceremony.
Read on for Cruise Critic's 10 favorite cruise lines for weddings. They offer a variety of options and price points for most travelers planning a cruise wedding.
A Disney Cruise wedding is perhaps the ultimate fantasy-made-reality ceremony, depending on your tastes (of course). It's also a great option for anyone whose wedding party includes children as well as those entering blended marriages with young kids. Disney's ships are already some of the most well-liked in the world, with large rooms and plenty of on-brand entertainment. Additionally, Disney offers a low-stress, low-hassle package that -- while not cheap -- certainly delivers on bringing fairytales to life.
Disney Cruise's Fairy Tale Weddings are available on all of the line’s ships. Packages start at $3,500 and include fresh floral options for the couple, the services of a Disney cruise wedding coordinator and officiant, a solo musician (typically a pianist), Champagne toast, an elegant wedding cake with keepsake topper, a commemorative Disney wedding certificate, onboard credit for the wedding couple and dinner at Palo, the line's adults-only alternative restaurant, found on all Disney ships. The package can accommodate eight guests, plus the couple.
Dress-steaming is included in the Disney wedding package price. We also love that you can opt for an upgraded ceremony on Castaway Cay, Disney's private Bahamian island, for an extra charge.
DIsney's wedding package can be pricey when you start adding upgrades. Beyond the cake and Champagne, a reception or other services for wedding guests isn't included, though you can add an appetizer-and-open-bar reception for an additional cost. You can also invite additional guests to your wedding ceremony, but events with more than 10 guests will also incur an extra cost.
Note that, if the couple gets 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 is 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.
Weddings on Celebrity cruises include the option to have the captain perform either a legal or symbolic ceremony at sea -- including legal same-sex weddings -- under the line’s Malta registration. 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's newest ships are also upping the luxury factor on their Edge Class ships, with The Retreat -- an exclusive suite-only complex with its own deck, pool, and dining option.
The Celebrity Weddings program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings and are some of the most reasonably priced on this list for couples who don't necessarily need a huge list of bells and whistles. Shipboard packages begin at $1,495 and include a captain-led ceremony (at sea only), an event coordinator's services, recorded music, one hour of photography (photographs sold separately), cake for two, a bottle of Champagne, flowers for the couple, and a keepsake wedding album. Shoreside weddings start at $1,895 and in-port weddings are pricier, including all of the same features plus roundtrip taxi transportation to the ceremony site for the couple.
Celebrity is known for its Deck Weddings onboard the ship, featuring a flowing, white, draped canopy for a ceremony perched above the water. This will cost extra
Licensing and regulatory fees are not included in Celebrity's base wedding package prices. 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.
Carnival cruise weddings appeal to younger couples thanks to the line's famous amenities and spirited, party-friendly atmosphere. It's also one of the least expensive cruise wedding options on this list. 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, with venues assigned according to the number of guests and the reception options chosen.
Carnival offers three categories of wedding packages: Intimate, for weddings with 10 or fewer guests (including the couple); Grand, for 11 guests and up; and Classic, which includes the ceremony and reception packages for a minimum of 20 guests (including the couple). Even the most basic Carnival small wedding packages include the services of a personal wedding planner, a wedding coordinator, a private shipboard ceremony venue, priority check-in (for embarkation-day weddings), a nondenominational officiant, a bottle of sparkling wine, a tiered wedding cake, recorded wedding music, ceremony decor, a honeymoon dinner for the couple and the services of a photographer (prints are extra).
Add-ons cover additional decorations, a mimosa breakfast, silk flowers for the couple, massages, sparkling wine upgrades, larger cakes, and cake toppers. All Carnival wedding packages can be arranged to take place on embarkation day, onboard the ship in a port of call, off the ship in a port of call and onboard while at sea (symbolic only).
We like the free and easy-to-use online gift registry that makes it simple for guests to contribute to the couple's destination wedding. It provides couples with a wedding website, blog, email wizard, photo album and tools to upload to social media.
Plan ahead. Weddings in port are available on Carnival cruise ships only 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. Surcharges (ranging from $100 to $200) may apply for ceremonies during popular seasons, including Thanksgiving, winter holidays, Valentine's week and all of May and June.
Princess is a prime choice for cruise weddings because, of all the lines offering shipboard nuptials, 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.
Princess offers three wedding packages, all named Tie the Knot and priced similarly depending on your wedding needs, and starting at $2,000.
The Tie the Knot at Sea package 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, wedding bouquets or boutonnieres for the couple, 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.
In addition to the above benefits, you'll score priority check-in and boarding for the couple and guests with the Tie the Knot Harborside package, which includes a service in port before embarkation. Alternatively, Princess Cruises' Tie the Knot Ashore package includes a ceremony at a beach or garden (or even at a glacier in Alaska) and transportation for the couple in addition to the standard services of a Tie the Knot ceremony. Note that receptions, photography packages and enhanced ceremony options are available at extra cost on Princess Cruises.
Not only can your ceremony be conducted at sea by your Princess ship's 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.
Keep in mind that licensing fees for a Princess cruise wedding can add up to an additional $500 to any selected wedding package. There may also be surcharges for weddings held during busy peak season or holiday travel periods.
Related: Renewing Your Vows At Sea
Norwegian Cruise (NCL) weddings come in a vast array of options, which can turn basic packages into full-blown extravaganzas. Its ships also feature a wide range of specialty restaurants for easy romantic dining for two. NCL also offers legal same-sex ceremonies, available in destinations where same-sex marriages are recognized by local law.
Norwegian offers four wedding packages that start at around $2,000. Its Wedding at Sea ceremony, priced from $3,099, is performed onboard while at sea and officiated by the ship captain on Breakaway, Getaway, Epic, Escape and Bliss. This package includes flowers for the couple; a cake; recorded music; Champagne toast; one bottle each of sparkling wine, house wine and prosecco; chocolate-covered strawberries; canapes delivered to the stateroom; one hour of photography service (prints are extra); and dinner for two in Norwegian's fine-dining French restaurant, Le Bistro. Norwegian's Wedding at Sea package also includes 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 (additional fee).
The most basic (and cheapest) package is Norwegian's Symbolic at Sea option, while a Harborside package 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).
Destination weddings through NCL 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 to a full sit-down luncheon for a minimum of 25 guests.
Couples getting married on a Norwegian cruise can add a conch shell aisle or fresh rose arch to shoreside ceremonies for extra charges.
If you're holding anything more than an intimate wedding on a Norwegian cruise, you'll be charged an extra fee for an additional wedding coordinator for every 25 guests beyond the first 25.
Among the choices for Royal Caribbean wedding packages, you have an option to get married at sea, with your ship's captain or first officer officiating a ceremony that includes special nautical vows. There are three packages to choose from, including a small-scale ceremony option, though prices for the larger packages are on par with Disney Cruise Line. Also like Disney, a reception is not included in Royal Caribbean's wedding package prices.
Royal Caribbean weddings are great for multi-generational weddings, where kids, teens, adults and mature guests will all be attending. There is always a huge range of entertainment, dining, drinking and relaxing options on board even the smallest Royal Caribbean ship, making it easy to keep guests happy before and after the wedding itself.
The line offers three different ways to tie the knot on board. 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 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
A Vows at Sea package starts at $3,850 includes up to 50 guests and use of a private onboard wedding venue while the ship is at sea. The Embark on Romance option, from $5,600, lets the couple get married onboard the ship while it's in port on embarkation day, allowing non-sailing guests to participate in the ceremony before the ship departs. This package includes the same services above and covers up to 50 people, but adds priority check-in and a pier-to-ship escort for the couple and their guests. Note that there is a $250 surcharge for every additional 25 guests as well as other related charges (see our caveat below).
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; or at the line’s private island retreat -- appropriately named for a wedding venue -- Perfect Day at CocoCay. This Royal Caribbean wedding package includes local transportation for the bride and groom, a bouquet and boutonniere, and a cake for two. The services of an officiant, wedding planner and coordinator, a bottle of sparkling wine and keepsake wedding certificate are also included.
Note that the cost for in-port marriage licenses vary by destination, from $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'oeuvre to sit-down lunch and buffet meal service.
Royal Caribbean's shoreside ceremonies run the gamut from simply scenic (a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico) and bespoke (a winery in Santorini, Greece) to bucket-list affairs (like a ceremony atop a glacier in Juneau, Alaska).
Watch out for a la carte charges that can add up on Royal Caribbean. For instance, couples who want to plan a wedding less than 90 days from sailing pay a fee that varies based on the package chosen. 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.
Planning a wedding on P&O Cruises means first selecting the right ship for your needs. Not all of P&O's ships cater to the same clientele and some don't allow children (which can be a plus for some couples). With that in mind, it's important to know your guest list (or at least the age restrictions of your wedding) before you book. Aurora and Arcadia are child-free (nobody younger than 18 is allowed onboard), while Azura, Brittania, and Ventura allow children.
Wedding packages start around $2,100 for a ceremony without guests and go higher for up to 10 guests. The cost includes the venue, ceremony conducted by the ship's captain (a civil service legally recognized under Bermudian law), floral arrangements, music, a tiered cake, a commemorative certificate, Champagne, an onboard wedding coordinator, and breakfast in bed.
Pressing of the couple’s attire and complementary hair and makeup for the bride are a nice addition to both packages on P&O cruises.
A hefty marriage license fee is required for couples marrying onboard Azure, Ventura, Arcadia and Aurora. Additionally, the per-person costs of a wedding aboard P&O cruises is a bit steep compared to other entries on this list.
Holland America (HAL) weddings are available on a variety of ships and itineraries worldwide. Packages include extra amenities when a minimum number of staterooms are booked for guests and you'll find cool in-port wedding offerings, including glacier ceremonies in Juneau. The line caters to a mature clientele, making it attractive to older couples looking to wed. Almost all of Holland America's ships have dedicated chapels.
Weddings start at $1,800 for HAL's 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, flowers for the couple, a bottle of sparkling wine, a small wedding cake, a 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 priority check-in for the couple and their guests, and photography services.
The Ashore package comes in a wide range of price points depending on your destination of choice. At the lower end of the spectrum are weddings on HAL's private island, Half Moon Cay. Pricier options include Sydney and Santorini.
Holland America 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 for 16 guests. The entire group receives 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.
Expect surcharges for the following dates: December 24 to January 4, February 11 to February 18 and all of May and June.
Cunard can offer you a Royal Ceremony at Sea on board the majority of its voyages and on any of its ships. Couples are drawn to the line's historic charm, formality and British influence, all of which make for a timeless experience. If it's classic romance you're after, a Cunard cruise wedding is probably the right choice for you.
The line's at-sea wedding package is one of the pricier base rates on this list, starting at $3,300. It includes a choice of ceremony venue, a ceremony officiated by the captain, priority check-in (and disembarkation for the bridal couple), 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, couple’s breakfast in bed, and dinner for two in the ship’s steakhouse.
Reception packages for lunch or dinner service can be arranged at onboard dining venues like The Verandah, Todd English or Britannia, depending on the ship. There are additional possibilities for canapes and cocktail receptions, too.
Wedding packages on Cunard 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.
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 (late morning and mid-afternoon). Wedding parties with more than 20 guests are limited to the morning slot. Additional cake, flowers and photography services are available for a fee. The marriage license is not included and the fee is one of the highest out there.
MSC weddings allow 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.
There are four MSC wedding packages: Classic, Romantic, Deluxe, and an Ocean Cay Celebration. The Classic option includes a pre-cruise wedding consultant, recorded music, flowers for the couple, a symbolic certificate signed by the captain, cake and Champagne toasts for up to 6 guests, and stateroom decorations, as well as one hour of photography.
The Romantic and Deluxe packages add additional photography services, a larger cake, specialty dinner, and even pre-wedding salon services for the couple. An MSC wedding on Ocean Cay features a blend of the three onboard packages, with a ceremony taking place in the wedding pavilion adorned with flowers on the line’s private island.
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 stationery for announcements and invitations.
For a wedding photo to remember, couples can opt to have their pictures snapped on MSC's dazzling Swarovski crystal-encrusted staircases.
MSC's North America-based ships offer only symbolic onboard wedding ceremonies.