U.K. Cruise Lines Announce Royal Wedding Plans

November 25, 2010

(6:15 a.m. EST) -- As royal wedding fever grips Britain, cruise lines are being quick to announce their plans for screening the big event.

As well they well might: If the Cruise Critic poll for yesterday is anything to go by, the vast majority of British cruisers -– 58 percent of respondents -- are planning to take advantage of the extended Easter period, which includes four bank holidays in a fortnight, to stay at home, which could be bad news for cruising.

Not all lines have finalised their plans yet, although those that have are toasting the nuptials of William and Kate in style.

Cunard announced in a press statement that each of its three ships will screen the event live in the Royal Court Theatre on big screens. In the evening, each vessel will offer a special commemorative menu at dinner and a champagne toast to the newlyweds. All three of Cunard's ships happen to be at sea on April 29: Queen Mary 2 will be on a transatlantic crossing; Queen Elizabeth will be at sea heading for Southampton; and Queen Victoria will be at sea in the Mediterranean.

P&O Cruises, which will show the event live onboard, expects some 14,000 passengers across the fleet to enjoy it. Aurora and Oceana will be at sea (one couple have already booked their own wedding on Aurora); Azura and Oriana will both be in Palma; and Arcadia will be in the Panama Canal, which could be a tough choice for its 2,000 passengers. Ventura, on a turnaround day in Southampton, is probably the best bet for royal watchers; it's offering a screening of the ceremony and a special royal sail-away party, with flag waving and champagne -- just like the old days.

A spokesman for Saga and Spirit of Adventure told Cruise Critic: "As you can imagine our customers are likely to be very keen to seeing the nation's future King wed -- and so we will ensure that the wedding can be watched and that our cruisers have an opportunity to celebrate along with the nation back in Blighty."
Both ships of Cruise & Maritime Voyages are on turnarounds on April 29, Marco Polo in Tilbury and Ocean Countess in Hull, and a spokesman for the line told us that special celebrations were already being planned for the first night of each cruise.

Swan Hellenic and sister brands Voyages of Discovery and Hebridean will all show the wedding onboard, as all receive Sky TV and BBC, although no further details have been announced.

A Fred. Olsen spokeswoman told us that the line is still mulling over its plans – but given Fred.'s typical age range, we're predicting at the very least a decent screening and some flag waving. Likewise Thomson Cruises.
And as for Royal Caribbean and sister line Celebrity Cruises, both of which will operate out of Southampton in April -– well, we're hoping for details as soon as they're less distracted by the inaugural celebration aboard Allure of the Seas off the Florida coast. But Independence of the Seas will be on a mini-cruise from Southampton on the big day, likely to be filled with Brits, and Vision of the Seas will be boarding in Southampton, as will Celebrity Eclipse. So let's hope for a good party atmosphere on both.

We'll keep you posted as more details come in, on the U.K. lines and those carrying international passengers.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor