Wedding Cruise

Wedding Cruise

Since the days of “The Love Boat,” a cruise has been considered a wonderful choice for a relaxing honeymoon getaway. But nowadays, wedding cruises have captured the imagination of many brides and grooms, as couples seek to simplify matters by combining their wedding and honeymoon into one memorable seagoing vacation.

Each year, more and more couples choose to say their vows in spectacular locations across the globe. However, planning and executing a successful cruise wedding can be a challenge, especially if you’re not aware of the local regulations and marriage licensing requirements of your chosen wedding site. But don’t worry, our cruise counselors are here to help.

Wedding Cruise

Wedding Cruise

First, you’ll need to decide where your ceremony will take place. Only seven cruise lines perform weddings at sea: Princess, Norwegian, Celebrity, Cunard, Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean and Azamara. However, there are two other ways that couples can be legally married on a cruise vacation. With the help of a cruise line’s wedding coordinator, you can plan the wedding of your dreams and be married while in port — either on the ship itself or at an amazing site onshore. Or, to avoid complicated licensing requirements, you can choose to marry at home prior to your cruise and plan a symbolic wedding ceremony aboard the ship — this is the preferred choice of an overwhelming number of couples.
To help you plan your dream wedding, we’ve sorted through all the information and outlined your choices. Keep in mind that, regardless of your plans, all cruise lines require you to book a cruise before you reserve a wedding package. Cruise lines allow only a limited number of weddings per sailing, so couples should book early. A Geography Destination Travel counselor can secure your cabin while we put you in touch with a wedding coordinator who can confirm availability for your ceremony, reconfirm cruise line policies and answer any questions you may have.
Weddings at Sea

Wedding Cruise

Wedding Cruise

Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, Norwegian, Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean and Azamara offer a variety of wedding packages for legal weddings at sea. Your ceremony can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. It will be performed by the ship’s captain, followed by a reception that can range from an intimate romantic dinner to a full reception with guests.
Symbolic Weddings at Sea or in Port
Another option, and the most hassle-free way to go, is to marry legally at home, prior to your cruise, and plan a symbolic ceremony during your trip. You can avoid the hassles and costs of foreign wedding permits and processing fees, yet still enjoy the romance of a traditional wedding ceremony. At sea or in port, all cruise lines that offer wedding packages can arrange this type of ceremony.
Weddings in Port — On the Ship or Ashore
A wedding in port, whether officiated on the ship or ashore, can be a wonderfully exotic and intimate ceremony that reflects your personality and enhances the beauty of this special day. You might exchange vows on a beach in the Bahamas, say “I do” in a church in St. Thomas or declare your love for one another beside a glacier in Alaska.

You can keep it small, with just the two of you, a wedding officiant and witnesses supplied by the cruise line. Or, invite friends and family to sail along with you, or meet up with them at the site of the wedding for the grand occasion.

A great deal of planning goes into coordinating a wedding in port, which is why many couples opt to have the ceremony onboard the ship before the cruise embarks. Onboard weddings tend to be small, intimate affairs. Depending on which wedding package you purchase and the policies of the cruise line, there may be restrictions on how many guests can attend, especially if they are not planning to sail with you.

Typically, your wedding will be held inside, either in the chapel, the ship’s library, a reception room or in one of the onboard entertainment areas. For couples who plan to wed on the day of embarkation, we strongly recommend arriving a day before departure. Your Geography Destination Travel counselor can arrange a pre-cruise hotel stay for you.

Regardless of your ceremony location, here are some important issues to consider:

Licenses: You and your future spouse are responsible for obtaining a marriage license, for a fee, from your wedding destination. You also will need to be familiar with the regulations for marrying in that destination. Some places require that you apply for a license in person, while others allow you to submit an application over the phone or through the mail. Licenses can cost anywhere from $25 in Alaska to $150 in Florida. Often, your cruise line wedding coordinator can assist you in obtaining your marriage license (sometimes for a fee), or can provide you with the information needed to apply for one.

Who can attend? Security has been tightened on all ships, and there are new restrictions imposed on non-sailing guests. The wedding package you purchase through the cruise line will determine the number of guests you can invite to your ceremony and reception. Guests who are paying passengers on the cruise will be allowed to participate in your wedding. Non-sailing guests are generally permitted to come aboard for weddings and receptions, but you will most likely have to compile an accurate list of your guests, including their legal names, birthdays and/or state-issued identification numbers, and give this to the cruise line. Your guests will be asked to show proper identification upon boarding. The strictness of these regulations varies by cruise line and port. In some ports, particularly foreign ports, you may not be allowed to bring non-sailing guests onboard at all. Sailing and non-sailing guests count toward the maximum allowed guests listed for the wedding package you purchase.

Licenses

In all cases you should contact the relevant government officials or a cruise line wedding coordinator for marriage license requirements and fees. The following chart should be used only as a resource and not as a definitive list. It is subject to change without notice.

 

Country
Application
Marriage License Requirements
Licensing Fees
Antigua
In person
$240
Bahamas
By mail
Must swear in at U.S. Consul at American Embassy in Nassau
$225 fee; plus additional $40 day of ceremony if the bride or groom has been married before ($75 for non-U.S. citizens)
Barbados
In person
$155
Bermuda
By mail
$243
Cayman Islands
By mail
$250
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
In person,
blood test
Blood test must be done in Mexico. Cost is $100.
$350
Cozumel, Mexico
In person, blood test
Blood test must be done in Mexico. Cost is $100.
$250
Dominican Republic
By mail
$455
England
In person
May be required to reside in the district of marriage up to 29 days prior to wedding.
Approx. $150
France
In person
Residency requirement of 40 days prior to wedding.
Varies by region
Greece
In person
Approx. $650
(Cost varies depending on the couple’s marital status and the number of documents to be translated into Greek.)
Italy
In person
$860-$1,500
(Cost varies depending on the couple’s marital status and the number of documents to be translated into Italian.)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
By mail
$200
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
By mail
$145
Puerto Rico
In person, blood test
Must arrive one day prior to wedding no later than 10:00AM, blood test can be in hometown and medical certificate signed by physician in San Juan
$200
Spain
In person
Varies by region
St. Croix
In person
Application fee by mail but couple must swear in at Territorial Court
$100
St. John
In person
Application fee by mail but couple must swear in at Territorial Court
$100
St. Kitts
In person
$80
St. Lucia
In person
Must arrive 3 days prior to sailing to obtain a license. (Cost for expedited license is $540.)
$335
St. Maarten
By mail
$250 plus $210 for six witnesses and translation fee of $45; Total fee $505
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
In person
Application fee by mail but couple must swear in at Territorial Court
$100
Alaska
By mail
Application information must arrive 3 days before license can be granted, couple must pick up license in person.
$25
California
In person
$125
Florida
In person
$150 ($180 if within 30 days of sailing)
Hawaii
In person
Payable in cash
$50
Massachusetts
In person,
blood test
Up to $50 (varies by region)
New Orleans
In person
$27.50
New York
In person
$30
Texas
In person
Must arrive 3 days prior to sailing to obtain a license
$36
Washington
In person
$160
British Columbia
In person
$100
Nova Scotia
In person
$119
Vancouver/Victoria
In person
$75