Getting Married on Princess Cruises
04 Mar 2020
Travel Journal by Samantha Smith
Many people say their wedding day was the best day of their lives. It’s a day which takes lots of people and planning to make it the unforgettable experience that it should be. We had the most amazing experience of getting married on board Grand Princess by Captain Ed Perrin (the famous one from ITV's 'The Cruise'). Read on to see how we learned the true meaning, and value of ‘tying the knot’ at sea.
Having met my husband on a cruise, we decided we wanted to get married at sea too and luckily enough, our nearest and dearest agreed to come with us as we set sail from Southampton for a 7-night voyage around Scandinavia - there were 26 of us in total!
Princess Cruises' wedding department is outsourced to a company based in Miami, so the majority of the organisation was completed via email. Although this may sound distant and impersonal, it was the complete opposite as they showed care and understanding throughout, which was fortified once on board upon meeting our excellent wedding coordinator before setting sail.
I paid a one-off price for the standard wedding ceremony, on top of the usual cruise price and then there was an array of options we could add on should we wish to do so. We added on extras like a videographer to record the ceremony, upgraded the photo package we had, and I didn’t like the idea of not choosing the wedding cake, so paid a small supplement for the chef to make the cake of my choice…which was amazing I must add! We had the option of adding flowers however they could not guarantee styles and colours as it would depend on suppliers and deliveries in port, so I opted to take on my own silk flowers. As we sailed from Southampton we could take as much luggage as we wanted, so I also took on my own wedding favours and few extra bits to make the wedding a little more personalised to us.
When you get married at sea it falls under the laws of the country of which the ship is registered, which for Grand Princess was the Bahamas. Our banns were printed in a local newspaper in the Bahamas, and the laws for weddings at sea only allow you to do so on a sea day, as you have to be so many nautical miles from land. We opted to get married on day 2 of our cruise. This happened to fall on a sea day between Zeebrugge and Copenhagen.
We wanted to stick with traditions, so after a tram ride with our friends to a village called Knokke near the port of Zeebrugge, we went our separate ways for the rest of the afternoon. So us girls went off to the spa for some relaxing spa treatments, a lovely dinner in the main restaurant and dancing in Skywalkers night club onboard. Whereas the boys went for drinks, the buffet restaurant and watched a ‘Movie under the Stars’ on deck.
The following morning, I awoke in my suite where my bridesmaids had stayed with me, we had a champagne breakfast delivered to our suite before heading back to the spa for nails and hair treatments. We then all got ready in my suite - good job I had a lovely big cabin! There was a knock at the door and my nearly husband sent me a stunning bouquet of red roses, the photographer then arrived for some photos of myself, bridesmaids and father of the bride before he headed to the ‘Hearts and Minds’ Wedding Chapel on board to take photos of the groom’s family prior to the ceremony.
Princess allow three weddings per sea day and we opted for a 1pm service, the wedding coordinator came to my cabin to escort us down to the chapel before proceeding with the service. We chose an organist to play the Bridal Chorus and the Wedding March and we personalised the service with readings from our bridesmaids, Captain Ed Perrin lead the service with our chosen vowels and whilst signing the register, we opted for Rule the World by Take That to be played as our wedding song.
We headed to a bar for drinks overlooking the atrium and more photographs with our other guests, before the photographer took myself, my husband Ben, our chief bridesmaid and best man around the ship for more photos including going up on the Bridge, which was great fun and a real experience in itself.
We had the option of eating in the main dining room but we decided to treat everyone, so we pre-booked the speciality restaurant Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria on board. We chose this venue for our wedding breakfast where we enjoyed a 7 course taster menu with free flowing Veuve Clicquot. Then followed the speeches, cutting the cake and we had our first dance in the Wheelhouse Bar where the house band played ‘Summer Wind’ for us, before we all went to dance the night away in the Explorers Lounge followed by the night club.
It was the most perfect day with outstanding service from all the staff that were involved, not only on the day, but for the duration of our cruise. We felt like VIP’s on board as we were treated so well and it made the celebrations which usually would have been a day, last all week. I would highly recommend anyone to get married at sea following our amazing experience we encountered, and we saved so much money compared to getting married on land that we managed to enjoy the Honeymoon of our dreams as well, it certainly was a holiday that none of our wedding party will ever forget.
For more information about Weddings at Sea, contact Samantha on 02380 714 790.