SAME SEX WEDDINGS AT SEA.
Celebrity Cruises was the first major cruiseliner to hold a same-sex wedding onboard – so what can you expect from a ceremony at sea?
Imagine if organising your wedding wasn’t much more stress than booking your next luxury trip abroad. Well, it actually doesn’t have to be.
Celebrity Cruises became one of the first major cruise liners to offer same-sex marriages, having already played host to a fabulous gay wedding on board their Celebrity Equinox ship earlier this year.
If you want to celebrate your union with your partner in front of a tropical backdrop while sailing the high sea, Celebrity Cruises will make sure it goes without a hitch. The cake? Don’t worry about it. Decoration? Sorted. Honeymoon? It starts the second you say “I do.”
Gay Times caught up with Guest Relations Manager Julie to talk about the advantages of getting married aboard a Celebrity Cruises ship, and all of the options couples have when it comes to putting together their dream big day.
What’s the best part of having a wedding on a cruise ship?
First of all, why wouldn’t you? What a fantastic backdrop – not only internally – but also externally with the ports of call and the outside views. Also, you have the captain. How unique and how different to have the captain of the cruise ship marry you.
Celebrity Cruises was the first major cruise liner to have an LGBTQ wedding at sea – how was the big day?
It was fantastic. Ben and Francisco got married aboard the Celebrity Equinox. They had their family on board and it was an amazing experience. Everybody really bought into it. Everybody from guests and crew to the officers really loved the fact we had the same-sex marriage on the Equinox.
Why should LGBTQ couples consider getting married on a Celebrity Cruises ship?
First of all you’ve got the ship, which is beautiful. All of our ships are stunning. I think everybody should get married on a cruise ship. We take the pain out of it for you. We make it easy, we make it beautiful, and overall just an amazing experience.
What’s actually included in a Celebrity Cruises wedding package?
When you get married on board a Celebrity Cruises ship several things are included. You have the cake, you have the champagne, and you have the reception. The reception can actually be the venue of your choice. You have music – and that can be live music. We also decorate your suite when you go back to your room with petals, or something exciting. We make it all romantic for you.
Can couples book onboard performers for the entertainment?
I would strongly suest that if you want a live performance to lets us know in advance. But of course, we have live performers that are very willing to perform at the wedding.
How much can couples tailor the wedding to their own taste?
The guests can actually customise their wedding quite a bit. There really aren’t many restrictions. As long as it’s do-able, we can do it. They can have decorations of their choice if they want to bring them. If it’s something we can provide, we can do it for them. To be honest, we can make it big, we can make it small, we can make it traditional, we can make it fantasy if they like. Whatever they want and whatever they bring with them, we can use. We can make it as special as they want.
Which types of wedding ceremonies do you offer on board? Are they all religious, or do you offer alternative services too?
The wedding services we offer on board are nuptial weddings done by the captain. Or we have vow renewals. I know a lot of guests like religious ceremonies, but the captain does do a nuptial wedding. With the vow renewals, couples can also do that with the cruise director.
Which venues are available to couples for the wedding on board?
The venues on board the ship that couples can get married in... there is actually no restriction! As long as it looks beautiful and it’s manageable, they can get married in any venue on the ship. We can make it happen. The most popular venue is Blu – one of our beautiful dinings rooms – because it has the most stunning decor inside. It also has an incredible view from the restaurant itself, and it’s one of our personal favourites on the ship.
How do couples usually like to plan the voyage around the wedding?
I think couples generally like to get married at the beginning of the cruise. However, we have to be out at sea and we have to be a certain nautical mileage out in the ocean for the wedding to take place on board. So it depends where the sea day falls. If it falls towards the beginning of the cruise, they tend to have the wedding then and enjoy the honeymoon for the remainder of the trip. Or if the sea days falls in the middle, then they enjoy it before and afterwards! So it literally depends where the ship is located.
In terms of timings for the wedding, can the party go on into the early hours?
With the wedding timing, we tend to do it when the venue that they choose is not being utilised by the regular guests on board. So as long as the venue isn’t being used, there is no time limit. We can adapt accordingly. Obviously if it’s in one of the restaurants, those venues need to be used by regular guests at times. But sometimes couples will get married in a venue, and then relocate upstairs to our Sky Lounge for the after party. So everything is possible.
What are the top destinations that couples like to get married at?
First of all it’s on board the ship – and in any of the ports of call. Grand Cayman is very popular. Of course we can pull into any of the ports of call, but couples generally like to get married on board because there are such a great selection of views for them to choose from.