Carnival Cruise Wedding?

posted 3 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 2
753 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’ve never been to or had a cruise ship wedding, but I thought I would help you bump this. We did go on a carnival cruise for our honeymoon and it was fabulous! We love cruising and have been on 5 of them. It’s a very affordable vacation. 

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  .
Post # 4
326 posts
Helper bee

It’s sooooooo fun! Your guests will have so much fun! We saw a wedding happening and it was such a beautiful set up! Hmmmm I think I took a picture of it! When I get on my computer I will look for it and post it on here! 

Post # 5
327 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - A sunny beach in Freeport, The Bahamas

I’ve been following the WeddingBee boards for quite a while but this is my first post so bear with me.  I just recently had my wedding with Carnival last month and I cannot stress enough that it is NOT worth it!  I am about to share the (very!) shortened version of my Carnival disaster.  I couldn’t make this up even if I tried, and I am currently in the process of requesting a full refund from Carnival.  If you would rather just read the key points, just scroll down and skip over the story…

I’m not even going to go into full details unless anyone would really like to know but here is the shortened version of my wedding nightmare with Carnival:

After we searched all day Sunday for our wedding hostess and guest services was unable to find her for us, my husband and I gave up and went to dinner.  When we arrived in the dining room we discovered that our wedding hostess was also the dining hostess and she was brand new to the ship – ours would be her first wedding and she had to devote all of her time to her primary job in the dining room.  After dinner my husband and I tried to go over our contract with her and make sure everything was in order.  She explained to us that The Wedding Experience had been emailing her all along and everything was all set.  Unfortunately, everything was not set and it all went downhill from there.

Carnival managed to ruin my dress by dry cleaning it when I specifically asked them to press the wrinkles out only – thank goodness for the safety pins we brought! My dress was safety pinned together for the entire day!

The photographer was inexperienced and admitted he had never done a wedding before.

Our wedding day was something straight out of a comedy movie.  It all started when I arrived at 7:30 for my hair appointment and the hair dresser showed up almost half an hour late, explaining that she missed “the best party ever last night” because “the bride gets what she wants” – the wedding hostess had managed to move my hair appointment up 30 minutes because my husband and I needed to be on the island at 9:00 that morning.  But it didn’t stop there.  The hair dresser then proceeded to explain that she is allergic to caffeine and couldn’t have any coffee so she was miserable.  And then she started crying because she started thinking about the time she drowned in Jamaica when she was 16 (she is 35 now).  And just when she stopped crying about that, she started crying all over again because her “daddy is a whore and has 19 kids with 19 different women”.  The tears wouldn’t stop until she was done with my hair, when she explained that although my appointment receipt stated that I would be charged for short hair, she decided my hair had grown to medium length and my up-do required a blow out.  I was charged double what I was expecting to pay, and of course the 15% gratuity was charged even though she cried the entire time.

I got back to the room with 15 minutes to get my dress on before meeting the wedding hostess at Guest Services.  My husband actually ended up calling her to come help get me into my dress because it was only at that point that we discovered all of the clips were broken on the back of my dress and the zipper would not go up.  The dress fit the week before and the clips were fine when I sent the dress to be pressed.  The entire back of my dress ended up being safety pinned because of Carnival staff.

When we finally arrived on the island, things went from bad to worse.  The wedding hostess handed us off to the wedding coordinator from The Wedding Experience.  The wedding cooridnator was wearing cut off jeans, a tight shirt without a bra, and she hadn’t even attempted to run a brush through her hair or brush her teeth.  And although the contract specifially stated that the wedding cooridinator would meet us on the beach with the officiant, she sat in the front seat of the car while the photographer, my husband, and I all squished into the back seat on the way to the courthouse. 

My husband brought a small backpack with our sand ceremony kit and our original documents, as we were advised to do per the emails and contract.  Well, the photographer didn’t like the backpack and the wedding coordinator wouldn’t hold it for us so they explained that we were going to need to leave it in the car while we signed the papers at the courthouse.  After we argued that that backpack was an identity theft’s dream and we weren’t leaving it unattended, they explained that the driver of the car would be with it the whole time and it would be safe.  Reluctently, we left it.  While we were signing the paperwork the wedding coordinator explained that the wedding hostess forgot to make a copy of one of the documents so my husband went to the car to grab the bag.  Well….the driver was no where to be found and the bag was thrown into the trunk of the car, which was bungee corded shut!

Fast forward to the ride to the beach… The wedding officiant was running late so the wedding coordinator explained that we would be taking the scenic route to Coral Beach.  That would have been okay except the scenic route included a tour of all the fast food restaurants in downtown Freeport and a trip to the florist to pick up my flowers.  We drove past a beautiful beach and saw the couple we had bumped into earlier that morning and remembered they were renewing their vows that morning.  To make conversation, I pointed it out as we drove past.  And then the driver circled around, pulled into the parking lot, got out of the car, and started waving his hands in the air while screaming that we were getting married too and we were on the ship with them!

As if that wasn’t bad enough, we finally arrived at “Coral Beach”.  The beach was surrounded by barbed wire and no trespassing signs, and while we were waiting for the officiant (still), the photographer suggested we take a few pictures.  He carefully posed us so my dress was covering all the private property signs and made me squat down for every picture because I am a few inches taller than my husband.

The officant finally arrived (after renewing the other couple’s vows) and we began the ceremony.  A local guy in jeans, no shirt, and a full length arm cast showed up and continued to hover behind my husband and then behind me while we were exchanging our vows.  It was really distracting and if we hadn’t been in the middle of our wedding I would have said something.  The photographer and the wedding coordinator didn’t say anything to him at all.  As soon as our ceremony was complete, the local guy came up to us looking for money…”You’re married now! You give me money, I buy you drinks!”  He followed us around the beach for the last 10 minutes as we were taking our pictures, even after we asked him to leave, and still on one else said anything.  We were also advised that we had 10 minutes left on the beach because the officiant was running so late so we could either have our sand ceremony or take pictures.  THEY FAILED TO REMEMBER OUR CAKE AND CHAMPAGNE TOAST ON THE ISLAND!!!!

We got back on the ship to take a few more pictures and the photographer actually left us because he had another appointment with another client!  That night they delivered champagne and strawberries to our stateroom but failed to bring us the champagne flutes or a bottle opener so after spending almost an hour looking for someone to bring us a bottle opener, we ened up drinking out of the mouthwash glasses from the bathroom!

The next day we went straight to the wedding hostess onboard the ship and explained how upset we were that our wedding day had been ruined and there was a huge breach of contract.  She said she knew nothing about a cake and asked us to prove it if we had the paperwork.  All of this could have been avoided if she had just gone over the paperwork with us on the first night when I asked her to…  Later that night I found the champagne flutes and the wedding cake topper left outside the door of our stateroom.  We were offered $14.95 back for the cake after that disaster!

In case you don’t want to read the whole thing, here are the key points:

-no wedding cake provided even though it was in the contract

-wedding cake topper and keepsake champagne flutes provided after our wedding day as a reminder of the cake we did not have and the glasses we did not drink out of

-this was the first wedding our wedding hostess was doing and acting as dining hostess was her first priority

-this was the photographer’s first wedding

-forced to choose between sand ceremony or 10 minutes of pictures

-“Coral Beach” was surrounded by barbed wire and no tresspassing/private property signs that the photographer attempted to hide with my dress

-random local guy hovered during our ceremony and begged for money afterwards – no one asked him to leave

-“scenic route” cut into our picture time

-photograher left us to go meet another client when we got back to ship without finishing our pictures

-Carnival broke my wedding dress

-hair dresser showed up late and cried during the entire appointment

-we left with a grand total of 17 pictures of our entire wedding day because they were $30 each and included barbed wire and the wedding coordinator who was unkempt and unprofessional

-important documents were left unattended in a bungee corded trunk of the car

-the driver made a huge scene and interrupted the couple renewing their vows


Post # 6
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Astar312:  I am SO sorry that you had to go through all of that! 🙁 what a terrible experience. 

Unfortunately, I’ve read other *similar (although maybe not quite as disastrous) stories of weddings planned through cruise lines’ wedding departments. I think the biggest point is that you are not their primary focus, and thus many of the details get missed. Some are minor, some are major. 

For future brides looking at this thread, I would highly recommend looking into privade wedding vendors at the port. For example, Cozumel Wedding Planners. The only risk is if the cruise ship misses the port, but you can weigh the pro’s and con’s for yourself. I know I was willing to take the chance since Cozumel is a rarely missed port.. and had an incredible wedding day. We still cruised with our family and friends, so we were able to enjoy the camaraderie that a cruise provides, just without the headache of their wedding department.

Again, Astar, I am so sorry that that happened to you! One of those things would have been plenty.

Post # 7
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

To the OP: I don’t want to freak you out! I can’t personally speak to the cruise wedding experience, other than what I said above. If you are planning on getting married in Cozumel, Mexico, I would highly highly recommend Cozumel Wedding Planners.

We also got married in January, and the cruise and weather were perfect!


Post # 8
35 posts

We’re getting married on a Princess cruise in December.  You cannot be a type A bride and get married on a cruise because so much is out of your control.  If your end result is to be married and you are ok with going with the flow then I say to consider it.  Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself nuts!  

Post # 9
327 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - A sunny beach in Freeport, The Bahamas

Honestly, my wedding day went so wrong it’s actually comical.  I’m very laid back and I don’t let too much bother me, and at the end of the day I married my best friend.  I couldn’t ask for more, and looking back, I still wouldn’t change a thing.  Now it’s just an entertaining story to share and the absolute worst case scenario of what could possibly go wrong on the wedding day.  I realize it sounded like I was ranting in my previous post, but I was just giving the play by play account of my wedding day since the OP asked if anyone had any experience with Carnival weddings. 

Post # 10
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

Astar312:  That is definitely an experience all right! I’m glad you kept your great attitude! Happy marriage bliss! 🙂

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