Congratulations!! I wanted to chime in because there is a way to combine all 3 of your options. (I didn’t vote).
We cruised with our family and friends and got married at a resort on the beach in Cozumel (while we were in port that day). I’m not kidding. And it was awesome. Out of our 35 guests, about 10 flew directly to Cozumel and spent a week there at the resort, the rest chose to cruise with us.
The pricing was amazing – we got married in January, so for the 4 Day cruise on Royal Caribbean had a price tag of $250 per person for an interior room. $250 was the entire cost – including room, entertainment, food, etc. Incredible deal.
It was a truly amazing gift to have that quality time on the cruise with everyone. When in your life would you be able to go on a vacation with ALL of your closest family and friends? Especially since there were loved ones that we don’t get to see often.
We used a private wedding planner – Cozumel Wedding Planners – rather than use the cruise line’s wedding department. There were a lot more options, they were very flexible and willing to do anything to make it perfect. As big or small as you wanted it. I loved how they had everything set up as a menu where you clicked what you would like. They respond to emails quickly and helped me make decisions, just like a wedding planner in the U.S. In fact, Stephanie is from Chicago.
With a cruise line based wedding, they’re helpful, but sometimes it seems (from what I’ve read of a lot of reviews) you might not be the most important thing to them. For example, the long wait times to board prior to the wedding ceremony if you’re getting married before the cruise departs – it’s uncomfortable for your non-cruising guests, but there’s nothing that can be done about it due to strict reguations in the port, the cruise line trying to flip all the rooms for 5,000 guests, etc. at the same time.
Some of the other ports I looked at would have wedding packages – a set package where you would have to negotiate to trade for this or that. Nice, but not nearly as easy to work with as CWP (or a similar vendor). Just my experience!
https://vimeo.com/93572375 (wedding video) –> you can see the venue, etc.
Another surprise gift was that (as you’re aware) cell phones don’t work on board the cruise ship and wifi is expensive to use. SO instead of being stressed and trying to nitpick over any last minute details the days leading up to the wedding like most brides do… you can’t! There’s literally nothing you can do but relax and enjoy the trip. It’s wonderful.
Check out the Cruise Critic message board under the ‘wedding’ section – there are brides who planned island weddings (like us) and on board weddings like some of the pp have mentioned.