(Closed) Cruise wedding?

posted 3 years ago in Venue
Post # 2
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

It sounds like a nice idea, but what if all of the guests decide to not join in the cruise except for one or two…and then you’re stuck with them on your honeymoon! I wouldn’t want that– just something to consider! If you don’t mind that possibility though, it sounds like a great time.

Post # 3
1579 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

aushi:  We totally thought about it and wanted to do it, but my parents pointed out that many family members (including them) would probably want to do the cruise too if they traveled all that way.  It would be fine-ish except that it would be our honeymoon and it could be weird to run into mom and dad at dinner or something

We ended up nixing the idea due to scheduling but I still think it would be pretty cool!

Post # 4
9036 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

aushi:  I think if you and all your guests live in a port town so nobody has to travel and spend money  to attend your very brief in port wedding then fine. But asking guests to pay that much money to attend at tops a 2 hr wedding is rude in my opinion. Different story if they come on the cruise.

Also things don’t always go as planned. one of our cruises had delayed boarding due to a noro outbreak on the last cruise which meant that the wedding that was waiting in the VIP lounge lasted about 20 mins before the non-sailing guests had to disembark.

Post # 5
2807 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

aushi:  several bees have done this, so do,a search. There are some great recaps I’ve read and very detailed, so they will be helpful.

The only issue I would have is that they are very rushed. Like you only get an hour and a half for your reception. If you can work with that, then absolutely go for it. I think it is a great idea because then you really kinda get a wedding week with your guests 🙂 

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  smoocheepoo.
Post # 6
2610 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club

aushi:  You can get married on a dinner cruise instead of on a full blown cruise ship. I looked into it, but it could not accomodate my large guest list which is ashame becaus eit was much less expensive than any venue.

Post # 7
2610 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club

Also, since you’re over 3 years out, planning for the budget will be difficult since most places change yearly or semi yearly. So if you book a long time in advance make sure you lock in the rate!

Post # 8
463 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2017 - The Tall Ship Elissa, Galveston, TX

My best suggestion would be to check the weddings & honeymoons sub-board over at Cruise Critic: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=31

Lots and lots of advice and first-hand accounts. Hope this helps!


Post # 9
7412 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I was a non-cruising guest at a cruise wedding. It sucked.  We flew in for the weekend. The day of the wedding, we got up early to have breakfast, get dressed and catch the cruise port shuttle because we didn’t rent a car (we wouldn’t have driven even if we had rented a car, because we knew we would have drinks, and cruise parking was $60 anyway).  The shuttle stopped at about 5 other hotels before taking us to the port. We got in the “VIP” line along with a zillion other wedding groups and “VIP’s” and it took about 30 minutes to get through that first line.  That was just the check-in line. Next came security line, equally long. Then we finally got to go into this giant waiting room where we waited and waited and waited for CBP to clear the boat for boarding. It was about a 90-minute wait in a very noisy room with nothing to drink (you can’t even carry water in) and no wifi signal. 

Once CBP gave the all-clear, we lined up (again) and waited for our turn to board. So this line was faster, maybe 15 minutes, but at this point it was close to 3 hours since we had arrived and all we’d done was sit and wait. When we finally got on board, we had about an hour to kill before the ceremony, so we figured we’d go get a bite to eat and a drink.  The ship had several restaurants and bars open, but…. none of them accepted any payment other than the shipboard card. No cash, no Amex, so we couldn’t even buy a Coke. We ended up just standing in a hallway till it was time for the ceremony.

The ceremony itself was nice, a bit impersonal, but very short— I think it was about 15 minutes. We then waited in another hallway for about half an hour or 45 minutes until the reception opened. It was a “heavy apps” style reception with most of the food on a buffet. By this time I was hungry enough to eat my arm, but no one wants to look like a giant pig with a stack of 9 appies on their plate.  They did have open bar at least.  

The reception was VERY short– not even 2 hours— cocktail style, so not enough chairs/tables for everyone. My fi and I camped out in a corner with some friends and took turns guarding the chairs.  We didn’t really get a chance to talk to the bride, and we only got to talk to the groom for about 2 minutes. They had to cram their toasts, first dance, cake cutting and mingling all into that short span of reception time.  And we were not given a chance to linger at all– the cruise ship does kick you out when it’s time for them to do their safety drills. So we went back on the shuttle bus and it of course stopped at every hotel along the way.  We ended up ordering a pizza as soon as we got in.

I felt REALLY bad for the bride’s brother, who had flown in from Germany for the wedding. He wasn’t crusing– couldn’t stick around that long– and his experience was just as miserable as ours, only he had the added joy of a 9-hour flight home and  expensive transatlantic airfare.

Post # 10
33 posts
  • Wedding: September 2016

You might also want to consider that some of your guests may have motion sickness and/or boat phobias.  A good substitute for the on-board wedding might be having the wedding in the port city, possibly on the morning/midday of so you can head straight to the cruise after, or the day before so you can leave on a morning cruise.  Either way, good luck and congrats on your future plans!  And yes I totally pinterested my dream wedding years before too, you’re not crazy.

Post # 11
319 posts
Helper bee

I considered a cruise wedding but in the end opted not to do it. I do love cruising so here are my recommendations.

1. Treat it like a destination wedding as the pp suggested it’s very hectic on the ship pre sailing and timelines get all screwed up.

2. set the expectation that guests will cruise for the week

3. Have the ceremony on a sail date at sea (royal Caribbean does this)

4. The chapel is very cute and quaint and then have a small hour cocktail celebration after (champagne, cake and maybe appetizers)

5. Have all the guests at the same dinner table and have your wedding dinner there or rent out a table at a specialty restaurant and pay the $20 per guest and buy a round or two of cocktails.

6. You can celebrate at the dance clubs after


i personally don’t understand why you don’t want guests around during yiur honeymoon. If you plan to make out in public or try to have sex in public I don’t see the issue. No one would expect you to hang out with them every day and night with so many things to do.


if you can afford it, I would maybe even book a private snorkel excursion for yiur wedding guests as a pre wedding event.




Post # 12
6989 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

aushi:  I think a cruise wedding is like any other desitnation wedding…it can be awesome but you have to go into it knowing that people might not come. On top of that you have to be prepared that people will tell you they’re on board, because it sounds fun, but when it comes time to commit they’ll back out. If you’re seriously considering it, I’d suggest doing your wedding in one of the stopping ports as opposed to on the ship. So for example if you’re cruising the carribean, get married when you stop in the Bamahas. You can use a local to the area wedding planner and have a gorgeous wedding that isn’t a cookie cutter wedding factory like they do on board.

Post # 13
776 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016 - Magnolia House

We were leaving on a cruise for our honeymoon and they were having a wedding before we left. I looked into it but since you can’t get married on the boat, I wasn’t sure family and friends would all want to cruise with us and since we don’t live near a port we ended up forgetting it.


I can tell you that we were all in the port holding area waiting to board and the first 2 rows were for guests of the wedding. When it was time for the wedding they were in a separate room so we couldn’t watch (I tried) It was very short and then you saw them all board the ship. About 30 minutes later they opened the ship to the rest of us. I know the reception was in one of the lounges because it was closed off to the rest of us for a private event and I believe it probably only lasted maybe 2 hours, but honestly it was in the day (11 am) when it started so to me it seemed perfectly fine. 

I also wouldn’t worry about seeing others on board they are all partying and enjoying themselves so if you want to hang you can if not I wouldn’t worry about it as I am sure they aren’t either.

fwiw my fiance said why didn’t we do that, it would have been much easier…

Post # 14
281 posts
Helper bee

Personally I’d just rather have a small reception than having a really rushed one on a boat. The food is bound to be better, theres no waiting in lines like one person’s experience, it’s more personal, and also if you have a lot of family around you less people will have to travel for a 2 hour event.

Also if you like to Pinterest, keep in mind a lot of places wont let you add much of anything besides like a cake topper, it’s a very much packaged wedding.

Post # 15
376 posts
Helper bee

aushi:  one of my best friends had her wedding during a cruise and we had SO much fun! her experience was a bit different. 

ALL of the guests went on the 7-day cruise. On, I think, Day 3 of the cruise when the ship was stopped on one of the islands for the day (St. Maarten, maybe?) we all went to a really beautiful, secluded location on the beach where the ceremony was held. They had it all set up and it was part of their wedding package – included an officient and transportation for all of us to the ceremony site. after, some guests stayed on the island and ate lunch with the couple but some went back because it was HOT. then, their ‘reception’ was the dinner that night. it worked out great because since there were so many of us, we were kind of in a secluded area of the dining room anyway so we got to eat cake and toast the couple during dinner.

it was very sweet and perfect for them. and also, a great experience for all of the guests, too, because so many fun memories were made that week. we didn’t know several of the other guests before the trip but we ended up spending so much time with and getting to know everyone that week and it was so fun! it was like a week-long party. we STILL talk about it four years later.

granted, this means that you will have a very small guest list (there were about 30-35 people) but i think the couple’s room was free because so many rooms were booked (they used a travel agent to coordinate everything) and she really didn’t have anything to plan. She just bought a dress and showed up on the boat!


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