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Love at sea

How to get married on a cruise ship

Cruise wedding anyone? You’ve found your lobster and your love life is no longer all at sea…or should it be? Here’s why a ceremony on the big blue could be for you.

Wedding season is creeping up folks! Get your hats and hankies ready, for two are about to become one up and down the country in the coming months.

But hang on, should you limit your big day to terra firma? Is it worth sparing yourself the anguish of locating the perfect venue and the hassle of caterers when getting married at sea could spare you any bride(groom)zilla bother and, whisper it, save you money?

That’s right, cruise ships can be your registry office, reception site and honeymoon hotspot all rolled into one. And hey, you can even get engaged onboard!

P&O Cruises – available to book via travel agent Bolsover Cruise Club – is one cruise line offering weddings at sea along with a whole host of other exciting ceremonies, so no matter what you’re pouring that glass of champagne for, P&O Cruises has you covered.

From “Will you?” and “I do” to “I do, again”, here’s what shindigs lovers and their entourage can enjoy on the high seas with P&O Cruises.

P&O Cruises: Engagements

Will you?

So, you’ve finally found that one special fish in the sea and want to make them yours forever. Gah, but where to pop the question?

Instead of waiting for the crowds to disperse around the Eiffel Tower or that donkey to move out of the way in Santorini, why not let P&O Cruises create the perfect setting for you?

With the cruise line’s Engagement package, the team takes care of the details (note, ring and romantic speech not included) and has a bottle of Champagne waiting on ice.

What’s more, chocolate-covered strawberries will be delivered to your cabin that evening, you’ll enjoy dinner for two in a speciality restaurant and you can feast on breakfast in bed the following morning. Talk about food of love.

P&O Cruises: Weddings

I do!

Hooray, your paramour said yes! Time to plan that wedding. Oof, there’s a lot more to think about than you anticipated, hey?

Not so with a P&O Cruises Wedding at Sea package. Available on Azura, Ventura, Aurora and Arcadia, these nautical nuptials come with both pre-cruise and on-board cruise wedding specialists to make the big day feel like smooth sailing.

To alleviate any pre-wedding jitters, P&O Cruises weddings come with priority check-in when embarking in Southampton and your big day outfits pressed. What’s more, these cruise ship wedding packages include bridal hair and make-up as well as a bridal bouquet and groom’s buttonhole – so you’ll look pretty as a picture when you say your vows.

The cruise wedding event – for up to 10 guests – will be held in an elegant, private ceremony venue (an Ivory Suite or dedicated room) in the morning or afternoon (the choice is yours) and will be officiated by the captain himself. There will be pre-recorded ceremony music, a two-tier wedding cake and champagne for toasting.

Afterwards, P&O Cruises weddings offer a wide selection of dining options. If you choose to have a morning cruise wedding onboard Azura or Ventura, you can have a decadent private luncheon for you and your guests in The Epicurean, where speeches are welcome.

Another option is to sit together in one of the Freedom restaurants in a separate section so you’ll still get the privacy but no extra expense, although speeches won’t be permitted as these are public areas. There is a wedding luncheon menu at £10 per person should you want it.

Alternately, for something more informal, opt for a buffet to be served to you and your guests in one of the function rooms or have a range of delicious canapés served in the privacy of your function room or in one of the public bars.

Should you want an even more splendid cruise ship wedding day to remember there’s a smorgasbord of extras you can add on to the package. Additions include: floral package, bespoke shore experience, commemorative Champagne flutes, bridge map of marriage location signed by the captain, pianist to play live for 30 minutes, soloist for an hour, two-piece band for 30 minutes, private gifting retail experience, P&O Cruises branded wedding stationery set, ice sculpture for reception and cabin décor.

Of course, if you’re after something more intimate, that’s available with the Just the Two of Us cruise wedding package. It comes with all of the benefits of a Wedding at Sea package and two of the ship’s company will be your legal witnesses. Furthermore, no matter how grand you go on P&O Cruises weddings, you’ll be presented with a commemorative certificate signed by the captain.

Extra cruise ship wedding perks include onboard spending money for the wedding couple as well as each couple within the wedding party; up to three free cabins for your wedding party; and an additional 5kg luggage allowance each for the wedding couple, if travelling on P&O Cruises’ charter flights on a P&O Cruises fly-cruise holiday.

P&O Cruises: Commitment ceremonies

Yes to the dress

If you are sailing onboard Arvia, Iona or Britannia, a cruise ship wedding will not be possible (due to the vessels being registered in the UK) but you can instead opt for a commitment ceremony.

Commitment Ceremonies packages are available on all P&O Cruises ships and include everything a cruise wedding package does, without the legal bits.

P&O Cruises is unable to offer same-sex marriage ceremonies as Azura, Ventura, Aurora and Arcadia are registered in Bermuda where the Bermuda Government is appealing the decision of the Bermuda Court of Appeal that same-sex marriage should be legal in Bermuda. Until the final appeal is heard, P&O Cruises cannot offer sex marriage ceremonies but it is challenging the stance of the Bermuda Government and has said it “firmly believes same-sex marriage should be permitted.”

Until the problem is resolved P&O Cruises is offering same-sex couples a commitment ceremony onboard.

P&O Cruises: Honeymoons

Whisk me away

An enormous perk of a wedding on a cruise is that you’ve got a honeymoon automatically in place – you’re already on holiday!

Simply choose your destination of choice and let your cruise ship do the hard work. P&O Cruises offers amazing sailings the world over and there are plenty of extra excursions you can do to make your time away even more meaningful.

Why not take a helicopter flight-seeing tour of the sparkling water of the Norwegian Fjords? Or set sail on a luxury yacht while sipping a chilled cocktail in Antigua? The world really is your oyster.

P&O Cruises: Renewal of Vows

I will, again!

Loved the first time so much you want to do it all again? Renewing your vows on a P&O Cruises ship can be every bit as special as a wedding onboard.

Included in the Renewal of Vows package (for 10 additional guests) are:

• Pre-cruise ceremony specialist
• On-board ceremony specialist
• An elegant, private ceremony venue
• The captain to conduct your ceremony
• Priority boarding for the couple when embarking in Southampton
• Champagne toast for up to four guests
• Bridal bouquet and groom’s buttonhole
• Commemorative P&O Cruises Champagne flutes
• Dinner for the couple at a speciality restaurant
• A commemorative certificate signed by the captain
• 10% spa discount on bookings made on board

How to book

A cruise ship wedding sound like your cup of tea? Step one: Book your dream cruise with Bolsover Cruise Club! Step two: Contact P&O Cruises’ ceremony specialists to arrange the big day.

Once your chosen trip, ceremony date and time have been confirmed, you’ll have to put down a 25 percent deposit to secure them. To make sure you get the day you want, P&O Cruises asks for a minimum of three months’ notice to organise a Wedding at Sea and two weeks’ notice for a Renewal of Vows.

Step three: Turn up!

Set Sail

Western Mediterranean with P&O Cruises

Duration: 18 nights

Where: Southampton | Lisbon | Barcelona | Sorrento | Rome (Civitavecchia) | Genoa | Casablanca | Tangiers | El Ferrol | Southampton

Ship: Aurora

Price: From £1,583 pp

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Published 14.02.24