What you need to know about getting married on a cruise ship

A destination wedding is a dream come true for many couples. Getting married on the seashore sounds like the start of a fairytale. Would you like to have both without spending ridiculous amounts of money? Cruise ship weddings are the perfect solution.

While there are some disadvantages, it’s worth considering. If you think that cruise ships are old-fashioned, then think again. Most cruise lines have adapted to the modern world and couples, especially after COVID. Therefore, you can have an at-sea wedding that is in sync with your style. It can often be more expensive than you think, but also far more luxurious.

Before you book tickets, you must be aware of the good and bad things about getting married aboard a cruise ship.

The Abundance

There are many choices! Let’s begin on a positive note. You can take photos in various locations, as most cruise lines visit multiple ports. As you travel from one destination to another, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of beautiful backdrops.

Lower Cost

A cruise ship wedding is a great way to save money. Many cruise lines offer all-inclusive packages or at least 50% of the cost. Some packages cost just a few thousand dollars and include champagne, dinners, cakes, and breakfasts in bed. Most packages include a wedding planner for no additional charge. This does not include accommodation for you or your guests. It’s safe to say that this is a much better deal than a land-based venue. This is not true in every case. Cruise ship weddings can be expensive, with packages starting at $1,000 per person. Do your research.

Mixed Availability

One cruise line we researched in March 2022 was completely booked for weddings for the remainder of the year. Surprisingly, it isn’t even spring yet! There were other lines available. However, if you’re set on a particular company or route, booking as early as possible is best.

Many popular wedding planners recommend booking your wedding at least three months ahead. This shouldn’t cause any problems unless you are planning a last-minute elopement.


Contrary to the films, not every cruise captain can legitimate your wedding. Not all captains have the legal authority to officiate at a marriage. Not all cruise ship marriages are legally binding. This is where it can get tricky.

To ensure your marriage is legal and valid, you must obtain a marriage certificate from the country where your cruise ship’s registration is located. Note: Even though you may be departing from the United States does not mean that the ship is registered there. Suppose you plan to marry while at an international port; you will need a marriage license. It’s even more difficult because not all countries permit same-sex weddings. It’s always best to check with the cruise line about their policies before booking.

It might be simpler to sign the contract at your local city hall before or after the wedding and then have the vows on the cruise ship be purely symbolic.

Accommodation of Guests

To follow up on an earlier point, it is common for the wedding package not to include guest accommodation. This does not mean that they require accommodations. Most cruise lines allow guests to stay with you while docked as long as they do not stay beyond curfew.

Limited Vendors

On the negative side, you should be aware that there will only be a limited number of vendors on your cruise. You can hire your photographer for sure, but what about catering? There is no other option. This is not necessarily bad since cruise ships hire professional chefs to accommodate all tastes. It’s a good idea to ask the cruise line which vendors you are responsible for and which ones they are.

Bad Weather

You should also be prepared for bad weather when you are at sea. If the sea is rough, some cruise ships will not dock in a particular location. You may need to have a backup plan. If you’re hoping for a legal wedding, you can have it symbolic once you return home.

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