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The Ultimate Royal Caribbean Cruise Tips You Need

royal caribbean cruise wedding

Don’t miss our ultimate Royal Caribbean cruise tips! Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore new ports, we have the tips you need to make the best of your trip. Read on for advice on where to stay, what to do and see, and more!

Tips for Excursions

When planning a trip to a new cruise destination, it can be helpful to have a few tips ready so you know what to do. Whether you’re looking for information about the local culture or just want to see some of the best sights, read on for our top tips for visiting destinations on your cruise.

1. Pack a travel wardrobe that fits the climate where you’re heading. It’s important to pack versatile and comfortable clothes. This way, you can be confident that you’ll stay comfortable in the local weather.

2. Schedule your tours wisely. While each cruise destination offers different sights and activities, don’t miss out on important landmarks and attractions by booking too many tours at once. By taking the time to plan ahead, you’ll avoid missing out on anything important and save yourself time and money.

3. Take advantage of local transportation when you disembark. Buses and shuttles can be a cheaper and more convenient way to get around than renting cars or riding taxis. Not only will this save you money, but it will also give you a more personalized experience as you move from one destination to the next.

4. Bundle your sightseeing. If you have limited time in each port of call, consider combining a few different tours into one trip for a more comprehensive experience. This way, you’ll get to see more in less time and avoid feeling rushed or overwhelmed.

5. Make use of the sun loungers and other amenities. Don’t feel like disembarking at a particular stop? Spend lazy afternoons lazing by the pool instead of standing in line at the museum or zoo. With so much to see and do on your cruise ship itself, taking some time to relax will make all the difference.

Staying Healthy

If you’re one of the unlucky few who get sick on a cruise, don’t panic – there are plenty of things you can do to feel better. Here are some tips to help you get through your sickness without any hassle:

  • Know the signs and symptoms of common illnesses. This can help you determine when to get medical assistance.
  • Follow the cruise line’s recommendations for avoiding sickness, even if you think you know better.
  • Let the ship’s doctor or nurse take care of you – don’t try to self-medicate.
  • Make sure you have all of the emergency information you need – including the contact info for your cruise ship’s medical staff and for your physician back at home.

Avoiding Scams

Scams are common at ports of call for cruises, so be aware of them. If you do find yourself falling victim to a scam, don’t hesitate to report it to your cruise line officials. Keep your passport, driver’s license, and other important documents safe while on your cruise, and don’t leave them unattended. Make sure you know the emergency numbers for your cruise ship, and be sure to use them if you need help.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


royal caribbean cruise wedding

Royal Caribbean Cruises Reviews

Royal caribbean cruises.

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royal caribbean cruise wedding

  • Quality of service 1.0 out of 5 rating 1.0
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I would've prefer to have the ceremony on my backyard


  • Value 1.0 out of 5 rating 1.0

142 days and still waiting for our Marriage License

  • Quality of service 3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
  • Value 0.5 out of 5 rating 0.5
  • Professionalism 0.5 out of 5 rating 0.5
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Heart broken every step of the way

A total nightmare

Ruined my entire wedding.

Its not worth the risk

  • Quality of service 0.5 out of 5 rating 0.5

royal caribbean cruise wedding

Cruise weddings: Everything you need to know about getting hitched at sea

Kristine Hansen

Are you considering a cruise wedding? At-sea nuptials have many selling points — including a wedding planner and a built-in honeymoon — especially for couples looking for smaller, more intimate weddings (up to 125 guests). They're also ideal for elopements. Yet before you decide to get married on a cruise ship, you'll want to understand all the pros and cons.

Think of cruise ships as floating hotels that can offer all the essentials a wedding venue needs, including food, drinks and overnight accommodations for guests. You've got space to host wedding-related events over several days — such as a pre-reception cocktail hour, pre-ceremony spa day with the girls and morning-after brunch. Cruise ship employees are trained in hospitality, with photographers, bakers and DJs already on board. Plus, imagine how gorgeous your wedding photos will be with the wide, open sea as a backdrop!

"This is a type of wedding that can fit anybody. People are ready to sail [again], they're ready to cruise, and they've waited a while to get married," due to COVID-19, says Liz Bernal, a travel planner who helps couples arrange their cruise weddings on behalf of Celebrity Cruises . "It's not just couples getting married for the first time, [and] not just second or third marriages."

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

If you're leaning toward swapping wedding vows on a cruise, know that cruise weddings aren't all "Love Boat"-inspired glamour. You'll need to make decisions around where to get married (at sea or in port) and understand how those choices affect your guest list, risk of cancellation and the legality of the ceremony. Perhaps the biggest question is whether you want friends and family sailing with you on your honeymoon.

Before you say "I do" to a cruise ship wedding, take some time to school yourself on the fine print and important decisions you'll need to make.

Should I get married on board or in port?

royal caribbean cruise wedding

One of the first decisions couples need to make is whether to schedule their nuptials for embarkation day, at sea or in a port of call.

"We find most weddings are celebrated on board during embarkation day. This allows attendees who aren't sailing with the couple to visit the ship for the ceremony," says Matt Lupoli, of Carnival Cruise Line media relations. This option allows you to not only invite friends and family to your wedding but also enjoy a private honeymoon — without your mother-in-law or best man tagging along.

Another popular option is to get married while the ship's at sea. This is a fantastic option because you won't have the time pressure of embarkation day, nor will you have to give up any fun activities or beach time in port. Princess Cruises reports that 75% of its weddings are at sea.

One drawback of an at-sea wedding is that you may be forced to host events indoors because of high winds, rain or limited deck space, and the hours to rent a specific venue have to mesh with the ship's other programming needs -- including other weddings. Plus, if you want guests at your ceremony, they will need to book and pay for the entire cruise (or you'll have to pony up for their cabins).

With an at-sea wedding, you can ask the ship's captain to marry you, a perk only available on a few cruise lines (Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises , Cunard and Royal Caribbean , for example) when sailing in international waters. Your photos will look amazing, but buyer beware: Unless the captain is also a judge, notary public, justice of the peace or minister, your at-sea nuptials will be a symbolic, not a legal, wedding.

Related: 5 best honeymoon cruises for newlywed bliss

The final option is to get married at a cruise line's private island or during a port stop in another country. About 5%-10% of Princess Cruises' weddings are in port. For local flavor, you might be able to weave in reggae music in the background while in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, or gift guests leis in Honolulu. The drawback is that you can't control all of your surroundings; for example, the ceremony might be on a public beach.

One thing's for sure: The Caribbean's sunny ports are as popular as ever for a wedding ceremony.

"We're starting to see more weddings on the islands, whether their whole group is sailing with them or meeting them there," says Bernal.

Is getting married on a cruise ship legal?

The short answer is yes, in most cases. But you do need to get your paperwork in order before the wedding day.

If you're getting married on embarkation day at a domestic port such as Miami, Seattle, New Orleans or Fort Lauderdale, you can bring your own officiant to conduct a legal wedding, the same as you would at any land-based wedding venue. If your ceremony will take place during the cruise, either a local notary public (for ports in the U.S.) or a nondenominational officiant (international ports) will preside over the ceremony, making the wedding legal.

Don't worry — you don't have to find an available officiant in Jamaica or the Bahamas. The cruise line's wedding planners will do it for you. For example, all three of Princess Cruises' wedding packages include either a legal ceremony by the captain or one performed by a local officiant in port.

However, at-sea weddings on lines other than Princess get tricky: When a ship is sailing, it's in international waters, yet the ship is registered to a particular country. For example, Celebrity Cruises requires you to obtain a marriage license from Malta, as that's where its ships are registered. A notary public or religious officiant is always provided with any cruise line's wedding package.

Once you have an officiant, what about marriage licenses? Each country has its own requirements for in-port and at-sea weddings, and the cruise line's weddings department will assist in obtaining the information and, ultimately, the license. For example, if you want to get married while the ship is in the Bahamas, you need to first obtain a marriage license from that country, a process that can take up to 90 days. To get married in a U.S. port, you only need a marriage license from that state.

How big can a cruise wedding be?

Cruise weddings can range in size, though cruise lines do limit numbers. In many cases, the size of the venue restricts the number of guests allowed. The maximum size for a cruise wedding is about 150 guests.

According to Princess Cruises, two-thirds of its weddings have fewer than 10 people in the group and the average size of larger weddings is 25, with about two weddings each year with 40 or more guests. As the cruise line returned to service after the COVID-19 pandemic began, it reported that smaller, more intimate ceremonies were becoming more popular. Being married at sea by the captain is still, by far, the most sought-after package, says Princess Cruises.

Carnival's weddings run larger. "The average number of guests is about 40, but we host weddings of all sizes — from only the couples themselves to very large parties," said Lupoli. Celebrity Cruises has also started to see more larger cruise weddings post-pandemic.

Related: Big vs. small cruise ships: Which will I like better?

Can I invite guests who won't be sailing with us?

royal caribbean cruise wedding

Beyond total guest numbers, each cruise line has strict rules about how many non-sailing guests can attend your embarkation-day wedding. For example, Royal Caribbean allows a maximum of 75 wedding guests (out of 150 total) to be day visitors who come for the shipboard ceremony and then leave before the ship sets sail.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it's not as easy for non-sailing guests to come onboard as before. They may need to submit their vaccination card or negative COVID-19 test results. You'll need to make these rules clear to your attendees and know that they can change between when you book the cruise wedding and the big day itself.

Shoreside ceremonies — in a port of call on the ship's itinerary — also welcome non-sailing guests but have capacity limits. The available venues can only fit so many people. This option is trickier, however, because you are only in port for one day, most likely. What if your aunt's flight into the port is delayed? She will miss the wedding altogether.

Even so, Bernal is seeing more of this in the Caribbean. "They'll jump on the flight to the island and meet the couple and then stay on the island for a few days," she says. "You can have non-guests in ports of call come on the ship but usually the couple comes off the ship to get married on the beach."

"The norm [for in-port weddings] is to sail with the whole group," she says, rather than have guests fly in for the ceremony.

Which cruise lines offer weddings, and which should I pick?

Name a popular cruise line and chances are you can get married on one of its ships. Viking is a notable exception that does not offer weddings.

Your best bet is to choose a ship whose personality and amenities match your preferences. But a few lines stand out for their wedding offerings.

Princess Cruises was the first cruise line to offer legal marriages at sea by the captain.

Princess Cruises' three packages (At Sea Wedding Cruise, Harborside Wedding Cruise and Ashore Wedding Cruise) fold in all the details for a flat fee and also offer a registry so that guests can help amp up the luxuries on their honeymoon at sea. Guests and friends can gift shore excursion credits, specialty-dining experiences, spa treatments and a private breakfast or dinner on the balcony. Celebrity Cruises also offers legal weddings at sea by the captain .

Royal Caribbean's and MSC Cruises' family-friendly onboard amenities, such as waterslides and large kids clubs, are a huge hit for couples planning to invite guests of all ages. Royal Caribbean offers four packages for weddings at sea with sailing guests, embarkation-day ceremonies with sailing and non-sailing guests, portside events around the world and elopements with just the couple or up to 10 guests.

Just like its parks, Disney offers Fairy Tale Weddings on its ships . Disney Cruise Line offers six venues, including indoor and outdoor spots on its ships (accommodating up to 40 guests) and on Castaway Cay (the line's private island in the Bahamas, which can host up to 100 guests). You can have costumed Mickey and Minnie join you for photos or offer a Dole Whip unity ceremony, as one couple did .

Windstar Cruises ' yacht-style smaller ships entice many couples planning a cruise elopement , with either just them or only a few guests. Many couples like the upscale yet low-key feeling of getting away on their own yacht, where entertainment focuses on fine dining, relaxing on deck and exploring in port, rather than running around to shows, rock climbing walls and other crazy big-ship attractions.

Related: The 5 best cruise lines for romance

What are examples of cruise wedding packages?

Exact wedding package inclusions depend on the cruise line you're sailing, whether you're getting married at sea or in port, and the level of package you choose.

Wedding coordinators and event managers for cruise lines — included with all packages — make the decision-making easy. They'll help you nail down specifics in advance so you can have a relaxing time on board. There are also third-party travel planners specializing in cruise weddings, such as The Wedding Experience , the exclusive wedding service provider for Celebrity Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

To give you a general idea, most cruise wedding packages are going to include a dedicated, private venue for the ceremony, a photographer, floral arrangements and a private space for the reception, whether it's a simple cake-cutting event or a plated meal. Some will also include Champagne to toast the couple.

Examples of extra-fee add-ons include videography, photography or live entertainment at the ceremony or reception (Carnival Cruises charges $150-plus for some tunes to accompany your celebration).

"We start with a package and design your ceremony to be just for you," says Bernal. "There's so many possibilities."

Bernal says one couple arranged a fireworks show off the coast of Puerto Rico and worked with Celebrity Cruises to stop the ship in the middle of the ocean for the best view. It's becoming more popular for couples to host a series of events on board the ship during the wedding week, says Bernal. Previously, couples have organized a whiskey tasting for the guys; afternoon tea for the girls; bachelorette parties at a ship's bar, club or lounge; or a private dinner in an onboard restaurant for guests the day after the wedding. All of these can be arranged by the ship staff.

How much does a cruise wedding cost?

royal caribbean cruise wedding

The average price for a cruise wedding falls between $7,000 and $20,000, according to GroupTravel.org , a sliver of what a land wedding normally costs (an average of $30,000). Your specific cost will depend on which cruise wedding package you choose and which inclusions and add-ons you select.

On the more casual and festive end, Carnival Cruise Line weddings start at $1,499; MSC Cruises' weddings cost roughly the same. On the luxe end, Cunard's Royal Ceremony at Sea package starts at $3,300. Of course, you will still need to pay for your own cruise fare, on top of the wedding package rates, as do your guests.

The good news is that with these all-inclusive packages, you know exactly how much your at-sea wedding will cost from the beginning.

Related: 7 reasons you should splurge for a suite on a cruise

How far out should I book my wedding date?

If your goal is to make guests happy, the further out you book, the better access they have to cabin categories and locations, as well as flights. This also goes for pricing. Sailings and flights booked months out are often cheaper. Use those save-the-date mailings to your guests wisely and provide them with as much information as possible.

Plus, cruise ships have limited spots for weddings each week. For example, as of July, Royal Caribbean is fully sold-out for 2022 weddings and is not accepting bookings for additional nuptials this year.

The caveat, however, is that the further in advance you book, you run a risk of change or cancellation as ships are known to swap itineraries or take ships out of service. In other words, don't play up Aruba or a specific ship — all your guests need to know early on is that it's a Caribbean sailing.

Related: When is the best time to book a cruise?

Bottom line

If you don't like being the center of attention, then a cruise wedding may not be for you. Everyone on board and in port is going to ooh and aah at you as you sashay by in your wedding finery. This type of ceremony is also not ideal for couples who want to invite hundreds of guests or want the flexibility to select the perfect caterer, photographer, cake, florist or musicians.

On the other hand, if you want to plan a simple, stress-free wedding, it doesn't get much easier than this. Cruise weddings are ideal for couples who want a small event and love the one-stop shopping of having all the event details taken care of by the cruise line.

Which brings us to the honeymoon. Many couples use the sailing as their honeymoon — yet another aspect of the wedding you won't need to plan. But if your guests are joining the sailing, your romantic getaway may not be very private. If you want family and friends to attend your at-sea wedding, consider whether you can sneak away when needed without hurting anyone's feelings.

If you can't stand the thought of sharing a romantic vacation with your extended family, consider an embarkation-day wedding and bid your guests goodbye after the reception. The trade-off is your pierside event might not be as scenic as an onboard ceremony with expansive sea views.

Ultimately, if you're a person who wants a hassle-free wedding, with a one-stop shop for planning and a built-in honeymoon, then swapping vows ashore, in port or at sea might just be your dream affair.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways cruisers waste money
  • 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise


Lighting Fast Group Rates

Group Rates For: Hotels : Cruises : Airfare

Royal Caribbean Wedding Packages

Get Group Rates For Royal Caribbean Cruises by filling out this  group cruise rates form

Shipboard Duet (Starts at $1995.00)

1. Three (3) hours maximum of pre-planning with a Royal Romance Wedding Consultant prior to the wedding

2. Priority check-in for the bridal couple and their guests

3. Royal Romance Wedding Officiant

4. Personal Wedding Coordinator in attendance during the ceremony

5. Romantic, recorded ceremony music

6. Bridal bouquet

7. Groom’s boutonniere

8. Keepsake Royal Romance marriage certificate

9. Chocolate covered strawberries for bridal couple

10. Bottle of wine

Shipboard Harmony (Starts at $2295.00)

1. All the above

2. Bottle of Moet & Chandon

3. An extra hour with the wedding consultant

Receptions can also be held after your wedding. Prices start at $40.00 per person for the formal wedding luncheon and with the reception lasting two hours. Packages are for a minimum of 35 attendees.

Some things to note: Aside from video and photo services not being included, you also don’t get a wedding cake as part of the standard package . The cake is an additional cost of at least $80.00.

You can have a maximum of 150 (75 non-sailing) guests at your wedding ceremony. Inviting any more than ten will require you to purchase a wedding reception package

You can use your own vows or use the generic ones that the cruise line provides. You can also use your own officiant if you needed to. Weddings are approximately an hour long and that includes the ceremony, a toast, cake and photos. You can provide your own music or use the cruise lines.

They have “Explorer Wedding” packages as well. These are themed packages where you can get married on an ice rink or while climbing a rock wall. Other themes are available too.

Download the  Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding  brochure.

If you are planning a wedding cruise aboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, here is where to get Group Rates.

Get Group Cruise Rates Now

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Royal caribbean cruise wedding.

S o, I have shot a ton of weddings (10 years full-time that number is somewhere over 300 now); and while it’s true that I can’t remember every single one of them..  THIS wedding will be an exception.  When Kara contacted me about her Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding, I knew this was going to be a hell of an adventure!  First of all, this was not just any Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding.. no.  This was a Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding that took place on the Allure Of The Seas!  (second largest ship in the world at the moment).  That’s a big boat, and this was a big deal!

Now, I must admit that this was not the first time I have done a Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding.  In fact, the year before I did a smaller one on one of their smaller boats.  It was also just a three day cruise (this wedding was an incredible 7 days out at sea!).   Having had this prior experience, it really made a big difference in my own confidence going into this one because of all that we learned from working a wedding on a big cruise ship.   The fact is, cruise weddings are NOT easy (in terms of photo logistics).  First of all, you have limited space everywhere along with people that are also, well..  everywhere lol.  Then, you have to deal with other factors such as the boat staff and just in general everything kinda feels restricted vs. not being on a boat.  Well..  so I thought.  You see, this WAS the experience we had during the first Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding.  So, understandably we were planning on this again (just on a bigger ship).  However, we were shocked at just how easy it was this time around.  We had zero problems, no push back from the staff and everyone was super respectful.  In fact, this Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding even had a wedding planner on-board that HELPED us with anything we needed!  THAT was amazing.  So, its clear that the experience that you will get really depends on the level of cruise that you book.  Like with anything in life I guess, the more you pay the better experience you can expect.  This was the case on the Allure Of The Seas.

So, why hire me?  Why pay me my rate and then pay for my room on the cruise to shoot your wedding, when they already offer a “wedding package” that has a photographer on the boat?

Simple.  It sucks.  Period.

Let me explain so that you don’t think this is just a subjective and bias statement.  If photos are of importance to you, read on..

First of all, any Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding (or any cruise line for that matter) will offer you a wedding package with photos.  The problem, is that this is all taken by “Bob” the guy who is working that day on the boat.  Or, maybe it’s “Melissa” if its on a Sunday and shes working.  Who knows.  Frankly, it does not matter anyway.  They are all trained to do the same thing.  The same shots, the same way.  They are not paid to be “creative”, they are paid to be on the boat and get a job done.  They are not going to post anything on Instagram, they are not trying to “move the world” for you because its their whole life on the line lol (being serious).  They are trying to get the basic shots, and get to a dinner break.  Their mind is on what they are going to be doing tomorrow and not their clients dreams and ideas.  The simple truth is that if any, ANY of the cruise photographers REALLY wanted to be a pro photographer they would find work off that boat and make a name for themselves.  They dont because they get nice benefits, and have a chance to learn at the same time (so its not all bad for them) but for you.. thats not a good thing.  I would not want a new person working on my car, much less attempting to take creative shots on my wedding day.  Do you kinda see my point?

Thankfully Kara was waaaaaay ahead of me.  She knew this from the start and wanted to get someone in that could really get some results.  She picked me am I am so glad that she did.

Okay, before we get into the images below..   check out some behind the scenes video that we did from this trip!  This is one of my all time fav. videos.   I have two versions..  one is a quick 60-sec preview and the other is the full 18-min episode 🙂

Here is the quick 60-sec recap:

Then, here is the full 18min episode!

Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding

Huge thank you to my amazing clients for having us come on this Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding and rock it out!  We love you and had such a great time!  If you too are planning a Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding (or any cruise wedding) let me know and I can help you!  Or if you would like to see another recent travel wedding of mine click here .

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    Royal Caribbean Wedding Packages · Shipboard Duet (Starts at $1995.00) · Shipboard Harmony (Starts at $2295.00). 1. All the above. 2. Bottle of Moet

  14. Royal Caribbean Cruise Wedding

    However, we were shocked at just how easy it was this time around. We had zero problems, no push back from the staff and everyone was super