Can Cruise Ship Captains Marry People At Sea? What are the Rules?

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Rene, who happens to be in the photo above, is not a cruise ship captain and can definitely not marry people at sea. But getting married aboard a cruise ship can be a wonderful idea, compared to many other alternatives, due to the many advantages and perks you would be able to enjoy, and how practical things can be.

Most cruise lines offer different wedding packages, with a wide array of inclusions, like the rental of a particular venue (both on board and shore side), beverages, cake, photos, and even treats arranged in-room, like a bottle of champagne, breakfast or the cruise lines’ most precious gesture: Chocolate-covered strawberries.

Many of us have heard of Captains officiating weddings and vow renewals on board, however there are a few things you may not know about these types of events.

One of the main things to consider is the fact that Captains, or any officer on board for that matter, can’t REALLY marry a couple no matter what you have seen on TV or in the movies. They can, however, officiate the wedding event, but the actual marriage certificate will have to be signed by someone else who has the legal ability to do so.

Any time you have seen or heard of a Captain marrying a couple, it only means they were part of the ceremony, giving out a speech and creating a wonderfully memorable wedding by reading out a preset text. No legal involvement at all in that sense. In order to cover the legal side of a wedding, someone licensed to do so must be on board, or it can be done elsewhere, before boarding the ship.

Next, the invited guests. Already before Covid, it was difficult, if not impossible, to bring guests on board for such an event, if they were not actually sailing. I don’t need to tell you that post-Covid this has entered the impossible realm. Meaning, when making plans, you must take into account that everyone attending that beautiful event will have to actually sail on the cruise (and for the entire voyage, no partial sailings either). The only workaround would be to organize a land-based wedding ceremony, and have people fly in to attend it (a very popular site for such an event is Nassau, Bahamas).

a bottle of champagne

One of the main reasons an on-board wedding may sound like such a great idea is because you get to have a honeymoon right along the wedding! It will involve international travel, mostly unlimited drinks, and the endless fun that a cruise trip already entails.

If this is something you’d be interested in making a reality, make sure you allow plenty of time to plan things ahead, browse around what packages different cruise lines offer, and don’t neglect to get familiar with all the legal side of the wedding. Ultimately, doing your homework will pay off. After all, who wouldn’t be jealous of a couple who pulled off the perfect wedding aboard a cruise ship?! –ThatGuy

 

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

That Guy
That Guyhttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
That Guy works for one of the major cruise lines and has for most of his career. He shares his unique insights from an insiders perspective and gives you a view few cruisers ever see or even think about.

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