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Getting married at sea offers all the romance you could imagine—the backdrop of the open ocean, the exotic port locations, the built-in honeymoon—it’s really no wonder so many couples choose to tie the knot at sea.

If you’ve recently gotten engaged (congratulations!) and are looking into celebrating your wedding on a cruise, there are a couple of things you should decide before saying “I do”.

Whether you want to organize a destination wedding at an international port, or hold an intimate ceremony onboard with a handful of guests, here’s everything you need to know about getting married at sea.

Can you get married at sea in international waters?

Couple kissing on the aisle of Celebrity wedding venue

Some couples decide to tie the knot at one of our port destinations, but if you want to explore the possibility of getting married on a Celebrity Cruises ship while sailing in international waters, then you’ll have to obtain a marriage license from Malta.

Why Malta? In order for a wedding ceremony at sea to be legal, ceremonies need to be conducted under the laws of the country in which the ship is registered, and all of Celebrity Cruises ships are registered in Malta.

Therefore, if you decide to get married at sea, our team will happily assist you with the process of getting a license from Malta during the planning stage of your wedding.

How much does it cost to get married on a cruise ship?

The cost of getting married on a cruise ship will vary depending on the port destination where you decide to tie the knot. On our Celebrity Weddings and Events site, you can search all of our wedding port options and find out important information including estimated pricing (for both shipboard and on land weddings), marriage licensing requirements, and venue options.

Newly-wed couples with bridesmaids and best man on deck of Celebrity

Getting married on board offers all the benefits of a destination wedding without any of the inconveniences.

Most of our wedding and event packages include essentials such as an indoor or deck venue for ceremonies, reserved indoor area for receptions with food and beverage service, floral arrangements for the couple, cake and champagne, and a photographer.

Once you’ve decided what kind of wedding you want to have, our event managers will help you choose the right location and package tailored to what’s most important to you and your partner, making sure your wedding on a cruise is a stress-free endeavor.

Can you get married at sea by a ship’s captain?

Captains of Celebrity

Most wedding ceremonies on a cruise ship are performed by a notary public in the United States and a non-denominational officiant in international ports. However, if you’d like your ceremony to be officiated by a ship’s captain, then you’ll need to get married while sailing international waters.

Ceremonies at sea officiated by the ship’s captain abide by the laws of the country where the ship is registered. To get married at sea on a Celebrity Cruises ship, you’ll need to obtain a Maltese wedding license beforehand.

Also, if you’re getting married at sea by a ship’s captain, your wedding ceremony can’t be held on embarkation day or night and will need to take place between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in order for the ship’s staff to be able to properly perform their duties.

How do you plan a wedding on a cruise?

If you decide to get married on a cruise, Celebrity Cruises will take on the wedding planning for you.

Newly-wed couple with bestman and bridesmaids on Celebrity

To kick off the process, you can start by familiarizing yourself with the various wedding and event packages that we offer on our Celebrity Weddings and Events page.

Then, research different wedding ports and compare details, such as pricing and marriage licensing details, before making your selection.

Once you’ve chosen your wedding destination, search for available dates and times, fill out a request form, and one of our event managers will contact you to start the wedding planning process.

From there, Celebrity Cruises will take care of all the details, so you and your partner can sit back and relax until embarkation day.

Read: How to Plan the Perfect Honeymoon Cruise

Do cruises have wedding planners?

Couples getting married on a Celebrity Cruises ship will have access to both our Event Managers and Wedding Coordinators.

Wedding venue and setup on Celebrity

Event Managers help with all the planning required before boarding your cruise. They’ll answer any questions, help narrow down your venue choices, assist with bookings, help secure the proper documentation required for your ceremony, and more.

Wedding Coordinators are your point of contact during your cruise and will help guide you throughout the course of your wedding day to make sure your celebration goes off without a hitch.

What is the best cruise to get married on?

Couple sitting on white sand beach

The best cruise to get married on all depends on what you want for your wedding ceremony and reception. Whether you want to tie the knot in Italy while on a cruise around Europe, or get hitched on board with the captain as your officiant, we offer plenty of unforgettable experiences and over 200 destinations that are sure to appeal to any couple.

Choose a romantic cruise itinerary that includes a stop in one or several honeymoon hotspots such as Hawaii, the Bahamas, or the French Riviera.

Onboard, you and your loved one can experience wine tastings, award-winning shows, and cozy picnics in the Lawn Club.

Do my guests have to be on a cruise in order to attend my wedding?

There are certain occasions when guests can board a cruise ship and celebrate your wedding with you even if they aren’t passengers. In order for non-sailing guests to be allowed to attend events onboard, your wedding ceremony and reception have to take place in one of our embarkation ports on sailing day.

Couple getting married at sea with Celebrity

That being said, part of the fun of having a wedding on a cruise is the opportunity for you and your wedding guests to enjoy all of the perks of traveling with Celebrity Cruises. Not only can you celebrate your wedding together on board or at one of our many port destinations, but family and friends will also be able to enjoy fine dining, fun activities for the kids, and world-class entertainment during their trip.

It’s the ultimate stress-free, all-inclusive wedding experience for everyone.

Browse Bachelorette Party Cruises

Can same sex marriages be performed at sea?

Gay couple smiling after getting married at sea

Celebrity Cruises captains are able to officiate legally-recognized same-sex weddings while in international waters. When you get married while sailing in international waters, the ceremony abides by the laws of the country where the ship is registered.

Malta officially legalized same-sex marriages in 2017, therefore same sex partners are now able to tie the knot while at sea on Celebrity Cruises. Same-sex marriages can also be conducted on land in countries where they are legally recognized.

How can I plan a proposal on a cruise?

If you’re looking for a special and memorable way to ask someone to marry you, Celebrity Cruises also offers proposal packages to help you pop the question at the most unexpected moment.

Couple eating dinner

Arrange the perfect proposal with packages that include reserving a secluded table for two in one of our specialty restaurants onboard, securing a photographer to be on hand and take engagement photos right after your partner says yes, decorating a stateroom with sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, and sending a gourmet breakfast in bed the morning after the proposal.

You’ll also have the option of having an Event Manager or Event Coordinator to consult with before and during the cruise to make sure everything is set up perfectly for your proposal.

Ready to start planning your dream wedding or proposal on board? Visit the Weddings page on our website and find out more about Celebrity Cruises wedding packages and destinations. Leave the planning to us and we’ll make sure to take care of every detail— all you’ll need to worry about is saying “I do” when the time comes.

Free Vacation Planning Services

Free Vacation Planning Services