Vow renewal is a trend that is seducing couples of all ages. Adding nautical nuptials to your travels can be your passport to more romance; it can also be a spiritual endeavor that fosters deeper appreciation of your partner. It's also a novel way to celebrate your wedding anniversary, recapture your honeymoon or add sizzle to your intimacy.
Here's what's offered by some of the most popular cruise lines:
Carnival Cruise Lines
The "Fun Ships" offer standard vow renewal packages from $825, which include a ceremony performed by the captain, a certificate, a sparkling wine toast, a single rose for the bride and a matching boutonniere for the groom, a two-tier wedding cake, prerecorded music, a photographer and one 8x10 photo. (Additional photos are priced separately.) Amenities accommodate eight guests, including the couple, though additional guests can be added for $14 each.
The deluxe package, at $1,450, includes the amenities from the standard package, plus a reception with a one-hour open bar and hot and cold canapes. This package accommodates 20 guests, with additional guests each incurring a $30 additional fee. Carnival hosts more than 1,000 vow renewal ceremonies annually.
Vow renewals on Celebrity Cruises cost $595, and several hundred are performed each year. The Aisle to Isle package features a ceremony officiated by the cruise director, Champagne and cake for two, a single rose for the bride and matching boutonniere for the groom (floral upgrades available), one hour of photography service (photos purchased separately) and a personalized certificate.
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Couples can also opt for the more extravagant Love Knot package for $895, which includes a special nautical renewal ceremony officiated by the captain, gourmet breakfast delivered to the celebrants' stateroom, a petite bouquet for the bride consisting of three roses and matching boutonniere for the groom, recorded ceremony music and photography services (including one 8x10 photo of the couple with the captain, signed by the captain, and one 8x10 photograph of the ship).
Early booking is encouraged, as packages are limited in number. Ceremonies are only available on sea days.
On Cunard ships, renewals are conducted on an individual basis and appeal to a wide variety of passengers -- from couples on their honeymoons to those married for more than a half-century. The fee is $450, and all couples receive the ceremony and a special commemorative certificate signed by the captain, plus Champagne and flutes, a cake, a professional photographer, a silver-plated photo frame and photograph, and a bouquet and matching boutonniere (or two of either upon request). If the captain is not available for any reason, a senior representative of the cruise line will perform the ceremony.
Holland America Line
Couples can purchase a vow renewal package in advance through the Ship Services department or online once a voyage has been booked. This package includes a corsage for the bride, special invitations for any guests attending, dinner for two in the Pinnacle Grill and a photograph with a photo album, as well as a party with hors d'oeuvres, Champagne and wine served by the ship's wait staff.
When a Holland America ship docks at Half Moon Cay, the vow renewal can be performed ashore in a private chapel on the island. One group ceremony is usually held per voyage, and it's a more casual affair than the onboard celebration that is often held on Gala night. Champagne and cake are served after the ceremony, and each couple is photographed. They also each receive a keepsake photo in a souvenir frame.
Marella Cruises offers three packages -- Silver (£200), Gold (£250) and Platinum (£400). All packages feature a ceremony conducted by the captain or a senior officer, dinner at the captain's table, bottle of Champagne, sparkling wine toast, cake, a bouquet of flowers and boutonniere, and a photo. Plus, the couple also receives VIP seats at a show, a discount voucher for jewelry and watches, and a special announcement in the cruise newsletter.
The Gold package also comes with chocolate-dipped strawberries, flowers in the cabin, three pressed items per person, a handwritten card from the captain and a free meal at an a la carte restaurant. The Platinum package adds breakfast in bed with Champagne, afternoon tea in the cabin, dinner with a senior officer, 10 photos, an invite to a VIP event and spa treatment for the bride and groom.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian performs about 300 vow renewals a year. For $499, the vow renewal package includes a private ceremony performed by a ship officer, ceremony music, a single rose, a Champagne toast, a couple's cake, a commemorative certificate, an 8x10 portrait in an engraved frame and in-cabin sparkling wine, canapes and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Vow renewal packages aboard P&O are priced at £350 and feature a ceremony performed by the captain in a private venue -- with floral arrangements -- onboard the ship, a bouquet and matching boutonniere, traditional ceremony music, a bottle of Champagne and a pair of flutes, a single-tier cake, a professional photographer, your chosen photo in a silver-plated frame and a certificate. You can choose from three types of ceremonies: religious, civil ceremony or civil partnership.
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Paul Gauguin's $315 vow renewal package features a private Polynesian Blessing Ceremony on Motu Mahana, the line’s private island, hosted by the cruise director. Other perks include a congratulatory letter from the captain, an invitation to dine with an officer, an in-stateroom celebratory bottle of Champagne, an 8x10 photo, a cake, a box of chocolates, a heis (crown of flowers) for the couple and a deluxe flower arrangement.
Two vow renewal packages are available. For $225.99, the couple receives a ceremony, floral bouquet and boutonniere, commemorative certificate, bottle of Champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries, two Princess-engraved Champagne flutes, Godiva chocolates and a framed formal portrait of the ceremony. A massage or facial can be added for an additional $117.99 per couple.
The Deluxe package, for $499.99, includes the ceremony, plus breakfast in bed with a half-bottle of French Champagne, two waffle robes to take home, a 25-minute massage or facial per person, choice of in-cabin canapes or petits fours on a select evening and a personalized invitation from the captain to visit the bridge while in port.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Each renewal with Regent Seven Seas costs $470 and includes Veuve Clicquot Champagne, a reception cake, a box of Leonidas chocolates, a posy of flowers and a celebratory letter from the captain. The renewal ceremony is led by the captain and cruise director and can be performed at sea or in port, depending on the ship's working schedule. Requests should be made 90 days in advance of the voyage.
While Royal Caribbean doesn't offer vow renewal packages, a married couple can purchase any of the line's wedding packages and use that to celebrate their special occasion at sea. Wedding packages start at $1,950 and go all the way up to $5,600 (maximum of 50 people).
For an intimate celebration (just the two of you) or with up to 10 family members or friends, a couple can use the services of a pre-cruise wedding planner and onboard wedding coordinator to ensure everything goes smoothly. The ceremony is held at a private venue, with music, two-tier cake, a bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne, a one-hour photography session and commemorative certificate. Plus, enjoy mimosas, chocolate-covered strawberries and breakfast-in-bed in your specially decorated stateroom.
Rather than offer packages, Seabourn custom creates parties and events for individuals and groups based on special requests, and each vow renewal is different. In many cases, there wouldn't even be a fee for the vow renewal. While the staff will help you tailor an event to your liking, the captain is not available to perform vow renewals.
SeaDream Yacht Club
SeaDream's Romance Ceremonies can be an intimate affair -- with just the couple -- or one shared with family and friends. The Couple's Package, priced at $750, can be held at sunrise or during sunset on Bridge Deck 5.
In either option, the captain officiates the ceremony, which comes complete with flower arrangements and lapel floral, live music, a cake, a special certificate and a Champagne toast with the captain. Following the ceremony, the couple enjoys a Champagne breakfast (sunrise option) or canapes and Champagne cocktails (sunset option).
The Friends Package, at $85 per person (contact SeaDream for parties of more than 18 people), adds personal invitations and a large/cake or special dessert. For the sunrise package, the couple's breakfast will be replaced with pastries, coffee, Champagne or juice.
Private vow renewals are held at no charge on Silversea cruises and should be requested 90 days in advance. The captain or cruise director will officiate. Cake and Champagne are served, and each couple receives a certificate to commemorate the event. With enough advance notice, all kinds of special arrangements and decorations can be requested and are priced accordingly.
Windstar's $179 vow renewal includes the ceremony (officiated by the ship's captain), cake and bottle of Champagne. Only available on select dates, the package can be booked on all six of Windstar's ships. Wind Surf, with a capacity of 312, averages about 45 vow renewals per year.