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|Is a Cruise Ship Wedding Right for You?
As a minister who has performed hundreds of cruise ship weddings, I feel that I have an unique and fact-based viewpoint on the subject. In the post 9/11 era, many things have changed that might make you want to reconsider whether a cruise ship wedding is worth the hassle that you, and your guests will have to endure to have your ceremony on a ship, as apposed to having a hassle-free, pre-cruise wedding.
Since the new restrictions have been enforced, I have had to explain to brides and grooms why their guests won't be allowed on board because they forgot to bring their child's, the flower girl's birth certificate, or for whatever reason, they weren't on the guest list. Some of them had traveled hundreds of miles, only to be turned back at the door of the terminal with nowhere to go. As the "Representative" of the company that booked their weddings, I, and my employees decided that it wasn't worth the humiliation and abuse we had to suffer from the brides, grooms and wedding guests to continue doing ceremonies on cruise ships.
Let me describe a typical experience you might have to endure with a cruise ship wedding: First, you, and your entire party will be asked to arrive by 10:30 AM, where you will be lined up outside the terminal. If it's hot, too bad, you'll just have to wait outside until they're ready to let you in. If you're not cruising, you'll be asked to surrender your ID, and be given a visitors pass, which you'll have to give back when you leave the terminal. Should any of your party lose it, it's a major Homeland Security issue, and you'll have to deal with it. Depending on how many Customs employees might show up, and if you don't have a Coast Guard inspection, you might actually board on time. If it's the first cruise of the season from your port, forget about it, it probably won't happen on time.
So now you're ready to board. The gangplank/boarding ramp might resemble a Habitrail for a hamster, long, and with lots of switchbacks. Elderly or handicapped members may or may not be able to get wheelchairs on time for them to board. Then you have to go through the bottleneck at the top as you actually get on the ship. After that you will be directed to the ceremony site, but if you're not cruising, you are not allowed to eat or drink before the ceremony.
If there are multiple weddings scheduled, you have a very narrow window of opportunity for that to happen. Should there be any delays due to a late arrival/disembarkation/Coast Guard inspection, you're out of luck. Sometimes there are as many as three weddings per cruise, and if the first one is late, then guess what.
OK, now imagining that you actually had your wedding on time, and everything went as scheduled, you now have to get your non-sailing guests off before you leave. As they leave they have to hand over their visitors pass. If little Johnny, or drunk Uncle Phil lost it, you have a problem. It's a Homeland Security issue.
When you take in account the hassle, parking costs, inconvenience, etc., wouldn't you just be better off with a pre- cruise wedding? Contact us for more info.
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