Want to tie the knot in a beautiful place, with all of your family and friends, but without all of the hassle? Try getting married on a cruise.
Cruises offer all kinds of services and can help the bride and groom plan a perfect wedding. Depending on the ship and the package, cruiseline wedding packages can include: a ceremony in a wedding chapel, officiant's fees, assistance in obtaining a marriage license, music, tuxedo rentals, flowers, a wedding cake, a photographer and food, said Loretta Merry, general manager of A Cruise Loft, the cruise branch of All Horizons Travel in Los Altos. Merry specializes in helping customers pick and plan cruises.
"Most of the cruiselines have a wedding planner and a wedding chapel on board," Merry said. "Depending on the ship and destination, it can really be a savings. The minimum cost would be $1,500 or so." The less expensive destinations for Los Altans would be the Mexican Caribbean and Alaska due to their close proximity, she added.
"The most important thing is the couple's budget and their taste," Jones said. "It's important to get a professional to help you match your budget and tastes with a particular cruise."
There is strength in numbers, however. On some cruises, if 15 people in the wedding party paid full adult fares, the 16th fare would be free.
"The larger the group, the more bargains we can get for them," said Maureen Jones, president of All Horizons Travel. "Bargains can include things like extra amenities, shipboard credit, shore excursions and things like that."
Another perk for the cruising couple can be the entertainment for their guests, including young children and teens.
"The Las Vegas-style shows are wonderful, but there are so many different types of shows going on," Merry said. "There are programs on the ships for ages 1 to 18. On some of the bigger ships they even give parents and kids walkie-talkies so they can keep in touch."
Another benefit of having a cruise wedding is the food. The cruiselines cater to all kinds of tastes, with as many as 10 different restaurants on the newer ships, Merry said.
"It used to be there were two dinner seatings," Jones said. "Now you can eat what you want, whenever you want. They also have meals for all kinds of diets - low sodium, vegetarian, whatever you may need."
Newlyweds can sail right on into their honeymoon.
For more information about cruises, call A Cruise Loft, 917-0252, or All Horizons Travel, 941-5810.