Same-sex marriages at sea – who will be first?

Same-sex marriages at sea - who will be first?

The race is on to conduct the first same-sex marriage at sea. Both P&O Cruises and Cunard Line announced today that they plan to provide ceremonies, as a result of a ruling by the Supreme Court in Bermuda, where their ships are registered.

P&O has already taken a booking from a couple who plan to wed on board Azura in the Caribbean in January. Cunard has a booking for November 2018, but hopes to receive further reservations within the next few weeks.

Ceremonies will be conducted by the ship’s captain or his deputy, and the marriage licence will be issued by the Bermuda authorities.

Cunard is the main sponsor of Southampton Pride this year and senior vice-president Simon Palethorpe said: “This is very welcome news for us and I am delighted that we have become one of the first British cruise lines to take a booking for a same-sex wedding. We look forward to welcoming this couple and many other couples too.”

P&O’s Paul Ludlow said: “I am delighted that, following the much-anticipated change in the legalities, we are now the first British cruise line to be able to arrange same-sex weddings on board.”

P&O Cruises’ Wedding at Sea package costs from £1,200 and includes the ceremony, flowers, photographer, Champagne, and – most importantly – an extra 5 kg luggage allowance per couple on fly-cruise holidays. Marriage ceremonies cannot be conducted on board Britannia, which is registered in London.

A Cunard wedding package costs from $3,400 (£2,570) on Queen Mary 2, or $2,800 (£2,115) on Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth. More than 250 couples have held their weddings on Cunard ships during the past five years.

Princess Cruises – also part of Carnival Corp – has revealed it intends to offer same-sex marriages on its 13 Bermuda-registered ships.

A company statement says: “We are working on developing a range of services and amenities to meet the needs of same-sex couple ceremonies and will release full information  shortly.”

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