Cash In on Weddings at Sea

written by | Posted on September 25th, 2012

Cunard

Photo courtesy of Cunard.

Weddings at sea can be a great way to add to your bottom line. The wedding packages themselves might not be commissionable, but these shipboard weddings can most definitely lead to multiple cruise bookings.

In fact, says Michelle Fee, C.E.O. and co-founder of Cruise Planners, American Express Travel, “With the growing interest and demand [of shipboard weddings], we recently launched Destination Weddings by Cruise Planners so that our agents can coordinate the travel as well as arrange for a professional event planner to execute all aspects of celebratory events.”

The professional event planner that Fee mentions is through a partnership with Imagine Weddings and Events, an international full-service wedding company. The partnership ensures clients can still enjoy their cruise, along with their shoreside wedding, while agent partners retain their commissions on both cruise bookings and destination wedding preparations. With all this interest in the marketplace, it’s no wonder more and more cruise lines are adding wedding programs to their list of offerings.

Cunard
Cunard Line, for example, began offering wedding programs this past spring, allowing one wedding per day on each ship. The line’s three ultra-luxurious ships offer lush accommodations, impeccable service and exquisite public spaces, making the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth—like their namesakes—truly majestic.

Starting at $2,500 with $575 license fee, the Cunard Wedding package has your clients covered. Above-and-beyond perks include a captain-officiated ceremony, wedding invitations and thank you cards for all sailing guests, priority check-in and luggage delivery, a complimentary pressing service for bridal outfits, a bridal escort to the wedding venue by one of Cunard’s signature White Star Bellmen and a Bride & Groom’s Champagne Breakfast in Bed.

Those who wish to enhance their ceremony and celebration can do so easily, with a lunch or dinner reception, live musicians, photography packages and spa services. For more information, call (800) 728-6273 or visit cunard.com.

Princess Cruises
Clients being married aboard a Princess ship will find it easy to choose from the three Tie the Knot wedding package options.

The perfect choice for couples with non-cruising wedding guests, the Tie the Knot Harborside package ($1,700) allows up to 10 non-sailing guests to board the ship for your clients’ onboard wedding (be sure to provide all names, dates of birth and driver license or passport numbers for all non-sailing guests; a birth certificate is required for children ages 16 years or younger). Meanwhile, guests can head for the nearest exotic garden or beach with Tie the Knot Ashore ($2,300), which couples the perks of a destination wedding with the benefits of a stress-free shipboard wedding. Or for an over-water ceremony, Tie the Knot at Sea ($2,255) pulls out all the stops—couples are married by the ship’s captain as they cruise through international waters.

To personalize your clients’ ceremony, a wealth of extra touches can be added on, from bachelor parties and bridal spa days to served receptions, a live band, ice sculptures or custom wedding cakes. For more information, call (800) 774-6237 or visit princess.com.

Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises
offers an array of ways for lovebirds to customize their perfect wedding. Your clients can start the celebration off right with a co-ed wedding reception, inclusive of hot and cold canapes and an open bar (from $32 pp). The bride can chatter with her gal pals during a Bridesmaid’s Tea Party, featuring delicacies and treats straight from the kitchen and bakery (from $18 pp), while the groom’s buddies wish him the best during a Cigar and Cognac party, with 1-hour premium open bar and a choice of fine cigars (from $28 pp).

Meanwhile, marriage ceremony options are just as extensive. Taking place while the ship is in port, Shipboard Weddings and Deck Weddings (both from $2,195)—think outdoor white canopy with flowing white sheer fabrics—allow your clients to invite non-sailing guests. Shoreside Weddings ($2,895) take the celebration to one of over 200 ports of call around the world, and after re-registering its entire fleet in Malta, Celebrity now offers Nautical Nuptials at Sea ($2,500), with captain-performed marriage ceremonies, special nautical vows,  two keepsake champagne flutes, two logo bathrobes, rose petals at turndown, fresh flowers in the stateroom and chocolate covered strawberries.

All rates are non-inclusive of license fees, which vary by destination and must be obtained by the couple. For more information, call (866) 535-2352 or visit celebritycruises.com.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in joining Cruise Planners-American Express Travel, visit cruiseplannersfranchise.com.