Getting Married on a Cruise: Advice for Catholics

 

Why Catholics can’t get married on cruise ships:

It has become somewhat popular (and profitable) for cruise ships to install chapels on their ships to rent out for weddings or arrange for weddings on a beach or other exotic location.

Although this can be a great romantic setting, we need to point out that Catholic priests are not allowed to perform weddings on board cruise ships. This is because a Catholic wedding is to be performed on consecrated ground (namely a church) and not in a non-denominational chapel or on the beach. And, in any case, you need to attend pre-cana or other preparations before a priest will perform the wedding.

If you do wish to get married while on a cruise, then your best bet is to make arrangements well in advance at a Catholic church at one of the ports of call that your cruise will be visiting.

However, you need to be aware that there are some ports of call where the ships do not actually dock but transfer passengers by tender to the shore. This is not quite the same as the bride arriving in the comfort of a limousine. So be sure you know if the ship docks at the port where you are considering the wedding and take all of this into consideration.

On rare occasions bad weather may require cancelling the port visit and all your plans will be ruined.

In short, for Catholics, getting married on a cruise is a pretty difficult under-taking. The logistics of an ordinary wedding on land in your own home town are difficult enough, without adding more to it.

One suggestion, if it works for you, would be to hold the wedding at the city from which your cruise departs and then take the cruise. For example an exotic location such as San Juan, Puerto Rico might be appealing for Americans, assuming that the air cost does not prevent some from attending. They don’t even need a passport.

Here are some Catholic churches near major cruise ports.

 

A final note: if there is a priest on the cruise he is free to bless marriages–whether you are newlyweds or long-time marrieds. However you need to be sure he is a priest in good standing as outlined on this web page.

We suggest you visit our page on Catholic wedding information

Sources:
1. USCCB.
2. Apostleship of the Sea

 

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