Non Sailing Guests Experience

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#1
2 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
I am thinking about having my wedding on a RCL ship this fall on embarkation day. We anticipate that most of our guests will be non sailing guests. I am a little concerned about the length of the reception being only two hours (for the formal sit down luncheon). I am concerned that my non sailing guests may think it is too short or a bit rushed. I am little worried that my guests will be irritated about waiting around for things to start (i.e. waiting for customs to clear the ship and then waiting an hour or so for the wedding ceremony to actually start).

Has anyone that has had an embarkation day wedding receive negative feedback from their non sailing guests?
#2
Michigan
245 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
I'm glad you posted this. I'm on the Carnival Victory, and though a lot of our guests are sailing, we have a handful that are not. I would also like to know what past brides have felt about this experience!

I guess my line of thinking is...we are all headed to Miami, and spending at least one day together (some more) there before the wedding. It must be worth it to them to want to make the trip, even if it is for a few hours on the ship. My biggest concern is how bad they might feel after boarding, seeing how awesome this ship is, and not wanting to leave but having to. Talk about a total bummer for them.

I am expecting the day to I by in a blue though...hopefully my guests take a moment to enjoy it!
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#3
florida
325 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Here are my thoughts. For me it is immediate family, parents, siblings and their kids. So it is a chance for them to all get together. It is also an opportunity for them to see the ship and get excited to do a family cruise in the future. It is the experience of being on board and walking around. I have told everyone that although the reception is short, the wedding experience is over five hours. Being at the ship at 10:30 and not leaving til 3. They have a day to enjoy and be together. We are also doing dinner the night before so again time for the family to be together.
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#4
Canada
361 Posts
Joined May 2012
I agree with the last post FLGDOG. I have a handful of non cruising guests but its there choice to come knowing the ceremony and wedding will be not too long. But they are coming the night before and i am having a dinner the night before so i think it is worth it if they want to see you get married. Otherwise its only pictures and video that they will see. Also flights to florida are so cheap its really a mini vacation for them.
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#5
Boise, ID
536 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
We are trying to make sure we set the expectations for the wedding for BOTH the sailing and non-sailing guests. This is new for at least 99.9% of our guests so we want to be sure to help them make the most of the experience by eliminating any confusion about where to go and what to expect. I also hope that it helps us share our love of cruising even if they are not sailing.

We are sailing on the NCL Breakaway one year before our wedding and want to take advantage of the chance to gather information for our wedding (location, cruise terminal process, etc).

Can anyone share the feedback from their guests?
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Beachmonkey (aka Robert)

**Pictures from our 2013 Breakaway Cruise to Bermuda!** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBeVK...ature=youtu.be


Wedding Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2079834

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#6
IL for now... waiting for the day we can move back to CA or somewhere away from snow!!
1,793 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
We had a small wedding, 25 people, 13 sailing, 12 non. We didn't know how much time we would have with anyone sailing or not so we had a 'pizza and beer' party at the hotel the night before.

I was lucky the hotel let us use an inside/outside area to accommodate us since we didn't ask in advance. A lot of hotels have a banquet room they will let you use but you need to reserve it.

As for Day of...The sailing/non sailing guests get to explore the ship before the ceremony which can be exciting. Receptions fly by regardless if they are 2 hours or 6 hours, you just make the best of what you have.

I didn't get any complaints but it was mainly family.
#7
NYC/NJ
245 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
I'm about to have an embarkation wedding in 4 weeks and then it's just us two on the cruise. I'll post a review when I get back (and back to normal, hehe)! we're on Norwegian, but same thing... short ceremony and two-hour reception.
#8
1,192 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We had 15 sailing guests and 6 non-sailing guests, and we decided to not have a reception at all. 5 of our non-sailers (aunts*2/uncle/cousins*2) flew in the day before, and 1 (best man) flew in 2 days before to hang out w/ groom a bit. We all met up at the hotel the afternoon before, hung out in lobby some, had dinner together, hung out in lobby some the morning of the wedding, and car-pooled to the ship. Once on the ship they were able to walk around some, hang out together with other family members in the wedding venue, etc. Ceremony was pretty short, followed by cake + champagne + pictures. Were able to hang out for a good half hour or so after that before they had to leave.

4 of the non-sailers spent Friday afternoon and Saturday (wedding was Friday) touring Boston before flying home Sunday. 1 drove her rental car north to New Hampshire to hang out with an old friend for a few days before flying home. Only the best man flew home right after the wedding, but he'd flown in a day before everyone else and since we had paid for most of his plane ticket, his hotel room, his tux, food, etc. we didn't feel that bad about him not getting a long trip and long reception.

We chose what was best for us, told out guests up front what the options were and how short the wedding would be, and then let them choose what worked best for them, be it sailing with us, attending the wedding only, or not attending. There was a specialty restaurant dinner and a cocktail party later in the week for sailing guests somewhat in lieu of a reception, but I won't go into that here since this thread is about non-sailing guests
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#9
Long Island, NY
230 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Our non-sailing guests had no complaints. Well, actually 1 complaint, they all said they should have sailed. They didn't mind driving to the pier or wondering the ship before the ceremony. They all said they enjoyed the experience and still talk about the wedding every chance they get.
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Jul



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#10
Tampa, FL
898 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We had 30 non-sailing guests who all arrived before we did. Our bus arrived at 10:10. All of us were on the ship an hour later. Since the wedding was scheduled to begin at 12:45, we purchased Lido passes for the non-sailers.

Lunch was so good, three of the non-sailers actually booked at the port and joined us on the cruise. Not one guest complained about the wait or the shortness of the ceremony or reception, partly because most of them had been together for five hours.
#11
United States
36 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Originally posted by jul1221
Our non-sailing guests had no complaints. Well, actually 1 complaint, they all said they should have sailed. They didn't mind driving to the pier or wondering the ship before the ceremony. They all said they enjoyed the experience and still talk about the wedding every chance they get.
Our guests had the same complaint! We had the sit down luncheon as well (but through Carnival), and the food was amazing. We told our guests ahead of time how long the reception was going to be and what to expect on embarkation day. Like Jul said, the only complaint was that they wished they were going with us! Good luck on your big day!
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~Heather

Sailed! So far....
*Carnival Glory- Western Caribbean, 12.09.12 (Our Wedding Cruise)
#12
1,192 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by jul1221
Our non-sailing guests had no complaints. Well, actually 1 complaint, they all said they should have sailed. They didn't mind driving to the pier or wondering the ship before the ceremony. They all said they enjoyed the experience and still talk about the wedding every chance they get.
I had an aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins who attended my wedding as non-sailing guests last summer. My aunt did NOT want to cruise. She and one of the cousins are meeting my mom and me in Ft. Lauderdale in just over 3 weeks for a "just the girls" spring break cruise Cousin is a senior in college and her spring break just happens to be the same week as the school I teach at!
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Norwegian Dawn -- Bermuda -- June 2012 (Wedding Cruise Review)
Grand Princess -- Eastern Caribbean -- March 2012
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#13
Philadelphia
1,314 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
I had 73 non-sailing guests. Many of them had very long waits because they were coming from PA to NY and arrived early, thinking they would hit more traffic.

I didn't have anyone complaint to me, but I honestly don't think they would say anything even if they did feel it took too long to get onboard and then the reception was short.

The comments I got were more like they were happy it wasn't drawn out, they thought it was an unique experience, and they enjoyed how low key it was.
#15
Near Orlando but California Dreaming
14,047 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
I've been a non-sailing guest on two cruise line weddings now, one on RCCL and one on Carnival. (Don't ask me which ships, I truly haven't a clue but neither was one of the newer super mega ships.)

In both cases we arrived at the port about 20 minutes prior to when we had been told to arrive. They took our passports to make sure we'd get off before the ship sailed.

We had to kill about an hour between when we got on board and when the wedding began, we walked around the ship a bit then had a drink at the bar. They did take our credit card as payment, by the way, as we didn't have a ship ID.

The Carnival wedding ceremony was nicer than the RCCL one. The RCCL ceremony seemed somewhat rushed, and we all felt like they were going through the motions. Both had a sit down dinner in a corner of one of the dining rooms after, with cake. The food was OK but not great at both. The Carnival cake was better. Neither of them were held in an actual chapel. The RCCL wedding was held in a bar with a lot of natural light through some floor to ceiling windows on one end of the ship, the CCL wedding was held in what seemed to be a banquet/meeting room.

The entire thing lasted a little over three hours before we were hustled off the ship in both cases.

I can't say that it my favorite way to attend a wedding, but it was fine. We expected the whole thing to be short and sweet, and we were glad that we were able to see our friends get married. That's the whole point, right?
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Past Cruises...
August 2002--Disney Magic Eastern Caribbean
October 2005--RCCL Mariner Western Caribbean
October 2011--Disney Dream Bahamas
June 2012--Windstar Wind Surf Back-To-Back, Rome to Venice to Athens
April 2014--Paul Gauguin to French Polynesia

Three weeks in Europe (two on a ship) with a 20" roll aboard and a tote bag--packing list here.

My all in a 20" wheeled bag for a warm weather cruise packing list here

20" rolling bag packing list for two weeks in a cool/cold climate here.
#17
Hudson Valley, NY
224 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We had 40 non sailing guests and they all really seemed to enjoy the wedding. It was a brisk pace but never felt rushed. I do recommend keeping your ceremony very short and sweet -- that gives you more time with your guests. ( seriously our whole ceremony including two readings was 10 min -- that's plenty!)
Quite a few guests told us our wedding really was fun and unique -- something different from your average banquet hall affair.
And the open bar at the reception didn't hurt!


Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app
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#18
Pittsburgh, PA
2,143 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
We received nothing but great feedback from our non-sailing guests. Make no mistake; all of those who didn’t sail with us were totally bummed when it was time for them to get off this ship. Even those who didn’t sail made a nice long weekend out of the trip. Everyone hung out at the hotel pool that Friday afternoon until around dinner time. The hotel provided a shuttle for us to one of the local seafood places. Afterwards, we all hung out at the hotel pool bar where there was a band that played that night. Then the next day, there wasn’t much time waiting for the ship to clear, and we were the first ones onboard the ship. The non-sailing guests had time to explore the ship for a while on their own before everyone met at the ceremony location. After that, our wedding coordinator led us to the disco for the reception. The guests were allowed to stay onboard until about 3:30 at which point they were forced to leave. Most non-sailing guests had never been on a cruise ship before, and didn’t know what to expect. Once they were onboard, no one wanted to leave. I was told that after the shuttle picked them up once they debarked; the non-sailing guests enjoyed hanging out at the hotel again that night together, before heading home the following day.
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Carnival Fascination - 5/9/98 Southern Caribbean
#19
Near Orlando but California Dreaming
14,047 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Double post
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Past Cruises...
August 2002--Disney Magic Eastern Caribbean
October 2005--RCCL Mariner Western Caribbean
October 2011--Disney Dream Bahamas
June 2012--Windstar Wind Surf Back-To-Back, Rome to Venice to Athens
April 2014--Paul Gauguin to French Polynesia

Three weeks in Europe (two on a ship) with a 20" roll aboard and a tote bag--packing list here.

My all in a 20" wheeled bag for a warm weather cruise packing list here

20" rolling bag packing list for two weeks in a cool/cold climate here.
#20
Arizona
282 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
Like others, I figure that the actual wedding & reception may be short, but the overall experience is lasting a couple days. For mine, everyone is coming from out of town (most people are about 1,000 miles away from port), so they are all turning it into mini vacation in New Orleans. We figured that would happen since it is a good trip destination. I think we have about 20 sailing and about 10 non-sailing guests. For the non-sailing, most are coming in a few days early and/or staying a few days after to vacation. A couple of them have family in the area that they haven't seen for many years that they plan to visit with. Wedding is on Sunday, but most of our guests are coming in on Friday. So I figure that we will likely get together on Saturday with everyone for dinner or something... or maybe to do some sightseeing together during the day. But, even just for the wedding day, the overall experience with everyone spending time together is about 5 hours. So, that's in line with a typical wedding, but for ours they just won't spend it all drinking and dancing.
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Carnival Fascination - Dec. 2009
- Jacksonville, FL to Key West & Nassau

Carnival Dream Wedding Cruise - June 22-29, 2014
- New Orleans, LA to Cozumel, Belize, & Isle Roatan