I married the man of my dreams on Carnival Conquest on 04/04/04 while the ship was docked in port of New Orleans. We did the Welcome Aboard wedding package for 20 guests and one hour reception.
When we first arrived at the pier to check in luggage, one of the Carnival employees came over to check on our luggage. I told him that we had booked a wedding aboard the ship and that Carnival had not yet assigned us our cabin. The guy went inside and found our cabin number, he quickly came back with the correct color luggage tags for us. After I quickly filled out the luggage tags, he wisked our luggage away. Our wedding guests, my husband-to-be and I all went in to check-in at the wedding desk.
Soon after checking in at the wedding desk, I was introduced to the minister, Rick Dennis. Rick Dennis and his staff took over and everything went smoothly. I gave the wedding coordinator our ceremony music CD, cake topper, champagne glasses, unity candle and the wedding favors we had made (CD with our favorite love songs). She assured me they would be put into place. The minister went over the ceremony/vows which my husband-to-be and I had written.
We boarded the ship around 11:45 a.m. and were escorted to our cabin. We had been upgraded from ocean view room to balcony stateroom. The wedding coordinator told me she would be back in time to escort me to the Gallery where our wedding would be held at 1:30. It felt great to go outside on the balcony - two chairs and a small table. The balcony room was great - plenty of room.
The wedding party got dressed in our room and made their way down stairs to The Gallery area. My husband-to-be took a shower and got dressed in his tux. He was soon "kicked out" of the room by my best friend/Matron of Honor so I could get showered and dressed. My matron of honor, maid of honor and I had plenty of time to get ready for our 1:30 wedding. The wedding coordinator came to get us (Matron of Honor, Maid of Honor and me) and escort us down to The Gallery.
We (all female wedding party members) were told to wait just around the corner from The Gallery until time to start the processional. My husband-to-be and I had done our own wedding music and Carnival had someone to play the CD, fading the music at the appropriate times and moving on to next song. Also, Carnival's wedding coordinator helped coordinate the girls walking down the isle.
The music for the mother's seating began and they were escorted in. My mom and his mom lit the single unity candles and were escorted to their seats. My three flower girls were given their cue to start walking, the two Jr. Bridesmaids walked, Maid of Honor and Matron of Honor walked, now it was my turn. As I made my way (in my big white dress) to the doorway of The Gallery, I saw my husband-to-be and fought back tears all the way down the isle. He looked so handsome standing there looking at me as I walked down the aisle
The wedding went perfectly. We had written our own ceremony/vows. The minister was great. After the ceremony and recessional, we were told to come back in to sign the marriage license - this was a photo op also.
We were escorted to the Blues Piano bar for our reception. As we entered I could see a fabulous buffet which my wedding guests were enjoying. Then I saw the cake table. The cake was two-tiered with white icing. It was a beautiful cake and our cake topper was sitting on top like I had asked. Our champagne glasses were at hand and I saw the wedding CD favors were also set up as I had asked. Everything was going perfectly. Carnival's wedding photographer, Jason had already informed us to do the cake cutting and the champagne toast as soon as we entered so the photos could be done and then we could enjoy the reception. We did the cake cutting and champagne toast. The photographer stayed to get the best man's toast and the matron of honor's toast. Also he stayed and got pictures of our first dance. We choose Celine Dion's "Have You Ever Been In Love" as our first dance song. Our second dance song was "At Last" by Celine Dion (I know Etta James did the original but we like Celine's version better).
My new husband and I enjoyed a few (emphasis on few) bites of food in between dancing with family and friends. The one hour reception was great but it seemed like the time passed so quickly. We said goodbye to our non-sailing guests and followed the photographer to different spots on the ship to take pictures, lots of pictures.
After the pictures were done we went to our room to change into more comfortable clothes. Because both of us were so busy during the reception we realized we were starving and went to the Lido deck for a hamburger...best tasting hamburger ever since we were so hungry.
The ship set sail at 6 pm. Two days at sea, spent time exploring the ship during those two days. The 2nd day at sea we met with the ship's photographer to see our wedding pictures. The pictures were good but he started the pricing at $1200 with $200 discount so he was offering all the pictures, at canvas portrait and the disk for $1000. We wanted to think about it (wanted to wait til end of cruise). One of the formal nights was the 2nd night at sea. The food in the main dining room was great every night, we had 8 pm dinner seating. And the daily breakfast buffet in the Cezanne restaurant was really good.
3rd day of cruise we arrived in Jamaica, we did not do any shore tours because we wanted to do our own thing so we went into Montego Bay to do some shopping and then went to Margaritaville. Had a blast at Margaritaville - if you drink the "Incommunicado" drinks, make sure you can get back to the ship ok, those drinks are great but sneak up on you after a while...or maybe it was the free shots they were giving...
The 4th day was Grand Cayman - we did the StingRay Sandbar tour through Carnival, the 7:00 am tour. We were glad we chose 7 am because we were not crowded on our boat and we were the 2nd boat to arrive. The water was absolutely beautiful and swimming with the stingrays was wonderful. Because we did the 7 am tour, we had plenty of time to shop and have lunch at Hard Rock in Grand Cayman, food was expensive but hamburger was great and the hurricane's were really, really good.
The 5th day we were in Cozumel. We had opted (in advance of cruise) to rent a jeep (through Avis) and do our own thing. If you rent your own jeep, please find out in advance where your rental car agency is located. We came in on one pier and Avis was the other pier - only a three to five minute walk away but it took about ten minutes to find out where Avis was located. We picked up Jeep and spent the afternoon at Chankanaab (state park in Cozumel). Snorkeling there is great and the margaritas are strong but good. We went to Carlos & Charlie's for the afternoon, the Ice Blue drinks and the Mai Tai drinks were exceptionally good! There could be a long wait to be seated but it is well worth the wait, food and fun was really good.
The 6th day was day at sea, spent time relaxing and had to meet with the ship's photographer again to bargain for wedding pictures. We were able to bargain down to $500 for a little over half of pictures and the disk. Very happy with that price.
Link to view our wedding pictures from ship's photographer is:
(All one line)
On the 6th night, Saturday night, it was storming during the night as we sailed up the river towards port, only noticed a very slight rocking while at dinner Saturday night. We put our luggage in the hallway as directed. The crew collected the luggage during the night.
The next morning (Sunday - Easter Sunday) we woke up to rain in New Orleans. We went to breakfast and waited for our luggage color to be called. The color coding process works great for getting 2900 plus passengers off the boat. We found our luggage ok and began the process of trying to get it all loaded into our Explorer...thank God the rain let up and the luggage actually fit in the car.
Our overall experience with the cruise ship wedding, with The Wedding Experince (group that coordinated wedding and minister), the 7 day cruise/honeymoon, etc. - no regrets whatsoever and we can't wait to take another cruise! Even considering flying to Cozumel for a long weekend sometime in the future.
Carnival has the reputation for a "party atmosphere". The week we were on the Conquest was spring break for a large number of kids. While there were a lot of kids on the ship we did not have any problems with the kids being too loud or obnoxious. We enjoyed every minute aboard the Conquest and would definitely recommend it to anyone.
My brother and his fiancee attended our wedding (brother was a groomsman). They had not yet decided on how or where they are going to get married. After returning from our honeymoon, my brother and his fiancee have booked a May 22nd cruise on the Triumph from Miami and are getting married on St. Thomas during their cruise. I know they will have a blast just like we did.
My husband, a photographer is still going through close to 1400 digital pictures we took during our honeymoon on the cruise. Will add those pictures to our webshots site as soon as he is done editing the pictures.
I hope any future brides on the Conquest will find this review
useful and I will be glad to answer any questions.
Very Happily Married
Lesa and Bo Edgerton
Getting married on Carnival Conquest 04/04/04
New Orleans, LA
7 Day Western Carribean Cruise