Posted June 16th, 2012, 04:11 PM
We took this same cruise (Boston to Bermuda on Norwegian Dawn) last summer and had planned to go back on the cruise this summer before we decided to get married on it. We and our guests booked through a small travel agency run by a friend of mine that has booked my last 4 cruises. She made the booking process very easy since we never had to deal with reminding our guests to book/pay/print docs/etc. She also handled most of the communication about our wedding preferences, group perks, etc. I had a few e-mails and one phone call directly with The Wedding Experience and all questions were answered promptly. They were very nice about my cousin's last minute change of license number and everything I requested ahead of time (only a couple of things) was done exactly as I asked.
A total of 23 people (17 sailing, 6 non-sailing) were in our group. 19 of us stayed at the Hyatt Place Medford the night before. It was clean, had big rooms, was very reasonably priced on hotwire, and had free breakfast, parking and wifi. 5 family members flying in from Dallas had their flight cancelled and ended up having to fly to New York and drive a rental car to Boston in the middle of the night, so things got off to a rocky start but everyone made it!
We were told to be at the terminal by 10:30 a.m. and everyone arrived a bit early. Those of us who stayed at the same hotel the night before carpooled in our 2 cars which we left in the garage for the week and rental vans driven by very helpful aunts and uncles who were non-sailing guests. We were met promptly by our wedding coordinator and wedding officiant who helped our non-sailing guests get their passes and led us through priority check-in. We waited a short while in an area with folding chairs until the ship was ready to board. During this time we went over our preferences for vows and other logistics with the officiant. He offered both religious and non-religious options and both he and the wedding coordinator were very easy to work with.
They had to escort our non-sailing guests directly to the wedding venue which was the Star Bar, although they were allowed to leave that location after being dropped off -- just had to go there first. They did allow our non-sailing best man to go directly to our cabin. Both our cabin and my MOH's cabin were ready for us to use for changing as requested. The guys and our flower girl went to the wedding venue and were given some instructions by the officiant before the coordinator came to the cabin to pick up me and my MOH.
Our photographer Emilie (the photo lab manager) was waiting for us when we arrived at the venue, and had already taken some photos of everyone who was there before me. She was very nice and got lots of great pictures.
The ceremony itself was short and simple, just as we wanted. They had 2 pillars with flowers on top on each side of the room, with a table we added flameless candles and a silk flower arrangement to in between. There was also a table for the cake which we added flameless candles and our own toasting glasses and personalized napkins to. We had the 2 layer cake and I thought it looked very nice. It was decorated more elaborately than I'd expected and I think it would have been difficult to add a cake topper to if we'd wanted to, so let them know ahead of time if you're bringing one.
After the ceremony we posed for cake-cutting photos then had our coordinator cut the cake. Emilie took us outside for a few photos on the deck while others had some cake and champagne. We had the option of having her take us around the ship for photos, but we chose to have just a few taken in one location and then have a lot of family pictures taken as well as one with our whole group together. We chose not to have a reception, so this was the end of our formal wedding events. The non-sailing guests had about 30 minutes to hang around and chat afterward. We were told they were really supposed to leave immediately, but since we only had 6 they were pretty easy going about it. This gave plenty of time for the guys to change out of their tux's and give them to my non-sailing uncle to return for us.
Since we didn't have a reception, we pre-booked and paid for seats for all of our sailing guests to have dinner at Teppanyaki on the first sea day. Norwegian was having a promotion giving a free bottle of house wine for each couple of reservations for 5:30 and 6:00 in the specialty restaurants all week. This was not supposed to apply to pre-booked groups reservations but they either didn't know or didn't care and we got 8 free bottles of wine. The food was great and everyone had a good time.
We used our 8 cabin group perk to get a cocktail party on the last afternoon at sea. It was 1 hour of open bar and happened to be in the same venue our wedding had been in. All of our guests seemed to enjoy getting together for a little while at the end of the trip. They had trays of bahama mamas, red wine, white wine, and sparkling wine poured and waiting for us, and were happy to get anything else anyone asked for.
Emilie called and we arranged a time and location to meet on a sea day to view our pictures. She had reserved a conference room so we had plenty of private space to look at the pictures with our family. She set them up as a slide show on her computer with nice music in the background and had planned to hook it up to the large TV but that didn't work so we just watched on her computer. After the slide show was over she explained all of our options for purchasing photo albums (about $300-550 depending on size/number of pictures), individual prints ($15 5x7s and $25 8x10s), and a DVD with digital copies of all of the pictures ($750 for ~200 pictures). She also brought with her 4x6 prints of all of the pictures so we could sort through them after the slide show and make our choices. We and our parents quickly decided that choosing would be too hard to we got the DVD and split the cost. My Mom asked if we could also keep the 4x6s since she was just going to throw them away anyway and Emilie said that if we bought the DVD we could keep those too. We were very happy with the pictures and the way they were presented to us.
We and all of our guests had a great time and we're so glad we decided to get married this way. With family coming from all over the country and no one still living where we grew up there wasn't really a "home" to go back to to get married, and this worked perfectly for us. If we had it to do over I'd do things exactly the same.
We did put together OOT bags for our guests. They were cloth tote bags that held personalized plastic water bottles, playing cards in personalized cases, tissues, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, SPF lip balm, Shout wipes, pens, note pads, and umbrellas (it rained in New England pretty much every day the week before our wedding and these were a last minute addition). I saw people using everything except the umbrellas, because fortunately the weather got much better just in time for our wedding.
If anyone has any questions just let me know and I'll be happy to answer. The cruise was fantastic, we love Bermuda, and will probably take another cruise there within a few years.
Norwegian Dawn -- Bermuda -- May 2018 (Baby #2's First Cruise!)
Norwegian Breakaway -- Bermuda -- May 2016
Norwegian Star -- Western Caribbean -- March 2016
Norwegian Epic -- Western Caribbean -- January 2015 (Baby's First Cruise!)
Norwegian Gem -- Bahamas and Florida -- May 2013
Caribbean Princess -- Southern Caribbean -- March 2013
Norwegian Dawn -- Bermuda -- June 2012 (Wedding Cruise Review
Grand Princess -- Eastern Caribbean -- March 2012
Norwegian Dawn -- Bermuda -- July 2011
Norwegian Star -- Alaska -- May 2010
Norwegian Dawn -- Western Caribbean -- March 2010
Majesty of the Seas -- Bahamas -- June 2004