Many people first saw a cruise ship -- The Pacific Princess -- during the 1977-1987 run of "The Love Boat." The show, which aired on ABC on Saturday nights back when there were only three television networks, gave fans an idealized view of the romantic prospects for people on a cruise.
"Love Boat" offered a steady stream of well-known guest stars who were either playing newlyweds, people who fell in love onboard, and passengers who flirted with the better-looking members of the crew. It was fantasy mixed with a lot of reality as to what cruising looked like in the late '70s through the '80s.
Dinners were more formal than you see on a typical Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report or Royal Caribbean Cruise (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report right now, and the ship itself was modest by today's standards (it carried about 600 passengers). Those passengers, however, did one thing reliably -- they fell in love -- sometimes even getting married onboard.
That led cruise ships to become wedding destinations. People loved the notion of getting married at sea. "Love Boat" inspired that, and it's an idea that endured long after the show ended (and various reboots failed).
Weddings at sea, however, were something that Carnival had not brought back as part of its return to sea after its pandemic shutdown.
Now, that has changed and Carnival has plans for both weddings and vow renewals at sea.
Carnival Brings Back Weddings (But Not Quite Yet)
Since it restarted in July, Carnival has worked to return its operations to normal. The cruise line has struggled with staffing issues and has even had to close one of its signature restaurants and make other changes due to problems related mostly to the U.S, government being slow in processing the visas needed for crew to work.
That's why weddings and vow renewals will return on Carnival ships, but not until September.
“For decades, Carnival has been the leading wedding operator in the cruise industry, so we are very excited to restart our wedding program for our guests who have been longing to celebrate their nuptials on board our ships,” said Operations Vice President Jeremy Schiller.
“Creating special memories for our guests is what we do, it’s who we are, and the time to help them live out the weddings of their dreams is back!”
Carnival has not offered weddings onboard since it was forced to shut down operations in March 2020.
Carnival Offers Unique Weddings
Disney offers a number of venues in its theme parks for weddings and will marry people on its Disney Wish cruise ship. The theme-park giant also offers a line of wedding dresses inspired by its cartoon princesses.
And while Carnival does not offer its own line of dresses, it does allow couples to plan their own dream weddings.
Carnival’s wedding and vow renewal offerings are expansive, giving guests the opportunity to make memories that last a lifetime with a ceremony as unique as the couple. With the help of Carnival’s dedicated team of trained wedding planners, guests can choose from ceremonies at sea aboard a Carnival ship; on embarkation day, allowing them to invite guests who are not sailing and can debark after the ceremony; and even at select port of call destinations.
The cruise line lets people who book weddings pick everything from music to decor and photo packages. It also matches the people planning the wedding with the Weddings by Carnival team, which can plan everything from intimate celebrations to large gatherings.