My husband and I are what anyone would call “planners”. Our budget has always been tight. So when we arrived at anniversary #23, our attentions went to a special planning for our silver celebration. We are not party people and we are very close with our immediate family members-seeing them all at least a couple of times during the week. So it was our desire to have a more intimate get-together. In plain language, we wanted to spend it alone.
We had been on a couple of Celebrity cruises and loved the pampering, the ship, ports (we happen to love the Caribbean), tours and people we met. Another cruise on one of the Millennium ships would have been a pleasure. However, we wished to see and do something different and it was the Princess line that wound up getting our business for this auspicious occasion. Plus, we heard they had a special anniversary renewal of vows package.
We chose to “re-marry” on our second night aboard. Two days early of our anniversary, but they explained there were already three other celebrations set for that evening.
In dealing with the wedding planner, we found out that on average she co-ordinated usually 10 weddings and up to 5 renewal of vows ceremonies during a sailing. Some were planned way in advance-such as ours. Others waited until the week before boarding. Most took place in the ships very lovely chapel. It holds up to 50 people. During our voyage, one couple opted to use the jogging lanes (they were closed that afternoon) overlooking the ocean. The captain oversees all the ceremonies. Depending on the package, the bare minimum is a beautiful bouquet for the bride, a boutonniere for the groom, flowers on the aisle and a photographer. For added fees, of course, you may have someone videotape the ceremony, a champagne toast and a framed photo of your choice. Actual albums are available for purchase, as well as the photos.
Here is a caveat on the photo department! Our package came with a framed 8 x 10 photo of our choice. When we went down to pick it out-no one knew what we were talking about! Thankfully, the lovely wedding planner came to the rescue and cleared up the mistake. Also, maybe it was our bad misfortune, but truly, all of the pictures were awful. We chose the best of the worst. In this case, that’s the only memory we will physically have of our lovely event. We did get a new “license”, which we also framed, once we returned home.
The captain did a very lovely job. Believe it or not, my handsome husband of a quarter century and I were more nervous than during the original vows! It was very romantic-it set up the tone for the rest of the trip. We had made reservations at one of the specialty restaurants. When the staff saw my bouquet, they asked if we were newlyweds! When we explained it was our 25th anniversary-they truly pulled out all possible stops and made the evening more special. The other diners came over and congratulated us.
Our daughter and son-in-law decided that a perfect gift was to order us a champagne brunch,served on the morning of our choice, in our cabin. It was a very nice way to spend the morning after the ceremony. The staff, still aware of it being a special occasion, set up the china and then left us alone.
We came back from our latest foray in the Caribbean with a new sense of romance and appreciation for our love.
Planning for our 27th anniversary began as soon as we arrived back at home. While we have nothing be wonderful memories from our time on the Princess line, we have still decided to return for our third cruise with Celebrity. We’ve always wanted to spend some actual time in San Juan, Puerto Rico. All of our prior cruises have started and ended in this beautiful port, that was the deciding factor for 2008.