Honeymoon Dreaming

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

About a year and a bit out from the wedding many of the big to-dos had been taken care of (venue/catering/lodging/DoC and my dress), my DIYs were coming along, but a lot of the fiddly details couldn’t really be started on yet. So I started dreaming about the honeymoon.

Yup, I’m totally obsessed about where we’re going and what we’ll be doing on the day after the wedding, and the day after that, and the day after that… You get the idea.

And the worst part of it? It’s not even my decision.

We decided from the beginning that Mr. Road Trip would be in charge of the honeymoon–budget, decisions, etc.–and I would happily take a back seat. That lasted about a year, apparently, when suddenly a switch flipped in my brain and I started stalking cruise schedules.

Because that’s what we figured we’d be doing: floating in the middle of the ocean, somewhere, with nothing to do or no where to go that we didn’t want to. We’ve done one cruise together, just before we started cohabitating, and to say it was bliss would be an understatement. So a cruise seemed the logical, wonderful choice.

Only thing is, we’re getting married on a Saturday morning and when do the best cruises leave? Riiiiight, on Saturday mornings. So that was out. There were a handful of Sunday embarkations, but that would mean driving all night or getting up REALLY early our first married morning and, well, that wasn’t ticking too many boxes on the appealing chart.

In fact, the best cruising options–aside from waiting a week to honeymoon, something neither of us were too keen on–hit on the Thursday after the wedding, out of the Tampa port. On the up side, we could take our time on Sunday getting up and getting going, but oh what would we ever do in Central Florida for 3 or 4 days.

That’s when I realized it’s been an awfully long time since I’d been to Disney World–and even longer for T.

So the wheels began to turn, 3 days in the parks, then off to a cruise for 4 or 5 days. Then I wandered over to the Disney Cruise site, just for kicks, to see if there was a similar cruise on the Disney Dream we could take instead of the Carnival option. And there was. And it seemed comparable.

But was it really?

Yes and no–the Disney cruise was 1 night shorter than the Carnival cruise, but gave us 2 ports instead of 1 (not that I give 2 pins about the ports, though Castaway Cay does sound like fun). There seem to be more activities on Carnival, but we didn’t do many of those anyway. Disney is a heavily-kid-oriented brand, but we’re kids at heart. We’ve cruised Carnival before, so there might be additional discounts available.

Oh, the decisions!

And then, when we started pricing out the Disney World side of things, the original wish-list was pushing things out of the budget comfort zone. Not good! Next thing you know we’re back to looking at Carnival, or maybe skipping the cruise and just doing a longer WDW stay as Mr. RT made an excellent point: we’ve done a cruise together, we haven’t done Walt Disney World.

So the obsession continued. I’ve renewed all my old Disney forum accounts (as many as I could remember) and pulled out my old guidebooks–most of which are from 2004 (my last trip was 2006). So much has changed, though, that there are tons of options to consider: Fl Resident’s Pass, 3  or 4 day passes, Weekday Pass? Value or Moderate? ADRs or go with the flow? Dining Plan or not? It’s enough to make your head spin, but to tell the truth I love it!

Still,  it was super-early and I managed to restrain myself from investing in current guidebooks until the 2013 Passporter was published because we could decide to do something completely different. As much as I’m dreaming of a relaxed, Disney-fied honeymoon complete with bride and groom mouse ears, the decision is still T’s. And I’m going to hold to that.

Bride Ears complete with tiara and veil | image via DisneyStore.com

Bride Ears complete with tiara and veil | image via DisneyStore.com


Tuxedo’d grooms ears | image via DisneyStore.com

All I ask is that he not “surprise” me with our destination at the last minute. A girls gotta know what to pack!

Did you leave the honeymoon decision to the groom?
How would you feel about a surprise destination? 

Wedding At Sea

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
2x2 grid of images of cruise ships

all images via stock.xchng (1,2,3,4) | photography by linder6580, coopgreg, taureq, OwnMoment

This “destination” wedding (well, really a multi-destination wedding) idea was another one we considered during the pre-engagement period where we could dream and theorize in private. While being “at sea” is usually a bad thing in a relationship–euphemistically speaking–when it means your world is on one ship with just about every whim catered to you, at sea sounds all right to me!

The Road Trips circa 2009 | Photography by Carnival Cruise Lines

The Road Trips circa 2009 | Photography by Carnival Cruise Lines

Mr. RT and I took a cruise vacation a few months before moving in together. Among other things, it was a nice trial run of sharing the same space 24/7 and–thankfully–we didn’t want to murder each other during or after the experience. We actually enjoyed being around each other constantly for a week. Score one for togetherness!

We loved the cruise, the floating resort-style vacation is exactly our cup of tea and we spent loads of time lounging in our room just chilling out and relaxing instead of feeling like we needed to be onthego all the time.

So what about a cruise wedding?!

The Pros:

  • Beautiful locations, just think of all the great photo ops!
  • Once you’re there, you’re there, and many of your needs are provided for.
  • It’s like a wedding and a honeymoon all in one!
There’s really something to be said for the idea of unpacking only once for a week spent travelling your chosen corner of the globe. And if you pick a port you can drive to, there’s virtually no luggage restrictions (this is great for bringing home souvenirs, just pack an extra duffle to carry them all home in so you don’t have to buy one in port–not that I’d know anything about that). The staff is very accommodating and, wow, do they love to spotlight the honeymooning couples for the shipboard activities.

The Cons:

  • In most cases, you can’t truly get married at sea anymore.
  • A cruise wedding can be price, between the wedding package plus your stateroom, and many don’t really provide a full reception, it’s more a cake and champagne affair.
  • Your friends and family are, effectively, on your honeymoon with you.

Ship’s captains lost the right to perform marriages at sea quite some time ago. These days you’ve got a couple of options: have a ceremony in your port of departure before embarkation or arrange (either through the cruise line or a private company) to have your ceremony on one of the port stops during the trip. The latter is a bit of a roll of the dice, though, as weather, mechanical failures or who knows what else could cause that particular port to be skipped or re-routed. For that reason in particular I’d suggest arranging a destination-port wedding with the cruise line as it’ll be easier to get a refund/rebook for the next port than if you use an outside company.

And speaking of bookings, the price of your ceremony package doesn’t always include the price of your stateroom, so you’re looking at at least two lump-sum fees, which may make this a less affordable option than previously thought. Some lines do offer discounts, however, if you’re booking a certain number of rooms (8 seems to be a common minimum), so if your friends and family are “on board” with the idea, you may all be able to benefit from the experience. Of course, if you’re more interested in a private honeymoon, having friends and family with you on the ship–no matter how big it is–might be a little too close for comfort by the end of the week.

So, while a cruise wedding was a fun idea at first, it didn’t make the final cut. But a cruise honeymoon–as cliche as it may be–could definitely be in the cards, right honey?!

(Seriously, we were <this> close to picking the Cruise Ship icon, we love them so much.)

Would you use your vacation time to go away on a cruise-ship wedding adventure as a guest?
And would you risk your wedding date being postponed or cancelled thanks to Mother Nature as a cruise-ship bride?