Say ‘I do’ on the love boat

2012-02-14 00:00

WHILE some plan unusual Valentine’s dates others are planning a special wedding on board the MSC Sinfonia. This popular cruise ship is known for taking holiday-makers up and down the coast, but for some it is a romantic wedding venue.

Sinfonia cruise director Stephen Cloete says they handle up to five weddings per cruise and the events are extremely popular. “I guess it is because it’s an unusual venue and not many people go on a cruise too often, so it has a feeling of something spontaneous.”

Cloete says their on-board weddings are officiated by the ship’s captain unless a religious person is asked to perform the ceremony. But the ceremony is not a legally binding one, as the law states that any documents that are signed out at sea are not legally valid.

Cloete says often couples organise the legal documents at a magistrate’s office and then choose to celebrate the ceremonial part of the wedding on board as part of their honeymoon with a few guests, instead of having an elaborate traditional wedding.

He says the couples have to book their wedding in advance and they liaise with one of the wedding planners on the ship. The ship offers two standard packages for the couple which includes the décor, a wedding cake and the music and a ceremonial certificate for the couple.

The other thing that frequently happens is that romantics decide to renew their vows and they surprise their spouses with an impromptu wedding during the cruise. Although they arrange the event beforehand the unwitting spouse has no idea.

The actual wedding is a bargain at under R2 000, but there is the cost of the cruise in addition and the cost of floating your guests if you would like them along to celebrate.

“We like to make people happy and a wedding is always a joyous event on board. It has a ripple effect on those around them,” said Cloete.

Those of us old enough to have watched the series Love Boat, which guaranteed that love would magically happen on the high seas, might have those dreams on board the Sinfonia.

While the ship does not guarantee that love will happen, it does provide every opportunity for singles to have fun. They can tan on deck, boogy the night away at the disco and drink at pub night — and the object of your affection cannot really run away as he or she is stuck on board for at least the duration of the cruise.

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