Special Occasion Cruising
Are you celebrating a special occasion, or do you want to cruise to one? Ships are developing innovative ways to mark special occasions, cater to larger groups and intersect with major events.
Hip, hip hooray
If you cringe at the idea of waiters doing a conga line through the dining room towards you, holding aloft a birthday cake with sparklers, drop the hint to your loved ones that you want something more elegant. Princess passengers can customise a celebration package – the top-tier deal includes a bottle of Dom Perignon, champagne breakfast in bed, spa treatments, chocolates, canapes and an invitation to join the captain on the bridge.
For a child’s birthday, Disney Cruises can deliver a cake – available in a range of flavours – in the shape of Mickey Mouse.
Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a symbolic wedding ceremony at sea, harbourside ceremonies and destination ceremonies. Wedding planners can help organise bouquets and buttonholes, vows, music, photography, local marriage celebrants, a marriage licence and reception. Marry or renew your vows on board an elegant Cunard ocean liner and you can add live music from the onboard musicians. Celebrate afterwards in a space that suits the size of your party – Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 all have intimate spaces that accommodate just 10 guests.
Add a treat
Say it with flowers, chocolates, caviar or … an internet package. Cunard passengers can add treats to their cruise such as a dozen roses, a portrait session, fruit basket, spa credit, internet deals or even a teddy bear. Know someone heading off on a Silversea cruise? Give them a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal champagne, bathrobes, massages or credit they can spend on board. The truly extravagant can surprise a Crystal Cruises passenger with Tsar Imperial Ossetra caviar.
The more the merrier
It can be a headache to organise the little details of a big get-together – which is why more people are opting for a cruise for their family reunion, group holiday, milestone birthdays and anniversaries, weddings and vow renewals. Travel in a group of 16 or more and one person will sail free when you book with Cruiseabout plus enjoy other benefits such as fare discounts, private shore excursions, customised activities (such as scavenger hunts) and special dinners and cocktail hours.
For the Melbourne Cup, three P&O ships (Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl) and the Carnival Spirit sail around 8000 punters to the city each year. The three P&O ships offer fascinator-making classes, fashion parades and transfers to Flemington, where the line had its own VIP area – the P&O Cruises’ Lawn. Cruises that dock in Sydney Harbour for the New Year’s Eve fireworks are another popular special-event cruise.
Azamara Club Cruises offers voyages that coincide with the Monaco Grand Prix and the British Open each year. Those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the festive season can book a December voyage – in 2015, those who wanted to escape Christmas could sail out of Miami with Azamara on December 23, spend Christmas Day at sea and New Year’s Eve sailing through the Panama Canal. Those on board a Disney ship who want to embrace Christmas can add festive decorations or even a tree to their cabin.