My fiance and I are planning a June 2002 wedding on St. Thomas. We will be traveling with approx. 20-25 guests. Please give us any suggestions you may have regarding which line/ship as well as hints on how to get the best rates. Thanks so much in advance!
After you have read Donna's messages, contact several cruise only or travel agents who have considerable "group" cruise experience. This would be my first questions; "How many group cruises have you booked last year?" There is a lot of work organizing a group cruise and many details for your wedding to follow through with. You want to be very comfortable with an agent. Major Travel Agencies to call: American Express, Carlson Wagonlit, Galaxsea Cruises, CruisesInc., MyTravelco, CruisesOnly, etc. Narrow you choice down to 2 or 3 agents then let them give you group quotes for the same ship and dates. Watch for their comparitive pricing, how much additional information they provide for you, will they consider cruising with you to make sure everything goes smoothly. Twenty five people equals approximately 13 cabins; for every 8 cabins, you should be able to get one berth free or have this amount pro-rated and subtracted from the total price. Example, if 16 cabins (32 people) are booked, one cabin would be free possibly for the Bride & Groom. This is of a general rule and can vary by cruise line. The new Princess mega-ships have a wedding coordinator and chapel on board. RCI ships are great for the whole family. Best of Luck
Look into Royal Carribean's Explorer of the Seas or the new Adventure of the Seas. Both ships go to St. Thomas. These are THE biggest cruise ships in the world. There is something for everyone in your party.
There's another option to consider, too. The wedding chapels aboard MV Grand Princess and MV Golden Princess would be ideal for a wedding with about two dozen guests. If you prefer, the captain can perform the ceremony while the ship is at sea. Princess has made proper arrangements to ensure that it's legal.
Teresa, we did the same thing recently and here is what we learned
1) Be carefull about the wording in a group contract. If the price on the cruise goes down you want them to lower your rates as well. You do not want to hear them say 'well, you have a group contract and we can't'. Rates fly all over the place, leave your options open. As for the 'free' cruise per 8 cabins, that is usually given at the worst room category and you still have to pay port fees so it really isn't that much.
2) Look at getting off the boat for the wedding, the cruise lines are just there to make money and the rates are expensive. You will be on the boat for 7 days, goo someplace fresh and st. Johns/Thomas has great locations and good planners.
good luck to you and enjoy