From scuba to sky dives, lines floating unconventional unions

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While cruise lines offer myriad wedding package options, the common denominator is usually a beach-side marriage ceremony. Looking to sniff out more nonconformist nuptials, TravelWeekly.com asked travel agents to name the most unique and exciting ways to get hitched that cruise lines proffer.

Carmelita Patricola, owner of Travel by Carmen in Dumont, N.J., suggested being married at sea by a Princess Cruises captain. Princess is the only cruise line that can marry couples at sea, because their ships are flagged in Bermuda.

The lines onboard wedding chapels feature a Wedding Cam that carries the ceremony live on the Internet so that a couples friends and family back home can view the event online.

Patricola, along with Sheri Richer of The Cruise Shop in Naperville, Ill., suggested another, icier option from Royal Caribbean International.

Take an Alaska cruise and while in port, take a helicopter to the top of a glacier, said Richer, referring to the lines shore-side, glacier-top marriage option in Juneau, Alaska, which starts from $2,000.

Interestingly, and counterintuitively, Royal Caribbean offers a rain forest-garden wedding option in Juneau, as well.

For the second-marriage set, Chuck Maidia, president of All Seasons Travel in Jacksonville, Fla., suggested Disney Cruise Line ships, with cabins that can connect four to five people, are the places to tie the knot -- especially if kids are coming along.

Children and parents can stay together at first, and then -- after a wedding ceremony on Disneys private island paradise, Castaway Cay -- the newlyweds can honeymoon in one room while their kids bunk together in the other.

This is a very symbolic joining of the two families, Maidia said.

Lois Shore, senior vice president of sales, marketing and public relations for Ensemble Travel Group in New York, said that retailers specializing in active vacations can arrange unusual weddings at sea coordinated to clients interests -- including underwater weddings for scuba divers and, for the more daring, a midair ceremony while parachute jumping.

Clergy or judge included, Shore added. 

The consensus seemed to be that if clients want to tie the knot on a cruise, they should do something they wouldnt do at home.

But then there are travel agents who suggest not getting married on a cruise at all.

I suggest brides get married at home and enjoy a honeymoon to the destination of their choice, said Jeanine Flaugher, owner of Flowers Travel in Belleville, Ill. Getting married in some crazy way at some crazy place is not always a winner. And its forever.

To contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].

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