Renewing vows on a Princess love boat

Hubby and I had booked a cruise on a Princess ship last February not even realizing that our time at sea included Valentine’s Day. The price was right, and the ship sailed from Galveston, just a four-hour drive from our home. And we knew it would be a wonderful, relaxing week away from routines.

Cruising on Princess in the Western Caribbean

So when February 14 arrived we were surprised but pleased to learn that couples could participate in a renewal of vows that evening. Why not, we decided, even though we didn’t have a clue what to expect. But Princess is the original Love Boat (remember the old television series?), so we looked forward to a fun—and hopefully romantic–event.

We arrived in the Grand Piazza at 9:30 p.m. where hundreds of couples gathered for the ceremony. Hosted by cruise director Lisa Ball, passengers from all walks of life stood with their spouses or partners and listened as she read scriptures from Corinthians, chapter 13–love verses which are often recited at wedding ceremonies.

Vocalists sang romantic songs, and Lisa read vows that participants repeated reaffirming their commitment to each other. Then couples embraced or kissed as white, pink, and red balloons dropped from the ceiling and added to the festive nature of the event. Many couples stayed and danced to soft, romantic music.

Special Valentine’s Day cake

Vow renewal ceremonies such as this have become very popular on Princess ships, so if you want to treat your honey, it’s best to make reservations early. Private renewal ceremonies are possible even if it’s not Valentine’s Day, and weddings can also be held in the chapel on board. A wedding planner can help couples determine the extent of their ceremony and help set up webcams to broadcast the event to friends and family on land.

For the lighter side of romance check out the Marriage Match game, modeled after the syndicated television show, The Newlywed Game. It’s sure to provide plenty of laughs and maybe a few gasps as couples young and old reveal intimate bits about their relationship.

Passengers enjoy beautiful Caribbean weather in February

For Valentine’s Day 2014, the Caribbean Princess will sail from the expanded  Bayport Terminal in Houston (rather than from Galveston) on a February 8-15 Western Caribbean itinerary.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

Read more travel stories at Going on Adventures and Austin Adventure Travel