TRAVEL THERE: PLANNING A VOW RENEWAL ON CELEBRITY EDGE
Another important bit of our planning involved the 25th Anniversary Vow Renewal. For me, this was one of the more frustrating parts of the cruise preparation. As you may know I am a bit of a perfectionist and perfectionists like to know what is going to happen. Good luck with that if you want to have a ceremony on a cruise line.
Very Nice Ladies
My travel agent at CTC kept nudging me to get my vow renewal ceremony reserved, so I did that back in October, eight months previous to our June sailing date. Celebrity has several kinds of ceremony packages, of all sorts: onshore, on board, engagements, weddings and vow renewals. With a vow renewal there are two basic packages, True Love Knot and Aisle to Isle. The primary difference between the two was that the True Love Knot is performed by the Captain. For a couple of hundred dollars less, you get the Cruise Director.
Since even in October, long before I booked the shore excursions, I could tell we were going to spend a whole lot of money, I knew the husband-groom would be a lot happier if I settled for Aisle to Isle Package. I tried getting online and doing my registration, but like many times I was online with Celebrity, it was not exactly a smooth process. Sandra, my travel agent, had sent me a contact phone number and when the website was not cooperating, I decided to go ahead and call.
No one could be nicer than the wedding consultants at Celebrity. They were almost more excited than me about my ceremony and they were willing to bend over backwards to see that I got what I wanted. Unfortunately, as I will explain later, this sense of cooperation did not extend to my shipboard ceremony contact, but that’s another story for another day.
A Taste of the Future
Let me warn you of this. When you plan a shipboard ceremony, absolutely nothing will be written in stone. They treat you like a queen and they are nice as they can be, but I wanted to know when and where my ceremony would be. The closest they could get to an answer was that it would be on the one day we were at sea, but that was about it.
Let me warn you of another thing, at least about Celebrity, they really, really, really want you to have your ceremony in the middle of the afternoon in an empty dining room. Now this is not something they tell you when you first call up, but the on board staff made it abundantly clear that I was not business as usual.
The Progression of the Ceremony
Remember my stateroom with the obstructed views. Well, I had specifically chosen that cabin with my ceremony in mind. I envisioned my ceremony in the beautiful gardens of Eden with a view of the sea spread before us. I would get Eden and I would get the sea, but not in any way as I anticipated.
The Edge was a brand new ship, not even completed when I was making my ceremony reservations, and apparently I was the very first person who requested Eden as a venue. The nice ladies registered my request, but let me know there were no guarantees.
So then, a few months later I was talking to the Celebrity sales rep at a CTC party. He agreed Eden would be beautiful, but he was all about the Rooftop Garden. Still, I stuck with Eden until the obstructed views incident, then I moved my first choice to the Rooftop Garden.
And that’s how things remained until a few weeks before the cruise. According to the website I would get confirmation of my wedding venue and time 10 days before my cruise, only that never happened, even though I made several attempts to get verification. I admit, I was getting frantic. I had all the pertinent information on the Celebrity Weddings website and you can rest assured that I had printed it all out, just in case, but no one was making me feel any better.
Finally, the day before we left, I got some really awful email threatening that my ceremony could be cancelled if I didn’t confirm the information. Now somewhere in the email it mentioned that you could confirm the information via email, but the very official looking letter that was attached mentioned nothing of the sort. You either had to do it online or send a fax. Well, I don’t have a fax machine and online, not surprisingly, was not working.
Since I don’t have a fax machine I went online and had a very hysterical 15 minutes trying to make the confirmation thing work – it never did. I confess, I wrote a very snarky email to the nice ladies and I also complained about the fact that I was leaving town the next day and I knew neither the time or location of my ceremony.
But fighting for my venue was just part of the fun. Come back next week and we’ll talk hair and make-up.