TRAVEL: Aye, I Do, Captain; Is It Still Possible to Get Married at Sea?
Byline: DOC HOLIDAY
Q OUR daughter is getting married later this year though she hasn't fixed a date yet. She wonders if it is still possible to have the ceremony on a cruise ship, conducted by the captain, as both she and her fiance enjoy cruising. Can they do this, and roughly how much it would cost? They would just want to take a few friends and relatives on the cruise, to witness the wedding, and then stay in a hotel on shore for their honeymoon.
Mrs R Lawson, Cambridge
A THIS very much depends on where the ship is registered. Until now, most cruise lines have not offered a "captain's wedding", mainly because of all the legalities involved. But Celebrity Cruises has just re-registered most of its ships - including its Azamara Cruise Line - in Malta, where the law has been changed to allow captains to perform legal marriages at sea.
The cruise line has now teamed up with a company called The Wedding Experience to offer exactly what your daughter is looking for.
A wedding package, including all the formalities and a private champagne reception on board, costs from around pounds 1,200. This is on top of the cost of the cruise.
For example, a Western Mediterranean fly/cruise on the Azamara Quest at the end of August costs from pounds 1,573pp based on two sharing an inside cabin. The price includes flights from Gatwick, transfers, a 10-night cruise departing Rome and calling at Sorrento, Valletta in Malta, Tunis, Barcelona, Marseilles, Monte Carlo, Portofino and Florence, before returning to Rome.
All meals and entertainment onboard are included. For the honeymoon, a few days in Rome is probably as romantic as it gets.
Your daughter should book her onboard wedding well in advance, to allow time for the processing of licences and other legal documents.
For more details you should visit www.azamaracruises.com/weddings or www.celebritycruises.com/weddings or call 0844 456 0523/0844 493 6060.
Q MY partner and I are planning to visit Moscow for a long weekend in the summer. But before we book anything, we want to ensure we get our visas organised, which I understand you need for visiting Russia. How do we do this and do you have any idea of the cost?
Brian Collins, via email
A FOR some reason - probably a throwback to the old days of Soviet bureaucracy and general unhelpfulness - the Russians make it as awkward as possible to just jump on a plane and visit the place. They are really missing a trick here, because plenty of tourists would love to see Red Square, the Kremlin and all the other sights on an impromptu weekend break. I'm sure many are put off simply by all the palaver (and cost) of arranging a visa.
Basically what you have to do is this: within three months of your intended travel date you will have to apply for an "invitation" voucher to enter the country. …