By Karen Leiva
Four days into their Alaskan cruise, Ashley and Brendan, of Ontario, said their vows on the top deck of the MS Nieuw Amsterdam overlooking an iconic winter wonderland landscape of snow-capped mountains and stunning glaciers.
“We were married in the most gorgeous location called Glacier Bay,” said Ashley. “It was a morning ceremony with bright sunshine, tall mountains and clear blue glaciers in the background. We couldn’t have asked for a more pristine and elegant backdrop to our ceremony.”
The couple, who were engaged six months earlier, chose a seven-day Holland America Line cruise from Vancouver to Alaska for their destination wedding. The further they travelled from Vancouver, the weather cooled to a brisk fall-like temperature. Having packed a beautiful grey fur shawl to wear over her gown, Ashley was prepared for the cooler climates, but she had not counted on the rain they encountered.
Luckily, the weather changed in time for their ceremony. “We had no wind, blue skies and complete sunshine,” said Ashley. “The temperature was mild, sitting around 17 C on our special day. It was so clear, we even had the opportunity to view the northern lights that night – and wow, what a show! It was spectacular.”
Following the top deck ceremony, a reception with their 18 guests was held in the Pinnacle Grill restaurant on-board the ship. “It was my favourite meal of the cruise,” the bride said. “We had huge salmon fillets, steak, endless wine, and sweet desserts – plus the service was impeccable. The cruise staff overall were so enthusiastic and eager to help plan our special day.”
As part of the cruise, the couple and their guests were able to enjoy ports of call which included Juneau, Skagway and Glacier Bay. “We did excursions at every port, including whale watching, salmon fishing, and, our favourite, the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad,” said Ashley. “It was an exciting adventure to be on the railway on the edge of the cliffs, and the sides of mountains. It was beautiful and exhilarating.”
Their destination wedding at sea had been planned by travel specialist Laurie Keith of Romantic Planet Vacations in Burlington, Ontario. “Romantic Planet Vacation took away the stress of travel planning and group logistics,” said Ashley. “I was at ease knowing that someone experienced was walking me through the process and helping me along the way. I would advise others to start your planning early, allow others to help, and enjoy the process.”