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Cruise Weddings – Renew your vows on board and your marriage will never be at sea again.

The big day has arrived and the question is whether to bet on teeth whitening as a couple or to simplify it with a romantic breakfast on our balcony. The latter, please.

In 2013, my wife and I were getting married on the Crown Princess cruise ship, passing through Spain, and now we are in the middle of the Caribbean on the Regal Princess, somewhere between Cuba and Haiti, to renew our wedding vows.

And we are not alone. We are one of 658 couples on board in what turns out to be a record for this sort of thing.

All together now: Princess Cruises broke a record when 1,443 couples reaffirmed their vows

All together now: Princess Cruises broke a record when 1,443 couples reaffirmed their vows

There is more than a touch of theater. Two decks are filled with couples in elegant suits and elegant dresses.

Fittingly, Regal Princess is a descendant of Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess, the star of the American television sitcom The Love Boat, which ran for nearly a decade beginning in 1977.

The show’s director was Gavin MacLeod as Captain Merrill Stubing, and he was directing us, with the help of matron of honor Jill Whelan, his television daughter Vicki.

Captain Stubing, who sadly died in May of this year, was giving a boost to the 90’s on the cruise. He strutted around in his stiff white uniform and cap, in front of a flotilla of couples wishing for his blessing. Jill, all grown up but as cheerful as ever, told us how she got married on another Princess Cruises ship, the Caribbean Princess, although, she confesses to me at the bar later, that wasn’t actually the guy she’s married to now.

Also here is Michael from the USA who is serious and classy in a scalloped logo jacket. He is from Guinness World Records and is monitoring this bid for the largest wedding vow renewal ceremony in various venues.

So far, the largest renewal of vows consisted of 1,201 couples, in Michigan, United States. But we had joined forces with the Royal Princess, heading from Los Angeles to Mexico, and the Crown Princess, not far from us, for a triple hit.

In 2013, Nick Dalton of the Daily Mail and his wife were married on the Crown Princess cruise ship (pictured)

In 2013, Nick Dalton of the Daily Mail and his wife were married on the Crown Princess cruise ship (pictured)

In 2013, Nick Dalton of the Daily Mail and his wife were married on the Crown Princess cruise ship (pictured)

At the mass event, my wife Deborah and I are asked to look into each other’s eyes and promise a life of joy.

Even Captain Stubing renewed his vows with Patti, a real-life wife of 44 years.

They are of all kinds. The old man who looks like Santa Claus (“It’s great to get away from the North Pole a little,” smiles) and his good lady, dressed as someone who had arrived on the Mayflower. The couple with T-shirts that said ‘Married 40 years and we still love each other’. And we do it! they tell anyone who hears them.

Love is in the air: Nick said the vow renewal ceremony brought him 'many memories' of his big day

Love is in the air: Nick said the vow renewal ceremony brought him 'many memories' of his big day

Love is in the air: Nick said the vow renewal ceremony brought him ‘many memories’ of his big day

TRAVEL FACTS

The Princess Tie The Knot At Sea package costs from £ 1,845, with a ceremony officiated by the captain, music, flowers, photos, cake and champagne (princess.com/weddingplanner).

The young couple got married the week before, the woman is in her wedding dress. The Australian couple married the real captain, Tim Stringer, just that afternoon.

People in ball gowns and tuxedos, high heels and shorts, all of whom had come on this week-long trip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida. It’s theater, but it’s strangely moving despite all the show business hoo-hah.

We chose a wedding on board, having passed the stage of wanting a room full of family and vol-au-vents. And the simple act of inviting your closest friends simply pushes away all those who thought they were your closest friends but weren’t invited.

Escorted by our teens, Georgia and Henry, the captain conducted the ceremony in a room adorned with flowers. There are photos of us leaning nonchalantly against the deck railing, and even a DVD, which we’ll see once we finish a decade of The Love Boat.

Returning to the scene, or close enough, brings back many memories. And there is a massive leap of joy when Michael announces that the total number of vote renewals on all three ships is a record 1,443.

“It’s a cross section of humanity, all ages, all walks of life,” Captain Stubing said later, when he was off duty with a glass of something. ‘So emotional.’ And he was right.

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