Southern Man

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Vacation Day 2 - Wedding Bells

Today is the big day! But first a little back story. Southern Man and gf knew that they were going to marry in Florida in a private ceremony (with a renewal of vows for the families sometime in the future when everyone could attend) but didn't pin down the details until last week. It turns out that it's pretty easy to marry in FL and there are plenty of notaries willing to do inexpensive beachfront ceremonies and such, but we found out that we could actually have the ceremony on the cruise ship! This idea found favor with gf, so Southern Man set it all up via email with the cruise line wedding coordinator. The last step was last night (or, rather, early this morning) when Southern Man logged in to the Broward County Clerk's web site to fill out an online form that would hopefully speed things up.

So this morning we rose and ate and dressed and headed to said County Clerk's office, where a most helpful young lady took our money and swore us in and gave us the paperwork we needed, and then made the short drive to Port Everglades where the good ship Bahamas Celebration awaited us and were everyone (and Southern Man does mean everyone) was just incredibly helpful and friendly and even excited that we were marrying on their ship; indeed, we were treated like a king and queen. We were whisked aboard well ahead of the posted boarding time, shown to our cabin, and given a few moments to gather ourselves up, and then taken to one of the formal dining rooms for the ceremony. The service was conducted by an Episcopalian minister who gave a wonderful wedding sermon and we had cake and champagne and posed for the usual wedding pictures. Southern Wife was most pleased.

The cruise ship proved an interesting place. First of all, you have a card to which any purchases you make are charged (as well as daily gratuities and fuel surcharges and such, which added a hundred dollars or so to the total cost of the trip) and you are tempted at every turn to do so. In particular a recurring theme throughout the entire cruise was to drink, drink, and drink some more; apparently alcohol sales are deemed absolutely crucial to their bottom line. Second, the meal times and places were more strictly regimented than Southern Man expected - no midnight buffet on this voyage! And finally, this particular ship is on her third life, having started out as the Norwegian cruise ship Prinsesse Raghild in 1981, lengthened and extensively rebuilt in 1992, then sold and renovated in 2008 for the Bahamas cruise market. Southern Man found plenty of plaques and instructions written in German and Norwegian scattered throughout the ship as he explored over the next few days.

The ship pulled out of Ft. Lauderdale late afternoon. We spent the evening after dinner in the hot tub and then (well after dark) on the aft patio where we saw the lights of cruise ships strung out like pearls on the sea behind us. We then retired to our cabin for our first night together as husband and wife. We should be in Nassau when we wake in the morning!


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