Love Boats: Guinness Record Set During Mass Vow Renewal At Sea

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Earlier this week, 1,443 couples sailing on three Princess ships -- Regal Princess, Royal Princess and Crown Princess -- made history when they participated in the largest-ever multi-location vow renewal ceremony. Their accomplishment will appear in the 2021 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. 

Some of the couples had been married for over 50 years. Others were newlyweds, including one couple married just two hours before by the captain of the ship. (It’s good to see that they were willing to do it all over again!)

The lovebirds came from different corners of the world, and their diverse ceremony attire included tuxedos, ball gowns, cocktail dresses, bikinis and full military uniforms.

As the ships anchored, everyone gathered on the top decks for the short, simple ceremony. 

The record represented a feat of logistics. Each participating couple had to provide proof of marriage before boarding and register on-site to prove their participation. The cruise line had to arrange the complicated details of ensuring the vow renewals took place simultaneously at the three locations. 

A Guinness adjudicator was on board each ship to make sure procedures were followed correctly. While tens of thousands of applications for entry into the Guinness Book of World Records are made each year, just a small proportion are accepted. 

Among the requirements: All three ceremonies needed to start at exactly the same time; each couple had to submit their marriage certificates ahead of the cruise to be verified by Guinness researchers; all couples had to be counted going into the staging area on their respective ships; and cruise ship crew had to monitor participants to make sure no one left before the ceremony began.

Planning the event on a sea day helped minimize the possibility of participants having second thoughts, bailing out and opting for shore excursions. 

Cruises have long been associated with romance. Of course, the romance of cruising got a big boost from popular TV series The Love Boat, which appeared on ABC-TV from 1977-1986. Filmed on Princess Cruises ships around the globe, each week, the plots coupled cruising with romance and adventure.

The stars of that series included Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Stubing and Jill Whelan, who played his daughter Vicki. Both were on hand for the record-breaking ceremony.

Participating couples will receive a certificate in the mail in the next few months.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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