Big fat Indian weddings go multi-destination with cruise liners

Big fat Indian weddings go multi-destination with cruise liners

Destination weddings are so passé. Why fly to one exotic location when you can cruise along three? The who’s who of India are now hopping onto luxury liners for nuptials.

In the last few years, many rich and famous Indians have set sail their children’s married life while cruising coast to coast.

One such wedding extravaganza is set to happen in April. An entire ship has been exclusively booked with Italy-head quartered Costa Cruises for UAE-based Indian business tycoon Rizwan Sajan’s son Adel’s wedding with former Miss India Sana Khan.

Rizwan Sajan is founder and chairman of Dubai-headquartered Danube Group.

“There are over 1,000 guests, among them numerous Bollywood stars, who will celebrate on board during a Mediterranean cruise which will touch Italy, Spain and France,” Nalini Gupta, head – India operations, Costa Cruises told DNA Money.

As per the plans, on April 6, the wedding party will board Costa Fascinosa from Barcelona, Spain and sail to Marseilles in France before proceeding to Cannes and finally head to Savona in Italy.

Speaking about the upcoming wedding, Rizwan Sajan said, “We have planned a unique celebration for all our guests and have gauged every little detail of the wedding to make it special for the couple. As the date draws closer, we are excited to host all our distinguished guests and await the merriment that the union of Sana and Adel will bring.”

“In our recent history, this is the first time a whole ship has been exclusively booked by a private individual for a family celebration. We will do our utmost to make this a truly unforgettable wedding,” said Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises.

In fact, in order to make it an unforgettable wedding, the ship – Costa Fascinosa will change its look and put on the colours and charms of the Indian traditions. Even the access cards used for cabins will be personalised.

Similarly, Star Cruises too have had marriage charters on their cruise liners. “Star Cruises is witnessing an increasing number of wedding groups from India market year after year. However, we do not want to make it a mass product offering; instead, maintain a niche experience offering it as a destination wedding,” said Naresh Rawal, vice president, sales – India of Star Cruises.

For Hong Kong headquartered Star Cruises, the sailings have largely been around Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong, with the party bookings ranging from three to five nights for 100 to 1,000 guests.

If the industry players are to be believed, during the last few years, there is an increase in enquiries and bookings from Indian families to hold weddings onboard cruise liners.

Depending upon the size of the cruise liner, just booking a chartered ship means an expenditure of anywhere in the range of half a million dollars to a couple of million dollars. This price tag doesn’t include other overheads undertaken to make the wedding special such as having specific cuisines, choicest of spirits, welcome and return gifts, entertainment performances, among others. In other words, the more the specifics and the grandeur, the higher the price, which could possibly overshoot eight million dollars.

Wedding celebrations are just not limited to being onboard throughout the sailing period, but also involve day visits or excursions to cities where the ship berths in the morning, only to start moving to its next destination at night with the dance floor being opened for guests.


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