The turbulent weather of September
led to the redirection of several cruise ships as companies rushed to alter
schedules away from difficult seas.
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas
was originally scheduled to dock at St. Thomas on Wednesday, 1 September, but
instead came to Grand Cayman. On board were three wedding parties, all of whom
were initially planning to get married in the US Virgin Islands on that day,
said Cayman wedding planner Joy Basdeo.
“They got together on board the
boat and discussed what to do. They decided to help each other and all
contacted Cayman Weddings, which is owned by my parents, Francine and Vernon
Jackson, who have been doing weddings in Cayman for 26 years.”
As a result, Michael Twiford and
Leslie Ann Neal brought their 11-strong party for a ceremony at Alfresco
Restaurant’s beach, while Malcolm Tully and Rachel Bynum of North Carolina,
travelling with their two daughters, were married at Mary Molly Hydes Beach in
A third couple, Cornel Phillip and
Arica White of Tucker, Georgia – both employed by the US government – were also
married at the pier in West Bay.
“The bride’s brother, the groom and
both sets of parents are originally from St. Thomas. They had planned a big
wedding with guests at one of the resorts there.
“Instead, on Cayman they had an
all-inclusive cruise wedding package, which basically means we picked them up,
took them to the office to get dressed – she had a formal dress with a long
train – took them to West Bay for the wedding and all the other parts of the
ceremony, plus photos, champagne and flowers,” said Ms Basdeo.
The bride and groom told the
Compass that Cayman was the only option available to have a legal marriage
during the cruise after the diversion,
“We felt quite disappointed because
we planned a wedding in St. Thomas for quite some time and then in a matter of
a day that plan changed. However, although we were disappointed, we were still
hopeful that we could get married during our cruise.
“The Cayman Islands was quite a
beautiful place and seemed to have a relaxing island atmosphere,” said the
Weddings down in 2010
So far this year, Joy Basdeo said,
she has personally handled 112 weddings, but she estimated that the sector is
down by 30 per cent to 40 per cent compared to 2009.
“We have a hard time if ships do
not stop for whatever reason, which means we can miss out on weddings, for
“But I follow the cruise message
boards, and though people say that cruises don’t stop here – in actual fact we
lose very few weddings per year through ships not stopping,” she said.