A new era of weddings at sea kicked off late Monday as a same-sex couple was legally married on a cruise ship sailing in international waters for the first time.
Celebrity Cruises says South Florida residents Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray tied the knot aboard the line’s 2,850-passenger Celebrity Equinox in a ceremony officiated by the vessel’s captain, Dimitrios Manetas.
With family looking on, the couple exchanged vows against the signature rose wall in Equinox’s iconic Blu Restaurant.
“There are only so many firsts in life, and we are thrilled to be the first-ever LGBTQ+ couple to marry at sea,” Gray said in a statement released to media. “We are humbled to follow the trailblazers in the LGBTQ+ community who paved the way for us.”
The wedding comes in the wake of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet including Equinox is registered. The legalization passed Malta’s parliament by a vote of 66-1 in July and was signed by Malta’s president in August, clearing the path for Celebrity to offer legal same-sex marriages on its Malta-registered ships.
Celebrity announced it would offer legal same-sex marriages on its vessels within days of the legislation taking effect.
“Words cannot express how proud I am to congratulate Francisco and Benjamin at this truly historic moment, both for them and for Celebrity,” Celebrity president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said in a statement. “Together we are paving the way for couples around the world to know that their love and commitment is to be celebrated equally, and that everyone is welcome on board a Celebrity cruise.”
One of the newly married men, Vargas, has a tie to the cruise industry through his job at Cruise Planners, a cruise-selling travel agency network.
“When we heard Celebrity Cruises was celebrating equality and embracing our community, we wanted to be a part of it,” Vargas said in a statement.
Celebrity is one of a number of cruise lines that long have offered wedding services that include on-board ceremonies and destination weddings….
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