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Cunard could register in Bermuda - to let couples say I do at sea

Luxury cruise ship operator, Cunard, could be about to register its ships in Bermuda - all so people can get married at sea, according a UK website.

CruiseCritic.co.uk says that “speculation has been widespread in the British media that Cunard could be considering the possibility of re-registering its three ships outside the U.K. The prevailing theory is that the line would be flying the flags of either Malta or Bermuda and changing the word 'Southampton' that's emblazoned on the hull of each vessel to either 'Valletta' or 'Hamilton'.”

The website says: “Being registered, or flagged, in the UK means that Cunard is losing out on the lucrative business of weddings at sea. UK law, which governs the three Cunard ships, states that couples can only say 'I do' when the ship is in port and the service is conducted by a minister or other notary - a less romantic proposition than exchanging vows mid-ocean.

“On the other hand, on ships registered in Bermuda or Malta, which include the fleets of Cunard's sister lines, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises, couples can tie the knot at a service officiated by the captain, no matter where the ship is sailing.”

In a statement provided to Cruise Critic, Peter Shanks, Cunard's president and managing directosaid, "It's no secret that weddings at sea are now very big business. We know there is a pent-up demand, as we receive many enquiries, especially about marriages on transatlantic crossings which no other line can offer. However, this business is currently denied to us as our fleet is registered in the UK, and we have for some time been examining our options."

If the move does go ahead, it will be the first time in Cunard's 171-year history that all of its ships have been registered outside Britain, though the fleet would continue to be based at Southampton.

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Published September 28, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated September 28, 2011 at 10:34 am)

Cunard could register in Bermuda - to let couples say I do at sea

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