In a historic ceremony hosted on board Celebrity Equinox, Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray became the first same-sex couple ever to be legally married at sea on a major cruise line.
The grooms were joined by their immediate family for an intimate ceremony officiated by Captain Dimitrios Manetas. They exchanged vows against the signature backdrop of the rose wall in Blu Restaurant, the location befitting the most memorable of moments.
“Words cannot express how proud I am to congratulate Francisco and Benjamin at this truly historic moment, both for them and for Celebrity. It’s a true privilege to know that the ceremony performed onboard Celebrity Equinox has made history as the first legal same-sex marriage at sea,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “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.”
“There are only so many firsts in life, and we are thrilled to be the first-ever LGBTQ+ couple to marry at sea,” said Gray. “We are humbled to follow the trailblazers in the LGBTQ+ community who paved the way for us.”
As first announced in October 2017, the motion follows a transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet is registered, which passed the country’s parliament 66-1. The long-awaited referendum opened the door for Celebrity to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard while at sea, and have the fleet’s captains officiate the ceremonies.
Vargas, who works for one of Celebrity’s top Travel Partners, Cruise Planners, said: “Traveling is in my blood – and when we heard Celebrity Cruises was celebrating equality and embracing our community, we wanted to be a part of it. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from our Cruise Planners family and hope our story brings strength for others in the LGBTQ+ community to confidently love whoever they choose.”
The Celebrity Wedding Cruise program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings for lovebirds. The Nautical Nuptials at Sea package includes a Captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator’s services, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, a bottle of champagne, plus additional romantic turndown amenities post-ceremony, and more.