A cruise line can now perform legal same-sex marriages.
The move follows the passing of a marriage equality law in Malta this summer, where many of the cruise line’s vessels are registered to.
Malta’s legalisation of same-sex marriage means that captains on the ships can now officiate these marriage ceremonies.
The cruise line, an American company called Celebrity Cruises, was announced as a major sponsor of the 2018 Australian LGBTI Awards by president Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
Celebrity Cruises’ move has come at a time when same-sex marriage is still not legal in Australia, though there is currently a non-binding marriage equality vote taking place in the country.
“[We have] a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and I cannot think of a more important time in our history to do all we can to support inclusion”, Lutoff-Perlo said.
“We’re thrilled to be the first line to offer legalised same-sex marriage ceremonies, officiated by the Captain, just in time for the new season,” she added.
Barbara Whitehall, managing director of The Wedding Experience – which works with the cruise line – said: “The cruise line has already hosted many same-sex weddings in the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean, where legal.
“We are ecstatic that this new Malta ruling opens up marriage equality for anyone and everyone sailing with Celebrity Cruises while in international waters.”
As of yet, no other cruise line has performed a legal same-sex wedding at sea in international waters, said CC spokesman Bradley Norman.
While P&O Cruises were the first British cruise line to offer same-sex weddings at sea, their ceremonies aren’t set to begin until 2018.
The change came after a court victory in Bermuda, where the country’s Supreme Court struck down a ban on same-sex weddings.
When the announcement was made in August, P&O Cruises exec Paul Ludlow said: “I am delighted that following this much-anticipated change in the legalities, we are now the first British cruise line to be able to arrange same-sex weddings on board.
“Weddings at sea are very romantic and getting married by the Captain in the middle of the ocean is an unforgettable experience.”