This is all very helpful....might I ask a few more questions?
To avoid residency requirements for marriage, what about taking a cruise that includes Key West OR perhaps arriving a day early to wherever in Fla. we take off from to have the wedding there. If we arrive a day early,will we still be able to get cruise/air packages?
Regarding the cruise/air packages..is there a way to get this without going through a travel agency?
We were on Radiance of the Seas on a Thanksgiving cruise. One young couple at our table got married our first port day (on shore - Key West) and then back on board for the honeymoon, etc. Whole family was on cruise. Point is, the ceremony was on shore becuase of legalities, waiting times, etc. All worked out well though.
Radiance of the Seas - Nov 2006
Legend of the Seas - Jun 2007
Costa Fortuna - Mar 2008
Legend of the Seas - Oct 2008
Celebrity Constellation - July 2009
MSC Orchestra - Jan 2009
Navigator of the Seas - March 2009
MSC Poesia - November 2009
Jewel of the Seas - June 2010
bettyboop, there is no residency requirement to get married in Florida. You need a Florida license and then can get married anywhere in Florida. Certainly, you could arrive in Florida the day before, get your license, and then get married either before boarding the ship, or during a stop in Key West if your ship goes there. Obviously, you'll have to make the wedding arrangements in advance.
If you get your air tickets through the cruise line, you can pay an extra fee and have them fly you to your embarkation city as many days before your cruise as you'd like. However, coming from Maryland, I can tell you that you can almost always get cheaper airfare by buying it on your own, particularly if you're flying to Florida and can go from any of the 3 DC area airports.
It sounds like you need a new travel agent. You could book this trip on your own but you'd be missing out on a lot of benefits a travel agent could provide.
My husband and I were married in December 2001, though not on the cruise. We have cruised 4 times and always in late December or early January to celebrate our anniversary. In CocoCay, the snorkeling is better with a wetsuit, but you can sun on the beach in a swim suit. On our last cruise, we went to the ruins at Chichen Itza and our tour guide joked that they only have two temperatures: hot and hotter. We were lucky that it was January and we only got to experience "hot". It was at least 85 degrees, and because of the lack of shade at the ruins, I had to borrow sunscreen to avoid getting burned. We have experienced rain in the past, but on most days I think you would be fine in a strapless gown.