Partners left high and dry after company reveals that the overseas British territory of Bermuda where ship is registered has not finalised its change of law allowing same sex marriages.
Stephen Henderson, 29 and partner Stuart Andrews, 36, have been going on cruise holidays for the past four years but couldn’t find a way to have a ceremony on board.
But in April 2017 P&O Cruises announced they would be conducting civil partnerships as the firm is registered in Bermuda and the island’s Supreme Court had recently legalised same-sex marriages.
Stephen and Stuart excitedly booked their wedding with the holiday firm in June 2017 and began organising their big day immediately which would have taken place on July 22 2019 in The Bay of Biscay.
But on December 20 P&O Cruises contacted them revealing that their dream wedding had been cancelled.
The company explained that the Government of Bermuda, which is a British overseas territory, has entered into a process to change the law on same-sex marriage just months after it was legalised that would allow only domestic partnerships.
Stephen, from Coventry, in Warwickshire, said: “It is just mad. It is the 21st century.
“It is the most important day of our lives
“I would understand it if it was booked with a company in a different country but this is like going into to Sainsbury’s and them saying, ‘you can’t come in because you’re gay’.
“We were planning so much already. We got everything organised. With me being disabled I didn’t want to have to go look at venues.
“It is very hypocritical. They pride themselves on being a British company providing for the British people. It floored me.
“They said that we will get a full refund but all the hassle, all the time and effort that we have put in has just gone to s***.”
The couple got engaged in August 2016 on a cruise in the Caribbean with another company and decided to go with P&O Cruises for their wedding after seeing their campaign for same-sex weddings.
Stephen said: “They aren’t giving us any proper response and no compensation. My mum is very upset they were planning to help us. And they were just as excited when they found out that they did gay marriages.
“From the start of this year when we saw the press launch we thought it was possible.
“Our mothers started taking charge.
“We needed to make sure everything was done and organised right.
“We were planning to spend around £10K on a wedding, which included ten lovely days away. Now we are going to be spending that on one day. They are just refunding it and just brushing it under the carpet.”