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Westerdam crew rally to save a couple's wedding plans

Ammar Ajmad and Faye Basa at their wedding ceremomy in Westerdam's specially decorated Crow's Nest
Two Holland America Line crew members were able to marry in a shipboard ceremony after their shoreside wedding plans fell through at the last minute.

Ammar Ajmad, crew doctor, and Faye Basa, hotel executive assistant, tied the knot aboard Westerdam when the ship was in Manila last week thanks to the resourcefulness of team members and the port agents.

Met and fell in love on Koningsdam

Ajmad and Basa met aboard Koningsdam in 2023 and, after a first date in Tahiti, fell in love. They became engaged when sailing in the Mediterranean last fall.

The couple were assigned to work aboard Westerdam in early 2024 and agreed it would be a wonderful time to get married. They decided on Jan. 10 in Manilla for two main reasons: it was a longer visit to the bride’s home country, and the bride’s father, who also works at sea — currently for Carnival Cruise Line after 20 years with HAL — would be on vacation and able to attend.

Immigration challenges

They planned a shoreside wedding but immigration challenges nearly derailed the festivities. Westerdam team and the port agents quickly rallied to ensure the wedding was able to go forward, albeit aboard the ship and not ashore.

The determination and resourcefulness of those involved ensured the special day could still be celebrated.


The happy couple with their Westerdam colleagues

Friends, family (including the bride's dad), makeup artists, photographers and the imam who was to officiate the wedding were able to go aboard.

The Westerdam team provided a beautifully decorated venue in the Crow’s Nest complete with floral arrangments, a bower and rose petals in the shape of a heart, and a curated dinner in the main dining room. The hotel general manager filled in as the groom’s witness.

May the couple live happily ever after.

Thanks to Holland America Line's Adrienne Carter who provided the information for this story