The Wedding Ship appears to be a combination of a galley and a barge or it possibly a galley with the masts and sails removed. It has a bank of oars on both sides of the ship. The deck has been fitted with a rectangular canopy to cover the guests. The ship is also equipped with lifeboats.
The only part of ship's interior seen in the movie is the bride's room in the back of the ship. It is a well decorated room with a large vanity, candelabras, and ornate curtains lining the room.
The ship is first seen as the vessel for Eric and Vanessa's wedding on the third day of Ariel's time as a human. It departed just before sunset and managed to get a good distance away from the shore when Scuttle first discovered Vanessa's true identity as Ursula, the sea witch.
The wedding took place on the ship's upper deck, with a long violet carpet trailing from the interior to the alter at the bow of the ship. Since the wedding was rushed, the ship was lined with very few decorations, save some wreaths, bouquets, a cake and silverwear to match.
Once the wedding was attacked by Scuttle and his legions of animals, the ship and its passengers were left in disarray. There were traces of water all over, and the banquet table was destroyed when the animals propelled Ursula onto the table.
What proceeded afterwards was Ursula revealing her true form and capturing Ariel before diving into the sea, and Eric leaving the ship in a lifeboat to pursue Ariel.
The ship isn't seen again until the end of the movie. It is used as the same ship to celebrate Ariel and Eric's wedding. Though little had changed about the decor, that time, the ship was used in the daytime, and a new cake was made especially for Ariel and Eric. Merfolk were also attending.
The ship is then seen floating off into the distance under the rainbow made by King Triton, as Ariel and Eric share one more kiss.
- Although the presence of a Bishop in regalia in the wedding implies that Eric's Kingdom's religion is Catholic, Catholic doctrine does not allow people to wed anywhere outside of a church building. In the case of Vanessa, however, it is likely the wedding had been set up on the barge due to the unexpected and unplanned manner of the wedding occuring on the same day as the proposal (as weddings generally require weeks, if not months to plan in advance, as implied by Grimsby). A similar event occurs in Beauty and the Beast, with Gaston pretty much doing the same thing.
- In the Royal Weddings franchise, it was revealed that Eric had planned his and Ariel's wedding to be on the wedding ship specifically to ensure Ariel's family could attend due to the unique nature of Ariel's heritage.