Happily Ever After

Jordan and Andy on the cruise where they met.

Stories with happy endings often start out with sadness.

I boarded Ruby Princess with my mother in September 2010 as a stand-in for my father. He had died unexpectedly shortly before this cruise, a longed-for 70th birthday celebration through the Mediterranean.

In her grief, my mom thought about canceling the trip, but then decided I should take my father’s place. In addition to that painful loss, I was going through my own personal drama with my relationship back in Mississippi. Things weren’t working out. I was struggling over whether to leave him and the logistics of moving out.

Leaving Atlanta for Barcelona, mom and I decided the cruise would be a much-needed escape from all the difficult emotions at home. 

Meanwhile, in Stratford-upon-Avon in England, Andrew Whitesmith was looking for an excuse for a holiday and took up an offer from an old boyfriend to take a Mediterranean cruise. Ruby Princess would be their ship. Read More

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Our Growing Guest List

Terri and Geoff renew their vows with Captain Herriott.

We expected our second wedding to be a quiet experience, just for us. Instead we found ourselves surrounded by a wonderful group of newfound friends. Our guests were our fellow passengers, gathered over the course of a Caribbean cruise, from one end of the ship to the other.  

Geoff and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal. After the long flight from Perth, Australia – applause for me, as Geoff hates long flights – we boarded Grand Princess, just the two of us.

We’d never had children and none of our friends were able to come; we were contentedly alone. We figured our vow renewal would be an intimate one, presided by Captain Anthony Herriott and perhaps a few members of the crew.

But the magic of friendship, something that seems to happen naturally, if you are looking, on a Princess cruise, had different plans in store. Our private second wedding was soon to radically change. Read More

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A Traveling Leap of Faith

Kay and Nancy with Coral Princess

There was a reason I waited until a week before the cruise to tell my husband I was going to Alaska with someone I barely knew.

My daughter and friends had already hinted that I was too trusting to even consider doing such a thing, but they know I’m a little crazy. My husband, Dickie, would be blunter.

When I finally told him about my plans to go to Vancouver to board Coral Princess with Nancy, a woman I had only spent a few hours with, in total, on a cruise the year before, he immediately questioned my judgment.

“You can’t do that. You don’t know her!” he said.

“And she doesn’t know me,” I replied.

Both Nancy and I were taking a leap of faith, not a lapse of judgment, that two near strangers would enjoy traveling together on a cruise. Read More

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Love Waltzes Back into My Life

Bill and Millie

I met my husband during an all-girls trip on Ruby Princess.

What is unusual is that at 83 years of age, I honestly wasn’t looking for a man. I had lost my husband of 57 years eight years previously. As a widow, my life satisfyingly revolved around family, church and charity work.

But Bill danced into the Explorers Lounge and life took a reverse turn. In some ways, I felt like I was back in high school.

It was November of 2009. I was taking a Caribbean cruise with five of my women friends, a few of us widowed like me. We’d gone to the Explorers Lounge to relax, have a drink and maybe even a dance, except there was no unattached man to ask us. Two crew members, wearing formal dress whites, asked if we were having fun.

For some reason, I blurted out, “Absolutely not! There’s no one to dance with.” Read More

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Friends in Any Language

Stewart, Mary, Martine and Yvon

My wife’s schoolgirl French was more than a little rusty, but that was soon to change thanks to a couple we met on a Princess Cruises ship.

Golden Princess was whisking us on our way to Hawaii. Lunching in the Horizon Court, a couple approached our table and asked if they could join Mary and me. Yvon and Martine St. Pierre were from Jonquiere, a small riverside city in the Quebec region of Canada. Yvon’s English was fairly good, but Martine’s was hesitant at best.

Still, we found plenty of common ground. Mary and I are Canada-holics so we were quite conversant about their part of the world. Plus, we both have grandchildren we dote on, so there was that, too.

Over our meal, we had a little fun with Mary practicing her French with Martine and Yvon honing his English with me. We thought that was it. After four days touring Hawaii, we returned to the ship and ran into the couple again. That’s when we hit it off for good. Read More

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