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.

Enjoying the view on the White Pass Scenic Railway.

Enjoying the view on the White Pass Scenic Railway.

I’d met Nancy in 2012 waiting for the zip-line in Antigua during an excursion on an Emerald Princess Caribbean cruise. I was traveling with a group of girlfriends from my home in Lexington, Kentucky, and Nancy was doing the same with a group of friends from her part of the United States – Kansas.

The zip-lining was fun. Then, our two groups played cards together and we joined them to visit St. John’s. We had a great time, laughing and talking. I had taken a bunch of photos, so I got email addresses and sent them out from home. That was about it.

After sending the photos, I didn’t keep up with Nancy. But I did end up becoming phone friends with one of the other ladies from her group, Shay.

I have always wanted to go to Alaska and none of my Kentucky friends wanted to go anywhere cold. Shay had already been to Alaska, but Nancy, she said, would go. We jumped in and booked the trip for over Labor Day.

I kept the news to myself for more than three months. I didn’t want my judgment questioned. I knew Dickie would never go. He is more of a homebody. He likes to fish…in Kentucky. Dickie took me to the airport and I boarded the plane for Denver, where I was to meet Nancy.

Luckily, Nancy recognized me, as I might have missed her (she’d lost a bit of weight since I last saw her). We flew to Seattle where we stayed with Shay’s brother-in-law the night before we boarded Coral Princess. (Another leap of faith!)

When we entered our stateroom, it was clear that Nancy and I were different personalities. She is an unpacker. I had packed my case with my clothes in vacuum-sealed bags. My plan was to keep the bags on the shelf and only pull clothes out of them as needed.

We took the Anytime Dining option, which was new for Nancy, and she said we had the best waiters she had ever had. She was right. Alexander and James were the best! They put us in the corner, and that is where we needed to be, because Nancy and I got along so well, we were laughing all the time.

Ncncy and Kay on their seaplane ride to Misty Fjords.

Nancy and Kay on their seaplane ride to Misty Fjords.

We made friends with a nice couple, Dave and Janie, and their group of traveling partners, who joined our table for most meals. When Dave caught a salmon and brought it back to the ship, the Princess chefs prepared it for our dinner. Yum, it was good!

I am the type who will order three desserts at dinner, while Nancy never skips a salad. That was an ongoing joke for us. I still recall how the Pavlova dessert I had at lunch was one of the best I’ve ever eaten.

Another running source of humor was our seeming inability to find our cabin. Walking down the hall, we’d be laughing and laughing as Nancy would pass our cabin one day and then the next, I’d walk right by it. It got to where our steward, Morvin, would hear us coming down the hall and stand by our door, pass key at the ready, to usher us in, which of course, made us laugh even more.

We clocked a few lifetime experiences on this cruise, including a sea plane ride to Misty Fjords, which I would do again in a heartbeat. The Mendenhall Glacier was breathtaking. The vistas along the White Pass Scenic Railway also were beautiful, and Nancy and I stayed out on the train car’s open rear platform the whole way to make sure we didn’t miss a thing.

Alaska had surpassed my imagination and Coral Princess was certainly the way to go – even it if I was with a “stranger” I had known for less than a week. Now, I can say I’ve know Nancy for two weeks and that we’ve seen parts of the Caribbean, Alaska and the Western U.S. together.  We are still in touch and would travel together again in a heartbeat.

That’s what travel means to me. I get to meet new people and because I am willing to take that leap, it had paid off with adventures for a lifetime.

Kay’s rules for adventure include: If a random opportunity comes by, go for it. When the ship stops at a port, you have to get off. And, it’s okay to order more than one dessert. On her wish list is a cruise with someone she knows very well, her daughter, Krista.

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  1. Princess Cruises says... December 9, 2013 | 3:03pm

    Kay,
    Thanks for sharing your story, and showing how taking that leap of faith can create wonderful travel memories. We hope you and Nancy can cruise again soon!

    • Kay Miller says... December 9, 2013 | 6:59pm

      I would go with Nancy again in A HEARTBEAT ! One of my Best Trips Ever !
      I laughed so my sides would hurt.

  2. Nancy Haas says... December 9, 2013 | 5:22pm

    Wonderful story. I’m the Nancy in the blog. Our trip was great. Have never laughed so much in all my life. Our leap of faith turned into a life long friendship. I wish everyone a great adventure, just like ours

  3. Linda Kettlewell says... December 10, 2013 | 6:04am

    Kay have know each other for lots of years. She has always been a kind and adventurous person and friend. I am so glad you and Nancy met and had your wonderful adventure. You make me wish I was able to go also.

  4. Karen Norcross says... December 10, 2013 | 12:51pm

    Hi Kay: This is Karen, Kay and I also meant on that cruise and have stayed friend via telephone,email and facebook. Kay was with her best girl friends from Kentucky and I had never meet 3 such wonderful ladies in my whole life. My husband Marc and I fell in love with the girls and exchanged information with them and have plans to come to Kentucky to visis the 3 of them someday. Kay I love your story I am glad you went to Alaska with Nancy and you have now made me want to go to Alaska so, we are going with a couple we meet on the Viking Cruise we went on while in Europe. They are from Boston and just like you we only now them for the 7 days we were on the boat so lets hope our leap of faith turns out as good as yours. Miss you Kay !

    • Kay says... December 11, 2013 | 5:43pm

      Karen and Marc when are you all going to Alaska?? There was a bunch of stuff I didn’t have time to do. Make sure you all don’t miss anything at all. It is beautiful . You have never met a stranger so you should have a great time with them, I know they will enjoy your entertaining them like you did us. We had so much fun with you after dark up by the Pool.
      Have a Wonderful trip.
      Come see us in Kentucky
      Kay

  5. Krista says... December 11, 2013 | 11:07am

    Mom I would love to take another cruise with you.

    I am so glad that you met Nancy and that your trip was so much fun for both of you.

    Only you Mom could have done this.

    Love
    Krista

    • Kay says... December 11, 2013 | 5:46pm

      Hey you just say when and I will be packed and ready any time.

      Love Ya
      Mom

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