Is that Simon Cowell?

Ray, Lisa, Lyne and Mike now cruise together whenever they can.

I’m not a teenager, but I do have a crush. Ever since I saw Simon Cowell on “American Idol,” I’ve adored everything about him—his looks, his wit, his brains, the British accent, how he says it like it is, like I do.  

My husband is used to hearing about my Simon Cowell thing and typically laughs it off. But he thought I’d taken it too far when I swore I saw him on a Coral Princess cruise through the Panama Canal.

We’d had a superb day touring Huatulco, Mexico. When we returned to the ship, Mike and I rested for a bit in our stateroom, before heading to the Bordeaux Dining Room for supper. Like always, we requested a table for two.

As we approached the table, I noticed that another couple was already seated at an adjacent table. I saw the woman first, then, as I took my seat, I saw her partner. My heart skipped a beat.  Simon Cowell, my British Idol, the man with “The X Factor,” was seated next to me in the Bordeaux Dining Room on Coral Princess somewhere off the coast of Mexico!

I scrutinized him. Cropped, brown hair, check. Good looking, check. And an accent! Did I hear an accent? Check.

I whispered to Mike, “That’s Simon Cowell!” Continuing to dart glances his way, I ultimately came to realize that it was not him after all, even though the resemblance was more than uncanny.

No shrinking violet, I leaned over to tell this Simon lookalike what I thought. He turned out to be Raymond, a Qantas flight attendant from Australia. Ray, as he prefers to be called, and his wife, Lisa, had a good laugh at my case of mistaken identity, and that’s what broke the ice to what has become a wonderful and lasting friendship for the four of us.  

Over dinner, Ray, Lisa, Mike and I chatted and laughed away. At one point, I took out my camera and shot a few pictures of “Simon.” I also told him it didn’t matter what his name was, he’d always be Simon to me. That made everyone laugh and jokingly call me his stalker.

The friends recently visited Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue on a South America cruise.

The friends recently visited Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue on a South America cruise.

We closed the dining room down that night and from that day forward, we hung out whenever we could. Coffee and hot chocolate at the International Café, dinner and drinks most nights, adventures, such as the taxi tour we took of Aruba, our friendship settled into place, as if it had always existed.

We were so sad to part ways—Mike and I back to Canada and my Simon and Lisa to Australia. Never was there any doubt that we would stay in touch. And we have been in constant contact, thanks to Facebook, email and Skype.

Whenever we can, we take a cruise together that Lisa and I assiduously plan. In 2011, we took Caribbean Princess along the Atlantic coast of Canada and New England, showing our friends our part of the world. A year later, it was Grand Princess for two weeks in the Caribbean. This year, we are aboard Grand Princess for a 49-day cruise around South America.

Anything could be next. Australia and environs certainly beckon. Mike and I talk about trading some of Canada’s winter snow and ice for Australia’s sun and shrimps on the barbie.

Whenever we’re together, we’re always grateful that we had that chance meeting. It’s hard enough to find lasting friendships with people who live down the street. To meet and develop a bond with a couple from across the world is rarer still.

As for Simon Cowell, I would definitely like to meet the actual one someday. But if I don’t, it doesn’t matter because I have already met the perfect Simon for me. Between the four us, we have a friendship for the ages.

Lyne resides in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. She enjoys photography, pushing the ‘Book Now’ button for her next trip (and following up with all the research), an afternoon motorbike with her husband, get-togethers with family and friends, and, finally, she just enjoys the little moments in life.

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  1. Princess Cruises says... February 27, 2013 | 9:20am

    Lyne,
    Your story just shows how many ways there are to meet people at sea! We’re so glad the four of you are still cruising together!

  2. Joanne says... February 27, 2013 | 2:18pm

    Love your story and I also love Simon Cowell and they way he tells it like it is. We sailed on the Caribbean Princess in Jan 2013 and I was just looking at the 49 day cruise last night and was telling my husband that I want to do it once we retire. I just live across the bridge from Gatineau in Orleans, ON (Ottawa)

    • LeslieAnne says... March 22, 2013 | 2:11pm

      had to comment. I too love Simon Cowell. wow wouldn’t that be nice to have him on the cruise. I just booked the 49 day cruise and am quite excited as it will be my retirement gift to myself.

      • Kassie says... March 23, 2013 | 6:33am

        I too am looking forward to the 49 day cruise, Ive ordered even a newer wheelchair with multicolored spokes and tassels for the handle grips to fly about the ship meeting simon and all the wonderful older folk who I have come to enjoy so much on the cruises. See you there!

  3. wendy wakeham says... February 28, 2013 | 2:39pm

    Nice story and thanks for the great blogs on this current trip which has ended. It is rather nice having ‘Simon’ as my son-in-law too! (In case you haven’t guessed, I am Lisa’s Mum.)

  4. Leda Lechtenberg says... March 22, 2013 | 3:41pm

    This is a great story, to bad that I don’t have one to share, although I have been cruising with Princess many years. Congratulations to the 4 of your for continue this beautiful friendship. This year I will be cruising with princess to Alaska in Summer and to Europe for 21 days in September, so I hope to have a positive experience to share about friendship from those 2 cruises.

    • Robin Van Dyke says... March 24, 2013 | 5:11pm

      This story was great, My husband, son and I are cruising to Alaska this summer on the Coral Princess in June will you be on that ship then.

  5. Maureen Humphreys says... March 22, 2013 | 6:25pm

    I too love your story and feel the same for Simon. I am more lucky I guess, because I can say when we cruised to Barbados, we docked right next to him. I don’t think you’ll see Simon on a cruise ship because he has his own yacht. I know that is one of his favorite places to cruise. My husband and I cruise with my Mother and her husband every two years and I absolutely love it. We meet so many people and my new friends to are from Canada. We met on the ship, ended up touring on the islands together, having breakfast, did karaoke and danced. What a blast! We will be planning a cruise together in the near future.

  6. Chris Kealohanui says... March 22, 2013 | 9:31pm

    Great Story!

  7. peggy says... March 23, 2013 | 5:09am

    Thoroughly enjoyed the story. You are such a good writer, maybe you should write a book.

    Peggy

  8. Dick M says... March 23, 2013 | 8:00pm

    Vacation friendships can last for many years. We have been going to a resort in Jamaica for 21 years now at least once a year. The reason is mostly because of the people we meet there and the friendships that ensue. We always have time to catch up with people me met on our first trip and our last trip. When we walk on the beach we know at least 150 people. Our first trip with Princess is this May to Alaska and I know from the experience of some of our friends we can expect to make lasting close friendships on this vacation as well. Then if Alaska is even only half of what we have been prepared to expect I am sure that we will sail with Princess and our new friends many times.

  9. Loretta W says... August 30, 2013 | 5:56pm

    Such a lovely story. My husband and I will leave for a European cruise in September aboard the new Royal Princess, I hope we continue to meet new friends as we always do when we cruise. I do look forward to the new ship.

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