December 27, 2012
by Patricia Mengel
For 358 days a year, my life is devoted to reality. Since I’m the kind of person who takes my work home with me, the heart patients I care for throughout the day are really with me all the time. Sometimes they even wake me up at night, as I toss and turn, worrying if a new medication will help or a surgery will be successful.
But for the other seven, glorious days a year, I “Escape Completely,” to quote Princess Cruises’ company slogan. It has become the highlight of my year, the critical space I need to clear my head and rejuvenate my body and spirit.
Don’t get me wrong! I love my career as a certified medical assistant at a busy cardiac practice. I’m proud that the patients know I care. But come winter, when the Michigan temperatures plunge and the hectic pace of the year reaches a crescendo, my husband, John, and I start counting down the days to our annual cruise. Read More
December 18, 2012
by Karl Hoepfner
One Christmas, my wife and I broke with tradition and packed our bags for a Princess cruise to Antarctica. It felt a little strange to be leaving home when all the songs on the radio pined, “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “Home for the Holidays.” But we got over that pretty quickly. Why would we stay home by ourselves–we are empty nesters with busy children–when we could be on board a beautifully decorated ship, meeting friendly people who were, literally and figuratively, in the same boat as us?
Carol and I have taken 14 cruises with Princess, covering much of the globe. But ever since our first holiday cruise to Antarctica, we’ve tried to time them so we can spend the holidays at sea.
Antarctica offered a real-life image of a shimmering Christmas card. Imagine sailing down “Iceberg Alley” on Christmas Eve, the outside world a crystal chasm, with seals floating along on ice floes and a million penguins gazing back at you from their frozen land….then, to turn indoors and be embraced by all the warmth, richness and festivity of this magical season.
Maybe it was easy to capture the Christmas spirit in that most wintery of wonderlands, but we found it in even greater abundance at the equator. Carol and I spent our most treasured Christmas in a small village along the mighty Amazon River, where the landscape is green, not white and icy blue, and you are more likely to find a tapir paddling alongside the ship than a seal. Read More
December 11, 2012
by Drew Mason
I lived in San Diego, Kathleen in Chicago. We found each other on a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
Neither of us was looking for love – we were 20-year-old college students and she had a boyfriend at the time. But that cruise on Emerald Princess became our personal episode of The Love Boat.
Despite the distance separating us, our shipside friendship grew to love. Four years after we met, we made it official. Emerald Princess was indeed our Love Boat and it would take us on our honeymoon.
We can vouch that a cruise is not only a great place to meet someone special, it’s a perfect place to honeymoon and start a new life.
Back in 2007, Emerald Princess staff was working their magic, facilitating meet and greets among every age group, in every part of the ship. The teens were congregating at the video arcade, the kids in the Pelican club. As for the hard-to-classify 18-20 year olds – barred from the 21+ life but no longer kids – the crew congregated us at Skywalker’s Nightclub. Read More
December 4, 2012
by Rosalia Mattern
My husband, Todd, and I were suffering from an acute case of empty-nest syndrome. Our children, Angela and Bobby, had done what children do—they’d grown up and moved on with their lives.
Our friends said, “You are still young. Go explore the world and have fun.” But we couldn’t. Depression was creeping in as our once-bustling home became eerily quiet. Our previously over-burdened schedules now reflected endless free time on barren calendar pages.
A quarter of a century of our lives had revolved around the raising of Angela and Bobby. Now, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Todd and I watched a lot of TV and sometimes we just sat and stared at each other. We were afraid to do the things we used to love most with the kids—like taking a Princess cruise—because we thought it would be too painful. Read More
November 27, 2012
by Jim Green
Our three children have never tired of hearing about how I met their mother so many years ago. I would delight in telling them about how something as happenstance as a fluttering kerchief on a deck of the SS United States could bring their parents together.
When we reached the magnificent milestone of our 50th wedding anniversary, they presented us with their gift … a little toy ship. I admit, I thought, “Well, that’s kind of small.” Maybe my stories weren’t that interesting after all.
Then, they told us what the real gift was. My wife, Frieda, and I were shocked and delighted to hear they’d booked us on a two-week cruise to Hawaii aboard Golden Princess. It was the perfect gift as it captured how we met, symbolized our golden anniversary and referenced the golden years of ocean crossings, which played such a big role in our younger years.
In the 1950s, I was serving on board the SS United States as a deck steward. It was an exciting life for a young man, traveling 20 round trips a year, between New York, Le Havre and Southampton. I was on the SS United States when it broke the world record for fastest transatlantic crossing, and I met many of the big names of the day, from Eleanor Roosevelt to John Wayne, on board. Read More