The Sea Brought My Wife’s Smile Back

Willy and his wife, Fernande, smiling aboard Dawn Princess.

Throughout our marriage, my beautiful wife Fernande always shone brilliant light into my world, and into the lives of everyone she knew. She spread sunshine wherever she went, through her genuine kindness and especially her warm, beautiful smile.

Sadly, in her later years she began to suffer from dementia and a debilitating muscular disease.   Our life together had definitely become much more challenging.  Her difficulties made daily tasks so tough for her, both physically and mentally, that her smile had faded.

Still, I could not possibly think of sending my bride to a nursing home, and I dedicated myself to making her as comfortable as possible at home.  I tried taking her out to see the world, but it was a challenge.  However, one day I decided to take her on a short boat trip out in the harbor. I looked at my wife enjoying the sea air … she was smiling for the first time in months.  Finally, I was seeing that spark in her again that I hadn’t seen in so long!

I decided I had to find a way to continue this feeling for her.  So, I made an impromptu decision to take her on a cruise, and I’d take whatever sailing was the next available.  Turns out, it was the 104-day world cruise on Dawn Princess!

This was quite a leap, and I had no idea how it would turn out, but it became the best decision I’d ever made.  We had only been on the ship two weeks when I knew this was the best place for Fernande.  My beautiful wife loved every moment of being on board ship. She was obviously filled with happiness and any difficulties she encountered seemed to melt away.  It was like having my Fernande back again — she was constantly smiling and happy.

Everywhere we went, the ship’s staff could not have been more helpful or kind to us both.  We never wanted for anything and Fernande had not a single problem while onboard.   Her condition seemed so perfect that I immediately booked another voyage while still onboard. And onboard that voyage, I booked our next again.

Sadly, Fernande passed away before we could take that next journey together, but I know that this experience brightened the last few months of her life and made her a lot happier even if just for a little longer.  And for me, this wonderful trip showed me that amidst all our challenges we were still able to find such amazing joy.

I’ll never forget this incredible experience, and I’m planning to be onboard Dawn Princess’ 75-day Circle Pacific cruise this July in memory of my lovely Fernande.

Willy lives in Cremorne Point, New South Wales, Australia. He has currently completed 160 sea days with Princess, with another 75 to come.



253 Comments Post a Comment

  1. Princess Cruises says... April 17, 2012 | 1:34pm

    Willy, we’re touched your wife was able to smile again and enjoy her time with you aboard Dawn Princess. Thank you for sharing your moving story!

    • mardy says... April 18, 2012 | 11:46pm

      what a lovely story…i need a man to make me smile too and will find hime one day

    • Jennifer Anderson says... April 19, 2012 | 1:43am

      Beautiful !god bless you….

    • skinny minny says... April 19, 2012 | 4:06am

      I am so glad that your trip was filled with so much happiness, I am very sad that my parents, my son and son inlaw, nor myself did not enjoy our experience on our very short sojourn – sad thing was that we had convinced a number of other peoplr to join us. 1st problem was dining, despite clearing up a dining option to have my parents near us (both are in thier 70′s and both have had numerous health issues) when they arrived they were subject to waiitng for 30 mins or more just to be told that the table they had been directed to was correct – they then waited for close to an hr for their meals! My son and son in law ordered a spirt and mixer on deck the next day and the wait staff took almost an hour to bring it back – just for 2 bourbon and diet cokes no explanantion, no apology. I had asked for my parents cabin to be a double rather than 2 singles (an option that was available) but this did not happen. The following dining night I ordered an entree to be served as a main with those dining with me but no mine came out – and when I tried to get the attention of the staff to even keep it warm and bring it back no luck! so I ate a cold meal whilst I waited for the other meals to be delivered. The food was luke warm at best in the dining option for breakfast, lunch etc. My parents would not dine in the restaurant for main meals after the 1st night as they felt that they had done something wrong -when we as their family had organised for them to be seated as close as possible to the rest of us fo rmeal times. This was our first time with dedicated dining (your time) andI did not enjoy this as much as previous occasions – I had found it much easier to just say a table for xxxpeople and be seated. The outside deck areas near the pool were dirty, bottles, ashtrays, glasses, towels were as they were when we retired to our suites. No staff engaged with the passegers on board as on our previous cruise – or those undertaken by my son and his family with numerous cruise companies. I was so bitterly disappointed as this was my sons anniversary present, a belated birthday present for me and a belated birthday/ anniverary present for my parents. Overall I was left feeling that the staff had a “don’t care attitude” now in fairness this was only a short break from Bris- Syd but the sad thing there was that we had talked many friends in joining us, had recommended that they use this as a cruise “taster” so they could see first hand how a cruise could be the ultimate escape – previous experiences for us, my son, his partner, inlaws, granddaughter and extended family did not replicate this on this cruise – Horrid experience, rude staff, dirty areas, cold food, food/drinks that just seemed to not be delivered etc. Overall rating out of 10 would equal minus 10.

      • Behroze says... April 19, 2012 | 4:50am

        Sorry to read about your bad experience on board ship. I would be interested to know which company this was and what was the name of the ship? Also, was this just a short hop from Brisbane to Sydney?

      • Wesley says... April 20, 2012 | 4:57am

        That terrible unfortunately. I find it hard to believe. Very curious what kind are you on the ship ? I’ve been on twice cruise 1 to New Zealand and recently Fiji. I have experince different both NZ and Fiji cruise people are love for swimming and sun tan and lot of kids running around noise spoilt my relax sleep on the chair while my experince to New Zealand was absolute perfect different type of people very quiet lot of zzzzz…and the sun yummy !

        My complain is people who are heavy smoker in other side absolute bad….but try to avoid that area.

        I still love cruise and look forward again next year :D

        • Bev says... April 21, 2012 | 1:21pm

          I have been on many cruises with Princess and have loved everyone. This is a beautiful story and I feel your experience should not be on the same page. It sounds to me like no one could please you or your family. I am a firm believer that you can make anything fun or work to make yourself miserable.

          • plainjaine says... April 23, 2012 | 7:14am

            i certainly agree with the above post…….don’t take away from one of the most beautiful stories I have ever heard.

          • Sarah says... April 24, 2012 | 3:50pm

            I agree too. Willy’s story really does not deserve any negative comments. Very touching, God bless!

          • Carol says... May 23, 2012 | 6:02pm

            This person should be ashamed of themselves posting such awful comments ! this has no place here what are you trying to achieve.!!!
            Such a beautiful story of a Gentleman Making his Beautiful Wife Happy.

          • Kathi says... June 22, 2012 | 10:36am

            I completely agree and encourage Princess to move this post to another location. Willy’s beautiful story deserves to be surrounded with positive energy such as he has shown. We love Princess!

        • Judy says... April 22, 2012 | 1:11pm

          What a wonderful story and what a kind man to do everything he could to make her happy and just to see her smile again.

          We will be leaving on our 4th cruise with Princess Cruise lines June 27th.,when we go back to see the beautiful state, Alaska. .

      • jodie says... April 20, 2012 | 7:18am

        im sorry but i dont see what your story has to do with the beautiful story beig tod by willy? your bad experiance should be told on a differant page as are all the others below.

        • Diane says... April 20, 2012 | 2:03pm

          Amen to that Jodie. I cried reading this beautiful commentary from Willy and then when I read the 2nd one it was like being slapped in the face.

          • Sandizona says... April 23, 2012 | 10:29am

            I agree…agree….agree…..
            Maybe that negative posting can be removed and placed in a different section for those to read. Willy’s story made me cry too. So very happy for Willy to see his “bride ♥” smile and be herself for such a long glorious cruise!!! We just had our first Princess Sapphire Cruise in Feb. and can’t wait to go again. I was my husbands’ “bride ♥” that couldn’t stop smiling while onboard. The entire staff 100% fantastic! Keep cruising Willy….your heart will go on. ♥

        • jojoy says... April 20, 2012 | 3:10pm

          DITTO! Makes NO sense to post that underneath the heartwarming story of Willy and his last precious memories with his wife.

        • Donna says... April 20, 2012 | 3:45pm

          Jodie – Good for you – sharme on Skinny Minny for airing her problems on this page…..tsk, tsk, tsk

        • Judi Lowe says... April 20, 2012 | 7:18pm

          I agree. WHAT does this have to do with Willy’s wonderful story?

          • kate says... April 21, 2012 | 7:17am

            I am glad to see all of these comments about skinny minny’s rant. I could not believe as I read skinny minny’s rant that a beautiful heartfelt story from Willy would inspire someone to complain in this venue. Shame on skinny minny. While I understand that she was upset with the vacation, please have the sense to address them in the appropriate area and not here under this story. God Bless you Willy and may you have a wonderful voyage in July with fond memories of your dear wife.

        • Marlene 70+ says... April 21, 2012 | 8:28am

          I agree, totally! Skinny Minnie’s complaints should not have been shared with Willy’s heart warming story of the cruise with his beautiful Bride. GOD BLESS WILLY! AND SHAME ON MINNIE!

        • Erik says... April 21, 2012 | 9:51am

          I agree. What self centered morons ruin a heart warming story and complain in a forum not intended for this. It is only a few who find the privilege to sail, while many can’t, only to have no appreciation for some pleasures in life. I think they need to end up in poverty for a while, on Government assistance, to embrace life, and be thankful for every simple blessing they get. Their kind of rudeness should not be tolerated on or off a ship.

          • Carol says... April 21, 2012 | 11:55am

            Listening to all of you go on and on….First of all, whether I agree or not about what’s written here, I’d just like to say that I did not see any posting that set definite guidelines as to whether or not ones story had to be positive or negative. So being, the person that wrote about her “terrible” experience obviously did so because she was hurt and frustrated. It may have been inappropriate under a lovely story; however, I’m not sure that it was any MORE appropriate than all of you who stood in “judgement” about what should or should not be said. Are you all from communist countries? You brought more attention to the negative story than if you had ignored it and said something positive. If you were the person that was so hurt by what had happened to you, that you would “react” in some fashion, you probably would not need to be hurt again by people standing in judgement and beating you up. Two wrongs never make something right. Those of you that wrote nasty remarks are not any different than the woman who expressed herself in a very negative manner. Move on and have a great day!

          • kate72457 says... April 21, 2012 | 3:57pm

            here here well said….skinny minnie get a life…drop the knife…..try being polite…it can go a long way..shame on you….you had to have given the staff on board good reason to shun you….because I have cruised on Princess many times ….and rudeness has no reward…so get over it and learn from….it…be polite….the staff are family people just like tthe rest of us….respect is received when it is given

          • Mary Brookstein says... August 21, 2012 | 5:12pm

            Erik, I agree with your sentiment that Minnie was wrong. I would hate to wish ill on Minnie. You and I have no idea what prompted Minnie to be so angry. Perhaps there is more to her story. Perhaps she really needed a positive moment with her family and was hurt and angry that it did not happen. Perhaps many things, but under the Law of Reciprocity, “what goes around comes around” and I would hate to wish ill on someone and bring it back on me.

        • Linda says... April 21, 2012 | 12:20pm

          I agree with Jodie, post your complaints to Princess or whatever line you took and had that poor experience, not following this love story.

        • Lisa says... April 22, 2012 | 12:17pm

          I was thinking the same thing. Kudos for speaking up. God bless you Willy and your beautiful bride. So glad you were able to share those last magical days with her in your own special way.

      • Bev Gibbs says... April 20, 2012 | 3:02pm

        You should have gone to customer service onboard the particular ship, and written a letter to Guest Relations — NOT a nasty rant under a beautiful story in memory of this gentleman’s wife.
        I really find it hard to believe that, if Princess were aware of the “rude staff, dirty areas, cold food, etc.” you mention – they would have remedied the situation in some fashion.
        I agree with Jodie. Reading your reply was like a slap in the face.

      • Donna says... April 20, 2012 | 4:30pm

        Unbelievable…….what an inappropriate time/place to air your grievances!

      • Jean says... April 20, 2012 | 4:57pm

        I have traveled with Princess 5 timez on the Alaska cruise and each time was fabulous. My two brothers and I took our mom on one of these Alaska cruises for her 75th and neither my brothers nor my mom had ever been before. The three of them were blown away by the food, the service, everything. As a matter of fact my mom wanted to go again last year and we had the same great trip as I had enjoyed the previous four times. Really can’t believe your experience. Have traveled with Princess 5 times and another cruiseline twice. Really don’t want t
        To cruise with anyone but Princess from here on out

        • Sharon in Texas says... April 20, 2012 | 5:08pm

          I love Princess. And I loved Willie’s story. I don’t know who skinny minny sailed with, but it certainly does not sound like a Princess cruise. And by the way, two singles can be converted into one double. The cabins are designed that way on purpose so that they can accomodate siblings, traveling companions, or couples. I have sailed 10 times with princess and 5 times on other ships. Give me Princess ovet the others any time!

      • BdeBoop says... April 20, 2012 | 10:16pm

        Who cares what you experienced!!This story was about a wonderful man and his beautiful wife and what his love accomplished. Go complain to the cruise line.

      • frequent cruiser in cali says... April 20, 2012 | 10:45pm

        Skinny minny
        This was the most heartfelt and tender story of a loving husband and his beloved wife, have you no heart at all to vent about your trip instead of taking a moment to think how he might be feeling when he wrote this. you should keep your negative thoughts to yourself and write to the cruise line directly.

      • Adrienne says... April 21, 2012 | 3:04am

        get this rant off this post from Willy – it does not belong here – thank you Willy for a moving story and sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife.

      • jerome s berkowitz says... April 21, 2012 | 4:48am

        we too had a similar expeierence
        several years ago we went on princess
        at that time we waited one hour to see maitre d
        he was rude , non caring etc
        he made a big deal out of a table @ desired time
        we were seated @ a table for 8
        there were 4 passengers @ that table
        the area that were seated @ was 25 percent empty
        the entire cruise
        the service was poor
        the meals not hot or well prepared
        the crew were not pleasant or friendly
        we deceided tthen and there we would
        go on our yearly cruise with princess
        may I suggest that you go ” celebrity ”
        we have been happy and satisfied on
        their newer ships
        if money is not an issue try ” oceania ”
        it is a different concept
        they will treat you royally
        hope this helps you in making up your
        mind for the next cruise
        bon voyage
        zelda and jerry ( berkowitz )

        • Sharon says... April 21, 2012 | 2:40pm

          I disagree. We prefer Princess to Oceania as we had a bad experience there. Too many services on Oceania are contracted out so they can’t deal with issues on board.

        • kate72457 says... April 21, 2012 | 4:08pm

          are you for real????? get a life and let Willys story be read w/o your negativity….royally you say? I call that Pompus!!!!
          HOw about being polite and using some manners… get what you give…whether you buy a ticket on a ship or walk down a street..

          • Mary Br says... August 21, 2012 | 5:17pm

            I am wondering how all of these people have determined that Minnie was rude and thoughtless. Perhaps they were all on the same cruise and know EXACTLY how she behaved. Perhaps they are just rude people who are angry because her posting was considered, by them, to be inappropriate. I don’t know and I don’t care. She has the same right to post her opinion as we do. No one is obligated to agree with it.

        • shirley zimmerman says... April 21, 2012 | 10:17pm

          Seriously, Jerome-your rant made no sense BUT think how happy you made everyone on Princess because they could stop putting all their efforts trying to please you, on those passengers -like the 6 of us-who enjoyed everything about it. They are awesome at Princess and look forward to our next cruise with them.

        • Karen Smith says... April 22, 2012 | 12:57pm

          Oh spare me..another hopeless ranter. You guys and skinny should travel together…to the MOON. This is a story of a wonderful man and his wife and their last days. He found a super way to put a smile back on his wife’s face and God Bless him dearly. Whiners……..take off. Life and experiences are what you make them. Make things less about you and more about the others sharing this earth with you.

          • Carol says... May 23, 2012 | 6:11pm

            Very well said,for them a trip to the moon sounds good to me.!!!

        • Mary T. says... April 23, 2012 | 5:06pm

          I am sorry to say this but Zelda and Jerry you sound like a group of people that were on a cruise several years ago from S.F. to Sydney. If you were one of these people I can understand why the crew acted the way they did. I have never been around a group that were as rude, disrespecful, arrogant ,etc. Nothing made them happy. In fact they were so obnoxious because of an incident by a couple of this group they were told to leave the ship at one of the ports. I hope I never run across another group of people like that again. The cruise was an absolute dream and the ships crew and staff could not have treated us any better. I will always sail on Princess. Thank You.

          • Dona O says... April 24, 2012 | 3:39am

            I think they were on a cruise we were on too. Unfortunate it wasnt princess so this company allowed them to stay. However we all paid for their bad behavior. Then they skipped out on tips. My husband and I tipped well and tried to make up for them.

        • Princess Cruises says... April 24, 2012 | 5:58pm

          It is our mission to provide each of our passengers with a premium level of service and I apologize if this was not what you received during your cruise. We value all passenger feedback and hope you contact our Customer Relations Department ( or phone 1-800-Princess) should you like to discuss your concerns further.

      • As Derrick Sees It says... April 21, 2012 | 8:18am

        Willy, I am so grateful to have heard of a man with such compassion for another human being! I am hopeful to know that the world still has people like you in it. I am so sorry for your loss and if Fernande felt just one percent about you as you do about her, you are a very lucky man! Peace and blessings to you, you dear soul.

        On the other hand, I can’t believe you actually wrote that in this blog Skinny Minnie. But as sad as it is to see such a rant that has no association whatsoever to dear Willy’s story, I feel we should all take heed. Minnie is a prime example of the extreme insensitivity that still exists with some people today. I am sorry for your bad experience Minnie and I am extremely grateful I am not you.

      • Ruth says... April 21, 2012 | 8:50am

        Shame on you !!!!! Sounds like “jealousy” to me !!! We have cruised with Princess several times ,and we LOVE the line .I wonder what kind of passengers you are ….. horrid ….I`m thinking !!!!

      • Roberta P. says... April 21, 2012 | 9:02am

        I’ve been on 30 cruises none would compare to the one you had experienced. You certainly are in control of any problems if you take action to fix them. I’m sorry you did not enjoy your cruise. Hopefully you’ll continue cruising and experience a wonderful vacation as only a cruise can give you.

        • Bonnie Richter says... April 21, 2012 | 11:10pm

          Hopefully, she will NOT continue cruising. She sounds like my mother, who enjoyed making everyone around her miserable. None of us wants fellow passengers like that.

          • Dona O says... April 24, 2012 | 3:42am

            Bonnie, you are right, there are just some people that no matter what you do…they will never be happy! Bless your heart your mom was one those folks! We had one of those in our family and we deleted them from holidays…wasnt long til they changed their behavior as they missed getting gifts and eating good food for free!

      • lori says... April 21, 2012 | 10:27am

        Skinny minny, shame on you, you need to remove your post. Why overshadow such a beautiful story with your negativity? I am so glad Willy has his beautiful cruising memories with Fernande to reflect on. Keeping the love of his life alive in his heart.
        I have cruised with princes a few times & have NEVER been the least bit disappointed.

      • Debbie says... April 21, 2012 | 10:39am

        Wow, you just had to make this story about you, didn’t you skinny minny? How sad it is that some people can’t have compassion for what others are going thru because they are so wrapped in themselves! Unbelievable!

        On the other hand, Mr. Willy I am SO VERY SORRY for your loss. It sounds as if you made your wife’s last days some of her very BEST! I wish you peace and tranquility and hope to meet you on a future sailing so I can give you a HUGE HUG!! :)

      • N says... April 21, 2012 | 11:55am

        How unfortunate that you chose to use a beautiful and moving story to launch your litany of petty complaints. Too bad you aren’t as unselfish as Mr. Stader…

      • Priscilla says... April 21, 2012 | 12:10pm

        I am baffled as to why you would destroy this man’s (Willy’s) beautiful love story about his wife with your problems. What you did was absolutely terrible and not at all thoughful and respectful to Willy and Fernande Stader.
        There are many ways to convey your bad experience and this was NOT the venue to do it.

      • Jude says... April 21, 2012 | 1:35pm

        Shame on you, Skinny Minny, for tainting this beautiful story with your complaints!

      • Nancy Kaufer says... April 21, 2012 | 3:40pm

        it was a sad story you told, but adding it to a comment about this lovely couple was not the right place to air your grievances.

      • George says... April 21, 2012 | 3:48pm

        I am not in the habit of posting of responding to these types of comments however in this case I must. I have cruised many times on more than one cruise line and always go back to Princess. Princess has the best food, best itineraries and best overall experience for me. I have sailed with many friends and family members and they all agree. I believe you are simply a whinner and most likely complain about everything regardless of how good it is. Nothing is good enough for you. I will continue to cruise on Princess and hopefully will never run into you.

      • Ralph Saunders says... April 22, 2012 | 11:07am

        Frankly I find this very hard to swallow. My partner and I have been on three different cruise lines and all three of the on-board experiences were wonderful to a fault. The staff, the food, the entertainment, and even the stateroom attendants beyond the most exacting that we could have imagined. We have witnessed incidents where, despite Herculean efforts from the ship’s staff, some people just couldn’t be pleased. I rather think that ‘skinny minny’ and his/her entourage are among these impossible-top-please people. Cudos to to the staff on the cruise lines for putting’up with these unhappy people.

      • Travel says... April 22, 2012 | 12:17pm

        Really now! Making such a negative post on this page tells me all you do is think of yourself! Maybe you got this treatment which I have a tough time beliving because of YOUR attitude. If you have a heart at all can you please delete your post.

        Willy such a great story. Memories are such a great thing and you and your wife made a great memory to last forever. Thank you for sharing your story Willy :)

      • Karen Smith says... April 22, 2012 | 12:50pm

        Well, you are writing this on Princess cruises site, and I doubt seriously that you were on a Princess ship. Never is the ship left dirty and the staff are tremendous. If something does go wrong, which it can possibly do, it is never hard to fix. You needed to go to the right people or to the Captains Circle or pursers desk. I dont think you did much to relieve the situation and find the right people to correct the wrongs. Princess staff will take care of things. Im sorry you had a troubled time, but your vacation is YOUR vacation, and its up to you to make it fun.

      • LCDR Bob Prinselaar says... April 22, 2012 | 2:24pm

        From our first cruise together, my beautiful wife enjoyed every moment aboard. Being aboard one of the Princess ships has been very special for not only us, but for everyone of our friends who we have enticed to cruise with us. Besides the food being superb, every member of the ship’s crew was helpful, courteous, and friendly. We especially like the longer cruises, and the total relaxation we drive from them. The above story touched me very much because I had a similar experience with my late wife. Unfortunately she died while on our cruise, but died a very happy woman.

      • Shandy says... April 23, 2012 | 6:12am

        REPLY TO SKINNY MINNIE…This page was set up to record comments by people who had read the beautiful, touching story of a man who was too quickly losing his wonderful wife to an insidious, cruel disease. This is definitely the wrong forum for you to complain bitterly about your own experience.

      • Chelleh says... April 23, 2012 | 7:06am

        This is not the venue to post such a story. This man’s story is heartwarming. It amazes me why one would think this is appropriate! I’ve had two great cruises with Princess. If one had such issues, they should be addressed with Princess. I’m sure they will make every effor to make it right. If one just has to post such as this, I would suggest Cruise Critic. That’s where all the complainers post!

      • Jennifer says... April 23, 2012 | 12:50pm

        I had cruised with princess 22 times and always had an excellent services.

      • Dona Olds says... April 23, 2012 | 7:14pm

        I enjoy reading the everyone has one. Willy & Fernande’s was beautiful. Plus, I like to read the comments. When you read a story like Willy and Fernande’s it makes you appreciate what is important and meaningful. I have a feeling the reason that Willy and his wife had such an amazing experience and Skinny Minny didnt… had to do with attitude. We read about a man who devoted himself to making his wife happy. Now she is gone and I am sure he misses her something awful. Im glad to read that Willy is taking another cruise. I am sure watching him with his wife inspired the staff. I just dont know how Skinny Minny can read this and then post that she was “bitterly dissapointed over some cold food and a seating mishap.” Are you kidding me??? Complaining bitterly about everything isnt the way to have a good vacation…for you or the staff. Lighten up…be thankful that your family is healthy and wealthy enough to take a cruise. Try to remember that most of the people who served you on the ship…can not afford to cruise themselves. The staff are not slaves. I have a feeling that Willy and his lovely wife thanked those around them…even for the smallest jesture…like holding a door open. That is how you inspire people to help you…. by being gracious (even when there is a problem.) I bet Willy will have another awesome cruise. While Skinny Minny will go on to have more bitter vacation experiences. As for me and my husband, we are happy to not have to cook, visit with new friends…even if the food does take forever. We are happy to overlook a few ashtrays and go dance, make love, or watch a movie under the stars. If the wait staff forgot my drink, I would just get up and go get my drink. We dont sit far from the bar! LOL! Mostly, I wish others in our family could afford to cruise so that we could find more time to connect to each other…and make more special memories. Most of all, my husband and I want to be like Willy and Fernande! There is a time and place for complaining. However, Skinny Minny this was not the venue for that. Blessings to all whom agree!!

      • Carol Cunningham says... April 23, 2012 | 7:17pm

        Skinny Minny: Not the proper place for your whinnie complaints!! Purge yourself with a nice, long letter to Administration and let Willy enjoy his memories and cruise life!!

        • Carol Cunningham says... April 23, 2012 | 7:26pm

          ps: My husband and I are Elite Princess plus have been on several other lines and we truly love it all….If you don’t have a wonderful time on a cruise, it’s YOUR fault! Life is Good. (We have two cruises booked as of today).

      • Princess Cruises says... April 24, 2012 | 6:02pm

        Hi Skinny Minny,

        We’re always striving to provide the best service to our customers. By calling our customer service team directly, they will be able to discuss your concerns with you further. Please contact our office that is closest to you:
        13 24 88 (Australia office)
        0843 374 4444 (UK office)
        1-800-Princess (US office)

      • Eilene says... April 25, 2012 | 5:22pm

        Sorry you had such a horrible experience. We have traveled several times with Princess and have always enjoyed our experience immensely.

      • Tara Wehry says... June 13, 2012 | 1:20pm

        That was Princess? I hope you did an on board server when you got home. Tell them EVERYTHING I just read. They are supposed to have such high standards.

      • junki says... October 4, 2012 | 7:46pm

        Please delete the skinny minny post. it is inapropriate for this line of reply.

    • Angela & Dominic Waters says... April 19, 2012 | 4:09am

      Willy,O what a wonderful & very touching story,thank you for sharing this with us.We are sorry you have lost your beautiful wife Fernande….May she rest in Peace, Amen.
      What a special husband you are , and how happy you must feel, knowing just how much Fernande enjoyed it
      .We went on our first cruise in Nov last year,and indeed cruising is wonderful.Thank you Willy for sharing your inspiring story with us.

    • Jean McEvoy says... April 19, 2012 | 5:37am

      Hi my husband has alzheimer’s dementure, and cruising is the only holiday I can take him on, he loves lying out on deck watching the water. We cruised in Sept. last year, 14 nights around New Zealand Jan. 2012 then Around Aust. March 2012 on Dawn Princess for 28 nights I had to report him missing 1 night, the staff were absolutely brilliant in finding him for me. looking for next cruise already THANK YOU

    • Maura Lee says... April 19, 2012 | 7:23am

      I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks as I read your story Willy and what a touching tribute to your beautiful Fernande. This story really touched my heart as I know how dementia can take so much away from the whole family. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story Willy and may your lovely Fernande rest in peace remembering you and her wonderful days at sea on Princess Cruises.

    • Linda-Pearl Pugh-Gagnon says... April 19, 2012 | 12:04pm

      Willy your story made me cry, your love story with your wife is a lot like my grand-parent had… a romeo and juliet story, i know you will always keep Fernande in your heart, have a good jouney

    • At Sea Anne says... April 20, 2012 | 2:03pm

      Willy ~ thanks for reminding us how precious each day is and that the most important thing is the smiles and laughter we get to share with those we love. Wishing you many more happy days at sea.

    • Bill Quinn says... April 20, 2012 | 2:54pm

      Very heart felt. You are a great man. My father and mother are going through he same as we speak. He has made me a better man for it. I wish you all that life has to offer and she will be with you on your next journey.

    • Marla says... April 20, 2012 | 3:48pm

      What a lovely couple…true love does exist.

    • janet says... April 20, 2012 | 4:59pm

      thank you for sharing your beautiful wife (and her SMILE) with glad that joy filled your lives.God bless you,sweet Willy.Fernande is still smiling,in your heart!

    • Kristina says... April 21, 2012 | 6:54am

      Your story brought me to tears… your devotion to your wife is so wonderful. I am sure she is smiling down on you from heaven every day!

    • Roberta says... April 21, 2012 | 9:09am

      I’ve sailed on the Dawn Had a wonderful time everyone on board made us want to continue cruising with Princess. I hope to meet Willy on a cruise someday he sounds like a very caring man

    • Barbara Pike says... April 21, 2012 | 10:39am

      Beautiful story! How nice Willy is able to meet the many challenges of an ill spouse in such a positive way. We sailed with Princess for our 50th anniversary in August of
      2010. We did not know what to expect, but we were delighted with every aspect of our cruise to Alaska on Golden Princess. We are looking forward to a second cruise in October to the Caribbean on the Ruby. It is hard to believe that another cruise line could be any better than Princess!

    • Peggy Lombardi says... April 21, 2012 | 11:54am

      willy, thank you for sharing your beautiful story! Yours was a very special marriage! May your wonderful memories of your time together always bring you comfort and joy!

      • Tara Wehry says... June 13, 2012 | 1:25pm

        Willy, what a gem you are your wife was very blessed to have must miss her so much.

    • Priscilla says... April 21, 2012 | 11:58am

      What a beautiful love story. And Willy you are one wonderful person – your wife was so very lucky to have you in her life. God Bless you.

    • Lynda says... April 21, 2012 | 12:43pm

      What a wonderful story Willy, the joy that comes with smiles and especially the smiles of those you love are pure bliss. What a beautiful memory for you. I hope your memorial trip will bring much joy as well.

    • Dianne says... April 21, 2012 | 12:43pm

      What a beautiful story about a married couple of many years. It touched my heart to know that this man loved his wife enough to bring joy back to her life and to bring that special smile to her face again! I just loved reading his story and wished it continued. May he be blessed with his next 75 day cruise in rememberance of his bride. She will be with him in spirit, I’m sure.

    • Barbara says... April 21, 2012 | 1:00pm

      What a Beautiful story thank you, and may God Hold You in the Palm of His Hand because you are surely a Blessing!!

    • Judy says... April 21, 2012 | 3:55pm

      such a lovely story and a wonderful story of love! God bless you, Willy!!!

    • Darlene Chicoine says... April 21, 2012 | 4:19pm

      How inspiring. I am glad that you and your wife got to enjoy so many happy times.

    • Linda Pardee says... April 22, 2012 | 2:11am

      What an absoultely beautiful story! You are the kind of husband that every woman would be blessed to have. God bless you!!

    • Samantha Hall says... April 22, 2012 | 8:09pm

      Willie, she was truly a wonderful person and she did indeed have a beautiful smile. She will be missed by many.

    • Anita says... April 23, 2012 | 4:45am

      Willy what a beautiful moving loving story you have shared with us , I’m Fighting back tears , I’m so happy your beautiful little wife Loved her voyage on the sea & its obvious both your voyages thru your life together was a wonderful blissful one {:-) , I’m sad she had to leave you but you gave her such fond memories to take with her ,As we really have no way of knowing , when someon is locked away in this insidious disease .. I wish you well enjoy your next adventure .. You will never be alone …. Thank you Willy & take care

    • plainjaine says... April 23, 2012 | 7:20am

      The most beautiful love story…… well written…….you are blessed I am sure…..
      Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to read your beautiful story. Enjoy your next cruise to the fullest and keep telling your story………

    • Andrea says... April 23, 2012 | 12:06pm

      Agreed! I experience the same feeling that your beloved Fernande must have felt on each of your voyages, so I truly understand and wish you only health on your next cruise in July. I think you will be surprised at how many well-wishers will be travelling with you, spiritually, this summer. Enjoy and be well.

    • Lesa says... May 2, 2012 | 6:35pm

      Such a beautiful story! I cried while reading it to my husband. Blessed are you and Fernande to have known such love.

    • John Jeffrey says... May 6, 2012 | 6:56pm

      Dear Willy, I was so sad to hear of Fernande’s passing, but so happy you shared your final cruise together. I was a friend of Fernande’s for more than 40 years. She was my mentor at work and I know that in her lifetime as an actress and arts organiser, the crowning happiness was her marriage to you. You cared for and guided a great soul on her next great journey. John Jeffrey

    • KATHLEEN M.TYLER says... May 19, 2012 | 6:57pm

      I’m crying the greatest tears of joy for her smiling for her Willy !


      Remembering to say ; I LOVE YOU, SHARING A SMILE, MEETING NEW ADVENTURES and knowing someone cares !

      MY FIRST ADVENTURE TO “SHARE” IS Oct /2012 ….. It’s my first with someone “I LOVE” AND WE WILL SAIL ON PRINCESS. I hope it will be the first of many to see my mountain man smile at the world that awaits us both.. LOOK OUT ” Caribbean Princess ” here “WE” come !

      Hope he has sea legs (:0) >>>>HE always has his mountain climbing ropes<<<<

      Miss Kitty

    • Lou says... May 30, 2012 | 4:26pm

      Willy, what a great man you are for making your wife happy through her illness. A love story that we all hope and pray for in our lifes.
      As for skinny minny, you should have helped your parents have a wonderful time on the cruise. Why would you not have arranged to sit with them or even wait in line to make things comfortable for them? I am sure the staff would have been more than accomodating to seat everyone together. Seniors can be indimated so easily and helping them gives them the dignity that they deserve.

    • Andrea Beatie says... July 24, 2012 | 11:13pm

      Thank you! So so inspiring! My motto is to enjoy life to its fullest and this is clearly a beautiful example.

    • susan says... August 29, 2012 | 4:57pm

      Thank you Willy for your beautiful story. Very moving and an inspiration to us all! Bless you both xx

  2. Dee says... April 17, 2012 | 4:04pm

    This story warms my heart! You are so blessed to be able to take this wonderful journey with your wife.

  3. JASMINKA says... April 17, 2012 | 4:08pm


  4. Karla Schmolzi says... April 17, 2012 | 4:16pm

    What beautiful story.

  5. Pam says... April 17, 2012 | 4:32pm

    What a beautiful couple. I sat here crying reading it. Fernande was blessed with a wonderful husband who stopped at nothing to make her happy. Willy was truly blessed with a once in a lifetime love. Precious. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Bella Levy says... April 17, 2012 | 4:43pm

    As I sit here reading your story it touched me so much. When my husband and I took a back to back cruise from San Juan10 years ago he just started with dimentia unfortunately it became altzeheimers when we got home. At 59 he was lost to me forever. We never took another trip. He died last year September 25, 2011 at 66 not knowing what happened to him. My cruising days are on hold right now maybe one day I will be able to go again. He loved travelling and cruising was his favorite as well as Princess we did 7 trips together. I will miss him dearly as I am sure you miss your wife. Our time together was short lived with wonderful memories. Bless you for doing what you did to make her enjoy life.

    • Marlene Rollason-Taylor says... April 19, 2012 | 1:06am

      I also took my husband on his last cruise after being severely inflicted with Altzheimers.
      He enjoyed the trip as much as possible and the Staff were wonderful. I am so glad I took him on his very last holiday as a cruise.

    • Mrs Dot Hynes says... April 19, 2012 | 2:54pm

      Your story was very touching. My husband & I have done 7 cruises together. He is terminally ill with Motor Neurone Disease. He was diagnosed with this at the age of 58. Now he has deteriorated we cannot do cruises together. When the time comes for me to say goodbye to him, I have the most wonderful memories of our cruising together.

  7. debbie says... April 17, 2012 | 5:00pm

    Amazing love you had with your wife.Thank you so very much for the story.

  8. Janet Jamison says... April 17, 2012 | 5:07pm

    thanks for sharing your beautiful story.

  9. JunieB says... April 17, 2012 | 5:11pm

    What a wonderful story. It warms my heart to know spouses such as you still exist. You’re memories will live on forever.

  10. BILL-WI says... April 17, 2012 | 5:13pm

    A very touching story. I can see from Fernande’s eyes and smile, in the photo; she was a very SPECIAL lady. I am glad you were able to give her the happiness she needed near the end. You are a wonderful caring person!

  11. Sharon Anderson says... April 17, 2012 | 5:23pm

    Willy, Sorry for your loss of Fernande, but glad you and your wife enjoyed life to the fullest !!!! I too have lost the love of my life and never got to take that last cruise with my Mr…. but what memories we have …a life well lived!!

  12. Helen Toman says... April 17, 2012 | 5:58pm

    What a truely loving couple your were and Willy, you are an amazing man. My mother has dementia and this past winter she was with my husband and I on a Panama Canal cruise. She, like Fernande, seems to ‘come alive’ while on board. As long as she is with us, we will continue to take her aboard. Yes, the staff are/were wonderful. Thank you Princess for helping us to have wonderful holidays. Thank you Willy for sharing your journey. Shalom

    • Dean says... May 21, 2012 | 11:57pm

      Wow. It is just so awesome to see my failmy captured in your light. It made me cry. Thank you my friend. You are so talented and I cant wait to hang these on my wall. I will think of you every time I look at these photos Sarah. Love you friend.

  13. STEVE MARTIN says... April 17, 2012 | 7:10pm


  14. kenroy Rawlins says... April 17, 2012 | 7:13pm

    Wonderful story. You warmed my heart. Do have fun on your next cruise.all the best

  15. Victoria says... April 17, 2012 | 7:47pm

    Willy, thank you for this wonderful story. Your wife is truly lucky to have such a wonderful and caring husband. Your love us an inspiration to all of us!

  16. Norma Lynn Suvak says... April 17, 2012 | 7:47pm

    My mom died of dementia in December of 2011. Dementia robbed her of all of her memories and her life. It is a terrible disease. How wonderful that cruising helped your wife! What a caring person you are. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Keri says... April 17, 2012 | 9:18pm

    Thanks for sharing your Wonderful story! She was one lucky lady

  18. Ellarine says... April 18, 2012 | 1:24am

    A beautiful story, told by a very special man, of a much loved lady! Very special indeed. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Diane Jacklin says... April 18, 2012 | 9:16am

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. What a kind and considerate husband you were and I wish you all the best for a long and happy life.

  20. Dawn Clark says... April 18, 2012 | 9:19am

    Wow, what a wonderful story, I am so glad your wife was able to enjoy the cruise, and for you such treasured memories. Hugs to you x

  21. Ann Venet says... April 18, 2012 | 9:36am

    What a beautiful experience you both must have had. So glad you were able to make Fernande’s last days so happy. This story is so heartwarming. I hope your future is wonderful Willy – you deserve it x

  22. Sheilagh says... April 18, 2012 | 10:26am

    What a lovely story. The memories of that holiday will last your lifetime. Thank you so much for sharing it with us

  23. audrey brown says... April 18, 2012 | 11:25am

    Thank you for sharing your love story. So glad you have happy memories of your years together and the love you shared. How great that you were able to find the perfect holiday for the last one you shared.I am sure you will enjoy your next cruise.

  24. Sue Bird says... April 18, 2012 | 12:18pm

    An absolutely inspiring love story – thank you so much for sharing such happy memories with everyone. I am certain your lovely wife will be with you in spirit as you take your next cruise.

  25. Wendy Griffin says... April 18, 2012 | 3:13pm

    It just proves that love is the best medicine anyone can have. Go and enjoy your next cruise and make sure that smile stays with you, because you can be certain that although others cannot see her ,you know your dear wife will always be at your side.

  26. Catherine Nolan says... April 18, 2012 | 9:59pm

    So glad you had the chance to experience that renewed happiness. I’m sure it will make your memories that much happier too. Thankyou for opening your heart to share your story.

  27. Mark says... April 18, 2012 | 10:11pm

    Dear Willy, what a blessing that you were able to have the gift of those memories. On our 2009 world cruise on the Dawn we met a number of people who also had very special stories relating to the cruise. It seems there is something about the world cruise journey. May her spirit cruise on with you.

  28. Val says... April 18, 2012 | 10:33pm

    Dear Willy, Thank you so much for your beautiful memories of your cruise. You are so inspirational to every one with your love for your beautiful wife Fernande. Go and enjoy your cruise and she will be beside you all the way seeing it all through your eyes.

  29. Annie says... April 18, 2012 | 10:35pm

    What a moving story

  30. Barbara says... April 18, 2012 | 10:50pm

    What a wonderful man you are, I would very much like to meet you, I too nursed my husband Bruce for 2 years with cancer and really know how you must have felt. So special to have taken your wife and made her smile again. Yes we love our Mates I and sadly we cannot bring them back, but oh the menories we have!I have recently had a cruise on the Sun Princess to New Zeasland, with my daughter, as I had had lots of cruises with Bruce, yes it brings back wonderful memories. Keep travelling and enjoy the rest of your life. Laugh more Live longer.

  31. Kris McEnery says... April 18, 2012 | 11:31pm

    Many people take their spouse for granted, not appreciating the special gifts they contribute to their lives and that of others.
    I had a very ill husband whom I would have given anything to be able to have the special joy you shared, but unfortunately he passed away after less than 3 years of marriage.
    I too loved him very much. I was very blessed.
    I commend you for wanting to and achieving making your wife’s last days extremely special.

    • Wayne says... June 29, 2012 | 6:23am

      I love reading this.It pops up on my Facebook ocincsoaally and it just makes my day to see what the Wingo family is learning, doing, living. Love your random posts.Hope you’re doing well. I miss all you guys!Alyssa

  32. Rae says... April 18, 2012 | 11:35pm

    What a touching story, brought tears to my eyes. You were a special couple and how wonderful you had those trips cruising together. My partner and I cannot afford long trips but have enjoyed 2 positioning cruises on Dawn Princess and got a thrill out of being upgraded on the one in December from Sydney to Melbourne, the Ocean View cabin felt like a palace and the staff are so attentive. Keep smiling

  33. unsubscribe please says... April 18, 2012 | 11:35pm

    please unsubscribe me from this page from today on thank you

    • Anita says... April 23, 2012 | 4:52am

      Whats your problem ??????

  34. Claire says... April 18, 2012 | 11:47pm

    And what a gorgeous husband you were to her. No wonder she was smiling! :)

  35. KayStewart says... April 18, 2012 | 11:49pm

    Dear Willy,
    What a beautiful story,and how wonderful your dedication was to your lovely wife,to make her last days so special and memorable. I know you will treasure those memories.
    I will be on the Dawn Princess for the Beijing to San Francisco sector of the Grand Pacific Cruise,and I hope I have the pleasure of meeting you.
    Best Wishes,

  36. Michelle says... April 18, 2012 | 11:57pm

    What a beautiful story. I can’t believe you went the world trip first up, no holding back there!

  37. Wesley says... April 19, 2012 | 12:21am

    104 day YES – my total is 27 day and already booked for next year but I’m very keen on 104 WORLD CRUISE !

    Congrats on ya Willy !

  38. Audrey Goodwin says... April 19, 2012 | 12:25am

    yes Willy it must have been so emotional for you and at the same time happy thatn your dear wife enjoyed her cruises, I I have only gone on two since my husband of 64 years paSSED AWAY AND THEY HAVE HELPED TAKE THE SADNESS AWAY

  39. Janine Beveridge says... April 19, 2012 | 12:48am

    Your darling wife will always be in your heart Willy and now you have those wonderful memories of your amazing cruise together, I am sure she it watching over you, travel safe.

  40. Brian and Mary Dutton says... April 19, 2012 | 1:16am

    We were so shocked to hear of the passing of Fernande. You were such a lovely couple and good company to both of us. We have fond memories of our time together and wish you well.
    From your World Trip tablemates.

    • Fran Focusonthegood says... April 21, 2012 | 12:48pm

      Now this is what memories are made of – a post from your tablemates! How lovely. I have been on many cruises with my husband and have a couple that we have been on 4 cruises with. They started out as our tablemates and now are our friends. They live in Atlanta, Georgia and we live in Richmond, VA. Our paths in this lifetime would never have crossed if it were not for cruising. I look forward to our next cruise, the 4 of us together again.

      As for “minnie”. We, too, went on a Princess cruise with friends and found that it was not “up to par”. We immediately notified persons in charge. They moved our table, explained it was a “training ship” (may have had many new waiters on board) and did what they could for us. It really made a difference to us. We did not continue to find fault but decided to enjoy our wonderful surroundings. We will be “elite” on our next Princess cruise and we always say: “Princess, where I belong!”

  41. Valerie Skelton says... April 19, 2012 | 2:30am

    what a lovely story and beautiful memories for you

  42. jenny blakeney says... April 19, 2012 | 2:35am

    Wily I hope we meet, my husband and I will be aboard on the same cruise. Your story touched me, while the sea was your wife’s joy, while music was my mother’s, I am so pleased you found what mattered to your wife. It is comforting to know in her darkness hours you brought lightness into her world..

  43. Sue McGregor says... April 19, 2012 | 3:47am

    What a beautiful selfless love. I’m sure your beautiful angel will be cruising with you Willy.

  44. Jacqueline Cleland says... April 19, 2012 | 5:14am

    So glad you could keep her with you till the end.

  45. Anna-Rose says... April 19, 2012 | 6:43am

    A lovely story, must get hubby to take another cruise soon……..Skinny Minny, you really need to go on a PRINCESS CRUISE, to really get a taste of the luxury of cruising…..we would not travel with any other line….

  46. Linda says... April 19, 2012 | 10:36am

    Very poignant! My husband has dementia and this wonderful account of your cruise with your lovely wife, Fernande, has given me hope that a cruise is something I should consider for us. My only concern is travel insurance and whether it covers conditions such as dementia. Thank-you for sharing your story.

  47. Sherri Siteman says... April 19, 2012 | 2:54pm

    What a very touching story ..brought tears to my eyes and I was wrapped with love sent from your loving words !! Soo happy you could make your wife’s smile come back !!!

  48. Douglas Rees says... April 19, 2012 | 10:21pm

    Willy, your story says a heck of a lot about you don’t you know. The way you speak about your wife and the obvious esteem in which you hold still is inspirational. My wife and I have done 6 cruises, 5 with P & O the other with Royal Caribbean. We had a fabulous time on all of the cruises, the two operators were clearly different but the staff and food could not have been better. I am a physically disabled person these days, a result of a back infection in 1994 so my dear wife has had a lot to put up with since then. This special lady has over the years spend a lot of hours sitting beside my hospital bed sometimes intensive care, some in High dependency others watching me struggle to walk in the hospital gymnasium. Our 49 year marriage has made my life, she is both my very best friend and also my wife. You wouldn’t believe how proud of her I am. We do these cruises, Alaska, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands because for us the ship is the best form of holiday. jiWe arte both saddened by your loss of Fernade, May she rest in peace.

    • Jenni who loves cruising says... April 20, 2012 | 5:44pm

      Douglas… It was good to read that you have been able to take several cruises with your ” life partner ” in spite of your health issues. Your wife must be a special person & I’m guessing you have a very good marriage !!!
      My family & I have been on 3 cruises & we have enjoyed all of them. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean once & Princess cruises twice.
      Our last cruise, on The Dawn Princess ship, we were seated on a table of 10 in the dining room & we had the pleasure of dining with 2 couples, where both the wives had dementia & one was in a wheelchair. Plus we had an elderly lady who walked with the aid of a walking frame. It was wonderful how these people were able to enjoy the
      pleasures of cruising & we formed some lovely friendships & still keep in touch & get
      together ( now that we are back on land )
      Obstacles can be overcome !!!
      Enjoy your many more cruises with your wonderful wife :-) )

      • Judi says... April 25, 2012 | 9:07pm

        How wonderful that you stayed at that table. Most people would ask to be moved. As one who has cruised with a handicaped person, thank you for staying.

  49. Robert Clark says... April 20, 2012 | 12:15am

    Hi Willy My wife and I where on the same world cruise and we would often sit next to you and Fernade on the prom deck and always enjoyed your company, We are very sorry about Fernade, We are also on the 75 day this year so we hope to see you then.

    Bob & Penny Clark

  50. Maggie says... April 20, 2012 | 6:39am

    My husband,friends and myself all love cruising and have found that everyone of the staff are there to always help you .We are again sailing on June 14th to Singapore for a few 60 th birthdays and l am sure we will have a great time

  51. Marie Eatman, Liquid Blue Travel says... April 20, 2012 | 1:22pm

    What a wonderful and touching story! And good for you for having the courage to do this and creating such wonderful lasting memories of your wife’s last months!!!

  52. Melissa Dutton says... April 20, 2012 | 1:24pm

    This story gave me goose bumps!! The power of travel is inspiring!

  53. Cecilia Tosh says... April 20, 2012 | 2:24pm

    Such a beautiful testament! I’m so happy you were able to have those last months with your LOVE & for her to be able to smile again…absolutely beautiful.

  54. Frederick Dostal says... April 20, 2012 | 2:41pm

    What a wonderful story. I also love cruising.

  55. Debbie Cram says... April 20, 2012 | 3:02pm

    Willy your story was so touching and beautiful! You must be a wonderful man for creating such beautiful memories for you wife! What a lovely couple. Thank you for sharing!

  56. Bill Dent says... April 20, 2012 | 3:33pm

    Willy, what a wonderful story of love that you have shared with us. I was touched by your story, and probably more so, because I made my first cruise on the maiden voyage of the Dawn Princess in 1997. My wife and I had a wonderful experience on that cruise and on nine subsequent Princess Cruises. May you keep on cruising and enjoying it for a long time!

  57. Lois says... April 20, 2012 | 3:42pm

    Thank you, dear “Friend” (even though we have not met) – your sharing so sweetly from your heart makes me feel like I already know you. My husband and I enjoy cruising, and I will never cruise again without thinking of what you did for your precious Bride and how beautifully she responded to being at sea. You gave her a wonderful gift, and now you can enjoy those memories.

  58. Ann Worth says... April 20, 2012 | 4:17pm

    Hi Willy, what a wonderful thing to do for your wife. Making someone happy is one of the
    kindest and unselfish things you can do. We recently got back from a Princess Panama
    Canal Cruise and it was wondefull. I am sure while you are crusing, you will keep the
    fond memories of your wife beside you. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy every day
    of your life. A great story!!!

  59. Judi Lowe says... April 20, 2012 | 4:34pm

    Today is our 44th wedding anniversary. How wonderful to read your story this afternoon! My husband’s mother and her sister had ALZ and I worry this will befal him also. If this should happen I am sure we will cruise (we love it) instead of spending our savings on a nursing home. Princess cruises are the best!
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  60. Goosy says... April 20, 2012 | 4:53pm

    Oh what a touching story, and thank you so much for sharing it with everyone! My husband and I cruise also, and have been on 12 cruises so far all with Princess except for one with Royal Caribbean. My husband would prefer a cruise vacation over any other kind and wants to go on one every year as long as we can squeeze out the money. You and your wife had a love that everyone dreams of having. You were truly blessed! Much more happiness to you in your future Willy.

  61. Doug and Marilyn says... April 20, 2012 | 5:10pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us. Willy, my husband and I are
    planning a new cruise together with my brother and sister in law. We have always had
    such. a wonderful time together. . We hope we can make as many memories as you and your wife have made.

  62. Jenni who loves cruising says... April 20, 2012 | 5:53pm

    Good on you Willy !!!
    What a fantastic, inspirational recollection of your cruise with your life partner (your dear wife)
    Love conquers all & inspite of all these health obstacles, you & your wife were able to escape to the sea !!! Cruising is just so amazing & glad to hear that you had a beautiful love story to share with us !!!

  63. Penny Lindley says... April 20, 2012 | 6:30pm

    Such a lovely story. Both my husband and I had divorces and were facing our “golden years” alone. We married in 2004 and to my delight, he had always wanted to “see the world”. I took him on a short cruise to Mexico and he decided then and there that cruising was the way to go!! Since that time we have sailed more than 200 days with Princess and now enjoy Elite status. Our Golden Years really are…what a wonderful blessed life we have. We are now into our 70s and ready to go again next week..our 13th princess cruise. Thanks to Princess our lives are more full than we ever could have imagined.

  64. B. Santero says... April 20, 2012 | 6:31pm

    Being on board the Princess is like a dream come true. The hospitality of the crew is outstanding. . We were treated like king and queen. Have been on board 6 times and looking
    forward for more beautiful memories

  65. Irene from Qld says... April 20, 2012 | 6:34pm

    Dear Willy, what a lovely story, we went on a Sun Princess Cruise to NZ in Feb. and had a wonderful time. We sailed with our friends and my brother and his wife. My husband had a stroke 15 years ago as did his friend we went with, they a both in wheel chairs, and us wives as carers, had a great time with all the help from Princess cruise staff. The food was wonderful and the service always great, and every thing was so clean and tidy. Willy like you we will always remember the wonderful time we had on our Cruise, best of luck for the future.

    • Doreen says... May 6, 2012 | 12:26am

      Dear Willy…..A lovely story to read, bless you, you have beautiful memories to keep with you.

      Irene……My husband had a stroke 5 years ago and is paralysed on his right side and is confined to a wheelchair we are thinking of a cruise on the Dawn Princess next Feb to NZ but was worried on how I would cope. I think we will just take the plunge and book, our daughter will be with us to help me. We will have been married 51 years next month so giving ourselves a present.

  66. Judy Stephens says... April 20, 2012 | 7:42pm

    Our sympathy and prayers to you. My husband is a 12 year cancer survivor and had a massive heart attack 2 years ago. We are still booking curises and traveling as long as we can.

  67. Marie says... April 20, 2012 | 7:45pm

    There is no doubt about it…Cruising with Princess is the very best !!
    We have been on 32 cruises and I am always eager to plan another fantasy…
    Looking forward to November…only 10 days…someday maybe I can convince my husband for a longer cruise…we are also booked on the Inaugural of the Royal…yippee!! Many blessings dear Willy for thinking of the very best way to provide smiles for your wife.

  68. Maureen Cantwell says... April 20, 2012 | 8:27pm

    What a beautiful story from Willy and what a lovely way to remember your last months together, I just do hope that you enjoy your next trip with “Princess” and you continue to travel for the rest of your days. My husband and I have just enjoyed our third cruise with Dawn Princess, and have pre booked for our next one.We have loved every minute of life on board and have never been looked after so well. We booked for dinner on a large table and enjoyed been seated with three lovely couples, from Canada, USA and a lovely Mother and Daughter from Melbourne, and felt like real friends by the time our short five day cruise was over.All the best to Willy for a long and happy life on board.

  69. Heidi Campbell says... April 20, 2012 | 8:49pm

    What a beautiful story, and obviously what a beautiful couple with a beautiful relationship. What a special way to honor all that with your July cruise. I wish you the best.

  70. Paula in Seattle says... April 20, 2012 | 8:51pm

    This is a beautiful, wonderful, amazingly awesome story!!

  71. Heidi Campbell says... April 20, 2012 | 8:52pm

    Princess Cruises can certainly be proud to help a couple make their time so very special. Look forward to growing older with you all on these cruises. We are going on our third one with Princess in May and really looking forward to it. Thanks to all of you at Princess!!!

  72. Vicky Tan says... April 20, 2012 | 9:21pm

    Very touching story. Willy you are indeed a caring and loving husband. All the best and happy crusing. Princess is the best. Been on five cruises with Princess, next cruise in July on the Grand Princess to Baltic.

  73. Sharon B says... April 20, 2012 | 10:13pm

    Now THAT is a love story! They were both so lucky to have had each other.

  74. Evelyn Navarrete says... April 20, 2012 | 10:40pm

    That was a great story! I enjoyed it! Your wife was lucky to have you! Dementia and poor health are so hard on the rest of the family. So great you found a way for her to enjoy! I took my Mom on a short cruise the year before she died when she told me ” I want to see something before I die” she loved it! All that pampering!

  75. Arliss & Marilyn Andrus says... April 20, 2012 | 11:46pm

    Willy’s story was wonderful.

    My motto: If you can’t say something nice… Keep your mouth shut… Take care of your complaints with the offending officials.

    We have sailed with Princess 5 times, and have three cruises booked for 2012 & 2013. Our experience has been wonderful. We are so looking forward to many more bookings.

    • Anita says... April 23, 2012 | 5:03am

      Hear hear !!! <3

  76. carolyn chang says... April 20, 2012 | 11:48pm

    what a beautiful love story. how wonderful for you to know that your cruise line was a blessing for that loving couple during fernande’s last days. may God’s blessings, and memories of his beautiful wife, accompany willy during his future cruise with you.

  77. Cinzh says... April 21, 2012 | 1:01am

    My partner and I had our first cruise last sept and immediately booked our second
    As for skinny minny this was not the time or place to air your issues
    Willy’s story was heart melt and touching if we can continue to be as I love
    As him and his wife we will be very lucky

  78. Dorothy Kleinbauer says... April 21, 2012 | 1:46am

    What a lovely story! Bless you, Willy, for being such a wonderful care-giver. My husband and I leave next saturday for a one week California Coastal cruise…our 11th with Princess and can hardly wait to be back on board a Princess ship, it is a wonderful way to celebrate life and make wonderful memories
    I’m sure you will always treasure your beautiful memories!

  79. Judy Winckler Cullina says... April 21, 2012 | 6:30am

    We have been on over 20 cruises – all on Princess. A few years ago I became unable to walk without the aid of a walker. We decided an electric scooter was the thing for me, and what a blessing that was! We’ve been to Australia, New Zealand, the far East, Europe, etc. and May 11 we are leaving on a Mediterranean Cruise. Princess has been wonderful in every way, and we have met so many great people who have become friends.
    Willy, I’m so glad you were able to bring back a smile to your beautiful wife’s face – a great memory to have of her,

    • David Ballantine says... May 2, 2012 | 1:16pm

      Willlie, what a wonderful and loving gesture that you were able to make your wife enjoy her final years with you, at the same time, create some final and happy memories that you will I am sure, never forget.

      I Have had MS for the last 45 years. So as a result, the last 6 years I have had to use a mobility scooter when I know that walking is involved.
      Princess Cruises go out of there way to make sure that everything is OK.
      The dining staff make sure that I can get to my table without obstacles in the way.
      I have never found being in a scooter an issue as people in general will take that extra step like holding the elevator door for me etc.
      I also make sure that I really appreciate there help with a thank you and a smile.
      never have had a problem.
      Cruising is definately the way to go. I have been on a couple of other cruise lines and find that Princess handicap cabins are the best as far as size and amenities.
      As has been said before, cruising is what you make it, attitude will make or break it.
      I have always felt that being positive makes life so much more pleasant.

  80. Kirsten says... April 21, 2012 | 6:48am

    As a Hospice Nurse, this made me cry big happy tears. All I want for my patients is to be happy,comfortable, and surrounded by people they adore. I go to great lengths to learn about my patients so I can greatly contribute to those goal. Good for this sweet man, finding this opportunity to restore his wifes smile, that he gave her all of it before she passed. I am vey bothered people muddied this page with complaints. So inappropriate. Call customer service, chose a different way to travel… your selfishness and petyness is pathetic. Thank you for the inspirational story! I honeymoon in December and start my new life. I can only pray our love stands the test of time like yours. :)

  81. Nancy says... April 21, 2012 | 7:37am

    It brought tears to my eyes about the joy you both felt being together and seeing Ferande smile and relax and thoroughly enjoy herself. Also, Willy, what a selfless man you are! Your love and care for Ferande is wonderful.

    I have very recently lost my friend and partner of 26 years to complications of scleroderma and pulmonary hypertension. Sara and I loved our two cruises and looked forward to enjoying more. Months before Sara died the Drs did not want us to take long trips. So we prayed that the surgery for the PH would help to bring a longer and healthier life for Sara. The complications after the surgery contributed to Sara’s death on February 22nd.

    I would love to continue traveling but do not have my traveling buddy anymore. Guess in time I may feel like taking the plunge and enjoying my new, even without Sara.

  82. Fay Brydon says... April 21, 2012 | 7:56am

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring love story. May your wife rest in peace and you enjoy the rest of your days, knowing what a wonderful, caring husband you were. God Bless you.

  83. Terry says... April 21, 2012 | 8:15am

    Willy So sorry for your loss, but so touched that you were able to have this wonderful memory with your wife. I have an early onset dementia (frontal temporal) and this cruise with my folks has made me feel so free and happy again. In the past year I have had to leave my job and stop driving and move in with my daughter and her family, a loss of independance that I was able to feel while on board and yes many many smiles like your dear Ferande. I know how she must have felt, I think everyone with any type of a dementia should cruise it really does something… we all know it will not cure us as it is a terminal desease, but it sure can help bring a lot of smiles and wonderful feelings, and hopefully help our caregivers as well. I am hoping to take a cruise with my three daughters before I am no longer able……Your story was just wonderful and I can see why your lovely wife must have smiled so much, you must have brought her much love and comfort. God Bless you!

  84. roberto says... April 21, 2012 | 8:18am

    There is no way I believe skinny minny’s story!!!!!!

  85. Donna Rodman says... April 21, 2012 | 9:12am

    Willy, what a beautiful and inspiring story. You are quite brilliant in your effort to bring sunshine into the life of your partner after all the sunshine she has given to others and yourself. It is true love. What better place too on a cruise where also you provided some security for her with her dementia while also giving her a wonderful quality of life in ‘living’ with past happy memories. The Princess line can take note on this and be proud for supporting you and your beloved as well as they have. I am so glad for you and also too that you are left with a happy memory of your delightful love affair and ray of sunshine.

    From Donna Rodman, registered Landscape Architect in Canada – formerly a nurse with experience in extended care, mental health and addressing the needs of seniors, aging in place.

  86. Lynn says... April 21, 2012 | 9:17am

    Willy, thank you for sharing your wonderful love story.
    You are so blessed!
    Legends Of Angels Are With You……
    Princess cruises are the best!

  87. Al says... April 21, 2012 | 9:17am

    Willy, your story is truly beautiful. I am happy for you and your lovely wife that you were able to enjoy your time together. I am very sorry for your lose. My wife and I are taking our 11th cruise together in May. We are celebrating our 35th anniversary. I will think of you and Ferande while on board.

  88. John says... April 21, 2012 | 9:33am

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.
    It reminds me to treasure every day I have with my wonderful wife.

  89. Joy says... April 21, 2012 | 10:15am

    I don’t know why I am even responding to “skinny minny” negative story about her food and inconvenience except it reminds me that some people can’t be happy for another person’s happiness because it is all about “their party”. They need to write about their experience on another negative story not on the beautiful story of Willy and his lovely wife.

  90. Donna C says... April 21, 2012 | 10:18am

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful love story, Willy.
    You are truly a wonderful and kind husband who knows how to treat your wife, Fernande, a testimony to true love and faith in a marriage.
    You are an inspiration and a mentor to anyone who wants to learn how to be good to someone special. May you have many years of smiles and cruising.
    Cruising on the Princess is a healthy venue to make someone happy!

  91. Helena says... April 21, 2012 | 10:37am

    It was so lovely to hear that the cruise bought her to smile again, I’m sure it brought back fond memories of previous cruising good times. I can understand how she felt. We have also been on the Dawn Princess which was first Princess cruise. Helena

  92. Ronnie says... April 21, 2012 | 10:53am

    Dear Willy,
    I am so touched by your deep love and caring for your beautiful wife. You were such an amazing husband to your wife. How very blessed she was to have you and you, her. Please accept my condolences on the passing of Fernande. May God’s love shine upon you, as you are a very special man.

  93. Miss Tristy says... April 21, 2012 | 12:12pm

    Thank you Willy for sharing your touching story. I am sorry for the loss of your lovely wife, but do hope you enjoy your memory cruise.

    Skinny Minny – Wrong place to share your troubles, but I also want to say that if I was taking my 70 year old parents on a cruise, they’d be sitting with my husband and I – not off at some other table by themselves. I’d rather spend time with my parents over friends any day, especially elderly parents. How very rude of you.
    We have cruised many times and have NEVER run into rude staff members. Our table has always been ready when we were and if we had a wait of any kind, we were always apologized to and compensated in some way. We are already looking forward to our Panama cruise in Sept.

  94. Laurie Jordan says... April 21, 2012 | 1:00pm

    Willy! Thank you so much for loving your wife deeply enough to bring back her smile! It shows that you were very in tune with her needs and it’s wonderful to know that by taking her on a cruise, it brought back her joy once again. I’m truly sorry for your loss but what wonderful memories you have at the end of her life! I lost my Dad a year and a half ago of a massive heart attack but before that for about one to two years he was suffering from dementia. He was a pastor that spoke every weekend and it was hard to watch him go and not talk anymore. I would have loved to watch him go on a cruise like that with my Mom. The only time they sailed was on Princess up to Alaska and he ended up being very sick on that cruise. I too am grateful to Princess cruise lines for the caring they show and the customer service they give. That is huge in my book! My husband and I, along with two other couples, recently went on a cruise to the Caribbean and we enjoyed ourselves very much. God bless you in July and I hope that you meet all kinds of wonderful people. I wish I were one of them! :0) All my best to you……. Laurie

  95. Anne Stall says... April 21, 2012 | 1:24pm

    A lovely story. Four years ago I took my last vacation with my husband. He died three months later. The memories from that trip sustain me. ALl his life he was an avid outdoorsman. He couldn’t go very far anymore. But on the 14 day cruise in Alaska he made small trips and enjoyed sitting on our deck and gazing at the wilderness he loved.

  96. Wendy says... April 21, 2012 | 1:51pm

    First of all I want to say what a beautiful heartfelt story and I am so glad you were able to have this wonderful memory with your sweetheart which I am sure will travel for you the rest of your life and she is waiting for you to share those memories. Thank you God Bless!!! Thank you sor sharing and posting this.


  97. Janet Cross - San Dimas, CA says... April 21, 2012 | 2:11pm

    Willy, you are such a model of support for all Dementia Caregivers! Being a spouse and caregiver for my husband of 54 years has been a very difficult task. For the past three years My family and I knew it was happening, but my husband was angry and combative and in total denial. I loved our Mediterranean Cruise in 2009, but he made it very difficult. I had to do most of the shore excursions alone, but I will re-do the cruise in the future so I can enjoy it. I took him and one of our daughters and two granddaughters on his final cruise in November, 2010, on the Sapphire. The crew and staff were all outstanding in their compassion and concern for him, and whenever he got lost, the granddaughters or one of the crew found him. We’ve had about 23 cruises over the years with 14 of them on Princess, and my future cruises will only be with Princess. My husband finally had to be placed in an Alzheimer’s facility last year, but he is happy now and although in the Advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, he thinks he is still on a cruise ship. God Bless you, Willy, for having the strength to keep your wife at home

  98. Iflynn says... April 21, 2012 | 2:18pm

    The world needs more “Willys”! What a devoted, wonderful husband he is as I am certain that he is still married to Fernande in his heart. Thank you for sharing your poignant experience!


  99. Donna Russell says... April 21, 2012 | 3:01pm

    What a lovely story posted by Willy Stader. A tribute to his dear wife.

    In 2007 my wonderful husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I determined that we would continue to do all the ‘fun’ things we could, for as long as we could. First on the list was a cruise/tour on Princess to Alaska. What a wonderful experience. In 2009 we did the 14 day Panama Canal cruise with Princess. And in 2010 we did the New England/ Canada cruise, again with Princess. In between we did land tours to Copper Canyon and Alaska, visits to Hawaii, and a trip to Normandy. But nothing was as easy, as relaxing, and as pleasant as cruising. It is a wonderful way to travel with a person who has dementia, and Princess makes it easy. As Willy reports, it does indeed bring a smile to your loved one’s face! Obstacles that you face with other types of travel are practically non-existent on board ship. It is relaxing to the person with dementia, and makes life much easier for the caregiver. As my husband’s abilities steadily decline, I continue to look for ways to make his days happier. And, as we approach our 60th anniversary in January, I am HOPING that we will be at sea!

  100. Margaret Gooding says... April 21, 2012 | 3:29pm

    What a beautiful story. My husband and I did our first cruise on Emerald Princess last October 2011 for my retirement. We did the Eastern Caribbean cruise. We were known as the “newbies” as it was our first cruise. I couldn’t believe how many cruises other passengers had been on. We had a wonderful time and they couldn’t do enough for us. I find in life you are treated the way you treat people. As for the cleanliness, cold food etc. of the other person I agree I would have been complaining loud and clear to the appropriate people. Nothing is impossible with the Princess people. I have already booked another cruise for this November to tour the Southern Caribean. We have over 200 days to go and I’m already talking about all the things we will do and see on this trip.

  101. M. Mann says... April 21, 2012 | 4:01pm

    Lovely story!

  102. Ann says... April 21, 2012 | 4:12pm

    Willy’s story was wonderful. And Princess is a wonderful cruise line. If you are considering a cruise on Princess, don’t believe a word Skinny Minnie said. Sounds like she and her family are probably pains. They sound exactly like the type passengers that the crew does not like. I found that the crew on all the cruise lines will do whatever they can to make you happy. I can’t imagine that arrangements were not made for them to sit together. Sounds like the parents just wouldn’t go back. Can’t someone delete Skinny Minnie’s comment?

  103. Spinner(just 60%ladies) says... April 21, 2012 | 4:38pm

    HI Willie-
    It seems like you chose the colour of your life.
    You and Fernande must have loved the colour blue. Blue sky….blue ocean….blue eyes?
    I’ve fallen in love with you.
    (albeit I’m likely 30 years younger- and VERY happily married)
    Keep cruising…It will make Fern happy to see you having fun!
    I too love Princess Cruises. ( I’ve only been on one cruise!) I wouldn’t go with any other company.
    Fernande will be happy to see you having fun! She sounds like a lovely woman!
    You rock! Keep rocking….keep cruising!

  104. Carol says... April 21, 2012 | 5:00pm

    What a wonderful story -I too got my smile back when my husband took me on my first cruise thru the Panama Canal – it was just amazing and we can hardly wait for our next one!

  105. Diane Sutkowski says... April 21, 2012 | 6:34pm

    How beautiful to be able to share a special time together. Bless you for doing this for her and for having been given the gift of having your beloved back. You and your story are inspiring.

  106. Sandy says... April 21, 2012 | 7:14pm

    I have been on a Princess cruise and the crew was absolutely wonderful. I have also been on a
    Norweigan cruise line and the crew was very pleasant. I preferred the amenities on Princess but
    both cruises were very enjoyable.
    I am glad Willy and his wife had such lovely memories.

  107. Judi says... April 21, 2012 | 11:19pm

    For Willy, aren’t the memories wonderful. I also traveled with someone who had dementia. The cruises brought many smiles to her also. That person was my mother and we did 10 cruises together. My 2nd cruise with Mom was in 1992 on the Dawn Princess. I’m about to take my 18th cruise, again with an elderly person. I think cruises are fantastic!! As a result of that Princess cruise and the lack of response from staff and the company, I’ve never sailed Princess again. This is propably not the form for Sinny Minny to post on but I sure can understand her frustration.
    Even after all this time, I still cannot bring myself to go on Princess. I’m glad the rest of you enjoy them, but my cruise was the cruise from hell and jeopardized my mother’s health. Thankfully none of our other cruises came near that terrible experience and I have wonderfull memories from them.

  108. Sheri says... April 22, 2012 | 12:53am

    I love this story! I hope that I and my husband will be able to do the same. That was soo inspiring,,,God Bless.

  109. Aloke K. Bose says... April 22, 2012 | 2:38am

    Thanks for sharing such Heart Warming Memories. Our Prayers for Your Dear Wife – Fernande. May God give her Eternal Peace. May God Bless You.
    I & my wife have been on several cruises with Princess. Had an enjoyable cruise each time.
    Eagerly looking forward to our up-coming 15-days cruise to the Hawaiian islands.
    With best wishes,
    Aloke K. Bose

  110. Joan says... April 22, 2012 | 7:02am

    This is like comparing apples and oranges. Willy’s experience was wonderful! Hooray for that wonderful caretaker and husband! People with dementia have a problem stepping out of their routines and need things structured. What a blessing for Willy and his wife that they found something they could enjoy together in the time they had left as a couple. I am sure that meeting them on their cruise would have enhanced everyone’s cruising experience just by realizing what is really most precious in life.

  111. roberto says... April 22, 2012 | 8:17am

    Skinny minny must have been on a freighter!

  112. Lori says... April 22, 2012 | 10:50am

    What a wonderful story. Good for you Willy taking the time and patience to let your wife experience the joys of cruising, no matter age or health nothing feels better than the wind in your face and the roll of the water. I find cruising so peaceful as I’m sure Willy and Fernande did.
    As for Skinny minny, you get what you give, perhaps you should look at yourself. Are you always finding fault with everything. The staff on Princess are people too, and should be treated with kindness.

  113. Mar says... April 22, 2012 | 1:58pm

    Oh Willie ~ what a wonderful love story, one that every woman wants to feel!!!!! You made your wife so happy in her last days. There’s something so calming about the water that I truly believe that the cruise and water “helped” her dementia. Your story inspires me, fills me with hope, and warms my heart. May you be blessed every day of your life!!!!!

  114. Richard and Marge Ronskavitz says... April 22, 2012 | 3:02pm

    great love story. At 75 I am a newly wed. I lost my wife to cancer in 2008 after being married 46 years. My life was so wonderful with her I did not think I could find such happeness again. In early 2009 I met a wonderful women. We were married on June 19, 2011. Believe me that love can happen again. I have been on 75 cruises and 10 with my bride. We booked a land tour and cruise on the Diamond Princess in June of this year. What a great way to travel and see the world. We plan to continue to cruise until we are called by our maker.

  115. Carol Downer says... April 22, 2012 | 6:32pm

    On Willie: I heartily recommend taking a cruise with a spouse who is suffering from dementia. My husband and i , along with my daughter 12) and our granddaughter, and my son, his wife, and our grandson (7) had a wonderful week. Frank, my sweet and handsome husband, was able to explore the ship: if he lost his way, which he did, the staff and others directed him back to our cabin. My children had the opportunity to socialize with their Dad while I lolled in the jacuzzi or read my book. Frank had his choice of food, as did I and we had a wonderful week of no housekeeping. My children dressed up to get their pictures taken. I didn’t care about the pictures, so Frank and I retired to our stateroom. Lo and behold: I found him putting on his suit and tie! So, we had an excellent photo session, and now all my children have a great picture of us. I recommend it. It was a great experience for us both. He had fun, and I read two books. I had none of the problems complained of by skinny minnie. Carol

  116. Samantha Hall says... April 22, 2012 | 8:10pm

    Willie, she was truly a wonderful person and she did indeed have a beautiful smile. She will be missed by many. Hope you enjoy your next voyage in her lovely memory.

  117. Annie says... April 22, 2012 | 8:29pm

    Bless you Willy for sharing your beautiful story. No wonder Fernande had a beautiful smile….she was married to you. I’m so happy that you found each other and share a wonderful life together. Memories of your wife and your life together will forever warm your heart.

  118. John says... April 22, 2012 | 10:37pm

    Can Princess please remove the rants and inappropriate comments that have been posted with this very moving article. I cannot see why they were not vetted before publication.

    I took my wife on the 2010 world cruise on the Dawn as she has a degenerative eye disease and it was the best thing we have done. We have since been on a 25 day cruise on the Sun and the service and food have been exceptional.

    Thanks Willy for bringing back the memories.

    • David Ballantine says... May 2, 2012 | 1:37pm

      Hear Hear,

      Princess, please remove skinny minnie’s rant from this beatiful love story.

      Mayber her name says it all 8-)

  119. C.Verner says... April 23, 2012 | 1:14am

    Thank you for your touching story, Willy. What a wonderful way to show the world to your wife when it was getting away from her. Thank you for sharing, and I hope your next voyage will be filled with new memories made better by the ones that are already in your heart.

  120. Donna Rodman says... April 23, 2012 | 1:21am

    Willy, you are so fortunate and quite brilliant to have made such a happy decision to bring the joy back into your wife’s spirit. Not only did you improve her quality of life in a secured setting which she loved, but you allowed yourself to experience those last happy moments with her, and therefore you too have happy memories in those final stages of her condition. You obviously shared a very special love and understanding.

  121. Jean Abdul says... April 23, 2012 | 9:02am

    I have to admit, the joy of seeing you loved one come back to life is really beautiful.
    I too happen to be on the Emerald to the Panama Canal.

    I have made at least three other cruises with Princess; however, this must be the worst I ever experienced.

    The food which was always good on the previous trips was horrible. The taste was the worst. They seem to recycle food from the dining rooms dinner and convert them into some type of breakfast dish. The variety was lost, the same menu especially at breakfast for ten days.

    The staff in the dining room seem to be very clanish they cater to their own kind. This was particularly obvious one night when my husband and I went to dinner. There was an Indian couple at the table next to us apparently the same nationality as the waiter. Apart from the fact that was they had was not on the menu, the waiter was waiting hands and feet on them the entire time we were there.

    We waited on the food for close to an hour and when it came, it was dead cold. The waiter practically threw the food and the table and was in a grand rush to go back to the table next to us asking if there is anything else the couple needed.

    The food in the buffet dining room was no better. Everyday the food tasted horrible.
    We met another couple from Chicago on the cruise one evening. They too shared our sentiments regarding the food. In fact, the husband’s comment was similar to my husband’s. “It is a shame that we have to have peas soup and crackers for dinner as our choice of dinner is so bad, and we are in the middle of the sea.”

    Even the choclate chip cookies were so terribly, they seem to be on the ship since the year before the cruise. Both of us couples decided we will look to other cruise lines when we next cruise as the experience on the Emerald was the worst. They were on their sixth cruise with Princess, we were on the fourth.

    On another occassion we were in the buffet dining room and the staff predominantly Philipinos were quite busy adoring a Philipino with her baby. We asked for drinks to be served at our table, and we ended up getting the drink ourselves. They were so busy, we noticed other people clearing off tables in order to find somewhere to eat.

    The chairs on top deck were always wet and yes, dirty towels were all over the place. The staff seem to be in another world and courtesy had totally deluded them.

    They promised to contact Princess themselves, and I too have complained to the specialist who assisted me with the cruise arrangements. We will be making arrangement elsewhere for our next cruise.

    I really think Princess should look into the quality of their servcie and this particular cruise was the worst I have ever experienced.

    We too have recommended Princess to other friends and family but have asked them to think twice in the light of our expereince on the Emerald.

    I am hoping that Princess is taking time to read our comments to make amends where possible.

    Sorry about your disappointment but I do share your sentiments.

    • John says... April 24, 2012 | 12:41am

      You either don’t understand the purpose of this forum or you are just plain stupid.

    • Dmouse says... April 24, 2012 | 4:04am

      If princess is so bad, Why are you trolling their pages????

    • Becky says... July 30, 2012 | 10:28am

      I have a question for Jean Abdul about her cruise. She said she was on the Emerald Princess going to the Panama Canal…..I take it she wasn’t going though (sorry for spelling) any part of the Canal. The reason I mention this is because as of now the Emerald Princess, I think, is to big to go through the Canal. I have been on 22 cruises. All with Princess….I did two 10 day back to back cruises on the Emerald Princess and we have the exact thing booked for this year….over the holidays. I wouldn’t spend another 20 days on a ship that I thought was crap. To each there own. The cruises are the Eastern and Southern Carribean. We have done the Panama Canal cruises 3 times….the last one was September 2011. Last year we were on the Island Princess and the 2 before that we were on her sister ship….the Coral Princess. Both ships (I think) are longer then the Emerald but not as wide. Just trying to figure out what you were saying.

  122. denise quinton says... April 23, 2012 | 1:26pm

    That was by far my favorite story on princess blog, what a truly inspiring loving tale of happiness and the peace and tranquility sailing on board princess provides

  123. Mary Lamb says... April 24, 2012 | 7:57am

    skinny minny; you should be ashamed of yourself! I didn’t appreciate reading your complaints after reading such a beautiful story. you are obviously a very unhappy person and nothing would please you anyway. you owe Willy an apology and next time, you should put your negative comments where they belong.

  124. barbara laFleur says... April 24, 2012 | 3:53pm

    Skinny minmmy says it all…. I do not beleive that this was a Princess Cruise… it was prolly that other line with the 200 $ specials… I have never ever had a bad experience on Princess and I can not wait for my next trip…

  125. Sandra Alves says... April 25, 2012 | 11:24am

    I am so glad you had that time together. You took a leap of faith on booking such a long cruise but in your heart you must have known that it was the one of the last things you could do for your beautiful wife. God speed your healing. May remembering that smile comfort you.

  126. C. Jane Supple says... April 25, 2012 | 3:22pm

    Thank you, Willy, for sharing your wonderful story. What a great husband you have been! What wonderful memories you must have now.

    The only comment I will make about the service I have experienced is that it was always first-class.

    • Mightybender says... June 28, 2012 | 10:37pm

      Angelika Marinelli – Jeff & Diana, You are an amazing, beuufital couple and it’s is awesome seeing a relationship such as yours in this day and age! Hurahhh! Awesome pics- one of my favorites is the bridge and slide. Don’t forget I need some in high res for surprises! Let me know your favorites please.November 30, 2011 12:30 am

  127. Lynn says... April 26, 2012 | 8:59am

    I have been on three Princess Cruises & will never choose another Cruise Line. The story about Willy is so wonderful and sharing a trip with a special loved one makes it more special. What a great ending to a perfect life. I have never-ever been disappointed. The staff go out of their way to accomodate you and make you comfortable. The food, shows, are outstanding. If I could, I would cruise every year, especially to the state of Alaska. Princess Cruises are wonderful.

  128. Matthew Smythe says... May 3, 2012 | 1:58pm

    I knew Fernande and Willy, and was always struck by how happy together they were. How fitting that they remained so close to the end, and were able to enjoy every last moment together.

  129. Karen says... May 13, 2012 | 4:54am

    I am close to tears as I read your story. You are a beautiful man and it is touching to hear how much you loved your wife. It makes me believe that true love can be possible. Take care and enjoy your next cruise. I hope that you have a wonderful time and that it is full of special memories for you. God bless..

    • Yvonne Liekefett says... May 18, 2012 | 5:48pm

      A beautiful story of a beautiful man and the love of his life. Willy, you are an inspiration, bless you so much. Once again we are off to cruise the Queensland coast on the Dawn Princess end of May, looking forward to meeting new friends, seeing another part of this beautiful world. Cruising with Princess is the best! Enjoy life, dance a little, love a lot, treasure your family, breathe in every day, and every new experience, for life is short (and getting shorter for us!)

  130. Danny L says... May 31, 2012 | 10:58pm

    I’ve been on several cruises and Princess has always been our favorite. Since I lost my wife, I’m afraid I’ll never have that kind of fun again, cruises should be shared with someone very special. Princess always made us feel like it was all about us…

  131. CrusinSusan says... June 1, 2012 | 6:01am

    Thank you, Willie, for sharing your heartfelt story. I am so glad your wife had a wonderful time on her cruises during her last years. How blessed she was to have such a caring, thoughtful, selfless husband. Hearing how people like you look for the best and appreciate the little things while undergoing very difficult circumstances helps the rest of us put our trivial problems in perspective. It seems like you counted your blessings and tried to make life better for someone else even in the midst of your own heartbreak. You bring out the best in people when you look for it and give them your best. May God bless the rest of YOUR life with many smiles.

  132. Sandy & Joe Daly says... June 29, 2012 | 7:05pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful moving story. A happy beginning shared between you and your bride throughout your marriage that ended in such a magical way. Thank you so much for Inspiring me and my marriage.
    And always hold this inspiring memory dear within you heart …

    Wishing your cruise onboard the Dawn Princess in Memory of your dear wife to be filled with Joy and all that you are so very deserving of.

  133. Becky says... July 30, 2012 | 9:33am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I like so many others had tears reading it. My parents were married for almost 57 years before we lost my mom. She had alot of health problems (several different types of cancer…just to name a few) but I think the worst was the altheimers. (Sorry about the bad spelling) Dad did the best he could for my mom…..just like you did for your wife. My parents never made it on a cruise…..even through we tried. My husband and I have been lucky enough to become Elite u members with Princess. We have done 22 cruises (all with Princess) and have 2 more booked. Two ten day cruises….back to back over the Christmas holiday this year. Princess has been so great to
    us that we have never desired to try another cruise line. I also have alot of medical problems that I need a cane or most often a wheelchair to get around on. So to the couple that stayed at the table with the other people that had problems getting around….THANK YOU? We have feelings too. I wanted to keep this short but thats not going to happen. Willy….your wife was so so lucky to have you. I have seen how hard it is for the caregiver…..with my dad and my hubby. But reading your story….I also think you were so so lucky to have her. It’s so heartwarming to hear of another couple that meant their wedding vows and didn’t bail the minute it got to be a challenge. I’m sure your lovely wife is watching over you now!!! Thank you again!!!

  134. Janie says... August 4, 2012 | 3:16pm

    What a lovely story and memory for the both of you! Glad your wife could be with you to enjoy such a special time…she will always be with you in your heart.
    The long rant should be removed. It doesn’t belong here. I agree a trip is what you make of it!

  135. Jimbo says... August 14, 2012 | 3:43am

    You are a legend and I am very happy for you for you must have had a wonderful marriage that a lot of couples don’t get the chance to have. I also would do this for my wonderful wife and we have only been together 15 years. Keep up the cruising and I will proudly shake your hand if I ever see you onboard.

  136. Mai Dati says... August 25, 2012 | 12:21am

    Dear Willy,

    My husband and I just got home in San Diego from completing the first segment of 75-day Circle Pacific on the Dawn Princess. It was a pleasure to meeting you in person. Thank you for sharing your love story. Keep dancing and smiling!

  137. Veronica says... January 15, 2013 | 8:46pm

    It is wonderful that you showed your true love for her by not giving up.
    Those smiles must have been pure magic for you both!
    Enjoy your next cruise

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Learning to Cruise on Our Own…Traveling through Time! « Traveling Through Life… says... December 19, 2012 | 2:41am

    [...] To See My Wife Smile Again [...]