A Honeymoon on the Ship Where We Met

Kathleen and Drew

I lived in San Diego, Kathleen in Chicago. We found each other on a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Neither of us was looking for love – we were 20-year-old college students and she had a boyfriend at the time. But that cruise on Emerald Princess became our personal episode of The Love Boat.

Despite the distance separating us, our shipside friendship grew to love. Four years after we met, we made it official. Emerald Princess was indeed our Love Boat and it would take us on our honeymoon.

We can vouch that a cruise is not only a great place to meet someone special, it’s a perfect place to honeymoon and start a new life.

Back in 2007, Emerald Princess staff was working their magic, facilitating meet and greets among every age group, in every part of the ship. The teens were congregating at the video arcade, the kids in the Pelican club. As for the hard-to-classify 18-20 year olds – barred from the 21+ life but no longer kids – the crew congregated us at Skywalker’s Nightclub.

That’s where I met Kathleen. I thought she was amazing but she had a boyfriend at home, a high-school sweetheart, so we hung out as part of a group. Everyone clicked. Playing cards, at the pool, meeting up for Princess Pop Star and singing karaoke, and dancing at Skywalker’s where – no kidding – Kathleen and I would laughingly order Shirley Temples with extra maraschino cherries.

One night, we pretended we were at a prom and posed for pictures in the Gallery. I don’t think we realized how great we were getting along until the last stop of the trip. In Venice, touring around with our respective families, we saw each other in crowded St. Mark’s Square. We ran towards each other, so happy at the coincidence.

But in Venice, we parted ways, Kathleen to Chicago and her boyfriend and me to San Diego. Was it telling that both of us were to develop big Venice fixations?

Our 18-20 group kept up with each other on Facebook. Because it was two hours earlier in San Diego, Kathleen started calling me as she walked home at night after working at a Chicago theater. I was her long-distance protector, if something dangerous happened.

After she broke up with her boyfriend our relationship took off. I went to Chicago, she to San Diego. We were a long-distance couple and, eventually, one of us had to move.  Finally, when her career in theater company management took her to San Francisco, we had our chance. I relocated to be with her and was soon working in local theaters as well. Together we toured the country with a theatrical production of “Peter Pan.”

Hints of our Emerald Princess beginning touched our lives. Our apartments were decorated with posters of Venice, and when I proposed, I found a beautiful vintage ring whose setting resembled Venice’s graceful Rialto Bridge. At our wedding, our special cocktail was the Dirty Shirley, with cherry-infused vodka spiking the original. As for our honeymoon, the moment we realized Emerald Princess would be embarking on a cruise in the Southern Caribbean, we booked it. Our story would come full circle.

Wow, did we ever need that relaxing honeymoon cruise!

Not that planning and staging a large wedding isn’t hectic enough, in the week between the wedding and the honeymoon, Kathleen and I packed up our place in Chicago where our tour had ended, put things in storage, drove for three days to San Diego where we were to start our married life, checked into our new home and flew to Fort Lauderdale, where we finally and gratefully staggered across the gangplank of the ship.

Instead of running around with the 18-20 set, we enjoyed the luxuries and life of a happily honeymooning couple. Our stateroom with balcony was our oasis. We snuggled together and caught up on all the movies we’d missed while we were busy touring with the show. Some evenings, our movie dates occurred with “Movies Under the Stars,” where we relaxed side-by-side in the warm Caribbean night air.

Some days, we were up for adventures and found them riding underwater scooters, snorkeling alongside shipwrecks in Aruba and river tubing in Dominica. We were particularly nostalgic to visit Skywalker’s. Kathleen and I could not resist ordering Shirley Temples again.

The honeymoon was my opportunity to court Kathleen anew. Because our relationship went from long distance to working nights with the show, we didn’t have the traditional routine of going on lots of dates. I turned our honeymoon into a series of date nights.

Each day, I’d book a reservation at one of the ship’s restaurants, spur of the moment when we knew what we felt like eating. We’d see shows, go dancing and stop by the lounge to catch a comedy act.

At the lounge one night, a waiter brought us two drinks. At first we refused them – it had to be a mistake. Then, we were introduced to a couple a few booths away. Turns out, Kathleen and I reminded them of their earlier days, when they first married 25 years ago.

We took that gesture as a happy sign for our future, one of many we found on the ship that had brought us together. This time around, Emerald Princess was even more romantic than we remembered and as thrilled as we were to relive our first memories, even more importantly the ship was the perfect place to celebrate this new start to our lives together.

Drew and Kathleen live in Alameda, California and have enjoyed two Princess cruises together.


18 Comments Post a Comment

  1. Princess Cruises says... December 11, 2012 | 12:56pm

    Drew and Kathleen — wishing you many years of happiness! Thanks for sharing your romantic story!

  2. Kristina says... December 11, 2012 | 4:17pm

    We just returned this past Friday from an Emerald cruise. When was your cruise? Congratulations…..great story….long life together wishes to you both!!

  3. Sheila Marie says... December 11, 2012 | 4:24pm

    I just sent an email to my boyfriend reminding him where and how we met onboard 2 years back and shared absolutely nothing but found each other this year in FB and started to fall in love and awaits what the future entails …Thanks for sharing your story, its indeed an inspiration;)

  4. shamika dale martintown says... December 11, 2012 | 5:40pm

    i met my sweetie on the island princess and after 5 glorious years of marriage and 5 children. one set of tripplets, one set of twins. we still love going on the island princess every year for our anniversary. now however we use contraception for we know where the kids were conceived. hehehehe

  5. kenroy Rawlins says... December 11, 2012 | 6:58pm

    Nice story. Hope both of you live to do your 50th aniversary on a Princess ship

  6. sweetempresscyrus says... December 11, 2012 | 7:49pm

    after readin this story brings back memories of how my husband n i meet..lol wish the bth of u longlife,prosperity,great health n manymore 2 com…am celebratin my 10th annivesary on the 21st december,,,i didn,t meet my husband on a cruise..lol…i meet him on land….hahahahahah

  7. Brenda says... December 21, 2012 | 5:42am

    What a lovely story! I lost my darling husband, of 40 years, last year and we never got to take a cruise together. Maybe if I went on one I might meet another wonderful man…if there are any out there? A cruise would be so romantic.

    • Mary dahlem says... December 28, 2012 | 6:59pm


      You have the right idea. I lost my husband of 32 years, went on the Sun Princess and met my husband.. We have been married for seven happy years! I went by myself. It was my first cruise. Since then we have been on 25 cruises. Good luck, you have a great attitude

  8. Celia says... December 28, 2012 | 3:36pm

    Wishing you many years of happiness together, loved readying your story.

  9. Talva Burnette says... December 28, 2012 | 7:56pm

    I loved reading this story. I wish yall the absolute best long lasting happy marriage and all the love in the world. When times get ruff, just book a cruise. :)

  10. Emily says... December 28, 2012 | 8:34pm

    This is beautiful!

  11. Gean says... December 29, 2012 | 6:20am

    Your blog brought back many memories from my past. My husband and I sailed together our first cruise on the Princess Cruise Line. We were married for 37 years before his untimely demise. My wishes are for a long life together for the two of you ,Emily and Drew.

  12. charles russo says... December 29, 2012 | 8:36am

    Really a great story. I wish you all the luck in the world. Secret to a good marriage -trust and laughter.

  13. charles russo says... December 29, 2012 | 8:38am

    Really a great story. I wish you all the luck in the world. Secret to a great marriage – trust and laughter.

  14. Shirley says... December 29, 2012 | 9:46am

    You two have good taste in drinks as well as cruise lines. I was named after the person and possibly the drink.

    Its funny how Princess intertwines in our lives….on our 12th cruise last year in the Caribbean we celebrated our 40th year of meeting one another. I remember the day perfectly, February 28, 1972. I was 18 on my first day at work in DC and my husband to be was three desks down.

    After our 13th cruise to Vancouver and waiting for our 14th cruise the next day, we celebrated our 38th anniversary at a restaurant. During our drink and dessert my husband leaned over to me and said, do you remember, the name of this restaurant is the name of the place I took you to for our first date in DC, “The Keg”. Wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for Princess.

    Your story was the best I’ve read. Congratulations and wish you the best for your lives together. Hope to meet you two one day on a Princess line.


  15. Sally says... December 30, 2012 | 3:13pm

    Your story is so romantic, what a great husband you have, what a great start for you two!
    I will have my husband read your story and maybe a light will go on!
    :O) Sally

  16. Pamela Prescott Paterson says... January 2, 2013 | 2:28pm

    And I’m happy to be the travel agent who originally put Drew’s family onto this ship and who later planned the honeymoon, but most importantly, suggested that he send his story to Princess!! Thank you Princess for recognizing this great story, this terrific couple and for creating such perfect memories for cruisers of all ages!!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Princess Cruises “Inspired to Cruise” Blog Adds More Reasons says... December 17, 2012 | 7:58pm

    [...] Story #50: To Honeymoon – Drew Mason of Alameda, California, shares the story of how he met his future bride when cruising as a college student and how meaningful it was for them to return to the ship for their honeymoon. [...]