I love to hit the dance floor, but my husband is a typical man who doesn’t dance much. He prefers to sit at the bar and chat while observing what’s going on.
Some women would dance by themselves…problem solved….but I didn’t do that. It took the very perceptive Monica Silaghe, lead singer with band Tempo Quattro, to solve my dilemma.
My husband, Noel, and I were on the cruise ship, Emerald Princess, on a Mediterranean cruise. I was bopping in time to the music, singing along with Tempo Quattro, from my perch at the Wheelhouse bar.
Unbeknownst to me, Monica was watching my little barstool moves from the stage. She waved at me, beckoning me to go to the dance floor.
I shook my head no. There was positively no way I was going out there by myself. It was before dinner and the dance floor wasn’t crowded yet. Everyone would stare at me. Even if the after-dinner crowd was there, I wouldn’t have danced by myself.
The band took a break and Monica came over to meet us. I learned she and the guys were from Romania.
Noel and I introduced ourselves, telling Monica a little bit about our lives in Oxford, England. Noel chatted away to Monica, in his usual manner. I’m always initially shy. We have been taking cruise holidays since 1999, originally trying it out at the suggestion of a friend of ours who used to be a cruise director for Princess Cruises.
I told Monica she was absolutely fantastic and had a brilliant voice. Tempo Quattro plays the party music, the Top 40 classics that I absolutely love. But, I explained, Noel rarely dances and I would feel strange out there alone.
Monica suggested I join her on the stage, like a back-up dancer.
“Much too conspicuous,” I said.
So she proposed that she join me, mic in hand, on the dance floor. It took me a while, but by the end of the cruise, I was on The Wheelhouse dance floor having a great time with my new pal Monica alongside me.
We’ve been close for more than five years now. I honestly feel like a big sister to her. We keep in touch by Skype, Facebook and email. And when we see each other, the occasion always feels glamorous, in that world-travel kind of way. When her ship cruises from Southampton, as Oxford isn’t that far, we’ll meet for lunch.
We’ve lunched in Aruba and Rome, when our different Princess cruise ships happened to have docked at the same port at the same time.
The best time was when we surprised Monica. Noel and I surreptitiously booked a cruise on Grand Princess for my birthday. As we were boarding, I got a surprise of my own. Two friends we’d met on a trip a while ago, were trying Princess as we’d recommended. They agreed to join us later at The Wheelhouse.
Monica was surprised when we came into the bar. We introduced her to our friends, Rob and Alison from the U.K. Monica introduced us to some other fans of hers in attendance, Stan and Sandi from the United States. We hit it off with them almost immediately.
Now a gang of seven, we had a great time together on that cruise.
Looking back, I’m amazed at how my resistance to dance alone has resulted in so many close friendships. Monica remains one of my closest friends. Our friendship with Rob and Alison remains strong and we cruise together annually. Noel and I Skype on a regular basis with Stan and Sandi, wine glasses in hand. Stan, Sandi, Noel and I also cruised to the Caribbean in 2011, and of course our lovely Monica was dancing with us in the Wheelhouse Bar.
Thanks to Princess Cruises, and the kind-hearted and talented Monica Silaghe, Noel and I have so many new, true friends whom we love dearly.
Linda and Noel live in Oxford, England. They have 3 children, 6 grandkids, and 1 great grandson. Linda works at Oxford University, and Noel is lucky enough to be retired. Any holiday is always spent cruising, and they shall shortly be on Crown Princess around the Mediterranean.