I had decided to take my all-time favorite cruise to visit the land down under to celebrate the new me. I had reached my goal of losing 150 pounds and gaining my life back. My husband-to-be was celebrating his birthday by fulfilling a life-long dream of seeing two of the most spectacular places on planet earth, Australia and New Zealand. What we found surprised us both – love!
What started out as a chance encounter by Princess Cruises seating a bunch of strangers at the same dinner table, turned out to be more than either of us could have ever imagined. Both of us had gone on cruise vacations as singles before, but we had always been seated with other couples, so meeting someone at the dinner table was the last thing on either of our minds.
Archie was the last one to join the table, and as he approached, our eyes met like a scene straight out of Hollywood. I never really believed in love at first sight until that night. As we started our dinner conversation, it became clear that we had a special connection. By the time dinner was over, we had already made plans to spend the evening together, mapping out our evening entertainment with the Princess Patter as our guide.
We started out at the Princess Theatre and continued the journey at Caribbean Night. Neither of us had experienced the onboard night life, because as singles, we just didn't venture out. It wasn’t the same doing things by yourself. So we had no idea what was in store for us.
We were like kids in a candy store when we saw the onboard entertainment the cruise offered after dark. Next stop was dancing the night away at various venues, and being entertained by “Exotique,” one of the fantastic groups on our cruise. We were enjoying the night so much that we ended up at the midnight disco and danced ‘til the wee hours of the morning. We finished the night up at the 24-hour restaurant over a cup of tea and snacks, and couldn’t wait to plan out our next day’s events.
Over the course of our 12-day Australia & New Zealand cruise on Diamond Princess, we planned every minute together as time would allow as we couldn’t get enough of each other’s company. We fell in love amongst the fantastic scenery and cities we visited, as well as the non-stop entertainment on board the cruise ship. We had our photos taken together at both formal nights and everyone who saw our pictures said we looked like a married couple from the beginning.
We spent one of our last great outings together taking a river cruise on Australia Day in Melbourne. That day was one we’ll remember as long as we live. By the end of the cruise, we felt like we had known each other for years. We were no longer strangers from Texas and Scotland, but had made a lasting connection aboard the “Love Boat,” and we’re forever indebted to Princess Cruises for bringing us together.
I didn’t know at the time, but the first night on board before we met, Archie had seen an ad on TV showing a couple being married on a new ship that Princess Cruises was launching. They had met on a cruise, so he was soon thinking to himself, “that could be me.” The day after we met, he called two of his sisters and told them he had met the woman he was going to marry.
We were so sorry to see our cruise end as it had been a trip of a lifetime. Although I came from Houston, and my husband-to-be came from a small town outside of Edinburgh, we knew that 5,000 miles was not enough to keep us apart if it was in God’s plan for us to be together. Less than a month after our first meeting, my husband-to-be proposed on Valentine’s Day — and I said yes!
I had been married previously for a short time and was divorced for 14 years. I had never felt for my first husband what I felt for Archie. It was like my eyes were seeing what love was for the first time, and I genuinely felt comfort in knowing that I had met my soul mate. I realized that this is what I should have felt all along when you meet the right person, and that I only thought I knew what love was before. When someone loves you unconditionally, respects you for who you are as a person, and wants to be in a committed relationship and grow old with you, then you’re truly blessed.
We were married 8 months later in a fairytale wedding in Scotland, in Archie’s hometown surrounded by his friends and family and a few friends and family of mine from the U.S. I got to experience all of the local customs from “hen night” for the bride-to-be, to a traditional Scottish kilt wedding. It was a perfect day, the sun even came out after rain in the morning to bless our union. And as anyone who knows how unpredictable Scotland weather can be, that was a miracle for September.
We now make our home in Houston and have been happily married for almost 3 years, but we still act like newlyweds as the love just keeps growing. We’ve already booked our reunion with Diamond Princess in January 2014 — to board the same cruise ship, same cruise itinerary and sit at the same table (number 70) where we met. We’ll celebrate our love and my husband’s 50th birthday. Did I mention that my husband picked out a “Princess Diamond” for my engagement ring?
What can we say, we’re living the dream!
Carol and Archie currently make their home in Houston, Texas. They share their love of traveling by cruising together. Next stop, Australia!