Meeting My Perfect Match in San Juan

by Carla Figueroa

Carla and Christian dancing on the night they hit it off
Carla and Christian dancing on the night they hit it off

Advice about love—how to find it, how to keep it, how to get it back—is everywhere; in books and magazines, movies and sitcoms. It’s probably even available from your next-door neighbor.

While I’m no expert, I can say this is true—that you’ll find the person of your dreams when you aren’t looking for him or her. That was me five years ago. I was happily single and extremely busy when I met Christian. I wasn’t looking. You could even say I was anti-marriage, as my parents had recently divorced after many years of marriage. If their marriage couldn’t last, whose could?

I met Christian aboard a Crown Princess cruise to the Caribbean. We were both part of a large and unusual group. A couple I was only slightly acquainted with, Jessica and Dominic, had gotten married and invited 40 others to join them on their honeymoon. I was the plus-one of my good friend, Jennifer. Christian was there as best friend of the groom.

This week long honeymoon cruise was fun, kind of like an extended and very upbeat wedding reception. During the day, group members would go on shore excursions together or go their own way. Every night, no matter what, we’d gather for martinis, dinner and dancing.

I didn’t meet Christian until the second night. By then, a friend of his had told him he was interested in me, so Christian kept his distance. As love would have it, I was not interested in this friend, but I did notice Christian.

My interest grew to admiration when I saw how Christian leapt to the help of a wheelchair-bound passenger who had slipped out of her chair during a shore excursion. He was the first to jump to her aide and helped her back to safety. A gallant, gentlemanly gesture will always do the trick.

I was still in my not-looking mode and he was in his not-approaching pattern because of his friend. But the nature of a cruise vacation, particularly being part of this wedding group, kept us in contact.  I remember playing basketball with him and how he passed me the ball, just in time for me to score the last basket.

It wasn’t until the last night of the cruise that I really got to know Christian. The love misconnection between me and his friend had been settled. Christian and I started talking over dinner, then we moved on to dancing with each other through the night. By dawn, we were still together, sharing a magical kiss on the deck of our cruise ship as she docked in San Juan.

From that night on, we were inseparable. Three years later, we married and two years after that, we are the happy “parents” to five cats and a dog. In a sweet turn of events, I now work for Princess Cruises. That magic is still in the air.

I’ve thought a lot about what makes a cruise such a great place to meet people, including the love of your life.

For one, when you take a cruise, you and the other passengers create a mini-world, so you are apt to run into the same people, which help you get to know someone. But the critical thing, I think, is cruising inspires you to be social. And when you are in that frame of mind, as Christian and I discovered, it’s easier to meet someone new.

Carla resides in Lancaster, CA. On her time off, she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in finance, playing the piano, cooking and just enjoying life with her husband. They plan to start a family later this year.