Cruising is all about friendship, renewing old ones and making new ones … including one that was quite a surprise for us.
My wife, Jo Ann, and I discovered cruise vacations when we took our first one on Regal Princess in 1995. That was it — we were hooked. We promptly booked a cruise for the following January, and that’s when we met the fabulous entertainers, Jana and Danny, fellow Canadians who play the kind of dance music we love. We attended many of their performances and made an impression on them.
Five years and as many cruises later, we ran into Jana and Danny again, this time on the cruise ship, Sea Princess. Reading in the Princess Patter that they were on board, we rushed to the Horizon Court for a few dances before our second-sitting dinner. Jana and Dana took a break and came over to chat. How they recognized us is one of those Princess Cruises hospitality secrets that never fail to impress.
Another couple was also on the dance floor watching our little reunion. Jana and Danny graciously introduced themselves to the couple and then directed their attention toward us. “These are our friends, Jo Ann and Peter from Canada,” they said.
The other couple looked at them and then at us, and in a slightly bewildered way declared, “But we’re JoAnn and Peter from Canada!”
And indeed they were. JoAnn and Peter from Toronto meet Jo Ann and Peter from Vancouver.
For the rest of the cruise, we enjoyed each other’s company, having dinner together and dancing to Jana and Danny. As we got to know each other, we discovered we had more in common than our names.
We Peters both have a dry sense of humor. Perhaps because we are so alike, we get away with jokes that center on little digs at each other. Another similarity: I had once been a teacher and Peter and his JoAnn both had long careers in education.
Then it got strange. My Jo Ann pointed out one night that Peter and I were wearing identical brogue-style shoes. Then we noticed how we both drank Manhattans, but only while on cruise ships, never at home.
Perhaps most oddly of all, Peter and I inexplicably close our right eyes and read only using the left. When Jo Ann and JoAnn noticed both of us doing that to read the menus one night, everyone laughed.
Jo Ann and JoAnn have their similarities, too. They are gracious and fun to be with; they resemble each other in hair color and complexion and apparently, both of them like (and put up with) men like Peter and myself.
Needless to say, we all love to take cruises. JoAnn and Peter have recently returned from a Princess cruise to South America and we hope to do the same.
As they have two daughters and grandchildren in Vancouver, we get to meet up when they come to visit.
From that unexpected ice breaker on the dance floor of the Horizon Court to 15 years of deepening friendship, we credit the relaxed, carefree atmosphere of cruise travel for making it so easy to connect with others.
Peter and his wife, Jo Ann, live in Kamloops, in British Columbia and recently completed their 36th Princess cruise. They have four more cruises booked, including a Mediterranean cruise on the new Royal Princess in September. Their namesakes still live in Toronto.