"i do" on the high seas

Read Real-Life Princess Romantic Love Stories!

A big 'thank you' goes to everyone who entered our search to find the most romantic love story from onboard a Princess ship. We received some wonderful, heart-warming romantic tales which made us smile, laugh and even cry, as we read through them. We truly appreciate your time and effort.

Voting is now over; the winner will be announced on September 28, 2009.
Now its time for you, our members, to vote for the best story. Voting closes on Sunday, September 6.

Official Contest Rules

Cruise Critic's Privacy Policy

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 08:41 AM.
194 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
A long time ago, in a land far far away, there lived two people who had waited a lifetime to find true love. High in the mountains of Colorado, where oxygen is scarce and a soulmate is apparently hard to find, they were stumbling through life. They were 32 years old and mothers were actually giving up hope that grandchildren were in their futures. They had been introduced by a business partner, but they were always dating the wrong person.

He thought she was a hottie and by the grace of god she actually thought he was attractive. Really, that is still a mystery to me, but Amen.

One day in October 1998, he got home from work and the phone was ringing. She was downtown and was wondering if perhaps he would like to meet her for a drink. After approximately .000000001 of a second he said yes and they met downtown at a hip and trendy bar for a martini. He walked into the bar and saw another guy trying to pick her up. Who could blame him? He smiled. She smiled back. She has a smile that lights even the darkest, hippest and trendiest bar, and for once in his life he knew that the smile was intended for him. The other guy had no shot. He walked away shaking his head, not understanding why she ended their conversation for the guy fast approaching down the bar.

Within 10 minutes they decided to walk across the street for dinner and while waiting for their table they kissed. Eleven years later I can still recall that kiss. I wasn't nervous. I didn't hesitate. I just knew that she wanted me to lean in and kiss those lips. Frankly, I was not in control of my movements. I was completely on auto-pilot. Good thing I didn't misread her desire because that would have been the most awkward moment of my life. You can chose to believe this or not, but I knew, during that fateful kiss, that this was the woman I would spend my life with. Nothing more will be said about that night, or the months to follow, other than nothing ever felt so honest.

We were engaged 11 months later and decided that we wanted to have a non-traditional, destination wedding. In 1999, the only cruise line that would actually marry you at sea was Princess. The Grand Princess had a chapel on board their ship and the Captain would marry us in the middle of the Caribbean. Mental images of Captain Stubing performing your nuptials would surely be enough to make any happy couple pull the trigger. More importantly, I would have my future wife on board a ship. She is a terrible swimmer. I had the perfect solution for last minute jitters. I had her trapped!

The 14 month countdown tested our patience. The beauty of a Princess Wedding at Sea is that there is very little stress, planning or details that you have to worry about. We filled out forms indicating our preference for flowers, vows, cocktail party. If you are a control freak then a wedding at sea is probably not for you, but if you want a stress free wedding where everyone is there to relax and enjoy a week of fun and sun, then trust me when I say you couldn't pick a more perfect, romantic place to tie the knot.

As November approached and our marriage grew nearer there were no nerves. There was not the slightest hesitation or fear of what was being left behind. The party was just beginning so regret or anxiety was nowhere to be found.

My wife schlepped the wedding dress through security and onto our flight. Since our wedding occurred before 9/11, the dress--concealed from my sight in the largest pink garment bag I have ever seen--was subject to many oohs and aahs. It was not confiscated as a possible weapon of mass destruction, but instead was placed with great care by our flight attendants in the captain's cloakroom.

Thirty of us boarded the Grand Princess on Sunday, November 12, 2000. Our wedding was scheduled for November 14th, 2000, in the late afternoon. Immediately upon arrival our wedding coordinator met with us and went through all the details of our nuptials. She confirmed everything from our flowers, music and cocktail party to the rehearsal with the Captain.

It was at this time that we were introduced to Commodore Michael Moulin, the leader of this Grand vessel. What we discovered is that Commodore Moulin is actually from Glasgow, Scotland, the city of my birth, and where I lived until I immigrated with my family to Colorado as a wee boy. We are not a religious couple, so the officiate at our wedding was not particularly important to us. We did not have a long time pastor or rabbi (yes, I am one of the few, the proud, the Scottish Jew) who we wanted to marry us. We had not worried about the fact that we would have no connection with the Caption of the ship. Somehow, fate once again intervened and confirmed that we were meant to be together when Commodore Moulin and I began to talk about our backgrounds. He was fantastic, warm and a wonderful host. He invited the entire wedding party to the bridge of the Grand Princess. He had wonderful advice and thoughts for us as we entered into matrimony. I can honestly say that there is no one else we would substitute as the master of ceremonies for our wedding.

What I didn't know is that my bachelor party was scheduled for November 13th, our first formal night. I appeared at my best man's cabin door in my new tuxedo and asked him if James Bond had anything on me. He said I looked great, but would look better as Hugh Hefner. He then handed me the silk pajamas and robe that he and my other friend had purchased for the occassion. I was then given a list of the items I would have to accomplish before I was allowed to go to sleep.

Over the course of dinner, and the 6 hours that followed, I accomplished the following:

1) Sang the Love Boat theme in the main dining room for all who cared to listen (it sounded damn good);
2) Kissed a woman from every United State and many from abroad. All with the permission of my fiance;
3) Reenacted the scene from Titannic with a woman named Rose. She was a beautiful older woman who may have actually sailed on that doomed vessel;
4) Got 50 signatures from passengers (including the Captain) on a petition to turn the vessel around and head directly back to Ft. Lauderdale (some passengers actually refused to sign the petition despite the fact that I was dressed in silk pajamas and showed them the Captain's signature. They said they were not intersted in going home just yet);
5) Bet $20 five consecutive times on black at the roulette wheel;
6) Told stories of my golf trip to Scotland with my dad in a thick Glasgow accent;
7) Had a wee drop of whiskey to toast to those who were there and my best friend from high school who had passed away.

Word of advice - don't stay up until 5:00 a.m. the night before your weddidng. I was required to sleep in the cabain with my two friends the night before the wedding. Let's just say that a freight train had nothing on either fo these fine gentlemen. By 7:00 a.m. I gave up on sleep and went to take a steam. I sat in the steam room and thought about the new reality that was approaching that afternoon.

Again, there was no fear, no apprehension for what was being sacrificed. Instead, only joy and peace over our future together. My advice for those considering marriage is that if you feel apprehension about getting married then wait a few more months. If the apprehension is not going away then there is someone else out there who is meant for you.

As I stood in the Chapel and waited for my bride I looked around and saw how blessed I was. My parents, my sister, my in-laws (really), my good friends, all flew 2000 miles and hopped on a cruise ship to be with us on this special day. What a testament to our love. Then Pachelbel Canon in D started and my wife appeared in the doorway. Like many grooms my eyes began to tear, my throat began to ache, and I couldn't take my eyes off the vision that walked towards me, arm in arm with her father.

I was, like Lou Gehrig, the luckiest man on the face of the earth at that very moment. I should have been slapped for teasing my bride about schlepping that big pink dress bag. Her dress was breathtaking, but what hit me was her smile. There is nothing like having the woman of your dreams look at you and smile. Commodore Moulin asked who gives this woman to this man today and my father in-law said, "Well, normally Commodore, her mother and I wouldn't give our baby away for anything, but seeing as we love this guy, it is my pleasure to give her away today." My father then said, "You got me there Bob" and tears ensued.

We were married that day, November 14, 2000, in front of our closest family and friends. We spent a wonderful week on board the Grand Princess. We then had another week together without anyone else in London and Paris.

Upon our return from our honeymoon my 11 month old nephew was diagnosed with a horrible brain tumor. He was scheduled for an MRI the week before our cruise but doctors were not concerned about his slight head tilt. They told my sister to wait until they returned from the wedding cruise. While I am not a religious man, I do believe that god's grace was the reason that our wedding wasn't cancelled due to my nephew's condition. My sister, brother in-law and nephew attended, blissfully ignorant of the journey they were about to embark upon. My nephew was supposed to live less than one year from his diagnosis of a Rhabdoid Tumor the size of a lemon in his brain. While he has massive deficits, he is still alive today due to the tenacity of my sister, who fought for aggressive treatment of her baby. Because of my nephew Sean, we started a non-profit foundation and our friends and family--many of whom were on the Grand Princess on November 14, 2000--has raised over $750,000 to provide comfort and support to families dealing with the devastating diagnosis of pediatric cancer.

Life has been truly joyous for my bride and I. After being dealt 4 miscarriages we were blessed with Logan Alexander Benson in 2004. Logan was born on December 21st, the day before my birthday. He gives us more joy than any two people are entitled to have in their life.

Marriage is a union, not a magic carpet ride. Life deals you good days and bad. My wife and I have grown together over the last 9 years. She sat by my bedside when I was gravely ill in early 2006. With the demands of a one year old at home she shuttled back and forth to the hospital wondering if I was going to be alive to see our son's second birthday.

Each night when we get into bed and give each other a kiss goodnight I wonder how I am so lucky to have bamboozled this stunning woman to get on the Grand Princess in 2000. Next year will be ten years since that magical day and I want to take her back on a Love Boat to renew our vows. I want to let her know that I appreciate the fact that she didn't try to swim back to shore before Commodore Moulin could bind us together forever.

I hope our love story is not unique. I hope that many of you have marriages that are as fulfilling and blessed as mine. I started typing this story while sitting at my desk, hoping to win a cruise, and now I am just glad I got to take a little while to remember our life together 10 years ago. The tears are rolling down my cheeks as I have recounted our wedding cruise. I am a very lucky man.

Gary Benson (Married onboard the Grand Princess on November 14, 2000, to Sherry Benson a/k/a "The Lottery", a nickname bestowed upon her by my good friend who told me I hit the lottery when I found her.)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Gary and Sherry Wedding Photo.pdf (212.3 KB, 656 views)
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Los Angeles
310 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
I've read all the entries so far and this one actually brought a tear to my eye.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
194 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Sunmist, thank you for the lovely comment. I am a very lucky guy.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
snow :)
10,337 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I don't know, but, I am sure you do, you are truly blessed with at least 2 gifts. First of all your family, and secondly the gift of writing your thoughts. How beautifully well written your story is!!! I look forward to reading more from you in the future,

Thanks for taking the time to share.

Remember in life there is always something old to be sought and enjoyed, always something new to be found treasured and shared: THANK YOU for sharing your life with us.

Continued happiness.

PS I cried too.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

194 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Lioness, thank you for the kind words. I am definitely blessed with a wonderful family.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
2,033 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
This was a beautiful and eloquent love story. This gives me hope that there are still men out there who are true and genuine. God bless your union and Happy 'early' 10th Anniversary.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

RCCL Allure - October 2018

Carnival Dream - March 2018
Carnival Valor - May 2017
Carnival Fantasy - November 2016
RCCL Oasis of the Seas - May 2016
RCCL Anthem of the Seas - November 2015
Carnival Freedom - May 2015
Carnival Dream - December 2014
Carnival Sunshine - February 2014
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 2013
Carnival Elation - July 2013
Carnival Triumph - July 2012
RCCL Liberty of the Seas - October 2010
Golden Princess - June 2008
Grand Princess - November 2006
Carnival Ecstacy - July 2005
RCCL Navigator of the Seas - March 2004
RCCL Voyager of the Seas - March 2001
194 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Thank you Cynt for the early anniversary wishes. I am really looking forward to celebrating our 10th Anniversary next year on board Princess, regardless of the result of this contest. I think it will be a perfect way to bring the decade full circle. Thanks to my wonderful mother in-law we will probably do this cruise without our 4 year old, who will be very happy to spend a week with Grandma. Our son is a savvy cruiser. He will be going on his 4th cruise in 4 years this October. He asks every day if tomorrow is the day we leave to go on the cruise. he loves eating dinner in the "fancy" restaurant. He loves to wear a suit and tie like daddy. I am not sure if he is ready to learn that you always split 8's and double down on 11 when playing Blackjack, but these are the things we can look forward to when he gets a bit older.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
At Work
990 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Such a lovely story. I too am blessed with a wonderful man. We have been married for
10 months. He is the love of my life and so very kind.

Continue to enjoy each other, and I wish you two the very best and hope that you will be as happy forever...as you were on your wedding day
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
1994 Carnival Fascination
2001 Carnival Destiny
2005 RCCL Navigator of the Seas
2006 RCCL Adventure of the Seas
2008 RCCL Majesty of the Seas
2009 RCCL Navigator of the Seas
2012 RCCL Explorer of the Seas
2014 RCCL Quantum of the Seas
194 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Shorbr, thanks for the kind note. It is a great feeling to know you have a spouse that you can count on.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
145 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Wow...this has me in a puddle of tears. I am at a loss except to say that Sherry and Logan are really blessed to have you.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Dani McCauley
490 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
Originally posted by daniellerb
wow...this has me in a puddle of tears. I am at a loss except to say that sherry and logan are really blessed to have you.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

you said it all. Happy sailing alsas
490 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
I keep reading your story and keep thinking of word's to say that would share how I feel about your story. "I DO" KEEP CRYING, "I DO" Think you are a blessed family, and "I Do" believe that your Wife is as lucky as you. May you and your family only know Peace and Joy. Alsas
Yuma Arizona
2 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Tears are running down my cheeks too. Your love story brings back so many wonderful memories of your beautiful wedding and the 7 days of breath-taking fun we had aboard the Grand Princess sharing in your love story. Wishing you smooth sailing and many, many, many more cruises, both with and without the "little cruiser." And I got you covered when it's without.
Cairns, QLD Australia
10,651 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
This is the quintessential Princess love story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

My DH and I will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary next Feb on the Coral Princess. We have had a fabulous 20 years and look forward to many, many more. May you and your DW be as happy as we have been.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

[email protected]
Ovation of the Seas - Singapore to Sydney - October 2018
Pacific Eden - Qld coastal - September 2017
Queen Elizabeth - Sydney to Kobe Japan - February 2017
Aurora P & O UK - Germany/Norway/Holland - Xmas Markets cruise - December 2016
Aurora P & O UK - Canary Is, Spain/Portugal/Morocco - November 2016

Golden Princess - New Zealand - February 2016
Diamond Princess - Tokyo to Sydney - September 2015
Diamond Princess - Singapore to Tokyo - April 2015
Diamond Princess - Sydney to Singapore - March 2015
Ruby Princess - TA to NY - Norway/Iceland - Sept 2014
Ruby Princess - British Isles - August 2014
Sea Princess - Aust Coastal - May 2014
Diamond Princess - Tasmania - December 2013
Diamond Princess - Aust to China - March 2013
Diamond Princess - New Zealand - Feb 2013
Ruby Princess - Mediterranean - May 2012
Ruby Princess - FLL to Barcelona - April 2012
Ruby Princess - Caribbean - April 2012
Sun Princess - Brisbane/Sydney - March 2012
Dawn Princess - Sydney/Melb - Dec 2011
Pacific Dawn - New Zealand - October 2011
Sun Princess - Brisbane/Sydney - July 2011
Diamond Princess - Alaska - May 2011
Diamond Princess - China to Alaska Repo. - May 2011
Sun Princess - Brisbane/Sydney - April 2011
Dawn Princess - Melb/Sydney - March 2011
Celebrity Constellation - Caribbean Thanksgiving cruise - Nov 2010
Oriana P & O UK - Sydney/Brisbane - Nov 2010
Pacific Sun - Newcastle/Brisbane - Sept 2010
Sun Princess - Sydney/Brisbane - April 2010
Coral Princess -FLL to LA via Panama Canal -Feb 2010
Pacific Dawn - Sydney/Brisbane - Dec 2009
Sun Princess - Vanuatu/New Caledonia - Feb 2009
194 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
Thank you so much for the lovely note. I showed my wife the story last night for the first time. I didn't want to tell her until the 5 finalists were announced. She sat and read the story with me and our 4 year old in the room. She was gushing tears and our son was oblivious, asking when he could get on the computer to play PBS Kids. It really was a beautiful scene. While I am sure that we will not win the cruise, I can say with complete confidence that I am already the winner of this contest.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
London, UK
637 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
I am plased to have read your story, it kinda reminds me how lucky I am also to have such a great wife, who has been paitent to stay with me all of these 33 years now.
And I also have to say what a hoot it was meeting Sandra and Alan all those years ago, while he was getting his ear bent for leaving his bag unattened in the queue for the Ship, later to be told it was full of Champagne, happy meeting.
I wish you both well for the future.
John.............not Sue
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Equinox, Eastern Med September 2011
Eclipse, Baltic, June 2011
Queen Mary II, Caribbean, November 2009
Queen Mary II, Westbound Crossing November 2009
Eurodam, Eastern Canada & US, October 2008
Independence of the Seas, 4 Day Cruise to Ireland, May 2008
Queen Mary II, Caribbean, Nov 2007
Oosterdam, Mexican Riveria, Jan 2007
Westerdam, Eastern Caribbean, Dec 2005
Millennium, Western Med, May 2003
Mercury, Panama Canal, Nov 2001
Zenith, Bermuda, Sept 2000
194 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
John, you know it is time to get married when you look in the mirror, look at your girlfriend and know that you have overachieved. We are very lucky men indeed. Allan is quite a character. I'm very proud to have quite amazing parents.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Middle of Tennessee
3,425 Posts
Joined May 2003
I am quite sure that we were on "your" cruise!!! We went on Grand Princess for 1st time in November 2000 -- our 6th cruise!! And you can see by my signature that we have now cruised 23 times!!! We had an aft balcony cabin & loved it so much, we went back on Grand 3 more times. We remember Captain Mike well -- he was so personable!!!

That November 2000 cruise was quite important to us because we had had such a horrible experience on our January 2000 cruise, and we didn't want that bad experience to ruin our attitude toward cruising. We had been on the old Crown Princess in January 2000 with my parents and my sister & her husband, sailing a 10 nt Panama Canal cruise, when my mother got very weak & sick. Her blood work by ship's doctor revealed possible internal bleeding, and the doctor insisted that she & dad go back to Ft. Lauderdale. The day that decision was made was a sea day between Grand Cayman and Limon Costa Rica and also same day a crew member of Crown jumped overboard from top deck, committing suicide. His body was never found although our ship searched the area all day. As a result the ship was late getting in Limon and bad weather prevented the air ambulance from landing there, so the ship's doctor had to keep mom in the medical center until we got to Panama Canal. That night he gave her a pint of his own blood as well as a pint from the purser, but she nearly died that night. The next day mom & dad were put into an ambulance in the middle of the 2nd Gatun Lock of Panama Canal. Dad had insisted that the Mike, me, Carol & Tom stay on the ship & finish the cruise, but it certainly wasn't much fun after that!

This was before ship's had computers available for passengers, but the medical office and pursers helped us keep in touch with the hospital in Ft. Lauderdale and with my adult son who had flown to Ft. Lauderdale to take care of my dad and confer with doctors. Mom & Dad had loved cruising and at that point were on their 13th Princess cruise (including Sitmar). They had introduced me & Mike to cruising for my 50th birthday in 1991 and did the same for my sister. That Panama Canal cruise in 2000 was the last one for Mom & Dad, as their health deteriorated over next 7 years. Mom took such interest in hearing all about each of our cruises. Now both Mom & Dad (who were married 69 years prior to their deaths) are together on an eternal cruise.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

UPCOMING: Viking River cruise on the Rhone in Provence plus "on-our-own trip" to Normandy D-Day beaches, Bayeux tapestries & Paris.
CRUISE HISTORY = 52 cruises (1 Transatlantic, 1 Rhine River, 1 Danube River, 5 Alaska, 4 Panama Canal, 1 California coastal, 1 Hawaii, 2 NewEngl/Canada & 36 Eastern/Western/Southern Caribbean) 459 days.
1 cruise on VIKING OCEAN: Viking Sea to eastern Caribbean from NYC to SJU in Oct. 2017.....most amazing ship!!
2 on VIKING RIVER: Sun (Rhine River Antwerp-Basel 14 days), Bragi (Danube River Budapest-Nurmberg 7 days),
26 cruises PRINCESS: Grand 5x; old Crown 3x, Caribbean 4x, Ruby 2x, Sun 2x, Dawn, Diamond, Ocean, Sea, Island, Coral, new Crown 2x, Royal & Regal (214 days)
9 on HOLLAND: Nieuw Amsterdam, Statendam, Westerdam 3x, Volendam, Veendam 2x, Zuiderdam -- 3 Star (77 days)
7 on CELEBRITY: Millennium, Solstice, Silhouette, Century, Reflection, Summit 2x (48 days)
6 on ROYAL CARIB: Radiance 2x, Brilliance, Voyager of Seas, Independence of Seas 2x (55 days)
1 on CARNIVAL Triumph (7 days)