Normally we choose the dining option where you can eat at anytime during the dinner hours, which has different names on different cruise lines – things like your time or as you wish dining. It’s nice to be able to go to dinner whenever you want, but there are advantages to eating with the same people each night as we did on the MSC Divina, which did not have the freestyle option. The Divina is the only US based ship on MSC, an Italian cruise line. Europeans do things differently. They did make some adjustments for American passengers, but adding the free choice dining was not one of them so we had the same time, table, and people to eat with each night. Through that we got a chance to get to know them and made some new friends. One couple we sat with told us the story of how they met. It’s a great blog-worthy story and they said it is OK to share.
A Life-Changing Cruise
Many years ago on a ship that’s since been scrapped, Sara stumbled into her first cruise purely by circumstance. Her sister intended to go with a friend, but the friend had to cancel due to a family emergency so she got invited along in the friend’s place. Her usually very controlling husband of 22 years uncharacteristically allowed her to go.
In those days, all ships had the scheduled dinner seatings where everyone sat each night with the same group of people. One of the people at her table was Mark, 10 years divorced and cruising alone. During these dinners, Sara and Mark found they got along quite well and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. Sometimes they ran into one another other times and places on the ship.
As the cruise neared its end they exchanged addresses and phone numbers, wanting to keep in touch and stay friends. Meanwhile Sara decided she did not want to go back home to an oppressive husband and an unhappy life. Her sister offered a place in her house and Sara accepted, moving into her new life with just the things she’d brought with her on the cruise.
On the last night on the ship, sitting next to Mark, Sara had a feeling that his hand looked mighty lonely. Knowing that Mark knew she was married and would never presume to touch her she reached out and took his hand in hers, and with that touch they both felt a new destiny that neither had previously considered.
Not wanting the relationship to end before it ever started, Sara prayed for more time than the 8am scheduled disembarkation if the relationship was meant to be. Sometimes prayers do get answered. Fog prevented the ship from docking, as they did not have all the modern navigation devices in those days.
In addition to the extra hours gained on the ship missed flights at the airport gave them a few more hours to get to know one another, but eventually Mark got on a plane and they went their separate ways.
When she called him after he’d had time to get home and said that she’d decided to get divorced and move in with her sister he was so happy with that news that he said he wanted to marry her. Not having phrased it as a direct question she neglected to answer. Quickly he followed up with “Will you marry me,” and surprising even herself she said yes.
Afraid to tell her parents, she first broke them in with the moving in with her sister part of her news and then added on the getting married part afterword. To that her father replied that her happiness was obvious as she had returned from the cruise looking 10 years younger than when she left.
Nearly a year passed and with a wedding scheduled in the near future she went before an irate judge whose life was not going well at the moment, and who would no longer be a judge the next month. After things in the divorce hearing neither went Sara’s way nor brought about a decision her lawyer advised her to wait until the next month and appear before a new judge. So three days before her scheduled wedding she obtained a divorce.
As they made their wedding plans, Sara and Mark discovered they had so much in common that if one picked out things like china patterns without the other, the other would pick the same ones all on their own as well. From china patterns they moved onto other things, all the while finding out how much alike they really are as they always picked the same things.
Sara and Mark remain happily married and still enjoy cruises together. They just recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the night they met.