The Romance of Cruising

Please  join me in welcoming, author, Debra Parmley to my blog. 

Debra is also giving away

a Print Copy of her first book (contest details below).

Anyone who has cruised the seas or who has watched “The Love Boat” knows there can be romance to sea travel. Feeling the wind in your hair, the endless ocean views, stars twinkling above a darkened sea, the setting sun and exotic ports of call, all can set the mood for love. Yes, this is cliché, but on-board ship it is also a real experience, not only a daydream.

Cruising by its very nature is romantic. Many people remember the popular American television show The Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986 and was watched all around the world. The show was based on a 1976 made for TV movie based on the nonfiction book The Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, who was a cruise director. The sitcom was usually set aboard the Pacific Princess, a Princess Cruises cruise liner.

It might seem unlikely but aboard a ship filled with hundreds, even thousands of people, together time for two still happens. So many things can be arranged. A table for two at dinner, lounge chairs side by side at the pool, dancing together in the evening followed by a walk around the outer deck, and then there are the private cabins with balconies. For couples wishing to spend their honeymoon or anniversary on-board a cruise, many options are available.

I spent several years as a travel consultant and have arranged many such trips for my clients. I have also sailed on many cruise lines and on many ships. I love being at sea. So it’s no surprise I would set one of my romance novels on-board a ship sailing the Caribbean.

My third book, Aboard the Wishing Star, is the story of Kara, a widow who sails away thinking she has escaped her problems only to find they have followed her.

One of the problems Kara deals with is a phobia of deep water, a fear of drowning. You might ask why she goes on a cruise if she has this fear. The answer is, she wins a cruise for two and invites her best friend, Viv. Now you might be thinking even that wouldn’t be enough of an incentive and while it is true there are people with water phobia who would never cruise no matter how great the incentive, there are people who would. How do I know this? Because I am one of them.

I have a water phobia which I have had since I was a small child. I’m not sure where it came from, there are no stories of me almost drowning, but there it is. I didn’t learn to swim until I was in college and only then because it was a requirement for graduation at the private women’s college I attended. I took the “timid non-swimmers” class and I passed, but just barely. The instructor told me I was the first truly phobic student she’d ever had. Today I will swim in a lake or ocean but only with a life vest on and I can swim in a swimming pool but only with flotation. Why? Because without flotation I tend to freak out and cannot hear anyone who is yelling at me. Anyone trying to save me had better get behind me so I don’t hurt them. I’m simply not capable of intelligent coherent thought when that phobia strikes. And yet, I love the sea and I love sailing. I love the ocean and the beach. Nothing feeds my soul quite like it, so I am always drawn back no matter how far away I live from the beach. I love to snorkel and I have even gone tubing (though just one time for that because it felt like I was going to drown) and I once walked the plank of a pirate ship off the coast of Grand Cayman. I’ve pushed myself to my limits, always with flotation of course. I love the ocean too much to stay away from it, even with the phobia.

So I can relate to Kara, a little bit when it comes to swimming in the ocean. The scenes where Nate teaches her to snorkel are my favorites and I’m hoping they come across well to my readers. I admit to being a little nervous about this. Perhaps this is normal when an author puts a little bit of herself into one of her characters, particularly when it involves a phobia. But I went out on that limb and here I am. That’s what I do with this phobia. Every so often I go out on a limb.

That’s what Kara must do. Go out on that limb, taking a chance on a shipboard romance, which is always a chance because who knows what will happen once they disembark? And that’s one of the more risky things we do, if we’ve ever been deeply hurt, taking one more chance at love.

Aboard the Wishing Star just came out Oct. 11th!


To celebrate my new release, I’m giving away a print copy of my first book, A Desperate Journey, to one reader who leaves a comment here today.

Here are a few questions to help you out.

What do you think of cruises?

Have you ever been on a cruise?

If you have never been, would you like to go?

Do you have a phobia and if so, how have you handled that? 

To learn more about Debra and her books, please visit her website.

You can follow Debra on Facebook and Twitter

18 responses to “The Romance of Cruising”

  1. Of all the vacations my husband and I have ever taken, a cruise was my favorite. It was only 5 or 7 days and way too short. I loved having everything in one place and having so many choices of getting off the boat, joining any of the activities on board or just relaxing. And the food was out of this world lol. We never even made it to any of the midnight buffets. As to swimming, I am not really a swimmer and I can’t tread water. I could get to one side of a swimming pool if I had to but I don’t swim in the ocean. But I don’t know how to fly either and don’t mind that either lol.


  2. Catslady, my husband and I love to cruise. I agree, they are always too short! We usually go to the midnight buffets just to see the ice carvings and the food carvings if nothing else. (Though I confess, I usually have something chocolate.) Thanks for commenting!


  3. Selena, thank you for hosting me here today! Very nice blog you have here!


    1. You’re most welcome, Debra. Thank you for the nice compliment about my blog home. Wishing you lots of fun on this blog.


  4. I have been on two cruises, and was violently sea sick both times. I get sea sick sitting on a swing, so, you would think I would be a little smarter than that, not just once, but, twice. I have had several goes at learning how to swim. I have got as far as being able to swim as long as someone had their hand in front at each stroke. The swimming complex wanted to charge me filling up the pool fees as I swallowed so much water. Anyway, I decided that until water in pools becomes the consistency of jello no more swimming for me.I do enjoy reading about other people on cruises, there is something romantic about it once you have got over being sea sick.


    1. Congratulations, Ann, Debra has picked your name in a random draw to win her book.

      She will be emailing you soon to get your mailing details.

      Thanks for supporting her blog post and this blog.


  5. Ann, it sounds like you will have to be an armchair traveler when it comes to cruises. It’s no fun being sick on your vacation. I once flew back from Scotland and was very ill on that long flight.

    One nice thing about stories which can take us away to other parts of the world or other worlds is being able to enjoy them when we aren’t well enough or able to travel.

    I’m planning to write many more stories drawing from my varied travel experiences around the world.


  6. We have taken one cruise, and I will say I got bored on the ship. I enjoyed being in Port but on the ship after the first day reading by the pool I was done. However I want to go to Alaska and I understand a cruise is the best way.

    I adored Love Boat and now I want to read this book because it brings great memories of me around the TV with my family watching the show.

    My phobia – closed dark places – I had a friend who shut me in a closet and wouldn’t let me out and now I just can’t deal…


  7. kamebookreview,

    Yes, for Alaska, cruising is considered to be the best way to see sights you wouldn’t see otherwise. Some cruises have more activities than others, some are more geared to families and children, some to couples. Activities vary by cruise line and ship. I’ve never believed in one size fits all vacations. The best vacations are matched to the interests of the traveler and a good travel consultant will do just that. For you, I would suggest cruises which do not have many days at sea and take you to ports you’ve always wanted to visit. It can be a good way to find out which ports/countries you’d like to return to on a land based vacation.

    Love Boat was one of my favorite shows too. 🙂

    Dark places, that is a scary one added to enclosed spaces. I hope your friend got in trouble for that one.


    1. You know it happened over 30 years ago so I am not sure if she got in trouble – but the fear has never gone away.


  8. I’ve got a little phobia about water (didn’t learn to swim until I was an adult and not very good at it) and only been on an afternoon cruise twice and gotten terribly seasick each time. I’ve been told that it shouldn’t be a problem on the big cruise line boats but I’m not anxious to try: (1) I get motion sickness from almost everything that moves except horses and (2) I’ve met people who don’t suffer from motion sickness but have gotten sick on a cruise.
    I have gone snorkeling and liked it and I love the beach although I’ll only wade in the water.
    I also have a fear of heights…but I did get brave enough to go paragliding and I loved it!


  9. nancyelizabethlauzon Avatar

    Hey Debra, I’ve cruised before, and the one thing I worry about is falling overboard! I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often when you think about how large the cruise ship is, how much people tend to drink when they’re on vacation, and how easy it would be to get a little too close to those railings. Especially young kids. Having said all that, I do enjoy being on the water. Best of luck with your new release, the book sounds great!


  10. kamebookreview It would be nice if there was a magic wand we could wave and take away the fears and phobias, clearing up childhood events. I’ve heard hypnosis is good for clearing fears and phobias but I haven’t tried that with my water phobia.

    Childhood events certainly stay with us a long long time.


  11. PC that is wonderful that you’ve faced your fear and gone paragliding! There’s an exilharation that comes from beating a bear this time which is a wonderful feeling. I’ve never tried paragliding but I imagine it would be wonderful.

    Land based vacations can be as fun and as romantic as any cruise. Many of the all inclusive resorts include snorkling and paragliding in their packages along with food and entertainment like a cruise does. And a few of them are in exotic places.


  12. Thank you Nancy Elizabeth! Yes, I’ve wondered that too as there’s nothing to stop a drunk person from sitting on a railing or climbing up to do something like that scene on Titanic where they’re standing at the front of the ship. Yes, there are cameras and they do watch but adults are free to do as they please. And there are no cameras watching what you do on your own balcony. I suspect the ones who do disappear off ships have done something like that.
    The rails are fairly high though and I’ve never once heard of a child disappearing off a ship.


  13. Thank you all for popping in and sharing your cruise stories. I’ve never been on a cruise, and I do love the water and swimming, just not sure how I would take to a cruise. My main concern is being in a small room, as I understand those rooms can be really small, and that would freak me out. I have to have windows and a big airy room. I guess that could be considered clausterphobic, but I’m not, I just don’t like tiny rooms. LOL

    My other concern would be getting seasick, although I don’t get car sick and I can even read in a moving car, but I’ve been on small boats where I felt sick to my stomach.

    I would love to go on an Alaskan cruise or a Mediterrean cruise, so maybe one day I’ll give it a shot.

    Loved reading all your adventures!


  14. Selena, I would advise a room with a balcony because those feel so much bigger and you can have fresh sea breezes and not feel enclosed. They are nice for watching sunsets and sunrises as well. 🙂

    The bigger ships don’t have as much sway as smaller boats because of their stabilizers. Sometimes you can’t even tell they are moving, they are so big and so balanced. Small boats have a whole lot of rocking and rolling.

    I hope you get to enjoy an Alaskan cruise and also a Mediterranean cruise one day.

    Thanks again for hosting me here! It’s been fun!


  15. I went on an Alaskan Cruise which was ok….I actually enjoyed he land excursions better….I was along with my sister and brother-in-law and I definitely think cruises were meant for couples….unless you go on a singles cruise. I found not as much to do as a singleton. But Alaska is beautiful anyway.


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