The Love Boat

Thu, 02/12/2009 - 5:15pm
By: The Citizen

Local man finds his bride on a cruise ship

The Love Boat Dave Pack and wife Samantha at the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines.

Editor’s note: The Citizen asked readers to submit their tales of falling in love and finding their soul mate. This was one of the best submissions. The following is Dave Pack’s story.

My best friend and I considered ourselves very eligible bachelors when we booked a week long cruise in January 2000. The ship we chose was the newest, largest cruise ship afloat, the Voyager of the Seas. On departure day, we sailed out of Miami toward points south. We soon discovered the ship’s 24-hour bakery/pizza parlor. It was tended overnight by the tallest Asian girl I’d ever seen. Her figure was concealed by a white apron, but perched smartly on her head was a white food service hat. Her name was Samantha and she was lovely.

I began chatting with her and soon found that we shared the same birthday, October 26. She was single and from the Philippines . I stopped by each night for pizza. We would talk well into the wee hours, through frequent interruptions by mostly ill-mannered passengers who came for late night snacks. While observing her serve these people, I learned that she was among the sweetest, most gracious, tolerant, and patient people I’d ever met. Although cruise ship rules prevent ship employees from mingling with passengers, we managed to spend some time together aboard the ship over the next few days. At the end of the cruise, we exchanged email addresses, phone numbers, and passionate kisses.

We kept in touch over the next few months, either by ship’s phone, email, or cards and letters. My company-provided flight benefits gave me the freedom to travel to Miami to rendezvous with her on Sunday afternoons. She had six hours off each week while the ship was berthed in Miami. Every few months, the cruise line flew her home before flying her back to Miami six weeks later. I would meet her at whichever U.S. gateway city they flew her through. During one long layover in Los Angeles we stole away together and spent two blissful days exploring Death Valley National park before her flight to Manila. It was during her time off in the Philippines that I first traveled there to be with her and meet her family.

Sadly, before year-end Samantha had to resign from the cruise ship and return home to Manila. I made several trips to visit over the next few months. We fell in love while seeing many of the most fabulous places in the Philippines. She accepted my proposal to marry, which I made by phone in May 2001, and we were married in Manila later that year -- on Oct. 26, our birthday, in a ceremony attended by all her friends and family. Eight months later, she finally received her Visa and joined me here. We remain madly in love with each other and now own a home in Sharpsburg which we’ve filled with our three beautiful children.

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