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We got engaged on a cruise ship – here’s why it’s the ultimate romantic getaway

Cruises offer ample opportunity for romance thanks to the range of beautiful destinations, wonderful views and great service – and this couple took their love even further by getting engaged onboard a ship.

Words by Harriet Mallinson

Getting engaged on vacation is certainly in vogue at the moment – go away on a romantic getaway without picture-perfect nails at your peril.

But when you work in the travel industry and jet-setting is as run of the mill as going for late afternoon beers with the team, how can this ultimate romantic moment be made truly unique?

Vencel Kis, 28, from Hungary, came up with the perfect solution for his girlfriend of over five years – he would pop the question in the Mediterranean Sea at sunset.

His partner, Franciska Kovacs, 37 – a self-confessed “big ship fan” – was a travel agent for Princess Cruises so when the opportunity arose for the loved-up pair to sail the Mediterranean last May, Vencel knew this was his big moment.

“I wanted to choose a place that couldn’t be repeated,” Vencel tells Sailawaze, “this is why it was on the final sea day in the middle of the sea…and it was during the sunset that I asked the question.”

As many modern lovers are wont to do, Vencel and Franciska (above, left) had been keen to immortalise their romantic cruise on social media throughout the voyage. The pair – who are dancers and met at a dance competition – had “made a short dancing video at all the destinations.”

This footage went on to play a vital part in the proposal moment. “My plan was to make a short video at sunset on the deck, and afterwards I went to my knees and asked the question,” says Vencel.

The good news, folks, is that Franciska said yes, and even cried “a bit”. It was “absolutely” a surprise she grins, but “very very good.”

A perk of becoming betrothed onboard a ship is you’re not short of places to celebrate the occasion. “It was very nice because afterwards we could go to the restaurant and drink a glass of champagne,” explains Franciska.

What’s more, they’d made friends during the cruise so they had lots of people to commemorate the moment with. “It was kind of an engagement party,” says Vencel. Some of the fellow cruisers they bonded with will even be at their wedding!

While the nuptials themselves – due to take place at the end of May 2023 – won’t be at sea, the couple’s honeymoon certainly will – and they’re aiming for a ceremony on the ship to acknowledge their union as well.

The honeymoon cruise – also with Princess Cruises – will whisk the lovebirds on a two-week getaway to Norway (above) and Iceland (below, right) from Southampton.

Interestingly, the departure port is almost as exciting for the pair as the destinations. “Franciska is the biggest Titanic fan in the world and the Titanic departed from Southampton,” explains Vencel as his fiancée giggles. (One assumes they mean the 1997 blockbuster movie and not the 1912 disaster otherwise they have a very strange view of what a happy ending looks like.)

Iceland will be a voyage highlight, too; they hope they can make it to Diamond Beach and the Blue Lagoon. “The best thing for Franciska is Iceland,” Vencel goes on, “it is one of her dreams to go there.” “It will be very special,” adds his bride-to-be.

The honeymoon sailing will be Vencel’s second-ever cruise and he reveals he was apprehensive ahead of his first one – something fellow cruising newbies might relate to.

“To be honest I was a bit afraid before and I didn’t know how I would survive on the ship or if I would be seasick… but it was very comfortable for me,” he says. “It was very good that we could go to four or five countries in a row and I could relax, which I can’t do very often.”

He also loved the “breathtaking view of the sea,” (he becomes quite poetic as he gets into his stride) “sitting there on the balcony and enjoying the sunset with the never-ending water.” I suspect Franciska is in for one helluva wedding speech.

Both relished the many opportunities for romance while onboard – and look forward to repeating them on their honeymoon.

“We enjoyed the cinema at night with a pair of blankets around us and a glass of champagne,” recalls Vencel. The weather was so good on their Med cruise together they could even just lie on a sunlounger together in the evenings.

“Another special event for me was when we departed from a destination – we were sitting in the jacuzzi and drinking cocktails,” he continues.

Arriving at ports of call had its charm, too. “It was romantic for us when we arrived at Kotor Bay,” says Vencel. “The sun had just come up from behind the mountains so we woke up early and went on deck.”

Soaking up the privacy of their own balcony was also a treat. Vencel treasures the memory of “sitting on the balcony at midnight and enjoying the light of the moon” – “and ordering Champagne and snacks” Franciska chimes in.

Both tummies and hearts filled in the one vacation, you say? Sign us up. And we’ll take some of that big ship movie magic too. Just hold on the icebergs, please.

Set Sail

14-Day Iceland & Norway with Princess Cruises

Duration: 13 nights

Where: Southampton (London), England | Bergen, Norway | Flaam, Norway | Olden, Norway | Alesund, Norway | Akureyri, Iceland | Isafjordur, Iceland | Grundarfjordur, Iceland | Reykjavik, Iceland” Southampton (London), England

Ship: Sky Princess

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Published 02.14.23