Cruise Diary: The Love Boat

Cruise Diary: The Love Boat

Award-winning author and writer Jeanette Hurt is cruising the Baltic on Prinsendam with her entire family to watch her parents renew their vows. Enjoy her words and her husband (and professional photographer) Kyle Edwards’ photos. You can also follow her on Twitter @JHurtAuthor or www.jeanettehurt.com.

Before my family went on the cruise, my sister’s boyfriend, Joe, told my dad, “There will be some surprises on this trip.”

My dad didn’t really think much of the comment at the time. You’re on the trip of a lifetime, you expect there will be some wonderful surprises. Falling in love with a new city (Helsinki), discovering a gem of a museum (the Hermitage), swooning over a meal you’ll dream about (the Canaletto’s chicken cacciatore over creamy, cheesy polenta)…those were the kind of surprises we have enjoyed – and expected – to enjoy on this trip.

We also expected to enjoy planned events – special dinners at the Pinnacle Grill, touring the Kashubian countryside, and, of course, the main reason for our trip: the renewal of my parents wedding vows. My parents, Tom and Mary Hurt, renewed their vows July 10, in celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary.

Tom and Mary cut the cake.

Tom and Mary cut the cake.

Forty-six years ago on Groundhog Day, at a gas station, in between delivering furniture for my Uncle John, my dad popped the question to my mom. She, of course, said yes, and that’s the reason I, my sister Julie, and my sister Karen are here today.

The vows renewal, with Captain Andre Van Schoonhoven, presiding, was a little delayed, as Julie and Joe were a few minutes late to the Captain’s quarters, but the vows renewal itself went off without a hitch. It was romantic and touching, and my parents just beamed. My father, in particular, could not stop grinning.

Captain Andre officiates the vow renewal.

Captain Andre officiates the vow renewal.

But the grinning and kissing and smiling grew more joyous after my sister Julie finished singing Sentimental Journey a capella, in honor of our parents. After singing, Julie explained why she and Joe were the last ones to make it to the ceremony.

During dinner, Joe kept talking about T-shirts being on sale in the ship store. “We have to go tonight otherwise they’re going to be all sold out,” he kept telling my sister. Julie, who was more concerned with getting to the vows renewal on time, was really annoyed, and Joe had to drag her into the store. Once in the store, instead of heading to the clothing department, he took her over to the jewelry and pointed to an emerald ring, set off by two diamonds. “How ‘bout that one?” Joe asked. Julie said yes, Joe bought the ring, and they made it to the ceremony.

It was an even bigger surprise than any of use could have imagined, and we couldn’t be happier.

The proposal especially took my brother-in-law, Jim, by surprise – because he saw it happen. During dinner, Jim kept hearing Joe talk about those T-shirts. So, while Joe was proposing to Julie in the store, Jim was buying those T-shirts Joe talked about, and while purchasing said T-shirts, Jim noticed his sister-in-law was crying. “I wasn’t sure, at first, if I needed to go over there, but then I saw that she was in the jewelry section,” Jim says, and he figured out what was happening.

Joe and Julie announce their engagement.

Joe and Julie announce their engagement.

After the vows renewal finished, we all headed up to the Crow’s Nest for karaoke night. Julie, Karen, and I sang Poison’s “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” Julie, Joe, Jim and Kyle sang The Doors’ “Come on Baby Light My Fire,” Kyle serenaded me with Elton John’s “Your Song,” Joe serenaded Julie with George Harrison’s “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You,” and then Jim surprised my dad by making him go and sing Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night.”

Karaoke in the Crow's Nest.

Karaoke in the Crow’s Nest.

There are lots of surprises on the boat. And some, to quote cellar master Adrian’s first song of the night, are unforgettable.


Join the Discussion


  1. Steve J. Garrod July 17, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    What an incredible, touching story!

  2. Denise July 18, 2013 at 6:22 am - Reply


  3. […] saw the sights from the Hermitage Museum to Helsinki, her sister, Jeanette, chronicled the journey here on the […]

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