Love at Sea: When Annie Met Pieter

View of couple walking near beach on wedding day during sunset.

In May 2014, love was in the air for Annie and Pieter – they just didn’t know it yet. Both set sail with family and friends on an 11-day Holland America Line cruise from Barcelona to Rome. It was Pieter’s first cruise and Annie’s second.

Though they exchanged smiles and glances when their paths crossed at the beginning of the trip, it wasn’t until they were enjoying evening drinks with friends a couple days later that their adventure would officially begin.

“I was way too nervous to go over and introduce myself,” Annie said. “Luckily my best friend, Kara, had no fear at all. She marched right over to their table, pointed in my direction, and said ‘My best friend over there thinks you’re really cute. So, what’s your name? How old are you? And are you single?’ I don’t think I have ever been more embarrassed in my life, but hey, it worked. He walked over to me and introduced himself. The rest was history.”

View of three people in lounge on cruise ship.

Except for a few shore excursions they had prebooked with family and friends, Annie and Pieter were inseparable. They felt like they had known each other their entire lives, “like two souls being reunited.”

“We spent the rest of our nights in the nightclub, Northern Lights, drinking and dancing the nights away,” Annie said.

They even spent an entire night talking under the stars on deck from sunset to sunrise. And it was during their conversation they realized they almost went on a different cruise just one month earlier. Plans fell through and they ended up on this one together. “I guess fate had a hand in that one,” she noted.

Though their cruise eventually came to an end, their time together didn’t. With Annie living in the United States and Pieter in the Netherlands, they embarked on a long-distance relationship for nearly three years. In love, and having become the best of friends, they couldn’t stand the miles between them. Annie took a leap and moved to Europe. Two years later on a Holland America Line cruise to Alaska, Pieter got down on one knee, asking that they spend the rest of their lives together.

View of couple after they got engaged on cruise.

On Aug. 24, 2019, they vowed to do just that in a beautiful wedding ceremony in Seabrook, WA, and then again in a second ceremony in the Netherlands. “This way we were able to involve our family and friends from the Netherlands who were unable to come to the one in America,” Annie said. “Not everyone gets to wear their wedding dress twice!”

View of wedding couple at their reception.

Today, Annie Baucke Schäfer and Pieter Schäfer are still living in the Netherlands, and they look forward to their next Holland America Line cruise together, possibly to Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

What makes them cruise with Holland America Line time and time again? “The luxury and convenient way of traveling and dining, as well as the quality of service and care that you receive from each and every one of the staff members,” they said.

Annie and Pieter, thank you for sharing your story with us. From our hearts to yours, we wish you and all our guests near and far a Happy Valentine’s Day.


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