The Couple Who've Taken 100 Cruises On The Same Ship
While many people will return to the same resort each summer, one US couple has taken holiday loyalty to new extremes. Bernard and Janice Caffary from Lakeland, Florida, recently set sail on their 100th voyage on board the same cruise ship, Carnival Sensation, in just over a decade.
Carnival told USA Today that no other customers had taken so many trips on the same ship in the company’s 43-year history.
Is it the opportunity to see new destinations that regularly lures them back? Considering the ship often visits the same places all year round, with itineraries largely focused on the Bahamas and the Caribbean, that seems unlikely. Indeed, on a recent 14-night sailing, the pair left the ship only once, for a short walk on the shore in Costa Maya, Mexico.
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In fact it’s the staff members and on-board entertainment that keeps them coming.
“We really do like the crew – it's a family atmosphere,” said Mrs Caffary, 68. "A lot of the staff members call us ‘mum’ and ‘dad’."
The couple even wear badges on their cruises that read: "I give crew hugs."
Mrs Caffary and her husband, a 77-year-old retired submarine designer, also enjoy the on-board shows and dining options.
Not only are they regulars on board the ship, which carries 2,056 people, but they even reserve the one specific cabin around 90 per cent of the time.
"They love the ship and they love the staff, and it's a big part of their lives," said Vance Gulliksen from Carnival. "It's a pretty amazing feat. We're very excited to have them."
They’re not entirely loyal to Carnival Sensation. They’ve sailed 42 times on other Carnival ships, and 40 times on other cruise lines. But when they return to Sensation, "it feels like we've come home and we've come back to family", Mrs Caffary said.
And how much does this dedication cost? The couple have spent a total of 585 nights at sea since they retired in 2000. "You're looking at a lot of money," Mrs Caffary told USA Today. “Perhaps $100 per person, per night – adding up to $US117,000 ($A160,000)."
The Caffarys are by no means the first to show such an unwavering love of life at sea.
Beatrice Muller was one of the best known cruise ship residents, living on board the QE2 from 2000 until the ship’s retirement in 2008.
"My priorities on this ship are ballroom dancing, playing duplicate bridge, and trying not to eat – not necessarily in that order. I like all kinds of dancing, but right now I'm not dancing sambas or the cha cha – I don't want to jump on my new hip just yet,” she told Telegraph Travel back in 2006.
There’s even a private cruise ship, MS The World, which serves solely as a permanent residence for up to 200 people.
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This article was written by Oliver Smith from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.