What it’s like to find love on a cruise ship


  • Cruise ships can be so conducive to finding romance.
  • When travelers are away from their day-to-day grind, they may feel more relaxed and open to meeting someone, one expert said.
  • “The Real Love Boat,” a new reality dating show, will center on a group of singles looking for love as they sail on a Princess Cruises vessel.

Crimson Thompson had given up on looking for love when she found it in the middle of the ocean.

Before taking a Caribbean cruise in 2014, Thompson was fed up with dating, she told USA TODAY, noting that online dating wasn’t working for her. “I was almost 40, I was over it.”

But when fellow passenger JD Thompson got chatting during a stand-up paddleboarding excursion in Turks and Caicos, something clicked.

“We consider that our first date,” JD, a 37-year-old photographer and graphic designer, said. While they had met earlier in the trip, they spent the majority of that outing in Turks and Caicos together, after which “we really were kind of bonded together for the rest of the cruise,” he said. They then had dinner together, saw shows, and spent evenings in the hot tub, staying so late that security asked them to leave so they could clean it.

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After the cruise, JD accompanied Crimson home to South Florida for a short visit and the pair kept in touch after he returned to Texas. Three years later, after their chance meeting on vacation, they were married. “There is no way that we would have crossed paths without this cruise,” he said.

The pair are among a number of travelers who have found love on cruises and taken their vacation romances ashore.

‘The Real Love Boat’

Cruise ships can be so conducive to finding romance that a new reality dating show will center on a group of singles looking for love as they sail on a Princess Cruises vessel.

“The Real Love Boat,” which premieres Wednesday on CBS, is inspired by the beloved  1970s and ’80s show and features destination dates and challenges as the cast cruise in the Mediterranean for close to a month. One couple will win a cash prize and a trip with Princess.

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