Couple sail for 1,000th night on Carnival cruise ships

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A husband and wife sailed their 1,000th night on Carnival cruise ships while sailing on Carnival Pride recently.

Photo by Andy Newman/CCL

Robert and Nancy Houchens, a retired couple from Virginia, now spend most of their time on cruise ships. As they sailed through the Norwegian fjords, Robert asked the cruise ship crew to surprise Nancy with a celebration to mark the occasion of their 1,000th night on Carnival cruise ships. Of course, the Carnival Pride crew members were happy to oblige.

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The Houchens have been sailing for decades, so Carnival Cruise Line asked them what they love about life on the high seas. Here’s what they had to say.

Why are you sailing?

Nancy: For us, cruising is a way of life. Our goal was to sell everything we owned and pretty much live on cruise ships. And we’ve done a good job since we retired.

When did you start sailing?

Robert: More than 20 years ago, when our children were still at home. At first we sailed because it was good value for money.

You have created many memories on many ships, what stands out?

Nancy: Carnival Pride has a lot of memories for us. It is a very special ship. We were very lucky as we were invited back when Pride returned to service from Baltimore last September. We were asked to participate in the opening ceremony with Carnival President, Christine Duffy, and it was absolutely wonderful – very moving.

What’s your favorite place aboard a Carnival ship?

Robert: Game of serenity.

Nancy: Yes, we love the Serenity game. We used to disco, party and stay up all night, but now we like to relax. Also, the beds. You can’t sleep anywhere like you can at sea on the beds.

After spending 1000 days at sea, you must have a lot of friends in the Carnival fleet.

Nancy: Yes, we have family throughout the fleet, meaning the crew members on board. They have become family to us! Now we try to figure out which crew members are on a particular ship, and that’s how we choose which cruise we want to do. After sailing for so long, we have a lot of [extended] family and we love them.

Robert: People from all walks of life, all cultures, all age groups, everyone sails on Carnival. We sail Carnival because of the people. It’s no longer the destinations for us, it’s the journey – and the biggest part of the journey is the people.

Would you spend another 1000 days at sea?

Nancy: If we live long enough, we will!

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