I just went on my first ever cruise and, whoa, it’s the perfect setting for a romance novel. (I was traveling with my daughter and not my husband so no shipboard love for me!) Everywhere I looked, there were places for strangers to meet–so many bars!–and activities for them to do.

On the last night, I watched what I realized is the perfect opening scene for a romance novel. I had pledged I’d do karaoke–for the first time–and while I was waiting for my turn to be up at the mike, a rather inebriated plush size* woman–late 20s, early 30s–started singing Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back (I Like Big Butts). She was giving it her all-shaking and shimmying and singing LOUD (and well.) She was AWESOME. As she sang, I saw, in a back corner of the the bar, a tall guy, staring at her in fascination.

And, boom, just like that, I wrote their shipboard romance in my head.

She’s recently been dumped by her fiance who ran off with his personal trainer and, as he left, said she’d gained some weight since they’d met and now, he just wasn’t feeling it. (Asshat.) She took the money she’d saved for the honeymoon–they were going dutch–and went on this cruise–open bar all the time. He’s here with his mom who was suddenly and very sadly widowed last year. This trip is one his parents planned to take for their 50 anniversary and he’s here with his mom helping her get over her grief. It’s been a rough year for him–dad’s death left him managing their family business and he’s been overwhelmed and unable to carve out any time for himself. On the first night of the cruise, after his mom went to bed–too much wine at dinner!–he wandered into the Stars bar looking for an IPA and was bummed to see it was Karaoke Night–he hates karaoke–and was getting ready to walk out when this woman, this over the top woman, started rapping. He was riveted. And so….

I’d love to read some actual love stories set on cruise ships. Anyone know of any?

*Sally Thorne uses this phrase in 99% Mine. I love it!