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Virginia couple racks up 1,000 days sailing on Carnival ships

Nancy and Robert Houchens celebrate their 1,000-day milestone, cheered by Carnival Pride crew
Robert and Nancy Houchens, a retired couple from Virginia, spend most of their time on cruise ships, and recently reached 1,000 days with Carnival Cruise Line.

As they sailed Carnival Pride in the Norwegian Fjords, Robert asked the ship’s team to surprise Nancy with a celebration to mark the occasion. Crew members were happy to oblige.

The Houchens began cruising more than 20 years ago, drawn by the 'great value,' according to Robert.

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

Emotional about Carnival Pride

The Houchens singled out Carnival Pride as a very special ship.

They were invited to take part in the 'Back to Fun' ceremony when Pride returned to service from Baltimore in September. Alongside Carnival President Christine Duffy, Nancy cut a ribbon to open embarkation as team members cheered.


Nancy Houchen cuts the ribbon in Baltimore. At right is Carnival President Christine Duffy

'It was absolutely wonderful — very emotional,' Nancy said.

'People are the reason we cruise Carnival'

'People are the reason we cruise Carnival,' Robert said, adding that people 'from all walks of life, all cultures, all ages' sail with the line. ' ... It isn’t the destinations for us anymore, it’s the journey — and the biggest part of the journey is the people.'

They consider the crew their family.

'Now we try to figure out what team members are on a particular ship, and that’s how we pick which cruise we want to go on,' Nancy said. 'After cruising for so long, we’ve got a lot of [extended] family and we love them.'

The Houchens' favorite place on a Carnival ship is the Serenity adults area.

Serenity and the beds

'We used to do the nightclub, partying and staying up all night, but now we like to relax,' Nancy said.

She also singled out the beds, adding: 'You can’t sleep anywhere like you can at sea.'

No plan to stop

The Houchens are currently sailing on back-to-back cruises aboard Carnival Pride in Europe. 

They plan to keep cruising as much as possible throughout their retirement.

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