|Paula & Nathan Abbott in Hiroshima|
The winning story was submitted by Paula Abbott, whose husband Nathan served as a US Navy Radarman 2/C in the Pacific Theater (1943-45). One of only seven survivors of the USS Monaghan which went down with two other ships during a typhoon off of the Philippines in 1944, the veteran of the Iwo Jima and Okinawa invasions had long desired to return to the islands where he had served. In 2004, a Princess cruise to the Islands of the Pacific Theater of War allowed him to fulfill that wish, and he was able to share important memories with other WWII veterans. The 91-year-old Bronze Star recipient resides in Whittier, Calif.
As the grand-prize winner, Paula and Nathan Abbott will join the cast members of The Love Boat to ride on Princess Cruises’ first-ever float in the 126th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, officially kicking off the cruise line’s 50th anniversary year.
An additional four stories—an Alaskan cruise turned marriage proposal, a golden wedding anniversary cruise, a young family’s celebration of survival, and a mother and daughter’s life affirming encounter—were selected as runners up. The authors and guests also will cruise the five-and-a-half mile parade route on the float.
“We were truly inspired by the stories of love, family and the triumph of the human spirit we received from our guests and we want to thank everyone who shared their personal stories with us,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Each tale was unique, taking place in different destinations around the globe, but the unifying theme of this year’s Rose Parade gave us the opportunity to acknowledge the many forms of inspiration so many of our guests find while cruising with Princess. We are thrilled to feature these guests on our Rose Parade float.”
The Rose Parade has been a tradition since 1890 and is broadcast to approximately 80 million viewers around the world every New Year’s day. The Princess Cruises float is 60 feet long and 24 feet high, and will be covered by more than 24,000 flowers and natural materials. Depicting the line’s newest ship Regal Princess symbolically sailing through some of the world’s most interesting destinations and iconic landmarks, the float pays tribute to The Love Boat television show that made Princess Cruises one of the most famous names in cruising.
Image Courtesy Princess Cruises