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A chance encounter at sea

There are theories about how the right people somehow gravitate to one another in unexpected places—or maybe it’s something about a ship. Either way, when two strangers meet in a crowded room, anything can happen.

Winter in the Midwest can be rough. It’s bitterly cold and drags on for months. And it’s cold. That’s why Midwesterners are such great vacationers! When an opportunity comes up, they skip town and head to the coast. And if there’s one Midwesterner who knows the value of breaking up winter with a cold drink on a warm beach, it’s Dominic Lacy.  

During a particularly brutal cold snap in January of 2013, Dominic took some time off work and left home for the Caribbean. He was desperate for a holiday and planned to head south on a solo relaxation trip to reset and recharge. But the last thing he expected was to board a cruise ship in Florida that would sail him into a chance encounter and take him off the eligible bachelor list for life. 

Leading up to his trip, Dominic powered through work and scoured the internet getting his mind primed for the Caribbean. Curious to know what type of people he’d meet on his cruise, he joined a Facebook group of other travelers who would also be sailing and got some insider tips about how (and where) to maximize his fun.

Dominic touched down in Florida and bee-lined his way onboard the Carnival Breeze. The first event of the sailing was the Welcome Aboard reception—a big event put on to liven everyone up and set the vibe high for the week ahead. The room was packed with more than 600 people who were pumped to party. There were delicious drinks, extravagant food, loud music, and a hype-up host who assured the crowd this trip would be the best time of their lives. Dominic was all in!

“People often ask me about my travels and if it’s possible to meet someone while on vacation, so I just tell them I met my fiancé that way.”

Towards the end of the reception, the host directed everyone to stand up and introduce themselves to a fellow traveler. Slightly awkward interactions rippled across the room as Dominic stood up. “I turned around to face a woman who seemed completely familiar,” Dominic says. “She was one of the people I connected with in the Facebook group and happened to be right behind me—in a full room with hundreds of people in it!” What were the odds! Her name was Elizabeth and their ship had barely left the port. 

The two started talking (IRL) over the buzz and energy of the packed room and discovered that out of all the places in the world where two strangers could possibly live, their homes were 15 minutes apart from one another in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Unbelievable! Right away, their conversation fell into a rhythm and Dominic knew his vacation was about to take a new course.  

Dominic and Elizabeth started spending more time together as the trip progressed. It was like the ship was playing the matchmaker, guiding them to the same places at the same times. One night, they were sailing into a port after dark, and the two sat outside on the deck together, talking into the night like they were on their own private cruise.  

The whole experience made for one of the best trips of Dominic’s life and he knew he had to keep the connection with Elizabeth going back home in Minnesota. He was sure this was more than a vacation spark.  

It was deep into the Midwest winter when they met for their first official date a few weeks later. Settling in at a local cafe with warm drinks, they instantly fell into conversation about their Caribbean experience, laughing about the onboard events that were so recent, yet felt so far away. As they relived moments from their trip, the same energy they’d found onboard returned and the first date turned into several more. 

Dominic and Elizabeth have now been together over seven years and are currently planning their wedding. The traveling couple have become experts at escaping winter and maximizing vacations. “We travel a lot and go on vacations all the time together!” Dominic says. “At least one a year, so we’ve been on seven or eight since we first met.”

“People often ask me about my travels and if it’s possible to meet someone while on vacation, so I just tell them I met my fiancé that way,” he adds. There are theories about how the right people somehow gravitate to one another in crowded places, and maybe these well-traveled Minnesotans are proof of that. Or there could be something about the ship that created their lasting first encounter. Either way, they both met their perfect match the day their ship set sail!