Monday, January 18, 2010


The inspiration for this poem was  someone very special to me - I last saw him in April of 2003 but it seems like it was just yesterday.  I met him within an hour after I boarded my very first
Royal Caribbean cruise in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I had finished my novel and had gone to the
library on the Monarch of the Seas to get another book to read.  The Champagne Bar happened to be right across the way so I stepped in to take a look around.  He was the bartender there and, though I am not especially fond of champagne, he delighted in telling me that they also had excellent wines.  Being a snobby Californian, of course, I was dubious so I sat down and checked out the wine list.  It was above par - with some fine wines from California as well as
other parts of the world.  On that seven day cruise, the Champagne Bar was my favorite spot and Santos became a beloved friend.  Over the next eight years, I continued to sail frequently with Royal Caribbean, as often as possible with my Indian friend and when he would transfer ships, I would sail on the new itineraries.  He, and the other Indian crew became like family to me, as did many other crew members from all over the world.  He came to California on two occasions, once for two weeks and once for another week and became part of our family.  We even celebrated Thanksgiving though it wasn't Thanksgiving then so he would see what the celebration was like in an American home.  Of course, he'd been on the ships during Thanksgiving time but he'd never been able to be part of a U. S. family!

While he was visiting us, we would take him to Napa and the Russian River to see as many wineries as possible, since his job with Royal Caribbean evolved into that of sommelier.  He was always so thrilled with whatever he saw and did.  As a surprise, one morning at dawn, I suprised him with an early morning hot air balloon ride over the vineyards at Napa.  It was such fun to see his delight.

In 1997, I had the most exciting trip of my life when I spent ten days at the home of Santos, his wife, Lorna, his son, Nick, his mother, May, and his brother in Mumbai, India.  I was treated like visiting royalty.  Two other dear Royal Caribbean crew friends were also home at that time and they came over as well to welcome me to their country.

It was a time of feasting, laughter, amazement and delight for me.  I went with Santos' mother to Agra and marveled at the beauty of the Taj Mahal.  It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  The memory of that day will be with me until my dying breath.  I even wrote a poem about it years later.  

Santos left his position with Royal Caribbean in May of 2003.   I last sailed with him in April of that year.  Though the miles separate us, he and his family remain dear to my heart.  I have wanted so badly to return to India.  His lovely mother died a couple of years ago so I will not see her again.  I was supposed to go for a month in mid-October of this year and even had my ticket - I had saved those frequent flyer miles for an eternity.  It was to be a really special trip because I would see not only Santos and his family but five other of my Royal Caribbean "family" who were home on vacation and several others who have since retired from the company.  Sadly, my mother became ill and I had to go to Georgia instead.  Also, my nursing job of 21 years with San Francisco ended and money became an issue.  My Indian friends assured me that I didn't need to worry about food or lodging, I just needed to get myself there.  

God willing, I will still get that chance again!  I still have the miles and I want to see all those dear friends before my life ends.  After all, I'm known in Royal Caribbean circles as the American mother of the Indian crew!

Me, Santos, & my youngest son, Jeremy, in July 2002 

( Jeremy's high school graduation present was a cruise )

I've now completed 78 cruises with Royal Caribbean - 26 on my original ship, the Monarch of the Seas.
Here I am late one night, having a couple of bottles of wine in the dining room, with my dear friends, Irish maitre d',
Seamus Mee, four Indian headwaiters and a great Indian chef!  


I see the dawn light up the sky,
And soon the sun breaks through,
The colors bring me little joy,
Since I am far from you.

You are on a distant shore,
Your day is at its end,
As the sun comes up tomorrow,
I will miss you, dearest friend.

The days all run together,
Brilliant sunrise, follows dawn,
All I feel is utter loneliness,
And sadness since you've gone.

When, at last, we meet again,
And never have to part,
There will be eternal sunrise,
Taking place within my heart.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright (c) 2007 by Carmen Henesy
All rights reserved.

 Lake Tahoe Sunrise by scottleeschwartz Flickr

Light at the End of the Pier - Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii - PatruckSmithPhotography -Flickr

Pre -dawn light over the Golden Gate Bridge - Oldvidhead - Flickr


  1. That is so heartwarming, Carmen.

    Carmen....are you sure you are not in love with this dear fellow...???? Hmmmm....???

    Your son is handsome!!!!! hehehehehe!!!!

  2. Carmen, you've done a fabulous post on friendship and relationship! What a perfectly expressed post this is!! It's really wonderful to know how close he is to your family. Really very very nice and unexpected in today's world.

    Mexican Prickly Poppy [Argemone Mexicana, Satyanashi, सत्यानाशी]

  3. Well, I have another 77 cruises to embark on before I reach your impressive record. I have been on one 14 day cruise around the south pacific. It was the first holiday I ever took with out my parents at the age of 18 and gave me the travel bug.

    Carmen, you make so many friends on your travels, you must be a really beautiful and genuine person because your friendships last many years after your travels are over.

  4. Carmen- This is very interesting. How great that you have had the chance to visit so many places are cruise like that! Maybe I'll have to try to get a few more sunrise pics... just for you!

  5. That's a record! Lucky you, Carmen. You are one in a million.

  6. How beautiful and what a story you have to tell.

  7. are now the queen of cruises in my book !

  8. Carmen, This poem is the best you've written. It's passionate and I know why, it's descriptive and beautiful.

    And, The Golden Gate has never looked so gorgeous. I'm going to have to be out there one of these mornings at sunrise.

  9. Anonymous11:03 AM

    Beautiful poem, Carmen! Sometimes a certain friendship can inspire such deep emotions.

  10. Carmen, thanks for sharing your story, it is inspiring how we make friends along the way and inspire you to write a heartfelt poem, so beautiful. your son is very good looking.

  11. Oh Dear Carmen... You and you stories... always amazing and so joyful. Friends will be friends...

  12. To have friends, you have to be one! The time-tested friendship that you have developed in your travels is very inspiring. It shows what a beautiful person you are, inside and out, Carmen. You are very fortunate to have so many wonderful opportunities to travel and we are fortunate to see so many wonderful places through your inspiring blog! You live life to the fullest and it is uplifting to read your posts! :)

  13. Carmen, you are the perfect example of the sanguine personality. You meet friends and organize parties everywhere you go. You've lived an exciting life.

  14. a very heart warming post. we reduce the distances with our hearts, youre lucky to have made friends with him as im certain he is to have you. maybe sometime you could post pictures of the Taj and ofcourse would be nicer to see you in it too with your thousand watts smile. :) im an indian in Mumbai and i have yet to visit the Taj :(
    cheers! i hope you get the opportunity to visit the country again and take away fond memories with you.