Monday, August 5, 2013

ROMANCE IN THE HIGH SEAS by Marcia King-Gamble

Why not blend your experience at a cruise line with that of romance writing?

This has been an ongoing discussion with my agent.  

Not that it’s a bad idea, but it’s one I’ve long resisted. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to share the behind the scenes stuff that I handled for a former employer. Some may call me stupid, but I have the loyalty gene, and although I’m no longer in the industry, I struggle with spilling the uglier stuff.  True, all of it isn’t ugly. In fact some of it is downright sweet. But truth as they say, is a whole lot stranger than fiction. 

The department I headed up for the cruise line handled sensitive issues. Some made the newspapers. The vast majority did not. Most of the day-to-day responsibilities were pretty mundane requiring me to resolve issues and make sure unhappy guests returned. Repeat guests meant money.  

My employees resolved the complaints about food, entertainment, lodging and service not being up to par.  I heard about noise issues, damaged luggage and excursion mishaps. Most of the doozies had to do with romantic expectations not being met. Many had grown up in the era of The Love Boat and came aboard to meet Captain Steuben or Isaac, the bartender. Such unrealistic expectations naturally led to heartache, heartbreak, and the occasional happy ending. Happy endings I love.  

One memorable year, the cruise line ran a satisfaction guaranteed promotion - If not totally satisfied, all your money would be refunded. Of course there were stipulations to that generous offer. The line had to know about the issue and to make reasonable efforts to resolve it.   

One unforgettable cruise, found the divorced wife and daughter of a well-known restaurateur onboard. Mother and daughter were kicking up a stink because having perused the ship’s offerings, found no men to their liking. They wanted to be flown off the ship. Now how to resolve taste and something so subjective? It took a lot of creativity but I did it.  For the remainder of the cruise, these lovely ladies were escorted around ship by very handsome, if not necessarily happy officers. A win-win for all. 

Nights usually brought out the party animals.  Land based nightclubs are breeding grounds for romantic disasters and so are ships with captive audiences. Combine sweaty bodies, pulsating music and salty air. Then toss in alcohol, and someone is sure to end up in a bed not their own. 

Cruising makes the shy uninhibited.  Perhaps it’s the mouthwatering food, the booze, the luxurious surroundings. Whatever!  Sweet homemakers turn into tabletop dancers. Introverts morph into extroverts, and grandma or granddad become Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers clones. Newly marrieds forget they’re married, and not so newly marrieds have to be asked to go to their rooms.  

Such is the magic of cruising. It’s hypnotic and addictive. It also brings out the wildest side of even the nicest people. 

And that my readers’ is why I hesitate to write that book. 

Marcia King-Gamble is a national bestselling author with almost thirty books to her credit. You may visit her at  or like her Facebook page

Her books can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Apple. Seducing Circe is her most recent novella.
A Little About Me
marcia king-gamble

I fell in love with romance after reading my first Mills and Boon book at age six. When your mother’s a school teacher you learn to read at an early age. Of course having no television in the home helped as well. Reading fueled an overactive imagination. It still does.
You see, I was born on the island of St. Vincent in the sunny Caribbean. It’s a heavenly place where ocean and sky are the same mesmerizing blue. Sands are both white and black. St. Vincent has a dormant volcano and is also home to the oldest Botanical Gardens in the Western Hemisphere. The Grenadine islands (think Bequia, Mustique, Palm Island ... lifestyles of the rich and famous) are shared with Grenada.
Degrees in psychology and theater were obtained in the United States which has been my home for most of my life. I made a comfortable living as a travel industry executive while I moonlighted as a reader for Harlequin/Silhouette. That’s where my first venture into writing romances began. Since 1998 I have been published by Kensington, BET and St. Martin’s Press and Harlequin. Recently, I’ve been Indie publishing. Now I get to write what I want to write and pick my book covers. Yea! Other interests? Ah, yes there are many. Puttering around estate sales, enjoying a good bottle of wine, dancing through the wee hours, traveling when and as often as I can, and anything involving the outdoors.


  1. Now that was a most creative way to use an opportunity! Good job in more ways than one.

  2. Thanks for dropping by and comment KANDY !

  3. Marcia, I laughed so much imagining the two ladies escorted by officers. As a frequent cruiser, "elite" as they call us, I consider the Princess ships home away from home and I have my life well-organized aboard for the days-at-sea. Go ahead write your stories. We want to laugh. There are so many ships and so many travelers aboard no one would recognize himself in a novel, or at least no one would admit he/she looks like "that"!

    1. Thanks, Mona. There are many stories in my head, several x-rated fortunately or unfortunately. One of these days!