When Maddison Moses and Sam Brisby met on-board a 12-day cruise as teenagers, they had no idea their young love would lead to wedding bells.
Maddison, now 21, vividly remembers the first time she locked eyes with Sam, 20, describing it as an instant connection.
The then teenagers were on separate family trips with Maddison telling news.com.au she wasn’t overly keen on going.
“I absolutely love cruises and I was looking forward to it but at the same time I wanted to stay home,” she said.
What happened next she never predicted in her wildest dreams.
A then 17-year-old Maddison said the pair had walked past one another and locked eyes “straight away”, but it wasn’t until they met in the Pacific Dawn cruises’ ‘kids club’ when they finally built up the courage to talk to one another.
From there, the pair became inseparable, hanging out on-board the P&O ship every day until their unexpected romantic getaway came to an end.
Maddison said as cliche as it sounds she knew Sam was “the one” during their “Titanic moment”.
“We had a massive connection but I didn’t realise it was that strong that it would lead us to get married,” she told news.com.au.
The pair tied the knot in the Hunter Valley on April 7 and to their shock and surprise were given a generous present from P&O.
“They gave us a cruise trip for our first wedding anniversary next year to recreate the cruise that we first met on,” Maddison said with a grin.
“It’s crazy. I was so shocked when they told us. We got told at the reception by my mother-in-law. There’s actually a video of it.
“My face just lit up. It was definitely such a moment, so awesome.”
The young couple actually wanted to tie the knot on-board the Pacific Dawn ship, but it was farewelled from the fleet in 2017.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Maddison and Sam on board P&O Cruises’ beautiful Pacific Encounter in Brisbane on April 15 next year,” a P&O Cruises Australia told news.com.au.
“It is a seven-night Barrier Reef Discovery Cruise calling at Airlie Beach and Cairns. We selected this cruise because it is such a close match to the Pacific Dawn cruise Maddison and Sam were on when they met as teenagers when they were holidaying at sea with their families.
“Our many P&O fans fell in love with Maddison and Sam and they will be delighted to know that they are now married and looking forward to their ‘honeymoon cruise’.”
The spokesperson said over the years, hundreds if not thousands of people met their life partners on a cruise and Maddison and Sam’s experience resonated with so many people.
When Maddison met Sam onbaord the ship she couldn’t wait to tell her parents — but weren’t sure how they would react.
“I told them on the second night (of the cruise),” she said.
“I actually slipped a note under their door saying ‘I found the man of my dreams.’
“At first they were like, ‘We told you no boyfriends until you’re 18,’ but when they met him for lunch the next day, they fell in love with him.”
The pair spoke about their values, which “perfectly” aligned, and that’s when Maddison realised she had found “everything she ever wanted in a guy”.
But just as all good things come to an end, the teens had no choice but to part ways when the cruise made its final dock.
“It was hard to say goodbye because we didn’t know when we were going to see each other again, especially because he lives Two-and-a-half hours away in the Central Coast,” Maddison said.
“We were also still both in school, but over the next few months he would come to Taree and I would go to the Coast.”
The pair kept their relationship alive by visiting each other’s families, making the five-hour each way trip by rail as often as they could.
Fast forward four years and the young couple are now happily married.
“Honestly, I know this sounds cringe, but if it weren’t for that cruise we wouldn’t be in this position,” Maddison said.
“We are very grateful not just for the experience, but the journey we have been on.”