In 1989 Ilene Weiner and her husband, Howard, set sail aboard Fair Princess to the Caribbean and fell in love with exploring new destinations, connecting with locals and fellow guests and the many onboard amenities only offered on a cruise vacation. Nearly 30 years later, Weiner is the most-travelled guest on Princess Cruises and just celebrated her 282nd cruise, marking 2,500 days at sea.
Princess Cruises celebrated Weiner’s milestone on her 280th cruise – a 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and South Pacific Crossing aboard Golden Princess from Los Angeles that ended in her favorite destination, Australia.
The Highland Beach, Fla. resident continues to sail with Princess, most recently aboard Crown Princess to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean where she celebrated the holidays and rang in the new year.
Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises, gave the following statement about their most traveled cruise passenger: “We’re incredibly honored to have the loyalty and passion for Princess Cruises that Ms. Weiner exudes as our most-travelled guest. Not only has she celebrated her own milestones throughout the years, she’s found pure joy and happiness in discovering the world’s beauty and local cultures from a cruise ship.”
A detailed Q&A with Weiner giving her favorite cruise memories, destinations and travel tips can be seen below:
From all your cruises with Princess, what is your favorite destination and why?
Without a doubt … Australia! No matter how many times you go, there is always something new to see. This past year was my first time visiting Western Australia, which is very different than my previous visits to East Coast and Northern Australia.
If you had to pick one city to visit with Princess, what city would you select?
St Petersburg. I just completed my fourth visit this past summer and I’m still amazed that each time I find new sites to experience and meet the most interesting people.
What is your most memorable experience ashore? Any insider tips to share on must-do activities?
I recently visited Petra in Jordan and found this to be a memorable shore excursion. Gazing at The Treasury, I just imagined the archeological marvel that was upon me and was filled with wonder knowing it was built thousands of years ago. During that same trip, I did an evening Jeep Safari in Dubai to a Bedouin Camp. WHAT FUN!
What is your favorite port to sail in or out of?
Sydney Harbor … spectacular every time. It’s different when you sail in early in the morning and experience the quiet calm of a sleeping city. When you sail out of Sydney, it’s alive with the hustle and bustle of locals and tourists alike. And, I can’t leave out Ft. Lauderdale since that’s where I’m from.
Where was your most memorable sunset?
Last December 29, 2017 sitting in the Crown Grill Steakhouse aboard Emerald Princess, sailing between The Falkland Islands and Puerto Madryn, Argentina and our window seat gave us a spectacular colorful pink and blue sunset.
Where and what was your most memorable meal?
In Aruba at the Flying Fishbone Restaurant – I had the freshest seafood I’ve ever tasted, caught that very morning. I’d heard about it on a cruise and booked it the next trip. I was in Aruba when the ship stayed late enough to go to dinner. My favorite meal on a ship was aboard Royal Princess at the Chef’s Table – spectacular food and ambiance with the crystal curtains.
What is your favorite souvenir from your travels with Princess?
When I was aboard Pacific Princess upon reaching my 250th cruise, the officers and captain surprised me at the champagne waterfall with four-stripe epaulettes, the same as worn by the Captain. The picture they gave me of this event is my favorite souvenir.
What is next on your bucket list?
Africa is first on my bucket list. I have seen very little of that continent and would like to explore there more and see the countryside, wildlife and meet the locals.
What destination would you suggest to a first-time cruiser?
For a first cruise, I would suggest going to the Mediterranean. It’s both beautiful and historical with so much to see and taste!
What destination is the most romantic?
After my husband Howard passed away in 2014, I continued to cruise on my own. Sure enough, I met my partner, Carl, on a cruise aboard Crown Princess heading from Scandinavia to New York. It was a true “Love Boat” experience and still is today. For me, the Princess ships are the most romantic destination – so many possibilities and endless activities to truly connect with someone special. And, you can even watch “The Love Boat” in your stateroom!