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In celebration of Valentine’s Day, and in continuation of our Meet the Crew series, this month we wanted to introduce Nora and Bong Corpuz, a husband and wife team aboard Crystal Serenity. Nora and Bong have both been with us for over 20 years. They are from the Philippines and live with their three children when not onboard.

Written by

Authoress Zoe Hearne

Zoe Hearne

Published on 02/14/2024

Nora and Bong make quite the organized team, especially when it comes to balancing their family, careers, and onboard life! I caught up with them to find out why they love what they do.

ZH: Can you share with us how you and Nora first met?

BC: Sure, we met in 1988 in Brunei while working at the same local restaurant. Nora was working as a florist, waitress, and cashier, and I was a waiter and part-time baker.

Nora and Bong in 1993
Nora and Bong in 1993

It sounds like quite the beginning. How did your relationship progress from there?

BC: Well, we had been dating for a few years when Nora told me that she was going to join Crystal Harmony. Obviously, I wanted to go, but her family was very conservative and didn't allow me to join the same ship. So, we secretly got married while she was on vacation, and I joined her on Crystal Harmony in 1992 in Barcelona as a Housekeeping Piccolo. It was right in the middle of the Olympic Games, so it was a very exciting time!

That must have been an exciting but nerve-wracking time. How did you feel when you first stepped onboard?

BC: I was definitely nervous, especially since everyone already knew about our relationship. Nora had already been on board a year and was quite popular, and there was a lot of curiosity about who her husband was.

That's understandable. Did you face any challenges once you were both onboard?

NC: Yes, Mama Leena, the Executive Housekeeper at the time, allegedly requested that we not be assigned to the same cabin. She even had a chat with Bong, reminding him not to get me pregnant!

Do you have children?

BC: Yes, we have three. They were conceived from our time in Harmony & Symphony. Just like the Love Boat from the TV Series.

How do you manage with childcare?

NC: My aunt took care of them while they were growing up, along with my sister-in-law and her family who were also our neighbors.

Nora and Bong with their three children, 2023
Nora and Bong with their three children, 2022

You have both seen a lot of the world. Do you have any favorite destinations?

NC: I love Europe, while Bong likes Stockholm and the islands around it, as well as Sydney, Australia.

Is there anywhere you’d still like to go?

BC: As we’ve been working with Crystal for many years, we have been lucky enough to already visit many countries. But I’d love to go back to Israel because of our Christian faith.

And what has kept you both loyal to Crystal all these years?

BC: The opportunity to stay together has been a significant factor. Crystal has treated us like family, always making an effort to keep us together on the same ship, and embracing our relationship which we're grateful for.And even Mama Leena eventually agreed to let us stay in the same cabin!

How have your careers evolved in the 20+ years that you have been crew with Crystal?

NC: We were both transferred to Crystal Symphony when she was launched in 1995 and Mama Leena promoted Bong to Linen Keeper. As soon as he could, he applied for a vacancy in the Front Office team, and in the same year, when he was again promoted to Bellboy. His was then promoted to Printer in 1999, first as a Relief to the permanent printer, Johnny Bastes, until Johnny retired, and Bong became the permanent printer.

BC: Last year, Nora was assigned as Stewardess for 2 months, as the Housekeeping Department needed urgent help due to lack of manpower. However, she is still as dedicated as ever to her career as a Florist of Crystal Serenity.

How did you feel when you got the call saying that Crystal was returning to service under new management?

NC: When we heard the news that Crystal was returning, we were so excited. Our hearts are with Crystal, and, despite the long wait of not being in service, we never applied to other companies. We were hopeful that Crystal would be coming back, so we remained patient. Crystal is our home away from home.

Finally, what has been the most challenging aspect of working onboard for you both?

BC: Without a doubt, leaving our children behind has been the toughest part. But we're proud that they've stayed on the right path and all of them have graduated college already. This year, they are all working on their different fields and passions.

Meet Nora and Bong aboard Crystal Serenity

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