When Bernard and Janice Caffary stepped aboard the Carnival Liberty last week for a getaway, the couple from Lakeland, Fla. also stepped into the cruise line’s record books.
The frequent cruisers are the first guests to ever sail on 200 cruises with Carnival Cruise Line.
Clearly, any time is a good time for vacation for this seafaring pair. In just 15 years, they’ve achieved this unique milestone.
“It becomes friendly and warm and family, and it stays with you,” Janice Caffary, said in 2015 after the couple completed their 100th trip aboard the Carnival Sensation. “We really do like the crew... A lot of the crew members call us ‘mom and dad.’ ”
To break it down, the Caffarys average 15 cruises a year with Carnival. That’s not only serious brand loyalty but also a tremendous amount of time spent on the high seas. To be precise, an astounding 878 days-- which equals just over two-and-a-half years aboard a Carnival cruise ship.
The Caffarys, who have been retired since 2000, estimate their trips have cost over $175,000. Creatures of habit, the couple books the same suite "about 90 percent of the time."
“We love the crewmembers,” the Caffarys reiterated to Fox News. “We have completed our bucket list of travels. We no longer book to go places but to travel with crew. They are our family and we are in touch with many from hotel stewards to staff captains.”
But the customer-brand devotion extends in both directions. This record-breaking journey didn’t go unnoticed by the Miami-based company. In fact, the Caffarys were given the royal treatment-- including a personal letter and photo opportunities with the crew-- aboard the 2,974-passenger Carnival Liberty, which sails out of Port Canaveral, Fla. year-round for three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas.
“To commemorate their 200-cruise milestone, the Carnival Liberty team rolled out the red carpet, going all out to make the Caffarys’ cruise extra special and memorable,” Carnival PR Manager Vance Gulliksen tells Fox News of the VIP treatment the Caffarys received from the minute they arrived at Port Canaveral.
Signs welcomed the cruise aficionados throughout the terminal as well as onboard. The couple even received a number of commemorative gifts and unique onboard experiences.
“[The Caffarys] were also the guests of honor during special VIP celebrations held both in the ship’s atrium and the main show lounge attended by dozens of Carnival Liberty team members,” says Gulliksen.
After reaching the 200-sailings milestone with Carnival, the cruise crazy couple still has a thirst to continue their sea-faring ways. The Caffarys are living life to the fullest, one cruise at a time.
Or, more like 30 Carnival cruises at a time. With their next 30 Carnival cruise vacations booked, the duo are well on their way to hitting yet another milestone.
"We are now booked on the Liberty until December 2018," said the couple. "We hope to reach [our 100th] sailing on the Liberty just like we did on the Sensation."
Lindsay Minerva is a writer, editor and communications consultant. Follow her travels and cultural consumer insights on Twitter @lindsayminerva.