1. Sea of Glamour Paul C. Thornton 42:30

This week on The Joy of Cruising Podcast, I am delighted to welcome Kandes Bregman of Sea of Glamour. The name combines Kandes’ love of the sea with hints of her past life as a beauty pageant winner. I wrote about the former Mrs. Southwest and Holland America Line super cruiser in my second cruising book, Cruising Interrupted amzn.to/3seFU8y in a section called “Cruisers Like You and Me… Sort Of.”  Kandes is the consummate Holland America Line cruiser. When I met her, I told Kandes there should be a photo of her on the HAL homepage. In fact, after researching Kandes and reviewing Sea of Glamour, I opened up my Cruising Interrupted interview with Kandes by stating facetiously, “You should be in a Holland America Line advertisement!” Kandes responded, “Well, I was….”


I am not implying Kandes is HAL’s most prolific cruiser or biggest fan, but she would be a good personification of the joy of cruising on Holland America Line. First, from a sheer quantitative perspective: Kandes has cruised virtually all of her over 100 cruises on HAL, visiting 87 countries on six continents and spending the equivalent of almost four years of her life at sea with HAL—all the more remarkable given that Kandes has been cruising with HAL since just 2000. And, while perhaps there are those out there who exist, it is hard to imagine someone who is more of an ambassador for HAL. Kandes is a five-star Mariner—which is HAL’s customer loyalty program—and has over 100 referrals of cruisers booked and sailed on HAL, several of whom are now four and five-star Mariners themselves. 


At the beginning of my new book The Joy of Cruising Again, I quoted a number of passionate cruisers who I was confident had immediately gotten back on the ocean. When I contacted Kandes for a quote last year, she told me. “I returned to cruising in October 2021, for an 18-day Panama Canal cruise on Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam; I was so excited to be back, and we sailed eight more cruises over the next seven months!” That’s a passionate cruiser!

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Paul C. Thornton started writing at 58 years old incited by the task of delivering a father-of-the-bride speech at his daughter’s wedding. Told to talk about memories of Kina growing up; among Disney trips, high school sports, proms, and first boyfriends, Paul divulged the most powerful memory of all, when Kina was six and his life changed forever. At the end of the talk—as they say—"there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” It was both liberating and cathartic to release secrets that had tortured Paul for 30 years. Needing to hold on to that feeling of release and empowerment, when he returned to his hotel Paul started his memoir, provocatively titled White Man’s Disease.

Paul’s just completed book, The Joy of Cruising Again, is his fourth; the third in The Joy of Cruising trilogy, and follow-up to the fun, upbeat, award-winning The Joy of Cruising, and Cruising Interrupted. The Joy of Cruising Again is the finale of the series but Paul won’t give up his passion. Besides continuing to cruise as much as possible, Paul hosts The Joy of Cruising Podcast, a weekly conversation with one of the dozens of passionate cruisers featured in the books and other global cruise personalities.

The cruise-themed books are a stark departure from Paul’s debut: White Man’s Disease, a memoir described as “gripping and inspiring” in the press release announcing it as the winner of the North Street Book Prize for Memoir and Creative Nonfiction about Paul’s harrowing brush with death, the journey of recovery from trauma, resilience and ultimately transformation. White Man’s Disease is at once poignant, sad, tragic, funny, and compelling. (And, if I could get a dollar for everyone who asks what White Man’s Disease means, I would be a wealthy man!) Despite their very different subjects, at the heart of White Man’s Disease and The Joy of Cruising Trilogy is passion and how passionate people do wondrous things. Paul just started a sequel to White Man’s Disease; a fun, and hopefully inspirational tale called Gracefully. In addition, he is planning a podcast series that deconstructs White Man’s Disease.

Paul is originally from Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. After serving in the US Army and simultaneously earning a bachelor's degree in business, he attained his MBA and then spent concurrently, 17 years in corporate management, and 23 years in small business ownership. After leaving corporate, he started a career in higher ed. He earned a doctorate, attained tenure as a business professor, and subsequently moved into administration in Dean or Executive Director positions before retiring in 2021.

Paul lives in Mooresville, North Carolina with his wife Cheryl and considers cruising with their children and grandchildren life’s ultimate escape. Paul longs to cruise as much as the people he writes about in The Joy of Cruising Trilogy.