Hendersonville couple share story of getting engaged while on nightmare cruise

Feelings of happiness turned to sickness for Brooke Jackson and Carlos McNeil — just hours after their engagement. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Feelings of happiness turned to sickness for one local couple—just hours after their engagement.

They were aboard the Royal Caribbean ship, where hundreds of passengers came down with a stomach bug last week. However, that was not quite the end of their long and sordid tale.

Even after they got off the ship, their problems continued to follow them.

Still, the couple had their sense of humor intact.

Brooke Jackson's fiancé, Carlos McNeil, surprised her by getting down on one knee in front of her and about 18 of their friends and family — aboard Independence of the Seas.

"This was definitely something we all had saved up for an entire year," Jackson said.

Money the Hendersonville couple spent was essentially flushed down the toilet — with a whole lot else.

"Literally, it was like 'whew,' you know, engagement, 'phew,' like everything just went. It was chaos," Jackson said.

McNeil was hit with the same stomach virus that was floating among hundreds of other passengers.

"Everybody vomiting like non-stop, dehydration,” Jackson said. "My new fiancé, I'm helping vomit over the side of the ship, you know."

McNeil got his sea legs on land, just long enough to take a picture.

"He's like, 'I'm dizzy,' you know. He's like, 'I gotta go back to the boat,'" Jackson said.

So, the rest of McNeil’s pictures were taken from inside the ship.

"He got sicker than I did," Jackson said.

Jackson became not so shipshape either.

"I actually walked down to the medical facility and almost passed out walking down there," Jackson said.

Jackson said 14 members of their group got sick, including her diabetic mother.

"If she had gone any further past dehydration, they probably would've had to helicopter her off,” Jackson said.

Once they all got off the ship, McNeil's parents got stuck in Florida.

"And they're flying with a 6-year-old," Jackson said.

It was a perfect storm of problems with a power outage at the airport in Atlanta then preventing McNeil’s parents from ending their voyage.

"Honestly, it was supposed to be a really memorable time,” Jackson said. “It's been the never-ending cruise."

The couple said they usually have good luck with cruises and plan to give it another try, but might just take a plane somewhere for their honeymoon.

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