P.S. Get the most experience you can in all types of diving conditions. Personally, I don't try to dive while on a cruise. There is simply to much stuff to carry while on a cruise. Snorkeling is not bad and you can get away and do some fun stuff away from the crowds. I use cruising for other types of adventure. As Jason said, cruise passengers get the really raw end of the deal. Not all dive sites will treat you this way but it is a good general rule of thumb. Once you have been on a few cattle boats you understand the beauty of a private charter.
What ever you do not try to rush it. Take your time and learn from every dive trip. (Even the cattle boats). Every dive is an opportunity to learn something new. Learn as much as you can, take specialty courses, and most importantly get cross trained by different agency's. This exposes you to different thoughts, techniques, and ways of doing things.
Unfortunately, you are the one reading this and not your husband. Like I said before most beginner divers think they know it all and don't take advise from old conservative divers well.