You learn a lot about a person when you travel with them.
Despite spending nearly three months together inside the Big Brother house, fan favorites Taylor Hale and Joseph Abdin—whose showmance became the talk of season 24—knew they needed to test the validity of their relationship in the real world.
So, after Taylor took home the Big Brother crown in September, which included a grand total of $800,000 and tickets for a cruise, she couldn't think of a better person to join her onboard.
"It only felt right to me that I could have someone who felt like my right hand man throughout the game," Taylor exclusively told E! News just days after returning from the trip. "Anybody who watched the season knew Joseph and I were on the same wavelength, and I was pulled apart from him for a really long time. It felt like a really good opportunity to have some quality time."
For Joseph, who described the opportunity as "a time to really connect and get to know one another outside of the game and outside of the stress that is the post-Big Brother life," he admitted it came with a few growing pains.
"Taylor is definitely a morning person," he joked. "I was on vacation. I was sleeping in. I was really trying to catch up on my sleep. But she was up and at 'em in the morning every single time."
However, as most successful couples do, they found a way to make it work.
"We both just need that time to re-charge," Joseph said. "So, she would take the mornings to get up and get stuff done and get in her zone. My way of doing that was just sleeping through the whole thing."
On the flip side, the former Miss USA contestant had to deal with Joseph always cutting it close when they were trying to stick to a schedule.
"We are the most dangerous pair when it comes to trying to be somewhere on time," Taylor said. "I have an hour-and-a-half, two hour process if I want to do the full glam. I'm still a pageant girl, people. Joseph will have to be somewhere in five minutes and he'll just be coming back from the gym. He'll get in the shower, be fully dressed with cologne and a new outfit on, at the door and ready to go."
Despite the friendly squabbles, Taylor and Joseph both said every step they take as a couple, cruise included, is being made with specific intention.
"It's about making sure we are setting ourselves up to be good and solid in the long haul, because I see a long-term future with this person," Taylor explained. "Joseph is never leaving my life. To make sure that happens, we want to make sure that we are really taking the time to be solid with one another."
Taylor understands that Big Brother fans were clamoring for the pair to make their relationship official months ago—but they refused to give into that temptation.
"We could have walked out of that house and said, 'Okay, we're in a relationship! Is everybody happy?'" she said. "But that would have been a relationship for everybody except for ourselves. Going into this cruise, we wanted to make sure that, with cameras away, we were having conversations about what's working for us and what we want to see long-term."
As Joseph explains, the potentially rough waters were nothing but smooth sailing.
"We really had some amazing conversations just on our background, how we came to be the people that we are," he said, "why we do certain things, how we act certain ways. Time and time again, that chemistry is there. That growth is there. It's headed, at least for me Taylor, in the right direction."