There is something about cruising that engenders genuine excitement. Think kids at Christmas like! Your cruising friends start posting countdowns on Facebook and/or Twitter. There are a range of sites and apps which will do it for you. Why is cruising so exciting? I’d argue it’s because the moment you get on board, you are on vacation. From this aspect it’s different to any other holiday. Normally if you are going anywhere you have to fly ✈️ , and flying sucks 😞 ! Dealing with airport security 🚨 , immigration 👮 , leg space 💺, the monotony of sitting in an aluminium tube for hours on end, farting neighbours 💨, and very ordinary food 🥘 . Flying - no thanks!! It’s only benefit, it makes getting to where you are vacationing quickly 🛫 🛬.
But cruising 🛳 is different. Yes, you have the security and immigration, but the moment you set foot on board your holiday has begun 😊 . The bars are open 🍻 🍷 , there is entertainment 🎶 💃, the buffet 🍴 is in full swing. And there’s the ship 🚢 to explore 😎!! A week or more (I do not understand short cruises) of no work, cooking, cleaning. Have you checked-in to the ship? Sure, but more importantly, you have checked-out of reality.
Normally in the late afternoon, early evening the ship will then make it’s way from port, and you get to enjoy the sail away! Take in the views, with a drink 🍸, party 🎊. That evening when you head to bed, your stateroom attendant will prepared your room for the evening, and on your bed is the ships newsletter, The Cruise Compass, with all the information of what and where tomorrows events and activities are happening on the ship.
You will probably also come face to face with a towel creature. These delightful little art forms are a cruising staple. With monkey’s 🐒 , bats🦇 , elephants 🐘 , dogs 🐕 , and many more, carefully constructed and placed on your bed 🛏 welcoming you to your room for the night. (On a personal note, I now instruct my stateroom attendant not to bother with the creatures. My room just gets filled up with towel animals, it takes the attendants time, and creates extra laundry, and after 200 nights on board, I am pretty sure I have seen almost every variety of them at this time. But they are one of cruising little pleasures, so no judgement by me if you enjoy them).
In addition to your towel critters, you may come back to your room to find chocolates, fruit, wine, certificates, tickets, or any other manner of things which are all designed to enhance your experience. Yes, it may just be a flyer for the spa, or a certificate to use in the casino. But they are all in aid of the cruise. But little do you suspect that lurking somewhere on the ship is your departure survey, and at some stage this nasty reminder that reality does exist will find its way to your room. It is included in the other paraphernalia on your bed. But departure is still many days away, and after you fill in the survey, this little break in reality continues.
And yet, the magic bubble just feels a little diminished, a little less sparkly for the intrusion into your reality free zone. Little do you suspect at this time, that the real threat to your cruise is just around the corner.
And then with 2-3 nights left you come back to your room to this...
And bubble the bursts. Reality is imminent. The departure forms, instructions and luggage tags. There is even a shift in the atmosphere on board. People who you may have only met in the elevator, with some passing joke on its stopping at every level, or the mystical express ride, the little old lady you have been talking to in the buffet almost every day, yet still don’t know her name, and the pool bar fly you discuss the sea conditions with, the countdown to probably never meeting again has begun. Farewells are on the tip of your tongue, for you don’t know when it is the last meeting.
With the magic cruise bubble burst, your vacation is almost over. At least when you are flying, the vacation bursts at the airport.
There is one exception - when you just can't wait to get off the ship. For whatever reason it is, a plethora of bad guests (there needs to be a collective noun for these people, I nominate “a killjoy”), a GI outbreak, or perhaps you just haven’t enjoyed it; these departure luggage tag days may just be the sweet relief you desire.
What’s your worse day on the cruise? Has departure luggage tag day ever give you sweet relief?