<i>Viking Helgrim</i>‘s Rivers of Gold

Viking Helgrim‘s Rivers of Gold

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Cabin Fever – Cruising can push the buddy system past the breaking point.

Monday Mantra

Cabin Fever

Cruising can push the buddy system past the breaking point.

I will find the ideal cabinmate… I will find the ideal cabinmate…I will find the ideal cabinmate

“Now, for the first problem. Which bed do you want?”

That was my first clue that the friend I would be cruising with would not be the ideal travel companion. We were on the phone planning our 7-day Caribbean sailing when the question was posed. Up until that moment, I always believed that bed selection was determined by who dumped what hand luggage where when first entering the cabin. She, obviously, didn’t share that belief. And, after a week of her and her domineering ways, it was abundantly clear that she wouldn’t share my cabin again either.

My cruise companions over the years have often been a challenge, with quirks that ranged from simple eye-opening peculiarities to outright future-cruise deal breakers. There was one who used a new bar of soap for every shower and when asked why, explained that the previous bar had fallen to the shower floor so it was dirty. Another was such a downer that I disembarked the cruise three days early just to escape her whining and listlessness. And, of course, there was the single friend looking … desperately … for a husband and auditioning quite a few of them throughout the sailing.

I thought cruising with mom would be safe until the evening when she told a group of our shipmates that I had had diarrhea all week and was getting my period soon. And, of course, there’s my husband who I can pretty much count on for one — luckily only one — sloppy drunk evening where he knocks silverware off the table and makes loud, authoritative declarations that sound like “Ah zha da boo dah.”

You might be wondering if I’m such an ideal cruise companion myself. I’d like to think I am. But I’ll admit that a few times each cruise I’ll misplace my key card, which triggers a tantrum bordering on the irrational. And I like the temperature of the cabin to be around 60 degrees. And I like to go to the ship’s gym early each morning, which wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that I can never find my workout gear. And I’ve been told that I open and slam drawers in search of it and leave cabinet doors open, which swing and squeak with the motion of the ship after I leave. Once, after a few days of this, a friend complained that she was actually able to sleep later when she was home and working than she could when traveling with me.

So I guess when it comes to cabinmates, no one’s perfect.

And that’s why one can only hope that cruise lines’ single supplements go the way of steamer trunks.

— Judi Cuervo



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  1. Love it Judi! Rings some bells! It’s always a feat! I am fortunate to have found a few gals who are fun to travel with. One is married and not always available nor as flexible. One is widowed and once was involved in Corporate Travel so we get along great and travel well together! Loved your Monday Blog today! Keep it coming!

  2. Thanks, Lucille! I think most of us have gone through a cabin-mate-from-hell experience but glad to hear you have some good travel companions! In the close quarters of a cabin, I guess it’s important to be a bit flexible and tolerant. In fact, the woman who uses a different bar of soap for each shower is, oddly, one of my favorite cruise companions. (Might be different if I was paying for the soap, of course.)

  3. The list of Friends I Can Travel With And Not Kill is very short. Thankfully I did find the ideal cabinmate on my very first cruise, and she didn’t slam any drawers when she got up early 🙂

  4. You should buy a lottery ticket then! In my experience it takes a LOT of trial and LOADS of error to find a good roommate. And I realized I forgot another fault of mine…. In addition to slamming drawers and leaving cabinet doors open, it’s vital that I take a peek at what the weather’s like pre-gym. So along with the draw-banging soundtrack, I’ll also move the balcony’s black-out curtain back, letting in a few seconds of blinding sunlight. Just in case the drawer-banging isn’t enough to wake my travel companion…

  5. Have your previous cruise mates read this? I am also a near-perfect cruise companion, so it’s always difficult to find somebody who lives up to my standards. Norwegian’s studios make lots of sense for me.

  6. My mom and my husband have! As far as friends, it turns out (big surprise!) that weirdoes aboard ship end up being weirdoes on land as well eventually so some have not seen it (like the “which bed do you want?” broad…TOTAL lunatic). But the one who sleeps later when she’s home working than she does with me is totally cool and we respect each others quirks!

  7. Best advice is to remember its your vacation and your cabin mates too. It isnt home so just relax and have fun. No two people are exactly the same… and maybe trying new and different things will enrich your life!