Home, bleak home…Home, bleak home…Home, bleak home…
Not Exactly Homesick
Ever get that queasy feeling now that the cruise is almost over?
Somewhere between the moment you place your luggage outside your cabin door on the final night of your cruise and 7:00 a.m. the following morning when the first disembarkation announcement comes thundering through the public address system, the ship is visited by The Ghost of Depressing Reality. This spirit floats from cabin to cabin — even the owner’s suite — sprinkling a potent fairy dust upon us that shocks our cruise-relaxed bodies and triggers stressful thoughts such as “I better be able to get a taxi,” and “Please don’t let the customs guy check my bag and find I’ve exceeded my alcohol limit.”
On the final morning, my cabin looks unfamiliar. The shelf is no longer filled with suntan lotions, my iPod, and crumpled daily programs, and the loveseat is not covered with purchases made in ports along our route. Instead, a lone carry-on sits in the corner, its separating seam letting me know that I shouldn’t even think of trying to squeeze in the shoes and hairspray that I forgot to put into my luggage last night.
Like an elderly shut-in suffering from depression, I dress without showering and realize that while I may have forgotten to pack the shoes and hairspray, I did remember to pack my toothpaste. Yuk.
I emerge from my cabin and make my way to the buffet. Unlike other days when my shipmates breakfasted at various times, today all 3,500 are here and it’s obvious that they, too, have been visited by The Ghost of Depressing Reality. People who have been pleasant and friendly all week have, overnight, become rude and confrontational. I come thisclose to a fistfight over a hard-boiled egg. I win.
It seems as though the 600 children on board are all seated in my section at the buffet, crying and screaming. The absence of Fruit Loops has triggered a tantrum at the next table. I take my hard-boiled egg and move to the outside decks where my view is not one of blue water and swaying palm trees but the 12th Avenue pier parking lot and the gray skies that come before a snowfall.
I disembark for the final time and collect my luggage in the terminal. The customs guy waves me through and taxis are plentiful. I’ve got a pair of shoes squished into my handbag, my teeth feel disgusting, and I’m out a $20 can of hairspray … but I had a great cruise. Well, at least I did before this morning.
— Judi Cuervo
How do you combat the end-of-cruise blues? Tell us in the comments below!