A Thousand Million (Cruise) Questions

Monday Mantra

Newbie Blues Cruise … Newbie Blues Cruise … Newbie Blues Cruise …

A Thousand Million (Cruise) Questions

Yes, your “Nights in White Satin” include towels …

The glow of my extraordinary SeaDream Yacht Club cruise has barely dimmed yet I find myself getting ready to set sail again on February 26, this time aboard Norwegian Pearl and its 4-day Moody Blues Cruise from Miami to Key West and Great Stirrup Cay.

The Moody Blues Cruise is an ocean-going music festival packed with some of classic rock’s most celebrated bands and, because it’s the music and not the ship, dining, or ports that is the draw, a passenger roster that is vastly comprised of first-time cruisers.

Now, I don’t want to seem like a snob here, but when I’m feeling down and want a good laugh, I need only visit the online chat room that is dedicated to anticipating and planning for this cruise. People began packing for it weeks ago (I did mention it’s a 4-day sailing??) and now a woman is agonizing over whether to bring cans — plural — of air freshener for her bathroom or potpourri. (I’m sure glad I’m not sharing a cabin with her.)

“Does the ship have a clock anywhere?” asks one music fan obviously obsessed with being on time for the non-stop concerts that take place in the theater, public rooms, and on deck during the cruise. “Do I have to bring my own towels?” asks another who I can only assume did a lot of drugs during the Woodstock era and is still suffering their effects. And still another questions whether the carry-on rule, in terms of bag size, is the same as on an airplane.

Tipping and beverage packages are as mystifying as the nature of the universe.

This will be the third Moody Blues Cruise which means, thank heavens, that the repeaters now have a couple of sailings under their belt and can offer meaningful advice to the newbies.

On the first Moody Blues Cruise in 2013, I’d bet anything that my husband and I were the only experienced cruisers on board. I remember sitting by the pool as we neared Grand Cayman. “We’re going to tender today,” I commented. A woman seated nearby looked at me for a few moments and then asked, “Does that mean we sit in one place and bounce like we’re doing now?”

Sometimes I wonder if it’s envy. While we veteran cruisers will never tire of sailing or experiencing a new ship and new ports, we’ll never again know that invigorating combination of excitement and jitters as we sail — literally — into the unknown for the very first time.

Yet I’m certain — absolutely certain — that even as I strolled up the gangway to board my very first cruise, I never for a minute doubted that the ship would provide towels.


— Judi Cuervo


Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.