Boundaries On Board – Cruisers tend to be friendly. But there are limits….

Monday Mantra

Nosy and Nautical … Nosy and Nautical …Nosy and Nautical

Boundaries On Board

Cruisers tend to be friendly. But there are limits….

“A penthouse?? Wow! And how much did that set you back?”

I was leaning on the bar, signing the tab for a cosmopolitan and a Beefeater on the rocks when the woman to my right barked out the question. This was a stranger. A complete stranger. Yet somehow she knew that the suite number I just scribbled corresponded to digs in the ship’s high-rent district and thought that I’d not only divulge the fare but that she was completely entitled to hear it.

A shipmate’s cruise fare is a popular topic among the nosy and nautical but this was the first time I was bluntly interrogated about mine by a person I had never set eyes on before. “I really don’t remember,” I responded, grabbing my cosmo and Beefeater and scooting out of there before she asked my annual salary and how much was in my 401K.

But it’s not just financial matters that fascinate the nosy and nautical.

My husband and I cruised for our 15th wedding anniversary and mentioned the occasion while at dinner with two couples whose table we joined. “You have kids?” we were asked. I shook my head. “We married pretty late — I was nearly 40 and we were…” SCREECH! HALT! “You were 40??” the woman in the softer-side-of-Sears halter dress screamed (and I mean screamed). “How old are you now? You must be close to 60! Did you have work done? Do you do Botox? You have to do Botox.”

I guarantee you that the second my husband and I left the table, Halter Dress Lady turned to her companions and insisted that I was lying when I said I didn’t have work done or do Botox.

Not too long ago, I cruised with a high-school buddy just a year after the death of my husband. On my hands were the engagement ring and wedding ring that even now I can’t bring myself to remove. “You’re married, you two?” said the woman in the deck chair beside me, pointing to my rings, gesturing to my friend and screwing up her face in an expression of distaste. I explained the situation to my homophobic shipmate who relaxed a bit when she realized I wasn’t gay. My voice cracked with emotion as I talked about how difficult it is to adjust to life without my husband and when she turned to me and shook her head sadly, I believed it was in sympathy. Instead, she wagged her finger in my face and sternly cautioned: “There’s no way you’ll meet guys if you go around wearing that wedding ring.”

I really love how we’re all in the same boat the moment we board a cruise ship but, unfortunately, some of us don’t have both oars in the water.

— 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.