All-Inclusive Cruises

Here’s to you, and to me, and to all the ships at sea! (Why does cruising wake up the inner imbiber?)

Monday Mantra

Cruisin’ for a boozin’…Cruisin’ for a boozin’…Cruisin’ for a boozin’…

Here’s to you, and to me, and to all the ships at sea!

Is it the rum? Or just the vacation spirit? Why does cruising wake up the inner imbiber?

Do I like to drink? I might say I do, but the reality is that I purchase one bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc on the way home from work each Friday night — two glasses of it on Friday, two glasses on Saturday and, with the exception of swishing a mouthful of Scope around my mouth each morning, alcohol doesn’t pass my lips again until the following workweek ends.

So what is it about a cruise that inspires me to imbibe so much that I generate a bar bill that often exceeds the price of passage and, in hard copy, resembles a medium sized corporation’s annual report? And those little receipts you sign for each drink? I’m pulling them out of my bag, jacket pockets, make up bag, and sunglass case for months, sometimes years, after I’ve disembarked.

My typical sea day will likely begin with a mimosa or two in the morning. Then, there’s wine with lunch, a flute of Champagne while relaxing in the hot tub, pre-dinner cocktails, wine with dinner, an Irish coffee for dessert, a mojito or two during the show, and a glass of Frangelico (straight up) as a nightcap. It’s enough to make me sick, and often it has.

Over the years, I’ve established some ground rules that have helped to quell my nausea, save me some money, stop the cabin from spinning, and allow me to curtail the booze just enough to allow me to actually remember the trip. Among them:

  • I will stop drinking immediately if tempted to do karaoke, enter the talent contest, or willingly pose for a photo alongside a guy dressed as a pirate.
  • Just because a shop in Cozumel offers 500 different brands of tequila, it really isn’t necessary for me to sample them all.
  • Trying to match an Englishman or a couple of Norwegians drink for drink simply can’t end well.
  • I need one souvenir glass, not service for 12.

I really don’t know why being at sea makes me so … thirsty. Maybe it’s the fresh ocean breeze, the tropical sun, or the invigorating hikes in exotic ports. Or maybe it’s just the fact that there’s something so liberating about kicking back, breaking with routine, and doing something wildly uncharacteristic … like having a few drinks on a weekday.



— 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.