Lost-o-phobia – The irrational fear of having to live without whatever you packed.

Monday Mantra

Luggage Lunatic … Luggage Lunatic … Luggage Lunatic


(n. | lȯst-ə-ˈfō-bē-ə) The irrational fear of having to live without whatever you packed.

It doesn’t matter that I’ve been cruising for more than 35 years and have never once experienced the loss of a bag. Each and every time I hear the announcement that guests can make their way to their cabins, I am overcome with an almost paralyzing fear that my luggage will never arrive.

And, let’s face it, that would be the mother of all bummers. What’s in that luggage? In my case (literally and figuratively), it holds clothes purchased especially for the cruise and the only flattering bathing suit I’ve ever owned as well as newly purchased underwear, skincare, cosmetics, and the styling products that transform my flat and stringy mane into a voluminous cascade of full-bodied waves. Okay, that might be stretching it a bit.

I’m in the cabin maybe 15 minutes when the panic strikes in earnest. I think of the chubby longshoreman I handed my bag to on the pier — AND who I tipped. Surely, he would have no use for my cruise wardrobe and toiletries. But then my suspicion grows, and I envision a chubby longshoreman’s wife slipping into my blue-and-gold Miraclesuit and applying my La Mer eye cream. I seethe.

I’m in the hallway now, head whipping right and left looking for a suitcase that resembles mine. I walk down the hall to find a massive pile of luggage near the elevators, awaiting delivery. The workmen don’t even look up — they’ve seen my kind before. I stand there, examining the pile of cases — is that it? That?? Maybe that? No, no, and no.

It’s gone, I’m convinced.

I return to my cabin, propping the door open with a chair as though the suitcase might arrive at my cabin, see a barrier, and turn away. I sit on the edge of the bed, foot tapping wildly, trying to read the daily program, but I can’t concentrate.

And then the unthinkable happens: A knock on the open door and a man appears … with my cabinmate’s Samsonite Spinner. Bastard.

By this time, my cabinmate has detected my anxiety. It’s our first cruise together and she’s wondering what kind of lunatic she’s agreed to spend a week with in close quarters.

I check the program to see what time the onboard shops open, resigned to purchase a full wardrobe. I grunt. My body is vibrating with anger and an expletive escapes my lips. And then another.

Silence and awkwardness fill the cabin until … a knock! And there’s my suitcase, pristine and intact.

I haul it up onto the bed, turn to my cabinmate and say, “It always amazes me how they manage to deliver so much luggage on a ship so quickly.”


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.