All Things Grape and Small

Monday Mantra

All Things Grape and Small

On a luxury cruise, nothing (and we mean nothing) is overlooked.


I need jaw-droppin’ attention to detail… I need jaw-droppin’ attention to detail… I need jaw-droppin’ attention to detail…


Allow me to set the scene. My husband, Michael, and I were sailing European waters aboard our first ultra-premium cruise. Michael was sipping a glass of wine on our verandah while I was in the suite frantically searching for the Nars eye pencil I knew I’d packed but which I had not seen since our luggage was delivered three days before. I was working myself into a frenzy over the missing pencil, when a knock interrupted what was about to become a full-fledged tantrum.

I answered the door to find a man in a uniform clutching a clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other. “Ms. Cuervo? I must please speak with you about issue,” he said with a Croatian-accented seriousness that suggested the message he was about to deliver would have a life-altering impact. The eye pencil was forgotten and my mind raced, searching for any offense Michael or I might have unwittingly committed during our time on board. “Please come in,” I said, mirroring his gravity, and leading him through the entryway and into the suite’s living area.

I turned to the uniformed man, bracing myself for news that I somehow feared would result in Michael’s and my eviction from our beautiful, spacious suite. I made a mental note to swipe as many tubes of the Aqua di Parma shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom as I could before being led off the ship in handcuffs.

The uniformed man was ready to speak. He looked at me squarely and said “Ms. Cuervo. We have made notice that each day, it is the red grapes that remain in your fruit bowl. It is our belief that you would like more to receive green grapes and no red grapes in your fruit bowl for rest of cruise. Is true?”

“We”?  “Our”?  It appeared that Michael’s and my grape preference was observed, evaluated, and discussed behind the scenes until it became abundantly clear that, in order to provide the most enjoyable cruise experience, steps had to be taken now to remove the offending red grapes completely and permanently from our presence.

I considered the uniformed man’s words carefully, gathered myself and said, “Yes, thank you. That would be wonderful.”

You really can’t make this stuff up.


— 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.