Routine Reminders – Cruise memories last a lifetime

Monday Mantra

A Shipload of Memories…A Shipload of Memories…A Shipload of Memories…

Routine Reminders

Cruise memories last a lifetime.

Nothing drives home how frequently my husband and I sailed more than the heartbreaking task of sifting through Michael’s possessions since his death on April 2.

A New Yorker cartoon sits in a dresser drawer alongside a 4-inch stack of cruise-ship ID cards in their holders. The cartoon shows a bathing suit–clad couple relaxing on deck chairs, the woman saying “This is perfect. I could stay like this for the next five seconds.” I don’t even recall Michael showing me the cartoon but it makes me smile, recalling days next to cruise-ship pools, him happily laying immobile for hours while I couldn’t sit still for, as the caption says, five seconds.

Michael’s closet is filled with sweatshirts, T-shirts, caps, and backpacks bought at onboard shops the world over. Rummaging through, I see items bearing the Regent, Princess, Crystal, Holland America, Windstar, Seabourn, Paul Gauguin, and Cunard logos. It appears that he owns the entire SeaDream and Silversea apparel collection and that he has a golf shirt for each member cruise line of CLIA.

Michael loved bathrobes and bought one on nearly every ship we sailed. Staring back at me now are terry and terry-lined silk ones, waffle-weave, microfiber, and cotton ones. Princess, Norwegian, Radisson (that’s an oldie!), and, of course, SeaDream and Silversea, are part of the assortment.

I’m surrounded by memories of time ashore, as well. A Napa Valley Balloons sweatshirt takes me back to a Crystal Symphony overnight call in San Francisco where we jumped ship upon arrival, took the ferry to Vallejo, and stayed at a lovely inn in Yountville so we could rise before dawn to soar over Napa’s vineyards in a hot air balloon before returning to San Francisco and re-joining the ship.

A pair of caramel-colored loafers peek out from beneath the bed and deliver me to a teeny leather shop in St. Barts, while a leather blazer draped across a side chair reminds me of a boutique in Buenos Aires where Michael had the jacket made to measure. There’s a gorgeous sweater/jacket purchased in Copenhagen where I remember itching to get to Tivoli Gardens a block away as Michael agonized between purchasing it in black or in gray.

I suppose I’m expected to sell all of this stuff or give it away, but I’ll do neither. Each item that Michael left behind transports me back to the person I loved and the times we shared. And nothing — not even additional closet space — can convince me to part with any of it.

— 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.