SeaDream II's edible reception area

The Weight After

The Monthly Mantra

A Holiday Miracle! … A Holiday Miracle! … A Holiday Miracle!

Dover sole: delicate and moist in a sauce of butter, garlic and wine. Veal Wellington: tender slices of flavorful veal topped with a rich mushroom duxelle and wrapped in a flaky crust. Lobster bisque: creamy and fragrant, a mass of chunky, fresh lobster nuggets floating throughout. Gingerbread souffle: Light, airy, luxuriant, and complemented by a scoop of silken cinnamon-ginger ice cream.

Those are just a few of the heavenly dishes I enjoyed during my SeaDream Yacht Club Christmas cruise … and yet, somehow, I actually lost a pound! That, ladies and gentlemen, is a true holiday miracle.

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After a cruise, I approach the bathroom scale the same way I approach to check my IRA balance during volatile financial times. There’s a sameness to the terror I feel prior to that first post-cruise weigh-in (when I vividly recall consuming what must have been a half-pound of brie during a shipboard cocktail hour) and what I experience as I prepare to learn the impact of an 800-point 1-day market drop on my retirement savings.

In the case of the IRA, I berate myself. I should have been less aggressive. I should have diversified more. I should have taken the whole darn balance out in one-dollar bills and stuffed them in my mattress.

SeaDream's Champagne and Caviar Splash

SeaDream’s Champagne and Caviar Splash | Photo: Judi Cuervo

After a cruise, I berate myself before stepping on the scale in much the same way. I didn’t really need to eat all the mixed nuts at the bar along with the half-pound of brie. I should have skipped dessert a few times — or at least avoided the decadent petit-four tray, eating the rich white chocolate selections first before attacking the dark chocolate ones and the chocolate-covered strawberry. Where was the willpower that might have steered me away from the luscious cheese trays, the gorgeous dessert extravaganza, the lavish beach barbecue that followed SeaDream’s signature Champagne and Caviar Splash, the chocolate-chip-cookie ice cream sandwiches offered by SeaDream waiters as I laid by the pool and the open bar, with its Champagne, beer, and expertly-mixed cocktails that were mine for the asking?

SeaDream Yacht Club Christmas Cruise

SeaDream 2's gingerbread house

SeaDream II‘s edible reception area | Photo: Judi Cuervo

Temptation was everywhere aboard my SeaDream II holiday sailing … even in the air. Imagine, if you would, a massive, elaborately decorated gingerbread house on display in the ship’s reception area, the intoxicating aroma wafting past each time you headed for your suite. This festive structure sat on a field of old-fashioned penny candies … how could I not pick up a Tootsie Pop each time I passed by?

And yet, somehow, here I am, a full pound lighter than I was before I set sail. Maybe it’s because I worked out for an hour each morning in SeaDream II’s gym. Or maybe it’s because I didn’t muster up the courage to step on the scale until I’d been home for a week, one filled with tuna wrap dinners, skipped lunches, and Atkins bars. Or maybe it’s a true holiday miracle.

And if the gods still have a few miracles to throw around, now is a good time for us to have a look at that IRA.

— 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.