The Can’t Talk – Gotta Cruise! Checklist – Here’s a cruise-prep pep talk for the chronically under-prepared.

Monday Mantra

Ready or not … Ready or not … Ready or not …

The Can’t Talk – Gotta Cruise! Checklist

Here’s a cruise-prep pep talk for the chronically under-prepared.

Okay. This has got to be quick. How is it possible that the months before a cruise creep by so slowly when the week before flies by in a flash? Honestly, I swear that I switched off 60 Minutes last Sunday, went to sleep, woke up and it was Thursday.

I leave for St. Thomas on Thanksgiving Day and spend two days on the island before boarding SeaDream II on Saturday for my long, long, long-awaited Caribbean sailing.

Am I ready? No. Have I packed? No. Am I writing this while doing three loads of laundry? Yes.

So today, based on my own mighty screw-ups, I provide a list of DOS and DON’TS you might want to keep handy as you prepare for your next sailing:

  • DON’T agree to meet Vicki and Casey for “dinner” two days before departure, particularly since experience shows that meeting Vicki and Casey for “dinner” typically involves very little food and enough alcohol to render you completely immobile the following day.
  • DON’T skimp on nutrition. Two coconut yogurts, three Skinny Girl margaritas, guacamole and chips and a Skinny Cow ice-cream sandwich does not constitute a wise 24-hour eating plan. (See Vicki and Casey above).
  • DON’T plan your waxing appointment so close to departure that you find yourself with a uni-brow for two weeks before the appointment.
  • DON’T experiment. Tomorrow I’ll be getting eyelash extensions for the first time. While they look lovely on a co-worker (who’s about half my age), I worry that I may end up looking like an overdone Vegas show girl and will spend the night before my flight plucking each of my newly-applied silk eyelash extensions out with a tweezer.
  • DO get a haircut. In hindsight, I should have booked a haircut instead of the lash thing. Alas, no time for both (but I did cut my own bangs with a pair of kitchen shears and they currently resemble Angelina Jolie’s bangs in Girl Interrupted — not pretty … unless you ARE Angelina Jolie).
  • DO take the day off from work the day before you’re leaving.
  • DON’T think that placing one pair of underwear into an empty suitcase to psychologically convince yourself that you’ve “started” packing is going to work.
  • DO accept that there’s no way in hell you’re getting to the gym until you’re aboard the ship.

During a pre-cruise meltdown I had a few years ago, my husband said with exasperation: “You have your passport, you have some money and you have your bathing suit. That’s really all you need!”

At the rate I’m going, it better be.

— 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.