Wear-everrr! Why does cruising bring out our inner fashion plate?

Monday Mantra

All decked out…All decked out…All decked out…


Why does cruising bring out our inner fashion plate?

Confession #1: Sometimes I go to work wearing clothes that are so wrinkled they look like I just grabbed them out of my laundry bag.

Confession #2: I did just grab them out of my laundry bag.

Confession #3: I am not sporting the ombre trend in hair design. These three inches of mousy brown roots mean I’m way overdue for color.

Confession #4: In summer, I eschew the shorts and flirty cotton skirts that are such cool and casual fashion statements … because I haven’t shaved my legs in three weeks.

No question. Unless vacation is coming up, I’m a dedicated follower of the lazy girl’s guide to beauty. But somehow, with cruise documents in hand, I morph into Heidi Klum preparing to sashay down the runway.

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My cruise ritual begins with a haircut and highlights, painstakingly timed three weeks before embarkation so that I’ll arrive on board at the precise moment my cut always looks its best. The leg, bikini, chin, and lip wax, on the other hand, occur as close to embarkation as possible. In fact, my ideal cabin mate would probably be the big Russian lady who does the waxing at Bliss Spa if only she’d promise to bring her vat of hot wax and address any stray hairs that might pop up during the cruise.

Vacation manicures and pedicures are tricky business. Should I get them before I sail and embark with ragged cuticles and chipped polish or tear-ass to the spa the second I board? I always agonize over this (which I’m sure ticks off a lot of people who have real problems) but usually end up choosing the onboard option.

When it comes to packing, no garment is tucked into my suitcase unless it is ironed, starched to within an inch of its life, and cushioned between tissue paper. Does this work? Uh … no. In fact, while watching me unpack on one cruise, my husband came up with an idea for an embarkation-night contest: “Show Us Your Wrinkles.” The winner, and he was sure it would be me, would sport the most horribly wrinkled garment on board and be awarded a week of free pressing.

Even with the trend toward casual cruising, we all want to look fabulous during our voyage. But the truth is that even without all the beauty stuff, the sun and sea breeze are all most of us really need to look and feel our most beautiful. That, and the leg wax.

— 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.