Our cruise director warned us before we disembarked that no matter how nice the hotel, leaving the ship always feels as
if we’ve been expelled from paradise. She was so right. Our farewell banquet at the hotel had little of the charm we’d been steeped in on the River Navigator. We could hardly hear our table-mates. The was service was slow. The staff didn’t understand about gluten free. And mostly, we’d lost the staff we’d come to think of as friends.
Friendships were viral on this cruise, and I suspect that even for the Navigator, we were a special group. Early on I noticed that a number of us were militant positive thinkers. No whine went unchallenged by these happy-thought-Nazis. I pride myself in finding silver linings and was taken aback when my observation that pickles were the only veggie offered at a home-hosted lunch was parried with, “there’ll be plenty [of vegetables] for dinner.” Still I mentally cheered these mindset monitors. A handful of critics will trash a trip faster than a boatload of pirates.
About halfway through our cruise a big table in the dining room erupted in frequent cheers. Cheers went up on many of the following evenings, often echoed from other tables. One of the staff said she was happy to hear them because most groups get tired and cranky at that point in the cruise. We bonded. A local guide looked confused when she saw us saying our goodbyes as we left the ship. She’d never seen people crying at a disembarkation before.
I’m confused too. One day we were living in this that or another city, then on the Black Sea, in a palace, and today we’re a homeless couple loitering in the Frankfurt airport. Someone remind me what home was like.