It hits me like a brick wall. That melancholy, sad feeling of despair that takes over the minute I walk in the door after a wonderful, relaxing week-long cruise. It’s not just the thought of facing what lies ahead – the unpacking, the piles of dirty laundry, the snail mail and emails to read, bills to pay, a fridge to replenish, or the cat who decided to cough up a thousand fur balls all over the house. It’s not even the office job I will eventually have to return to. Rather, the after-cruise blues is more about what’s missing now when I arrive home - the coffee and pastry on the balcony every morning; the calming ocean waves lulling me to sleep at night; the perfectly made bed and fresh towels every day; all those fabulous meals prepared and served to me as if I were royalty. Did I mention the countless fun and relaxing diversions to choose from, new experiences to encounter and exciting places to explore? Well, I miss it dearly – all of it – when I return home from a cruise. All the months of planning and anticipation – and then it’s over.
As I cruise more, however, I have come to rely on a few reliable remedies to ease the symptoms of this very common, but misunderstood, post-cruise affliction. Unlike the assistance you might get from a professional or from a pill bottle, the following remedies are free and have no side effects.
Tidy up the nest before you leave. Nothing will make you sink to the depths of post-cruise depression faster than walking into a house full of dust, dirt and clutter. In the days before your vacation, give the house the once over with a duster, broom and vacuum cleaner, take out the trash and de-clutter the place. While you’re at it, take care of the laundry. You’ll have plenty more clothes to wash when you return.
Ask a friend to re-stock your fridge while you’re away. Make a grocery list and have a family member or friend stock your fridge – at least with the essentials - just before you arrive home. You’ll be hungry after the long flight (or drive) home and, trust me – you’re not going to want to make a trip to the market the day you return – not even for peanut butter and jelly.
Pay your bills before you leave. Better, yet – if you haven’t done it already – switch to electronic bill pay. There is nothing like on-line banking. Sign up for electronic bills, save a tree, and schedule your payments well in advance. No checks to write, and no missing payments because you’re away.
Ease into your daily routine. Trying to do it all at once – the unpacking, the endless laundry, the mail and the like - will only make you feel worse. Do what’s necessary first, and the rest will wait.
Schedule an after-cruise event. I know, it seems silly – you’ve just paid big bucks for a major event. However, meeting friends for coffee isn’t going to blow the budget, and will give you a chance to show off your photos and talk up the great cruise you had.
Write about your vacation. Jot down notes daily throughout your cruise, and you’ll have the makings of a journal. Reliving your trip experiences through journaling will help keep your mind off the mundane chores you face. Create a blog and share it through social networking. Not only will you feel good about sharing your experiences, but you’ll also get conversation going and provide a valuable resource to others who might be planning a similar trip. If journaling and blogging leave you tongue-tied, consider writing a short review of your cruise to share on social networking or travel communities. Believe me, fellow cruisers eat that stuff up.
Share your photos. Upload your photos, create a web album, and share them through social media. Just like journaling, it’s a great way to remember the great times you had on your cruise and provides a great resource for people who might be traveling on a similar cruise. People love to see photos of where they’re headed or the ship on which they will be sailing.
Book another cruise! To me, and most other cruise fanatics I know, booking another cruise – even before you’ve sailed the current one - is the best cure of all for the post-cruise blues. It gives you something to look forward to and makes the cruise you just returned from seem less final. Even if you think it will be a couple of years before you can afford another, it’s never too early to start researching.
Be grateful! Despite how miserable you might feel about your vacation having ended, few people will take pity on you. Instead of lamenting over the end of paradise on the high seas, put it all in perspective and be grateful for the experience. After all, there are far worse things in the world than a bout of after-cruise blues.
By Janice Neves, CruiseCrazies Contributor
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