Caribbean Cruise: On Escapism and Irrational Fears

It’s a ridiculous thing, but the idea of going on a cruise sets my paranoia and worry-meter off the charts. I think a part of me is somehow wired to imagine the worst-case scenario in all things, and sometimes the potentially negative options just kind of leap out at me, unbidden.

When looking at the tagline for Princess Cruises (“escape completely”), I go the other way. I know the tagline is meant to imply a bit of escapism, with the lowercase spelling suggesting a casualness, a relaxing and letting go. The cruise industry provides its participants with a chance to “get away from it all,” allowing travelers to escape from their everday routines and burdens.

But when I read that tagline, all I can think is that I need to escape the boat, completely. In my head, there are air horns going off and the sound of thundering feet running to lifeboats, in the distance. Escape in this context is less about indulgence and comfort, and more about a hasty and thorough exit strategy.

Cruise should equal relaxation. But a part of my brain simply cannot get rid of that scene from Titanic, where the old couple is clutching hands in bed as their cabin floods with seawater.

I’m sure this sense of worry and dread will fade, the longer I’m on board. But I find it a really funny and odd thing that this is where my mind goes.

If elevators freak me out sometimes, small wonder I’m feeling anxious about climbing on board a large boat.

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