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A Healing Cruise – I’m Feeling Like Me Again

Taking a Cruise for Self Care | Vacation | De-stress | Mental Health

I’m back from another cruise escape and I’m finally feeling like me again!

Yesterday, I woke up happy, had a productive day with pet sitting and my online work, hung out with a few friends for several hours each, and was still chugging away at 4am.  I’m nearly caught up with everything from last week…so now I’m only as behind as I was before we left!  😉

I haven’t been able to go this long on 5-6 hours of sleep in more than a year.  I won’t make a habit of it, but I had almost forgotten what energy felt like.  Grief and depression are real bitches.

Our Recent Cruise

We sailed out on the Carnival Breeze from February 5-12, 2017.  It stopped in Jamaica, the Grand Caymans, and Cozumel, Mexico.  We got off in every port for just a little souvenir browsing, but mainly, we spent the entire cruise relaxing.

Carnival Breeze with Crystal and Len in Cozumel

Cozumel, Mexico February 2017 on Carnival Cruise

Our days were spent watching movies, playing 2 person board games like Patchwork and Jaipur, playing “Burger Shop” on our tablets, lounging in the adult-only, Serenity section of the ship in huge chairs, eating Guy’s Burgers (and anything else we felt like munching on), and just enjoying having no obligations.

Our nights were spent being spoiled in the dining room and watching Dive-In Movies on the main deck’s big screen.   Len then played the penny slots in the casino while I was a couch potato in the room and ordered a BLT and chocolate chip cookies as a midnight snack nearly every evening.

The Carnival Cruise Chef’s Table

Our only “excursion” was splurging $220 on the Chef’s Table, which was like foodie heaven with Chef Joaquim Dias.

Carnival Cruise Chef's Table 2017

Seriously, it was definitely a foodie event.  The warm ups were things like a cotton-candy, olive combo (ewwww) and Greek yogurt pops with shaved salmon and parmesan (totally disgusting to me, but Len devoured TWO).  I loved the bread and fresh butter.

The main dishes were things like pea and Matcha soup (YUMMY), pork belly with shrimp (good but odd), crispy lamb and lamb shank (MMM…MMM!), poached Seabass with asparagus (good), quail and wild mushroom rice (really good), and veal with diced green apple (meh).

The desserts were a palate cleanser of citrus creams (DIVINE) and a delicious chocolate hazelnut cake.

They served white and red wine as appropriate as we went along…I took advantage…

Carnival Cruise Carnival Breeze Chef's Table Menu 2017

My absolute favorite part?  Watching my husband have the TIME OF HIS LIFE.  It was the happiest I’ve seen him in a long time.  I loved it.

I also truly enjoyed the behind-the-scenes aspect.  It was fun watching the part of the kitchen we were in just chug away like a perfectly-oiled machine while we were being catered to by amazing chefs in their own rights.

It was fun and I ate it all.  I WAS STUFFED.  Am I more of a prime rib and mashed potatoes type of girl?  Yes.  But exploring the foodie world was decadent and engaging.

A Healing Cruise

Overall, this cruise was just about relaxing and enjoying the delicious parts of life.  I couldn’t have asked for a better-timed or fitting vacation.

Montego Bay, Jamaica 2017

Cruise Cost

This was another good deal:

  • Cruise tickets incl. taxes/fees:  $906.22
  • Travel Insurance:  $45.32
  • Parking:  $54.50
  • Chef’s Table: $220
  • Tips/Gratuities: $230
  • Souvenirs:  $65
  • Gambling: -$26 (Len won a little this time!)
  • Total Cruise Cost = $1495.04

We left on a Sunday and got back the following Sunday…I feel like $1100 for the week is amazing and I was excited we kept it under $1500 even with our splurges!  🙂  Yes we could save some money by not insuring the trip but I just can’t risk it. Besides there are plenty of travel insurance companies to get cheaper rates with. This is why I’m always looking for cheap cruise deals

If You Are Suffering From Depression…

Please email me.  We all have grief to deal with in life.  Many of us suffer from ongoing depression in general.  I have no idea when it will kick my ass again.  Here is what has helped me this past year:

  1. Support Network! My husband and the rest of my family and friends have been there for me during the last year of loss.  Lean on your people.  If you are away from your primary support, lean on the friendly ones around you.  Join a group.  Find a counselor you appreciate.  Churches, community centers, community networks like Nextdoor.com, Meetup groups, etc.  You can meet people who have been to hell before and don’t mind visiting you there to keep you going until you crawl out.  Email me.  Just connect with someone.
  2. Schedule. Even when I couldn’t truly self-motivate myself, I would get dressed and go to the scheduled pet sitting jobs (and enjoy them when I arrived).  I would also make plans with my family and friends and put those plans in my calendar so I wouldn’t blow them off.  My schedule kept me tied to humanity on the bad days where I wanted to just sleep forever
  3. Allow Yourself to Feel. I have cried in the shower a lot.  I have made my husband’s shirt soggy with tears.  I have screamed.  I have cussed.  I have whined.  I have made dark jokes.  I had to feel the crappy emotions to get through them.  Every time I’ve ever been depressed, I have to own the shit to dig out of it.
  4. Escape Temporarily. When my grandma died, I went inner-tubing with Dee for a few days in the time between Grandma’s death and her funeral.  When my aunt died a month later, I spent the entire next week with friends as often as humanly possible between pet sitting.  And when my grandpa passed away a month after that, I was able to go to #Fincon16 10 days later.  This recent cruise was accidentally perfectly-timed for escaping a couple of weeks after my D&C from the miscarriage.  Getting away generally means wallowing less.  Or at least not being reminded of your grief by the physical objects or people associated with it.
  5. Volunteer/Get Involved. Every adoption counseling shift with SMART Pet Rescue helped me more than the cats probably.  Every visit to the assisted living homes my grandparents were in made me feel useful.  Every time I helped someone look for a lost pet or find the deal they were looking for made me feel less crappy overall.  Helping others forces you out of the self-pity spiral.  It also helps others, which is an amazing bonus benefit.  😉
  6. Time. Eventually the positivity from your support network, your day-to-day work, and your volunteering will lead to you feeling less crappy.  Time helps.

If all of this sounds like bullshit, you still feel like you will hurt forever, and you ever want to try a permanent solution, PLEASE CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE AT 1-800-273-8255 or go to www.Suicide.org.  Don’t go the permanent route.  It will most likely not suck forever.

Hope some of this helps!

9 thoughts on “A Healing Cruise – I’m Feeling Like Me Again”

  1. Kacie

    That sounds fantastic! I’m so glad you had a great time. I only have cruised once, but I hope to again sometime. For better or worse, the amazing food onboard ruined me for standard restaurant food after, but whaddya do.

    $1500 isn’t bad at all. I guess you were able to drive to the port?

    Hope you also got some good points/rewards back on your credit card for next time! 😀

  2. Mitch

    Great to see you both splurging and taken a well-deserved break from life!

  3. Lance

    Glad to hear the cruise helped! Who do you get travel insurance through? For that price, I know it isn’t Carnival’s.

  4. MRS. COD

    That’s an awesome price for two people cruising for a whole week! I’ve never been on a cruise, but someday we’ll probably make it happen.

    So glad you are working through your grief as well, and took the time to reach out to your readers here. Grief may never fully go away, but we can learn to make “room” for it somehow. It becomes a part of us, but it needn’t be the only thing we feel.

  5. Crystal Stemberger

    @Kacie, I guess if you are ruined for regular restaurant food, then the extra 5 pounds I gain on every cruise can be lost pretty easily the next week, lol. 😉 Yeah, we live about an hour and a half from Galveston and sail out of there (that’s the $54 parking…sometimes my MIL will actually drive us there just because, lol…I married an only child…). Hahaha, yeah, we use the Capitalone Visa 1.5% cash back card for most stuff unless it’s something in a rotating 5% category of Discover It or Chase Visa. We get hundreds of dollars a year in cash back – usually is used for fun splurging or Christmas spending. 🙂 It’s been a while since I did a cc post, I should again…thanks!

    @Mitch, thank you! What have you been up to? Your Avatar always makes me think of my mom’s crazy Cockatiel, Buttons…loud bird who is cute but hates me, LOL. Is in love with my mom’s parrot…

    @Lance, we use a cruise travel agent (Karen Alexander of Cruise Planners – [email protected]) for every cruise since she gets us either the same rate I can find or better. She also answers every question I ever throw her way and updates us on everything. She has taken dozens (probably hundreds) of cruises and seems to know about it all. And she hooks us up with Allianz Global Assistance for travel insurance. 🙂

    @Mrs. COD, that seems about right. Grief becomes another personality thing that sort of merges with the rest…

  6. Money Beagle

    Glad to hear you had a good time. Sometimes a change of scenery and break from the routine is the best way to get things looking bright again.

  7. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    I’m so glad that you just relaxed the heck out of that cruise. Even I feel a little more relaxed just reading about the amazing food and at the thought of having an adults-only rest and you know exactly how non-relaxing and non-adult my life is right at this very second. <3

  8. ESI Money

    So glad to hear you are feeling better.

    On the money front, that’s an AWESOME cruise for the $$$$$$.

  9. Crystal Stemberger

    @Money Beagle, so true! Breaks help.

    @Revanche, you and I should totally do a girls’ weekend away sometime!

    @ESI Money, I know, right?! When I can do a week long cruise with my husband for less than $1500, I totally will. 😀

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