My Dream Cruise: The Perfect Vacations at Sea

Alexandra Molotkow is an editor at Real Life magazine. She was a founding editor of Hazlitt, an associate editor of the Hairpin and arts columnist for...

It’s vacation week all across North America. But I got news for you: drinking and fucking in a warmer place does not count as vacation. It’s more like Freak Week in which play becomes work, leaving you joyless and disoriented once work becomes work again and play has become sickening.

A real vacation should feel like nothing you’d normally do. Like being dipped in another life, even a shitty one. Better a shitty one, actually, because then you’ll appreciate your real life more once it’s over. Can you imagine how good the Carnival Triumph passengers who spent days on a burned-out vessel, lindy-hopping human excrement and shitting in red bags felt when rescue finally arrived? Way better than you’ve felt in years. But coming back from a good vacation is like being torn away from someone you love, except worse, because good experiences are dead forever while exes are usually still alive.

You could vacation to the heart of another country, but if you’re anything like me, a coward, you’ll spend the whole time panicking about how far from home you are and wondering if you’ll ever make it back alive. At best you’ll spend the whole time fussing over logistics, because if you can’t decide what to have for dinner because if you eat pasta you have to go to the gym and if you go to the gym you have to wash your hair and if you wash your hair you have to dry your hair and then you can’t go out for drinks until late, but if you eat a sandwich you’ll be out of bread and you’re pretty sure you’ll want a sandwich tomorrow for lunch because if you have to buy lunch instead you really shouldn’t go out tonight for drinks—you may find it difficult to coordinate a day tour of London.

Which leaves two options for a legitimate vacation: sensory deprivation tank or cruise ship. The sensory deprivation tank is perfect as is; I can add nothing to it. But I have some ideas for the perfect vacation at sea, and they’re all way better than The Weezer Cruise.

The Dissociator
Each passenger receives a biographical package about another passenger and boards in character as them. You spend the whole week looking for yourself while the person you’re impersonating looks for you.

Dream of the Future of the Past
This is a series of cruises organized by age cohort, around the theme of what you thought adulthood would look like. Mine would include a mint-green cabin decorated with red gingham and a lot of kitschy salt and pepper shakers, with a roommate who loves to bake. The upper deck would have a drum kit and shitty carpeting instead of a pool, patronized by idlers in flannel button-downs over T-shirts who believe their bands will make it and even if they don’t at least they followed their dreams. The lower deck would just be cubicles, populated by Cathys and Kathys and men who tuck their shirts into their jeans. The week would culminate in a special performance from Hey That’s My Bike.

Penultimate Friendship Cruise
This is a sports cruise, except the only sport is cliques. Passengers form groups based on arbitrary points of commonality and spend the cruise putting down other groups in increasingly novel and cruel ways while enjoying the bonds of solidarity.

Ultimate Friendship Cruise
This cruise is expensive because it involves multiple ships. Every day or two, a ship sinks and everyone is evacuated to the next ship in a great frenzy of terror and passion. All the passengers become best friends forever, because best friendship is what happens between survivors of four successive nautical disasters. A “safeword” is provided in the event of actual disaster.

Ultimate Singles Mixer
This singles cruise would feature balls in which singles forego dancing and instead stage entire relationships, from honeymoon period to agonizing breakup, which is a far superior ice-breaker.

Ultimate Sex Bonanza
This cruise is for sex-havers of all kinds. Passengers submit their fantasies, along with an identification number, to an electronic database. The fantasies are collected into a menu and everyone selects nightly mates accordingly. There’ll be sex chambers equipped with scraps of felt and rubber and velcro, and life-size K’Nex construction sets, so that participants can build their own sex apparatuses for whatever sex they’re planning to have. Sessions are filmed automatically and passengers can pay $100 for a souvenir DVD.

Dream Orgy
Passengers are divided into seven-member groups. Each group writes one play per day based on a member’s dreams from the night before. Performances go all night.

Cruise of the Dead
This is a cruise where everyone pretends they’re dead and the cruise is the afterlife. Other than that it’s just a normal cruise.

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Alexandra Molotkow is an editor at Real Life magazine. She was a founding editor of Hazlitt, an associate editor of the Hairpin and arts columnist for the Globe and Mail. Her writing has appeared in The Cut, The Believer, The New Republic, and The New York Times Magazine.