Cruise spa's expensive shower not to one’s fancy

My friend Sara is taking a cruise this winter, abandoning us to relax on the Promenade Deck. Oblivious to the shade of green upon my face, she asked if I had any advice.

Our family celebrated my in-laws’ 50th anniversary this summer on a Disney cruise. I can now maneuver a breakfast buffet and claim a poolside chaise like a pro, but there is one lesson that will stick with me forever.

We toured the ocean liner exhausted after three days of Disney World at a record-breaking pace. Among the ship’s many amenities, the (no kids allowed) Fancy Shower Room in the spa area promised much-needed rest, boasting heated mosaic-tiled lounge chairs, a lavender-scented steam room, and multi-head luxury showers, all for just $16 per day.

After Small World, this looked like heaven.

Alone in the Fancy Shower Room, I prepared for my highly anticipated luxury shower after a grueling (20-minute) workout, a quick nap on a tiled lounge chair and some pore-cleansing in the lavender-scented steam room.

The shower was tucked away in the back corner with no door or curtain; the towel hook was outside the shower wall. Still sweating, I quickly stripped down and hopped in before any other women entered the room and found myself surrounded by many wall-mounted side spouts with a two-foot wide rainfall showerhead above and three control buttons to the left.

Eager to enjoy a warm and luxurious shower, I pushed the button marked “Side Massage” and was immediately hit with ice-cold water on either side like a brushless car wash. Yelping, I tried pushing the button to stop it, but the frigid water pounded my ribs and hips, ending only after an audible plea to God.

At this point I could have cut my losses and headed to the Regular Shower Room, but I had paid 16 whole dollars for the Fancy Shower Room and refused to bail.

I tried “Rain.” Polar-chilled water dumped down from above with no end and no escape, for one step backwards and I was in clear view to anyone in the room. Out of a scene from some yet-to-be-released Bond film, I stood under the torturous waterfall in the buff and wept for mercy.

Like Goldilocks, however, I found the third button to be just right. “Tropical” (go figure) provided a sultry spray of warmth, a watery cocoon I did not want to leave. This time tears of joy ran down my cheeks as I basked in the fabulousness of a $16 shower.

When my time was up, I stealthily streaked across the corner to my towel and headed to the locker room to change, noticing for the first time a sign by the Fancy Shower Room door that read: “Coed.”

Fortunately I was the only sucker – male or female – willing to pay for a shower or this story would have ended quite differently.

So, Sara, save your money, stick with the pool and enjoy a mojito for the rest of us, landlocked and wishing we were there.


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