Unless you live on a cruise ship, you likely spend more time wishing you were at sea than actually being there. To combat this landlubbin' malaise, we've come up with a surefire recipe for replicating the cruise ship experience in your own home.
Need that cruise ship fix before your next sailing? Follow any number of these 23 steps.
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Step 1: Move your bed into the walk-in closet for a week.
Step 2: Limit yourself to one suitcase of clothing. If you forget to pack clean underwear, too bad. Hide a bottle of wine in your bag; if anyone notices it, you have to give it up (bonus points for creating a "naughty room").
Step 3: On the first day of this cruise-from-home, lug around that suitcase to all activities for at least three hours.
Step 4: Throw a sail-away party. Invite your friends to your house, but before you let them party and drink, make them wear life jackets while you lecture them on the safety features of your home. Then turn up the stereo, which should be playing a mix of songs like "Hot Hot Hot" and "Celebration," pass out the fruity drinks and stand on your front porch, waving wildly at every car that drives by.
Step 5: Set up an inflatable pool in your backyard and surround it with lounge chairs. Cover the lounge chairs with other people's towels, and prowl around them angrily looking for one that's free.
Step 6: Once you've found a lounge chair (there was one available on your roof), begin consuming umbrella drinks while listening to a CD of steel drum music.
Step 7: Hire neighborhood children to clean your bathroom, change your bedding and make you breakfast for a week. (Pay them in ice cream from your rented 24-hour soft-serve machine.)
Step 8: Hire the same children to run, soaking wet, through your house, dropping food and slamming doors. Bonus points if you can get them to do so after 10 p.m.
Step 9: Complain about how these kids are lounging on your stairs, taking over your inflatable pool and making such a ruckus.
Step 10: Get a used version of Trivial Pursuit, and have rabid competitions for prizes like key chains and pens.
Step 11: Eat lunch every day at an all-you-can-eat buffet like Old Country Buffet, Fresh Choice or Sizzler. At night, dress up and go out to eat at Applebee's or TGI Friday's. Move your table close to another one so that you are eating with six other people you don't know. Make snarky comments about the attire of anyone who eats dinner with or near you. (Depending on your cruise style, you should either dine at the same restaurant at the same time every night or choose a different venue every night at a time you prefer.)
Step 12: Bonus points if you go to lunch in an oversized robe and flip flops.
Step 13: Install a loudspeaker on your toilet and on your neighbors' toilets, so each can be heard flushing all the way down the block.
Step 14: Volunteer your living room for the local school's nightly show choir practice. Then invite the singers to stay for karaoke on the machine you rented.
Step 15: Roll in the nearest mud puddle, wrap yourself in tinfoil, and have your significant other/a neighbor/a random person off the street massage you while intoning about body toxins. You get bonus points if your ad hoc masseuse tries to sell you something at the end of your massage.
Step 16: Try to open your front door and pay for all purchases with your library card or supermarket savings card.
Step 17: Have 10 or more jewelry vendors set up stands just outside your front door.
Step 18: Every time you leave the house, pose for a photo in front of a ship's wheel, phony pirate, your local high school's mascot, etc.
Step 19: Whenever you need to go from one room in your house to the other, step outside and walk around the entire block before going to that room. (Alternately, do five minutes on your StairMaster before entering another room.)
Step 20: Invite your friends to play blackjack and chain smoke in a room that you must walk through to get anywhere else in the house.
Step 21: When your friends depart, have them fill out comment cards and drop them in your mailbox.
Step 22: Have your spouse put old Halloween candy and a towel animal (instructions are online) on your bed every night while you're eating dinner.
Step 23: At the end of your at-home cruise, set your alarm clock ridiculously early. When you try to leave the house for work, have a uniformed guard and a drug-sniffing dog ask to see your passport and grill you on whether you're carrying anything illegal in your briefcase.
--By Ashley Kosciolek and Erica Silverstein, Cruise Critic Editors