Daughts is Coming Home…



Life on Grand Mistral was drawing to a close.

The friends Daughts had made during her three short months aboard were all going their own separate ways and the final days were overshadowed with a gloom she was finding difficult to shake.

Living a lifestyle that played havoc mentally, physically and spiritually with her body Daughts finally made it home.

We picked her up at the airport after she had spent 21 hours traveling through four airports, Malaga, Madrid, Chicago and Dallas.

She fell into my waiting embrace and dissolved into tears of exhaustion, relief and sorrow.

Daughts chose to spend two nights with us in our motel before moving in with her brother and although we planned to talk about what was to come next she was too tired to have any more than upbeat talks about the last three months and life aboard a floating hotel.

She told us that she never had the thought,

“This is awful, I can’t carry on…”

But she did say living in close proximity with people was both a challenge and a joy.

She formed really close friendships with a few people and was surprised at the intensity of feeling after only a few weeks.

She showed us some of her shows which she had managed to get filmed in the final weeks and they were upbeat, energetic and fun.

“It must have been obvious you were a dancer from the way you picked up the numbers so fast,” I commented.  Twenty-seven different dances to an eclectic mix of music with multiple partners and lightning quick costume changes.

She looked so professional!

Her life was one of early risings for training sessions, dis/embarkation duties or to go off board and sight- see or get internet.
The days she had color and had to remain to man the ship she slept late, did laundry, cleaned and generally enjoyed the empty vessel.
It wasn’t unusual to have rehearsal at midnight after the two evening shows.
Other duties included Pool Party in the late afternoons, Carnival and White Party after her shows into the wee hours.
Watching the sun come up was not a rare occurrence.
Eating at all hours was the norm.
Living on a top bunk where she couldn’t fully sit up became par for the course.  No baths, cramped showers and close quarters were the hallmark of cabin life with a room mate.
The metal surroundings were both impersonal and claustrophobic .
The food was not the best except when they were allowed to have passenger meals after performing during the dinner hour each night.
When the new cast boarded during the final month, rehearsals picked up and everyone had to keep their emotions on a tight leash.  In the end Daughts decided she didn’t want to finish her cruising experience on a bad note so she made the most of it and went around wearing a smile on her face and a good attitude in her heart.
Having her home is odd because we don’t have a home anymore!
Empty nest has crept up on us.
She sent me a photo of her first Saturday morning breakfast rustled up by her brother and I texted,
“Wish I could join you…” to which she replied,
“Come on over!”
She is now experiencing life without all board and lodging found in her own place,
I wonder how life without our wallets is working for her?!


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