Love at First Animal Towel - My Family Travels
Family picture
Saying Goodbye
Elle and LW burnt to a crisp

Carnival cruises tend to be known for their exotic destinations, staff aiming to please, and a trip of a lifetime. Yet those weren’t what made my 4 day trip to Cozumel so memorable. That was all because of some towel animals.

My family is not unfamiliar with the fluffy creatures left behind by house-keeping. We have been to Disney before, and when you return to the hotel after a day spent next to toddlers on leashes, dogs in baby carriers, and a whole lot of body odor mixed in with blistering heat, a towel animal tends to bring a small smile to your face before you collapse on the bed in exhaustion. But when the Wilcher family went to Disney, the youngest member was too young to remember most of it, including the towel animals.

Joy. Pure, innocent joy. That’s the only way I can describe my little sister’s face when she saw the towel greeter, later named Gerald. On the bed sat a creature that probably took an experienced staff member a total of 2 minutes to do, yet changed her mood instantly. For those who have never seen it, let me tell you something – True love at first towel does exist. Gerald instantly became a part of the family. He was introduced to everyone, and once those casual greetings were over, that was when the real fun began.

Gerald spent the rest of the day with us, learning where everything was on the ship, to sitting next to my mom in the sun chairs while my little sister and I swam. He was even given his own drink (we called it Suds, but it was really just soapy water). By the time we made it back into our rooms that night, Gerald was starting to get worn out. That’s not a good thing. No one could fix Gerald had he started to really fall apart, but we seemed to have a guardian towel. A new friend was delivered the next day.

Along came Gregg, Woolie, and Elle. With each new friend came a new adventure. Elle went on the wave runner with us while we were docked in Cozumel. Yes, an elephant shaped towel went on a wave runner tour with us. Elle wasn’t allowed to go snorkeling for obvious reasons, but that didn’t stop her from talking up a storm with the local tour guides. Gregg was a die-hard reader. With a crackling voice that made everyone giggle, Gregg read stories to the other animals and to LW when it was time for sleep. Woolie was special. She wasn’t found in my younger sister’s room but in mine and my older sister’s. So technically, she was on loan. This made adventures a lot different. Instead of Woolie sitting by the pool waiting for LW to recount the reefs, also known as the bottom of the pool on the ship, she “had to remain by me all the time” . Woolie was there, right by my side, when my older sister and I won the coveted ‘00s music trivia’. She was not there when we went to the fancy dinner on the ship that night (she was seasick).

My family had created a connection to the towels through my younger sister, and on the last morning of the cruise, no one was up for saying goodbye. Through some surprisingly maturity, the baby of the family said, “If they don’t stay, another family won’t have fun. We can’t do that.” With that, we said our goodbyes, and I developed a new found respect for my little sister.

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