Jo Davison: Sinking feeling at hen party cruise

Best whites: A scene from Carry On Cruising
Best whites: A scene from Carry On Cruising
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What a carry-on.

The latest hen party jaunt is a cruise in the Med.

Not content with turning Europe’s most popular resorts pink with embarrassment, one in ten hens and their gals are going further afield for their pre-nuptial japes and jaunts.

I can see their logic. Cruising has many pros. Unlimited baggage allowance when you sail away from the White Cliffs (cue screechy chorus of Rod Stewart’s Sailing); you can take far too many clothes and ALL your hair stuff.

Plus there’s a different port for every girl, you get to dress to the nines every night and it’s the shortest of drunken totters back to your cabin.

And then there’s the biggest pros of them all; the crew. Hands with grooves worn into the palms from all the wheelchair-pushing will be rubbed together in glee. I can see it now; captain’s officers and ship’s doctors queuing up to iron their best whites, flashing their best Kenneth Williams leers and launching into lascivious Sid James cackles.

Though HOW much cash do these girls have to float?

You’re probably talking upwards of a grand apiece. Some are even booking Caribbean cruises, plunging themselves into the red in a pink tutu and matching marabou angels’ wings.

A great way to start married life, not. In my youth, all hen and stag parties went out on a Thursday night on the lash. You got the bus. You went local. Sheffield was about as adventurous as it got for us Rotherham girls; you’d never have dreamed of anything as exotic as hopping on the North Sea ferry overnight. Only 27 per cent of hen and stag parties settle for a night out on home turf these days.

For my first marriage, at the far too tender an age of 22, two days before my big white wedding a bunch of us got glammed up and headed off to the San Remo pizzeria for a mild flirtation with men brandishing huge pepper mills. Next stop: mingling with all the other hens at Josephine’s in the Fountain Precinct for a dance and a snog with a chancer, purely for a free vodka and lime.

All the B2Bs got called on stage. After a brief giggle into the microphone, we each had to balance one stiletto-ed foot on a stool and suffer the indignity of some bouncer who totally fancied himself sliding a cheap baby blue garter in nylon lace all the way up to your thigh.

Further indignity came when said garter did not reach its destination, due not to the inability of the jack the lad in the jaded Burtons DJ, but the fatness of your thigh. Mine came in at a few degrees north of my knee.

When I married for a second time almost four years ago, the hen holiday concept was already flourishing. And I felt the pressure, I admit.

A simple night out on the town just didn’t seem to cut it any more. Yet we all felt too middle-aged and sensible to be heading out on the lash to Marbella in rude T-shirts and mini veils. So we cooped up in a rented a house in the Cotswolds. It was all very genteel; I insisted we all did a pottery class and go horse-riding. Eeh, it was like Bunty and The Four Marys high on Shiraz and HRT.