’03 Jul: Cruzin’ with the Kids

Christa and Caleb and a Crystal Cruise.

Here we have my…

Here we have my very adorable and delightful and sweet as sugar candy Great Niece Christa and Great Nephew Caleb and we are off for one A-One adventure.


Day 1….We fly from LA to Vancouver, join the Crystal Harmony, and sail toward Victoria.
Day 2….Spend a few hours in Victoria, then sail south down the coast of Washington, Oregon and into California.
Day 3….Spend a full day at sea, continuing to sail to San Francisco.
Day 4….Arrive in SF, disembark and fly back to LA. The kids then fly directly home to Honolulu.

Wow Granty. My friends are agog.

We get to Vancouver…

We get to Vancouver before the ship arrived, stash our bags at the terminal and go out for our first scoops of ice cream – the first scoops of the innumerable scoops to follow – Christa has coffee with double chocolate sauce and Caleb has chocolate with no sauce.

We go-to-the-head-of-the-line and wait while customs clears the ship for boarding.

Christa and I go…

Christa and I go to Afternoon Tea where the service is lovely and the Manila Trio play lovely music and there are two waiters in tuxedos for every one guest hovering around to ask if you’d like this or that sweet or would you care to choose another sandwich or would you like some more tea perhaps.

We practiced ‘yes please’ and ‘no thank you’ on the airplane and with very few gaps the whole concept stuck quite well. ‘Yes please.’ ‘No thank you.’ You know how on a cruise you can’t go ten minutes without someone offering you something and you don’t need to know much more than these two expressions to be pleasant and appropriate. ‘Yes please.’ ‘No thank you.’ That about covers it.

Christa making friends. …

Christa making friends. She’s good at that!

The gym was a favorite stop because for some reason whenever we were there we had the whole mat area to ourselves. This made it possible for running and twirlling and giggling and playing with all the exercise balls you want, all at once.

Did I mention ice…

Did I mention ice cream? Christa-coffee with double chocolate sauce, Caleb-chocolate with no sauce. I thought I was going to let them eat ice cream Any Time They Wanted. I thought I was going to let them eat ice cream until they couldn’t eat even one more bite of ice cream. But I was wrong. As is Always the case with kids, they will outlast you. On a couple of occasions I had to say ‘no, you just have to eat some food before you can have more ice cream’.

And we did eat food. Every meal like this, with only a few exceptions.

Breakfast: Room Service delivers a plain bagel with margarine for Christa, a huge pile of bacon for Caleb and then we get ice cream.
Lunch: From Deck Service Christa gets a plain pizza, Caleb gets a plain hamburger and then we get ice cream.
Dinner: From Room Service or from Deck Service Christa gets a plain pizza, Caleb gets a plain hamburger and then we get ice cream.

During the day we get ice cream many times from the ice cream bar and at night before bed we get ice cream from room service. One time Christa went to get ice cream for herself and Caleb. She asked for coffee with double chocolate sauce and a chocolate with chocolate sauce. The guy at the ice cream bar said ‘but your brother doesn’t get chocolate sauce’. They knew.

After we tried to…

After we tried to get over the difficulty with the horses and after souvenir shopping we signed up with Estelle and her pedicab. She took us on a fun and interesting tour of the town. Her liveliness and enthusiasm was overwhelming and does this chick have one honkin’ set of pins.

Estelle even rode us back to the ship after which the Real difficulty hit our little tour group of three. Christa left her souvenirs (maybe in the pedicab, maybe on the ground) but once she realized she didn’t have them we were less than 10 minutes from sailing. I rushed down the gangway and around the whole pier area but the souvenirs were not to be found.

That night was formal…

That night was formal night. Caleb’s shoes were bugging him Bad and Christa was inconsolable over the souvenirs. All they wanted to do was to get Out’ta there. So we went back to our room, changed clothes, got movies, played a little in the gym and went back to the room for ice cream.

The gym. They…

The gym. They were happy here in the gym and they developed some amazing flying techniques with the balls, leaping on them from every angle, bouncing off or, my favorite, creating a rolling, undulating effect, basically surfing over the tops of several balls in a row.

I was tempted, but considering how inconvenient it would be if I broke my leg, I decided to give it a pass.

This was Kid’s Room…

This was Kid’s Room day and I was very impressed with my company. ‘We’ did a fabulous job with the Junior Activities Program. ‘We’ had five Leaders who handled what could be at times a huge crowd of kids and kept them all busy and mannerly enough not to send the other guests over the rail.

Christa and Caleb are making t-shirts here. They could also do beading, use Play Stations, build forts and towers and knock them down. They had a basketball area and drawing on the window – a lot a lot a stuff.

In the afternoon they…

In the afternoon they had a ventriloquist demonstrate how he makes his puppets work. Then they had a swim party and some ice cream at the ice cream bar. Christa and Caleb were pros at all these activities.

After the Junior program…

After the Junior program was over for the afternoon (they met again in the evening for a Bon Voyage party) the Vice Captain showed us around the bridge and the engine control room.

The kids were very well behaved and stayed close, as they were instructed by me about twenty billion times before we went up there. Except for the formal tours of the bridge this is definitely the ‘don’t even Think about bringing your kids here’ part of the ship so I was very grateful that Christa and Caleb did so well.

The Bay Bridge around…

The Bay Bridge around sunrise.

We were due to arrive in San Francisco Bay at 4:30am and sail under the Golden Gate at 4:45 but it was foggy that night and there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to see anything. I set the alarm anyway and at exactly 4:45 I could see just the lights and one tower from our balcony.

‘Oooo ooooo get up get up quick, look out here quick quick.’ They dragged their weary bodies out to the balcony, saw the lights and one tower and immediately fell back to sleep. But they did see it, really.

Did we have an…

Did we have an adventure or What?!?

Now we begin a very Very long day for anyone and imagine being 9 or 5. First we’ve got the quick! quick! 4:45 wake-up call. Then we have to do immigration at 7, then we get off at 9:30, get the bags, get the bus, stand in line to check the bags, stand in line for security, stand in line for snacks, get on the plane and arrive in LA around 2.

Their further adventures (a missing camera, my sister bringing a knife through airport security (oh yeah, a knife)) are stories for others to tell.

And yes, we did, we had one A-One fab adventure!

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