Here are a few of the funny incidents that we encountered on our trip.
The kids did exceptionally well on the drive out to California, other than the incessant babbling from Lauren from the back seat that was driving us all a little crazy. When we were finally on the verge of losing our minds, Dennis told her to hush. She looked at him and said, "Yeah, well you're crazy." Given the fact that she rarely strings together more than two or three words at a time and that her speech can be difficult to understand, this well formulated and perfectly articulated sentence was quite an accomplishment for her. Dennis and I looked at each other and said, "And so it begins...
When we arrived to California, we were hungry and looking for somewhere to eat lunch before boarding the ship. In our search for a restaurant, Camden spotted a restaurant that looked super cool with owl eyes coincidentally forming the two O's in the name of the restaurant. "Let's go eat at Hooters!" he called out. Dennis leaned down and whispered to him, "I don't think mom would be too happy with us if we went to eat there." Darn right she wouldn't be.
Luke was greatly disappointed when we boarded the ship and immediately noted that there were no carnival rides on board. "But this is called a 'Carnival Cruise'! Where are all the rides?!" He was quite disgusted at what he believed was deceiving and false advertising. He had been duped and he was not very happy about it.
As for me, I had naively assumed that while being on a cruise ship, people would lounge around, relaxing in their grubbies. That's what I planned on doing, so that's what I packed for. Boy was I wrong. Dinner time was quite an embarrassment as we sat in our shorts and t-shirts with deliriously sleep-deprived children next to men in suits and women in cocktail dresses. Note to self for future reference: people dress up extra fancy when they're on cruises and they send their kids to daycare for dinner.
There were many highlights: the 24-hr free soft-serve ice cream that we ate at least 4 times per day; the free day care and activities for the kids; and the amazing kindness of the crew. One of the smartest business moves that Carnival Cruise lines made was to employ so many Indonesian crew members. They were by far the friendliest employees, going well out of their way to remember our names and interact with our children. Dennis and I fell in love with the Indonesian people when we visited my parents in Jakarta two years ago so we were delighted to be able to interact with so many of them again. They seemed quite amused by our trying to practice the few Indonesian words and phrases that we remembered.
When we arrived to Catalina Island, Dennis and I went snorkeling. Dennis loved it, despite the FREEZING water, and determined that we definitely need to go snorkeling again. Coming from my farm boy who has a bit of a shark-phobia, this was a big deal.
In Ensenada, Mexico we went to see La Bufadora which is a naturally formed blow-hole. The kids loved to see the water spraying so far into the air with each wave and enjoyed shopping for souvenirs in the local market. We had a tour guide that unfortunately gave very little information about what we were going to see, but instead took the time to have 20+ Americans trapped on a bus for two hours to deliver his anti-American platform, pointing out every way in which he believed the United States was inferior to Mexico. Wow...
It's funny how going into public settings makes you see some of the things your children do with different eyes and hear them with different ears. I knew before that we needed to work on Lauren's enunciation, but it wasn't until she would holler out "Thank you!" to the employees that I realized that there may be a bit of an urgency to our task. She replaces the th with an f, drops the n, and there you have a very startled waitress when she calls out her expression of gratitude.
That being said, our children did amazingly with the 15 hours of travel each way to and from California and within the confines of our closet...er...I mean room. They also dealt very well with the disappointment that the weather was too cold for swimming or to enjoy the amazing water slides on deck.
This picture cracks me up. It was so cold that the swimming pools lay empty but the hot tubs were always jammed packed with noisy, rambunctious kids. The adults weren't too happy about it when they tried to squeeze in and enjoy a little romantic bubbly. Check out the faces of the adults.
We had a great time and the kids are already looking forward to their next cruise.