Once the Dramamine kicked in I could finally start enjoying myself. By enjoying myself I mean not visiting the bathroom every 5 minutes. Of course the level of enjoyment is relative. I am not a cruise person.
My 4 year old took to the cruise like a pro. So did my sisters, their kids, my mom, and one brother in law. My other brother in law, the doctor, knew to take the pills before he got on the boat.
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And so went the family cruise.
We took the Norwegian Sky to Stirrup Cay and Nassau.
None of us ventured to leave our kids (5 in total) in the on-boat daycare. A depressing place run by people with fun names like Cupcake and Raffles.
We took out kids swimming, on shore, into the sea and to all the shows.
My daughter has now decided she loves cruises. She wants to live on the boat. I can see that. She fit in great. She made friends with everyone. I talked to so many more people than I ever would on my own. If she saw someone interesting she was right there asking them questions and more questions. If they encouraged her, even after i did my intervention bit, I let them figure out how to end the conversation. Woe to them and the 30 minutes they'll never get back. I met the 40 years old woman's group from Wyoming, an older couple from NJ distinguished by their matching outfits, and a pregnant bride to name a few. By the end of the cruise, people greeted my kid by name. The magician gave her a free wand. The photo gallery gave her a free picture of the ship. Zuzana who worked in food and beverage offered her a job in 17 years. I was exhausted. I prefer people who don't require repartee and jocular banter, i.e. the ones in books.
My daughter went to bed around 11 at night and was up with the break of day even when you couldn't see the day because our room the first night had no window. She was up, up, up and didn't want to miss a thing. The onboard restaurants smartly quarantined our group from the romantic couples and families with well-behaved kids. Hey, if a meal takes 2 hours, I expect my kid to be standing up in the window of the ship restaurant and singing off key show tunes and top 40 she picked up in pre-K, especially when they have ledges as big as a small table.
She did not like Nassau because my sisters took their kids back to the boat early. She wanted to be with her cousins.
HER: I want to be with my cousins.
ME: We see them every week. More than once a week. We'll see them for 18 hours straight tomorrow. We will not see the Bahamas again for a long time. Let's look at the straw junk. Let's go to the pirate museum. Let's look at the neat things here.
HER: I want my cousins!!!!
We compromised. 20 more minutes in the Bahamas for 4 hours in the blazing sun at the splash pool on the boat with her cousins, followed by a 3-hour dinner and a 9 pm show - all with her cousins and the strangers who now felt disturbingly familiar.
We all survived. We all had fun. The kids had the most fun which is what really mattered and I got pictures which will matter a lot later when she grows up and tells me I never took her anywhere.