February 15, 2020

Cruisin' Grandparents

Our first cruise as grandparents. And the score is: 10/10! Yes we'd do it again.

Cruisin' Grandparents

Damon & Macall invited us to join them on a 5 day cruise from LA to Cabo. Of course we said yes!

This is the first time we've 'cruised' as grandparents. Here's what happened:

Day 1

After boarding the ship we start exploring. Right into our first meal. We take pictures of each other at the same time as we prepare to eat our first morsels.

We explore the ship and walk through the casino. I keep "threatening" Mitzi that I'm going to start an addiction. Gambling is my favorite tease and something I've never done. So I pull the lever of an out-of-service machine and declare: "I'm not addicted, I can stop anytime!"

We explore the adult-only Sanctuary. Quiet, comfortable, and worthy of two thumbs up. Mitzi is a beautiful and fun traveling companion.

All the meat in the buffet is calling to me. I want to try some. So I put some selected items on my plate and go sit down for a taster. Pretty good, but I really want to keep my heart working so I go easy and don't finish all of it.

We explored the ship for two hours with our luggage. As we make our way to the state room, we are going down 5 flights of stairs. I ask Mitzi to let me carry her luggage because even with the extra weight, having a balanced load is a net positive. I'm so excited to be able to walk without pain (our 3 week cruise across the Atlantic 18 months ago my foot was in extreme pain and I couldn't walk) that I grab both bags and hussle down the stairs. Mitzi takes a commemorative photo.

We meet with with Damon, Macall, Navy and Cobalt. We are so excited to be on this cruise with them!

Mitzi is a wonderful grandma! She brought a few fun books to do with Navy. This is a pet sticker book and Navy's loving it.

As we pull out of port Mitzi captures this beautiful view.

Dinner time and clink clink another drink! "Cheers" Navy said.

Enjoying her macaroni and cheese, Navy has so many adorable expressions.

Mitzi ordered a Grilled Basa. Our favorite entré of the night, it had a mango salsa with quinoa and was delicious!

Cobalt is intensely watching this kids show that Damon & Macall hate. It's about the only guaranteed thing that keeps him still so they occasionally pull it on – only given in small doses and it really works!

What a fun family. Yes, Cobalt is still focused 100% on his little show.

After dinner we head to the kid's area hoping to let Navy and Cobalt run around and let off some steam. We think it may have just genned them up more though! In this action shot Cobalt is literally squirming around on Macall's shoulders.

Day 2

Princess Cruises attempted to break a Guiness World Record today for most vow renewals at sea. They needed to break the record of 1,201. Mitzi and I decided a few weeks ago to participate –"let's live a little" we said :)

We gathered in the theatre with other couples, waiting to be escorted up to the pool deck where the cermony would be held. They had the red lights on either for Valentines & love, or because it was a red light district simulation – we're not sure.

The woman in the couple sitting in front of us needed a little help getting her flower pinned on. Her doting husband was very kind to help her out.

Up on the pool deck gorgeous Mitzi and I take a selfie and Damon doesn't make the edit.

We await the vow renewal ceremony. Sheesh we are a good looking couple!

As the ceremony gets ready to start we spot our couple from the theater. The doting husband is helping by ... we actually are not sure how he is helping her this time. His hat is pretty cool!

They were very serious about doing a correct count. This staff member herded us all to the side of the deck, them as he moved us to the rail he counted couples. You can see this was serious business!

As we were waiting for the vow renewal ceremony I asked Mitzi to dance with me. I said, "If there is fun to be had, why wouldn't we?" Mitzi laughed at that. It's fun to surprise her with the unexpected :)

We enjoyed the little dance.  A kind older woman rushed over and asked if we would like her to take the picture. This was the second time she'd done that. She also took the picture of us a few above this one.

As we were waiting for the actual ceremony I said to Mitzi, "Regardless of what they have us say, I want you to know that when I married you and now, I am 100% committed to you and to being the best husband I can be. And I mean literally 100%." That's my vow. The ceremony thing was a little more poetic but what I told her comes straight from my heart.

We were hungry after the ceremony so we returned to our little café and got some sandwiches. This is the aftermath.

After lunch we went back to our room and enjoyed the view and sun on our private balcony. Mitzi snapped this thinking I looked pretty good. I'm getting more relaxed and less uptight in this new life!

Then I was laying on the recliner and from Mitzi's vantage point it looked like I was sunbathing in the nude! She laughed and laughed as she took this picture and showed me how it appeared.

Mitzi loves the open ocean and this view. We are grateful for a balcony where we can enjoy it so much.

As we all headed in to dinner we captured this picture. We love this little family and are so grateful to be enjoying this cruise with them! Cobalt just doesn't stop moving, there is no point in even trying to get him to pose. Navy on the other loves the camera and is all over being darling.

During dinner Navy was in the mood to lick things.

My dessert was a wonderful combination of smooth chocolate, crunch chocolate, and presentation. Certainly picture worthy!

After dinner the lighting was perfect and we took pictures. We love this family!

We love these grandchildren!

Mitzi spent some time with Macall and the grandchildren in their state room. Here's a candid shot.

Mitzi and I went to the main theater for the show. This is a very large ship and a very large theater. We love doing this cruise thing together.

Day 3

We arrived in Cabo at 11a today. Mitzi and I were taking it easy while Damon & Macall got busy and got over to land at noon. We on the other hand joined them after eating some lunch, and waiting a while for the tender boat to take us over.

We were going to take them some sandwiches but the Princess Cruise guys at the café said we weren't allowed to take food off the boat. Rats.

This little café seems to be our go-to place for lunch each day! I decided to add Tabasco to my sandwich. Mitzi has been wondering since Monday when I would do that. Today she found out :)

After we got off the tender Mitzi needed to get a hat to block the sun. She tried this one on for me, since I liked it. But it was too small and she ended up going with a different one, but similar.

We had to walk 1.5 miles all the way around the harbor to get to the beach. Damon and Macall had carried their children and their gear. They had been there two hours by the time we arrived. The children were having a great time. Mitzi is a REALLY GOOD GRANDMA!

Navy basically shoveled sand for three hours today! She had buried a couple little plastic fish in this pile of sand so her and Mitzi dug them out again.

Mitzi snapped this picture to show that at least one time I carried Cobalt on my shoulders and walked Navy along. Proof, yay! :)

The children got tired on the way back to the tender boats. I carried Cobalt on my shoulders about half the distance then needed Damon Jr to take over. Macall carried Navy the entire way! When we got to the boat I said to Macall, "I don't care how they measure super-moms, but you are one! This one feat alone of carrying an almost 4 year old child all that distance means you are one!" As we got in line to board the tender boat Damon and I were talking, walking behind Mitzi carrying a tired Navy and Macall carrying a revived Cobalt.

We got split up on the tender boat so I took a picture of Damon. This is what a tender boat transfer looks like in 2020 :)

We got together at dinner at 5p. Mitzi had an iced peach soup. Navy didn't want to eat it but after sitting on Mitzi's lap, and Mitzi encouraging her to try it, she took a tentative tiny sip. "I like it!" she said and continued to eat it.

When Mitzi's spagetti and meatballs arrived I wanted to take a picture. Navy got in the shot and what can I say, she's just so fun to have in photos!

Tonight we decided to attend a gameshow at 9p in the Princess Live! studio. I asked Mitzi if I could get her a drink and she said, "A virgin piña colada". I got a ginger ale. That piña colada was smooth and strong and mmmmm so good!

We had a fun 3rd day with a lot of walking, spending good time with Damon & Macall & the grandkids, good food, and fun entertainment.

Day 4

We took it pretty easy today. So did Damon & Macall. Mitzi and I ate a light breakfast, worked-out in the fitness center, then grabbed a light lunch. Mitzi has been getting these hot ham croissant sandwiches each day. They are quite good! I had a hazelnut chocolate mousse and watermelon salad.

We didn't do much else until we met at 5p for dinner. Macall had ordered some kind of meat wrapped in bacon for the appetizer. When it came she was surprised by how thick it was, how grey it was, and how unappetizing it looked. I had to get a shot, it was rather revolting haha.

Macall was pretty saturated having dealt with Cobalt all day so I offered to take him out when the main course came so she could eat in peace and enjoy her meal.

He played on the stairs on level 6 and 7, then wanted to ride the elevator. We ended up on the 16th floor pool deck which also happens to be the lido deck with the buffet. Walking through I noticed some Brazilian Feijoada and I had to have some! Cobalt has very definitive food preferences. So I was surprised when, after offering him some of the black beans, he liked it and wanted more!

Cobalt and I had a grand time. He was a great companion and didn't give me any trouble at all. Macall was feeling better when we returned 20 minutes later and we proceeded with desert. Cobalt is such an intense and active little boy, his frozen expressions are so fun Mitzi and I just keep taking pictures of him! Mitzi and Navy had some spoon wars!

After dinner we all headed to our state room to visit. Mitzi is such a great grandma. She brought out the water color and sticker books and played with Navy for a couple hours while the rest of us visited and had a nice conversation.

Damon was telling me how Cobalt was rather stubborn and determined. When he gets something in his mind he just keeps at it relentlessly. As he was telling me this, Cobalt had climbed inside the little table with a glass top. He tried to sit up but his head kept hitting the glass.

He wanted to sit up and kept trying and trying, getting madder and madder that he couldn't. I was able to capture the essence of his determination and also frustration.

Later he was holding his teddy bear and it was sweet, showing yet another side of his personality. These still shots don't really do justice to portraying how he just doesn't stop moving. He really doesn't stop moving!

While Mitzi and Navy were playing, Navy kept walking by two chocolate hearts that were near the bed. She had her eye on them. Eventually she grabbed them, slid under the covers of the bed, and a minute later her little hand emerged and tossed the red tin-foil wrappers onto the floor. Mitzi got such a great laugh out of this! Lesson learned: Navy loves chocolate :)

At 10p Mitzi and I attended the Encore presentation in the theater. I had never been in a live performance with a live opera soprano and wow it was actually amazing! The power and precision of her voice was captivating, riveting, and quite amazing.

Mitzi and I have greatly enjoyed going out in the evening and doing activities together. Our lives together are pretty much a great perpetual date :)

So to wrap up today I'll tell a funny story. We ran across Damon and Navy eating lunch on the pool deck. So we sat down and joined them. In the course of the conversation I mentioned how it was strange that it took 48 hours to get to Cabo from Los Angeles but would take only 13 hours to get back.

Damon looked a little confused so I said, we get back tomorrow morning at 6a. He said actually we get back on Saturday, we have a full day and night at sea tomorrow.

What? Mitzi and I couldn't believe it, but it's true. We arrive in LA on Saturday, not Friday. So just like that we gained a whole extra day of this fun cruise. And also were reminded how dangerous we are in our post-widowed state. We know just enough to know we have pretty much lost our minds :)

Day 5

I had this text thread with Damon this morning:

So we grabbed a quick bite them met them in the hot tub. We had a great time!

The movie Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again was playing on the large screen. This is one of Lizzie's favorite movies and I've watched it five times with her. We've enjoyed doing that together. Now I have a fun memory of seeing that movie with Lizzie and then singing along to it while we are in the hot tub on a cruise with Damon & Macall's family.

The children were a bit tired from the swimming so Mitzi carried Navy back down the stairs.

After swimming we worked out in the fitness center, then had a little tiny snacky snack. These were Mitzi's treats but we both modeled them. Mitzi definitely is the better looking model :) Off topic, but my beard was driving me crazy today so I shaved it off tonight. I can only handle about 5 to maybe 6 days of growth before off it goes.

Our afternoon was relaxing. We took turns taking a bath in our nice bath tub. I spent two hours in there. And during that time wrote and published my Valentine's letter to Mitzi.

Tonight at dinner they recognized the staff who prepared and made all the meals, It's such a highlight of the cruise, having a nice meal each nice. They had us waving napkins. From Navy's expression, which the camera didn't capture too well, it seemed like she thought it was kind of strange that everyone was waving their napkins around. We had a good time doing it.

We are sad the cruise is over tomorrow. It's been a wonderful trip. Mitzi is a great traveling partner and we so enjoyed spending lots of time with Damon/Macall/Navy/Cobalt and have great conversations and many laughs and smiles with them!