Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All Aboard!

We spent quite a bit of time on the ship. After our port day in Sydney we had 2 days at sea before arriving in New Zealand. We spent 7 days at ports in NZ where we got off each day and then we spent a day cruising the Sounds in NZ which was absolutely amazing before 2 final days at sea on our way back to Sydney. There were not a lot of things for us to do since Grace wasn't able to swim (you have to be potty trained) and we are not 70. Dustin tried his hand at trivia a couple of times and Grace had her play group every morning and then on sea days had an arts and craft session. I went to a scrapbooking class one day and almost every sea day there was some sort of culinary demonstration. There was also a Men's Belly Flop Competition and a Sexy Leg Competition (for men) which were both pretty hilarious (and somewhat disgusting!!). There was a Caribbean style band that played by the pool most afternoons and Grace loved to sit (or run!) out there in the shade and dance. There was also a soft serve ice cream machine next to where we would always try to claim a table which was pretty entertaining to watch. I don't think old people know how to fill their cones. It took each of them several minutes so the line would always move so slow. They never pulled the lever down far enough so the ice cream would barely flow. The people behind me were always impressed when I produced a large, perfect cone in about 20 seconds. I think they probably thought that I used to work at McDonald's.

{waiting for ice cream}

Almost every sea day there was a barbecue by the pool. On the last day we had some yummy tacos!! One thing they had at all of the barbecues but never at any other meal was corn on the cob, which is one of my favorite vegetables (one of the only veggies I will eat). Normally, I would claim a table and Dustin would go grab a plate for Grace and I and then go back for his. When Grace saw the corn on the cob she didn't want anything else. I think for lunch the last day she had 2 cobs before she would eat her chicken! We had people constantly running into us and telling us they had been watching Grace eat. A couple of ladies were watching her eat her afternoon snack (a banana) and were laughing at how she took such big bites. I started joking around that Grace could get a contract with the cruise line because she kept the guests entertained. I think we could have made some money by charging people a few bucks to take a picture with her!

Ever since before Grace's birthday I have been wanting to take her to build a bear. Well, on the ship they had a Pets at Sea booth. I finally talked Dustin into letting her make a stuffed animal because it would be a great souvenir. We went on the first sea day and picked out a kangaroo.

{stepping on the pedal to fill the kangaroo}

{almost finished}

{Grace and Skippy}

Her kangaroo was a lot bigger than it looked in the picture but she loves it. Now I can ask her "where is Skippy" and she will go find him! Skippy is the name of a kangaroo on an Australian TV show similar to Lassie.

One of our favorite parts of being on the ship was dinner time! We ate in the dining room all but one night. The night we decided to go to the buffet we were a bit disappointed in it and our waitstaff missed us. They told us the next night that they had been waiting on us and Grace's throne and her fruit bowl was all ready for her. We had the my time dining which meant we could eat anytime from 5:30-8:30 but we were always there around 5:30. We ate at the same table and had the same waitstaff each night.

{Us at dinner}

We sat next to a window and had some pretty amazing views each night. We would normally pull out of port a little after 6:00 so we could watch the land go by as we ate!

{leaving Sydney}

Grace had a huge buffet of food each night! I think she normally had about 9-10 different food items - fruit, bread, 4-7 green veggies, potatoes or rice, chicken or some other main dish, and then dessert.

{A normal dinner on the cruise}
As soon as we would sit down they would be bringing her a bowl of fruit and bread. She loved the little hard pieces with sesame seeds. Then they would bring out her plate of greens. They normally do not serve green peas in the dining room (I think I saw them on the menu once) but we had seen them on the buffet at lunch so we asked. After that every single night they arranged for her to have peas. One day at lunch our head waited saw us and went and cooked her up some peas! He always came by to make sure she had gotten peas for dinner.

{Grace's green veggies}
Dinner was always followed by dessert! Grace would normally get a cookie or ice cream. We learned that she does not like jello and she won't eat much of a chocolate chip cookie but will eat an entire chocolate cookie. She is very independent when it comes to eating and wants to do it all by herself. She has gotten pretty good at using her spoon and fork!

{MMmmm... Delicious!}

She loved to RUN and CLIMB. She is pretty good at going up the stairs. She never did try to go down the stairs which is probably a good thing. Once we were on deck 6 and she made it almost all the way to deck 10!

{wearing my dress for the very last time... it is getting to be too short!}

Grace really liked all of our waitstaff. By the end of the cruise she was being carried to the table!

She really enjoyed all of the attention she got from them!

{our waiter, Lester, holding Grace and one of our Maitre D's}

{smiling at the waiters}

{Grace and Blanca, an assistant server for another section but she always stopped by our table}

{our other Maitre D, Boots Mary, Grace, and our assistant waiter, Nie}

When we weren't eating we were usually chasing Grace around. We made it a point to take her to playgroup each morning unless we were in port. There were 3 days we went to the Crayola Beginnings session and we went to read bedtime stories several times. Grace was normally the only child as all of the sessions. There was a little girl, Allie, who is 3 months older than Grace who came to 2 of the craft sessions and to playgroup a couple of times. The program uses Fisher Price toys so there were a lot of Little People which she really likes playing with. They even let us check out bags of toys for our room!!
I think we enjoyed the sessions as much as she did because we were able to talk to people our own age!

{the fish she made at a Crayola Beginnings session}
The Baby Gymnastics theme was her favorite! They only have 6 different themes to choose from for each age group (6-18 months and 18-36 months) so they had to do some of them twice so she got to play with the gymnastics toys twice! Occasionally they would pull out a theme from the older group so she could have some different toys.

And another favorite thing was coming back to our room after dinner to find a towel creation!

On the last day we went to a towel folding demonstration and they gave out instructions. I have still not tried to see if I can duplicate any of the animals.

{the biggest creation of all}
We also went to a few culinary demonstrations. We missed the ice sculpting because Grace was having fun at playtime and we stayed for the older age group session (Grace was the only one that EVER made it to that session).
{carved watermelons}

Then I went on a tour of the galley. It was pretty neat seeing where they prepare the food that we eat every night!

{Chef's getting things ready for lunch}

A lot of people have been asking how Grace did on the plane. I think that is the second question I get from everyone. The first being did we have a good time. Grace was wonderful the entire trip. We couldn't have asked anymore of her. We had the bulk flight for both long flights and Grace is just barely small enough to fit in the bassinet. As soon as we took off on the first flight she was asleep. We had to wake her up before we landed to feed her because the flight attendant had put her food in coffee cups when we asked if she would be able to heat it. If we didn't feed her before we got off the plane she wouldn't have had any food left because we couldn't take it with us. On the long flight she was asleep when we got on the plane and slept up until 2 hours before we landed (which was about 7:30 back home). She only got fussy the last 15 minutes of the flight because she wanted to run and we couldn't get up. On the flight home she slept the entire time and she was able to stay in the bassinet the entire flight. The flight to Sydney they kept making us take her out because of turbulence. And she slept for probably half of our last flight!


Patty Patterson said...

What wonderful memories! And I can't wait to meet Skippy! How cute! I'm glad Grace had such a wonderful time and you got to see so many interesting places and things. And I'm glad to hear that Grace can climb because my new climber and slide are much bigger than they appear in pictures, too. Can't wait to see you!

JG said...

Sounds like lots of fun! Grace looks like she's on cloud 9 :) Can't wait to hear more.


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