Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cruise: Maui: day two

breakfast on the balcony

We have breakfast in out on our balcony most mornings, brought by the butler. Well, we have to find something for the butler to do. And it cuts down the number of meals in restaurants we have to have with the kids. At age four, one restaurant meal a day is about the limit of Kasia's good behavior. So we have a good breakfast, some kind of snack around 1 or 2; then supper.

I have generally enjoyed the ship’s food, though I am lead to understand by more experienced cruisers that the food is not up to the usual standard, especially in the premium dinning rooms which require reservations and additional cover charges. I found they tended to fall down on some of the tiny details that distinguish five star restaurants. For example, I was twice handed menus where grease stains obscured portions of the page, which one wouldn’t expect in anything above a roadside diner; and the Italian restaurant provided quite poor service, screwing up the order (forgetting some items, bringing appetizers with the main course, bringing kids food after the adults; kids’ drinks appearing just in time for desert, etc.). Mary found the food in the premium dinning rooms a bit predictable, lacking complexity of five star dining.
the infamous espresso machine

Similarly, there are very minor problems with the suite. The chief annoyance for Mary is that her upgraded espresso machine doesn’t actually work – the first day it ground the beans and dispensed a fresh cup, but has refused to work ever since. A regular drip peculator that actually worked would have been better. I noticed that there was supposed to be a glass door between the toilet and the washbasin, though it’s absence is not a major issue since we just close the door to the bathroom.

Anyway, after breakfast, Kasia went to Kid's Crew, and Mary and Tigana went shopping in Maui, while I took the morning off staying on board to process pictures, blog, and so on.
Kid's Crew facility

Having spent the previous week with just us, Kasia has missed Montessori school and interaction with her peers and so has begged more time in KidsClub on board the cruise ship. Mary, ever the stragetic planner, anticipated this reaction and planned our trip to end on the cruise precisely so the kids would let us get a few evenings to ourselves. The 2 to 5 year old club seems to do a lot of very simple stuff that really engages the kids, such as dressing up as clowns (“circus night”) or superheros (“superhero night”) and then parading through the ship in costume. (The same procedure seems to work well with the 21-30 crowd who are similarly marched through the ship by their wranglers wearing Hawaiian shirts and shouting “pub crawl”.) When I had to pull Kasia out of KidsClub “bluesclues mystery morning” yesterday for our Whale Watching Cruise, she was quite put out.

In the afternoon, Tigana entered one of the cruise director's contests and won a medal for "best splash", beating a 150lb kid. There followed several hours of swimming, and in the evening Mary and I fed the kids, dropped them off (at their insistence) at Kid's Crew again, and ate a satisfactory dinner at the Lazy J steakhouse, another of the ships upcharge restaurants. This time the service was excellent, the steaks so-so -- but then, we're from Alberta, so it is hard to meet our standards for steak.

Ship's pool

The kids love swimming in the pools, a mixed blessing from my non-swimmer’s viewpoint. Kasia has taken to throwing herself off the edge and swimming lengths, a process somewhat complicated by the fact that she can’t actually swim. But she has made impressive progress in the last two weeks towards actual swimming, diving fearlessly to touch the bottom of the pool, then surfacing on her own for air, then going under to splash forward a couple of feet, then up for air, etc. until she has traversed the pool. She just needs occasionally to grasp some handy fixture (usually my conveniently placed arm) to pull herself up when she has miscalculated and needs to come up for air immediately, and I’m just not certain that she has realized that she can’t always count on something being there if Mary or I are not in the pool with her. I have endeavored not to allow her to see my constant state of terror during these activities, however, as I have no wish for her to inherit my paralyzing fear of water. But maybe a little common sense anxiety would be better than her fearless overconfidence?

in one of the ship's 4 hot tubs

Part of Kasia's problem, the Basils suggested, is that her earlier experiences with reflex anoxic seizures has taught her that if you stop breathing it is okay because you just start up again a couple of minutes later. That this does not actually apply under water may not have quite penetrated. I also worry when Kasia tries to throw herself off the side of the pool into the freezing water before I can get to the pool, since one of the triggers for RAS is sudden cold water on the face. (Though Kasia has been seizure-free for a couple of years now....but it's not the sort of thing you want to risk in a pool.)

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