Bautista: All together

BY NOW, most would know how adventurous a family we are. We have travelled together in more ways than one. Mom and dad in their seventies never seem to slow down, be it with the Jaycees or Scouting. A trip here and there and everywhere.

A trip is always planned ahead. Never is it where some trip will be sudden. It is always planned. Every Sunday the family will meet for nilagang baka. This is where all the ideas come from. Where to go and what to do. Normally it is a year before any trip.

Planning ahead for any trip may get the most out of any trip. A promotion, a discount, a special offer and most of all a time to adjust or change for anything that might come along. The last though hardly happens. The trip will happen.

Yes, it is always the year before when we hatch for an adventure. It is the silliest ideas that come to fore. Mom and Dad always take on any challenge. Although we tend to slow down a little bit for Dad, not for Mom. But Dad will join every time. It must be for the food, I would.

Last year, we realized that while we had made our family plans on our own, we were reminded of Mom and Dad celebrating their 50th together this year. We just had to cancel all our previous plans. Mine was for my family to head to the Northwest Americas up Canada. It has been an impending plan for many years now. Last was a decade ago.

Friends and family have often wondered when again can we visit them. It has changed every time. And changes made are because of these big family trips. Only for this, if not then we continue on. And in some occasions this small family trips become the big family trip. The very reason why we plan earlier. Sometimes the small family trips seem to be the one for the big family. Then we go.

But for this small family trip we are made aware of Mom and Dad on their 50th. No small trips for this definitely. Only local trips if ever for this year for the small family trips. The big family trip has to be a big trip, and big it was.

We decided for the first time for the family to take a cruise, all 20 plus of us. We find one. One that didn't have to take us abroad for it. It was local. No visa applications required for it. We were sold.

We soon learned that it was 50 off for senior citizens, wow the perfect gift for Mom and Dad. Then we were told that children of 12 years and below will travel for free. Children accompanying their Mom and Dad will be discounted too. We must have a go. Go we did.

This cruise will be perfect. Any cruise in fact. A cruise will not require any additional budget for food and lodging. Everything is included. A plus is that we will all be together.

It will be six rooms it will be for us, four in each room, five radios are distributed, for each family. All in the 5th deck of the ship. Meal time will vary as each can have a meal on their own perfect time.

The food areas are open and serve continuously until past midnight. There's breakfast from 6 to 9, brunch at 9:30-11, lunch till 2, tea time at 2:30 and dinner then supper at 9:30-12:30 every time. I thought supper was dinner. Not the same apparently.

Except for April 7 and 8, we were all required to have a sit down dinner with a set menu with the whole family. Just steak or lobster. We did find each other for coffee or tea every once in awhile. My kids mostly enjoyed the breads and desserts. Joy, all the fruits. I ate pretty much of everything. I enjoyed mostly the fresh greens. I found amazing all their salad dressings even the thousand island, which I always dread in salad. The tuna spread was something I looked forward to during suppers.

Getting there was already exciting as we chartered a whole bus from Victory Liner for us. We realized that it would cost more for us with 5 vehicles for gas, drivers and toll gate. We could have been worried if a family was delayed for whatever reason. Here we all traveled all together. We have a driver and conductor plus a stewardess all to our beck and call. Reclining seats and a personal multimedia system, a first of its kind, just for us and the free WiFi too.

We were all picked up in Mansion House. Parked all our vehicles in JB's place for this trip until we return. Another bus was to accommodate us to the ship and back too at no cost for this cruise.

We could never be all together for a trip to Europe or the States. This was a first for us all. All together.
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