Jakob, my seventh grandchild, turned 13 earlier this year. According to Jewish tradition he became a bar mitzvah in early March. My gift to him was to take him on a cruise.
Alaska was my initial destination, but the thought of climbing on a helicopter and then hiking on the glacier or white water rafting, was a little more daunting than when I took his oldest cousin on a similar trip 15 years ago. The Dawn Princess was wonderful, Alaska was exciting, but I was 15 years younger and that frontier spirit is not quite as important to me now as it was then.
Home is South Florida and I’ve done the Caribbean many, many, many times. In the late 80s and early 90s I wrote Caribbean guidebooks and spent many delightful weeks in the islands. Most of my grandchildren have sailed with me on a variety of Caribbean itineraries on Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean cruise ships. When Jakob was four he sailed aboard Crystal Serenity with my husband and me, his parents and his infant brother.
My favorite spot in the entire world is the UK. London, my favorite city.
I have been to London about as often as I’ve sailed the Caribbean, but I keep returning. Wow, I thought one day, “How about taking Jakob to London and coming back aboard the Queen Mary 2?” I approached my son and daughter-in-law who liked the idea and told me Jakob wasn’t thrilled at the concept of Alaska, then all systems were go.
That was several months ago.
Now we’re going.
We fly out on Thursday on Virgin Atlantic, will spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday in London and board the Cunard flagship Monday about noon. We have tickets for the London Eye, for the hot musical “Matilda” and will do the on-off bus tour the first day. Jakob is making Harry Potter sounds, and I’m hoping we can get discounted tickets for another show. We’ll work it out, but yes, even after all these years, I’m getting excited.
He may not remember the Crystal Serenity cruise when he was four, but the transatlantic crossing – at 13 – is sure to be one to remember.
And this doting grandmother, who has been traveling with grandkids for more than 20 years, is sure to find this one memorable as well.