For years my husband and I have tried to talk my parents into taking a cruise with us. They always said no. Finally my younger sister said I should just give it up as they would never go on a cruise. Figuring she was right, I hadn’t asked them in awhile.
Imagine my shock upon receiving an email from my mother saying they had booked a cruise to Alaska on the Holland America Westerdam……..with other relatives. Yup, all booked and done and I wasn’t invited. I did notice my older sister and a single aunt among the people she listed. Correctly assuming the two of them would room together, and assuming this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity due to the extremely slim odds of my parents ever taking a cruise again, I promptly began the attempt to invite myself to room with them.
Why not just book my own room with my husband? While that would have worked well as we could have just booked a room on our own for the same cruise, it did not work this time as he had already made other plans for the week of the family cruise.
Adding yourself onto someone else’s booking is not as easy as it sounds. Apparently the cruise line can’t interfere with a booking done elsewhere, and they had gone through a travel agency. They also had no past cruisers among the original group, and so missed out on the discounts offered to former passengers.
Since none of my usual cruise-booking routes through discount websites or the cruise line would pan out for this trip I called the travel agent the family had used. She set me up as a third in the room, which came at a price break for being an extra person. When the cruise ended, I was pleasantly surprised not to find port fees and taxes on my end-of-the cruise statement. It turned out that those were included in the travel agency price rather than added on at the end as they often are with discount cruises. Definitely something to think about when doing price comparisons in the future.
Our total group included 9 people in 4 staterooms, the most I have ever traveled with. I was very glad they allowed me to come, as I got to meet a cousin I hadn’t seen since we were babies, get acquainted with an uncle I didn’t see much growing up, and to visit with another aunt and uncle we rarely see. Of course I was quite happy to finally have the chance to cruise with my parents, and I had a great time with my sister and the aunt we roomed with.
With that many people we didn’t manage to get everyone in the same place at the same time other than sometimes at dinner, but we did see different people randomly throughout the voyage as well as including as many as wanted to come on some of the shore excursions we took.
I am very grateful that I got this chance to spend time with my extended family, and that we spent that time having a wonderful Alaskan vacation on a very nice cruise ship.