This is required by the Jones Act of 1920, which is still in effect. Basically, ships that aren't constructed or flagged in the U.S. (which is pretty much only 1 active cruise ship on Earth) have to stop in at least 1 non-U.S. port before returning to their point of departure.
Personally I have no problem with this, mainly because it means we get to visit either Prince Rupert or Victoria, both of which are lovely. Unfortunately, due to the distance back to San Francisco, the stop is only a few hours. So we caught a bus into town.
On the way in we passed a gift shop:
|"Well, it does get your attention."|
And a school:
|"Hey, is that Cartman?"|
And the ubiquitous A-word:
Wandering around we went through the venerable Empress Hotel, past parliament, and down to the water before heading back to the ship. The kids bought some crap and, of course, posed at the local curbside stuffed animal.
After dropping things off in the cabins, we went to lunch. Frank didn't show up, but I knew there'd been another late party in the teen lounge. I found him
|"He has a pulse, and appears to be breathing."|
And yes, that thing in the mirror really is a lava lamp. I know it's not uncommon to travel with a nightlight, but my kids insist on bringing a small lava lamp with them everywhere we go.
Each table in the dining room has 2 attendants, the waiter and the assistant waiter.
|"Always two there are, a master and an apprentice."|
The waiter is generally in charge of taking orders, making meal suggestions, bringing out the main course and dessert, chatting with you, and (for some) arguing about Ranch dressing. The assistant waiter is learning to be a waiter, and brings salads, clears dishes, keeps the bread basket and water glasses full, and other stuff.
This includes waving a pepper grinder over everything that’s put in front of you. Our assistant waiter clearly had no idea of what Americans do or don’t want pepper on, as he offered it to me over soup, salad, entrees, desserts, coffee, bread rolls, the butter tray... pretty much everything. If he wasn’t trying to pepper it, he was stalking me with a Parmesan grater. Due to his aggressive attempts to add flavoring, he became the only non-family member to spill the water. He was trying to pepper Marie's Bucket-O-Ranch when Frank's phone startled him by answering, and he bumped into the glass.
Leaving the dining room tonight, Marie handed me a mint (Grumpy's law: if someone offers you a breath mint, take it). To my surprise, the mints were Bipolar.
|"Are they made with Lithium?"|