Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Do We Dump Dear Old Dad At Home While We Go Cruising?
Do We Dump Dear Old Dad At Home While We Go Cruising? PDF Print E-mail

Q: We’re planning our annual vacation, and have a problem with Dad. He was always the one to honcho it, as well as pay for everything for all his kids and grandkids. Our annual gathering was usually a group of eight to 16 people. Over the past 20 years, we’ve all gone together with Dad to such great destinations as Disneyland, England, Italy, Branson, France, Ireland, Hawaii and Mexico.

However, ten months ago, 80-year-old Dad suffered a stroke, and besides physical limitations, we don’t believe he can be the alert, active, happy leader of our annual vacation gang. There doesn’t seem to be much hope he’ll ever be the same again, and we’re thinking the unthinkable. No Dad with us this year. Some of us are using the guilt-free excuse that he won’t enjoy it anyhow, while others strongly believe he deserves to come along on what could be his last family vacation.

What should we do?

A: Are you asking an editorial staff of 55 plus seniors to tell you to dump your old Dad at home to watch reruns of Leno while you go on your merry way this summer? And may we assume, of course, that he’s once again paying for your vacation? As King Lear (father of three rotten daughters) lamented, “How like a serpent’s tooth is an ungrateful child!”

Our first reaction was to recommend chaining you to your beds for the summer, but that may seem a bit harsh. On second thought, we can settle the matter with a simple suggestion. Book a cruise for the whole gang. Depending on Dad’s financial and health situation, arrange for a sailing schedule of from just a couple of nights to a week or so.

First of all, if Dad is well enough to board the cruise ship, that would be all he really must do, a great feature of cruises. Get him a cabin or suite with an outside balcony, so he can have privacy for sunning and watching the sea and port visits. You could assign a teenager or unmarried relative to share the suite, so that Dad can be monitored at all times for health, necessary medications and just loving companionship.

Meanwhile, everyone else can take advantage of all the fun activities, dining, swimming, dancing, entertainment, shore excursions and other goodies cruises offer. Assign shifts of a monitor to be with Dad during the day, giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy the cruise.

Of course, if Dad is capable of some activities, there are many aboard he can enjoy, including swimming, hot whirlpool spa, miniature golf, evening entertainment, casino, bingo and others. Additionally, dining these days on cruises doesn’t necessarily have to be at specific times for sit-down meals. Dad can enjoy some eats with the entire gang, as well as smaller gatherings for buffets, dining on deck, catered meals to his cabin and all kinds of snacks.

As for more strenuous cruise activities, such as excursions into port cities, if Dad isn’t up to it, assign a family member to stay aboard with him while others go ashore. If there are dances, entertainment, vigorous games and midnight parties Dad can’t handle, use the same buddy system, giving each relative a fair amount of Dad duty along with lots of other times for fun.

The bottom line is that Dad deserves to enjoy this summer’s family vacation as much as, if not much more than, anyone else. Take this opportunity to give him back some of the consideration, gifts, love and dedication he’s given you guys through all the years.


Mini golf aboard cruise ship

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