Mr. Pike enters a contest at work to name a new product and he wins an all-expenses paid trip for his entire family. They decide to hire Stacey and Mary Anne to go on the trip as mothers’ helpers because they did such a great job in Sea City. When Watson hears about it and also learns that Kristy has never been out of the state, he decides to take his family and the rest of the club. The girls put together a memory book, to give them as a special gift.
Kristy meets this crotchety old man on the ship named Mr. Staples. His wife died a few months ago and this is his first trip out on his own. They bond and she decides to fix him up with Nannie, once she gets home. She also spends much of the book fighting with Dawn because she’s super clean and Kristy is a total slob. They make up though (of course).
Mallory has just finished reading Harriet the Spy and decides her vacation is the perfect time to spy on other people. She spreads a rumor that the famous singer Spider is on the ship and then thinks she sees a stowaway. Later she overhears Alexandra with her parents and brother and tells everyone the truth about her.
Stacey meets this little boy Marc on the ship and discovers that he has a serious heart condition. They bond over her being sick and having to be careful too. She, Claire, Margo and Marc spend a lot of time together. His parents announce at Disney World that he has to have a serious heart operation and the trip was meant to be super great, in case the worst happened. They write her a letter at the end, revealing that he came through it fine.
Mary Anne sees this super cute and “well developed” girl at the beginning of the book. She keeps running across her and learns her name is Alexandra Carmondy. She claims that she’s traveling alone and super rich, but her story keeps changing. She finally admits that her parents are a popular singing rock couple and becomes friends with MA.
Claudia has a secret admirer that keeps following her around. When she can’t afford a pair of mother of pearl earrings, he buys them for her. Then he pays for her admission at the aquarium, buys her ice cream and does some other stuff. She chases after him and meets this guy Timothy, who’s actually Alexandra’s brother. They get along really well and he finally reveals that he was her secret admirer, but didn’t tell her because he was afraid she wouldn’t like him.
Byron gets a few chapters too, talking about pirates and random crap like that. The triplets, Nicky and David Michael find a “treasure map” and start looking for buried treasure everywhere. They think that they find a treasure at Disney World, but it’s actually Dawn’s missing bracelet (which once held her unicorn charm). At the end of the book, a businessman sees their treasure map and they learn it’s really a diagram for a Dutch copy machine.
Dawn sees this super cute guy and drools on herself. When they take a day-long trip, she finds out his name is Parker. Even though she wants to go snorkeling, he wants to spend some time with her, so they take a walk. They start spending a lot more time together and he reveals that his dad recently married and now he has two little brothers. He makes them sound like total jerks, but they get stuck with the boys at Disney World and they’re actually really cute. She buys a unicorn charm and loses it, but then Parker goes back and buys her the same one.
Karen acts like a total pain in the ass and gets several chapters of her own. Kristy lets her go back to get her earplugs and she stops for a drink and a manicure, charging them to her room. I want to see Watson’s face when he got those bills. At Disney World, she loses Elizabeth and has to get a worker to help her. Then she becomes convinced that the ghosts at the Haunted Mansion are following her around. The capper comes when she goes to one of the character breakfasts and lies about it being her birthday. Watson is pissed, but then lets her off the hook because they’re on vacation.
*I always thought it was unfair that Claudia, Kristy and Dawn were basically on vacation, while the other two had to work.
*Who paid for Stacey and Mary Anne? I can’t imagine that Mr. Pike’s company would pay for a travel expenses for 10 people, plus two nannies.
*Mallory is old enough in this book to wander around a cruise ship by herself, but in a few books, she’s not old enough to pick out her own clothes. By the way, I picked out my own clothes years before her.
*Oh and the Pikes let the triplets run loose on the ship too and sometimes let Nicky and David Michael go with them. I get that this was before the rash of kidnappings and stuff, but it still seems unrealistic. I remember my mom freaking out when I was 10 and wanted to walk to the swimming pool by myself, which was 10 feet from our hotel room.
*I’m pretty sure this book taught me about the paid bars in hotel rooms. I remember reading it and then being fascinated with the one on our next trip.
*Claudia dresses Dawn for a date with Parker. She puts her in lavender overalls, matching socks and shoes, a braided leather belt and a white tank top. The description literally gives me a headache.