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by Abigail Van Buren

Fight Over Luggage Throws a Wrench in Plans for a Cruise

DEAR ABBY: I paid $5,000 for a seven-day cruise with my grandkids. All I asked was for them to pack a carry-on and a backpack. My granddaughter and son are having a problem with it. I tried explaining that I'm handicapped and do not want to check a large bag for her because it's a convenience issue. There's laundry service onboard the ship.

When I went to help her pack, my son said I was being unreasonable, and is now threatening to cancel our time with our grandchildren! My husband and I are heartbroken. He ordered us to leave his home and said we were being ridiculous! I don't know what to think.

Am I being unreasonable? We never told them how much we have spent. We just explained that a checked bag would cause us more stress. We also rented a compact car for after our cruise to take the grands, who are 15 and 16, to the mall and a theme park. We don't understand the big deal. -- CRUISER GRANDMA

DEAR CRUISER: Your letter proves the truth of the adage "no good deed goes unpunished." To say your son overreacted would be an understatement.

As hosts, you and your husband have the right to issue some guidelines. Inexperienced travelers are often tempted to overpack, and that appears to be true here. If you haven't raised the subject with your son of the cost of the cruise and your worry about hauling around large pieces of luggage in the small rented car, you should. At least then he will understand why you have given "the grands" a limit. If they want to bring larger bags, the kids should be responsible for paying whatever additional cost there might be. At 15 and 16, both should also be able to lug around their own suitcases. It's a teaching opportunity!

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