I don't do well on boats. I should never have taken that glass bottom boat ride in Hawaii that time. There's nothing worse than looking down at fish swimming by while being rocked back and forth on a giant cradle. I left my stomach somewhere between Maui and Kauai.

At the time, I blamed the boat for my green complexion. Then I was invited to board a sailboat for the annual Opening Day on the Bay. I thought it would be fun to enjoy an open-air picnic while watching all the decorated boats and happy sailors at sea. But once again, I spent most of the day hanging over the side and trying to keep my lunch down.

Then our friends talked us into taking a real cruise, so we booked passage for a three-day tour that offered "all you can eat" buffets, fun activities for the kids and beautiful ports of call, like Ensenada. But despite popping Dramamine tablets as if they were chocolates, I felt like I was on a roller coaster at Disneyland. And I get sick just going through the turnstiles.

Last weekend my family thought it would be nice to take the kids on a ride around the San Francisco Bay. My son got us tickets for the Hornblower Champagne Brunch Cruise -- an offer we couldn't refuse, since it was free.

Besides, there was no way I'd miss an afternoon with my grandkids on their first real boat ride. I'd been there for their first train ride, their first airplane ride, their first bike ride and their first mini electric car ride, and I would be there for this, hell or high, choppy water.

We rode BART to the city, made our way to Pier 3 and boarded the luxury yacht with the grandkids in tow. While the grown-ups enjoyed the free-flowing bubbly and loaded buffet, the kids were more excited about going underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and seeing Alcatraz up close and personal. As for me, I was just glad we weren't about to be caught in the middle of the Perfect Storm.

The afternoon turned out to be lovely. We watched the pigeons fly beside the yacht while we listened to the live piano music that enhanced the mood. The grandkids loved choosing their favorite foods from the buffet table (bacon, bacon, more bacon), drinking orange juice out of champagne flutes (only two major spills), and pretending they were pirates on a pirate ship bound for adventure in the open seas.

Luckily, the water was calm, the ride was smooth and food was delicious. I managed to hold down everything from eggs Benedict to banger sausages, carved ham and quiche. I only wished I could have slipped some of the bread pudding into my purse for a later-afternoon snack, but it turned out I wasn't hungry again for two days.

I'm still not ready for a seven-day cruise to Alaska, or even a ferryboat ride to the city, but I think I can handle one of the Hornblower dinner cruises, if they're anything like the brunch cruise.

Only next time I'm booking a berth. Much like Thanksgiving, I need a nap after all that food, fun and family time.

Contact Penny Warner at pennywarner- ink@yahoo.com.