Friday, January 27, 2006

Last Day to Day

Wednesday January 25, 2006
Our last day at sea. We leisurely wake up and head upstairs to the buffet for breakfast. I got a tip form Jan that I can ask for French toast even if it isn’t on the buffet. Hot Damn! It is off to trivia for mom and over to the culinary demonstration for me. Very well done. The executive chef, the Maitre D’ and one of the Head Waiters put on quite a show. Of course I wouldn’t eat anything they made but they were a good comedy trio. The tour through the actual galley was pretty boring since there was nothing happening in there at the time. Back over to mom and we hit the sale from the boutique. Everything is from the last cruise this ship took to Alaska and doesn’t interest me much; I do find a cute new purse though for only $10. Back upstairs for a nap then it is time for a pizza lunch. It is our second formal night tonight and the menu looks pretty fancy. Lobster tail, Pheasant and Beef Wellington. Hmmm…. Dinner is now over (way over it’s 1am!) and the Beef Wellington was ok and of course my sundae was excellent! Thank you Luis! Near the end of dinner Julie (our awesome Sr. Assistant Cruise Director) introduced all of the galley and wait staff and had them parade around the dining room while we twirled our napkins in appreciation. It was quite a show. Following dinner was the last production show with a tribute to Broadway. They did some Cabaret, Oklahoma, Grease and Phantom. It was fabulous as usual. A little sing a long with Kemble then a very embarrassing game of Name That Tune. When the game is over we notice they have started building the champagne waterfall. It is approximately 20 “stories” with over 700 glasses. They surround the bottom with Alsta Mira flowers and place a grape in each of the outside glasses. When it is complete they begin a countdown to the pouring and everyone throws streamers when they get to 0 and the Maitre d’ begins to pour the champagne. He gets it started and has people line up to help him and get their picture taken. The Cruise Staff has begun dancing in the Purser’s lounge as I head to the elevator to go back upstairs when mom is I run into Luis our waiter and we dance for a moment. He offers me champagne and then realizes I am too young. I told you he was a nice guy! Mom and I watch everything happening for about a half hour then head up to our room. I make my nightly trip to the sad buffet and once again find nothing of interest. You can get a mouthful of sugar anytime you want, but there is never a sign of anything salty! Room service to the rescue! A yummy order of French fries hits the spot.

Thursday January 26, 2006
The most beautiful blue water I have ever seen! We sleep in a little and have a quick breakfast at the buffet. A WINNING round of trivia, thanks to mom’s knowledge of Polish and then it’s off to the shore. We are tendering again and it is quite a long ride. Okay, it’s only 15 minutes but it feels long and luxurious actually with the blue water surrounding you, the sea breeze blowing through your hair and the salt air clearing your lungs, even if it is in a dirty old lifeboat. Princess Cays is a beach on Eluethera Island a part of the Bahamas. Princess rents the beach form the city and has chairs, cabanas, shops and such set up for a day’s port. It is very nice. Mom and I went off and I did a bit of shopping while she sat and read her book. I found a beautiful Bahamas bell and some jewelry for friends. But again no house for mom. We didn’t stay to have lunch with Rita because the walk to the buffet they had set up was too far for mom with nothing but chaise lounges in between to sit. A tender ride back to the ship and it is an awesome lunch of chicken breast sandwiches and French fries at the grill on deck. I decide to lay in the sun for a while and mom reads/naps in her chair. Back downstairs for mom to start packing and I am off to the Internet cafĂ© to print our boarding passes for the flight to Detroit tomorrow. Others had the same idea, I have never seen that place so crowded and I have spent quite a bit of time in there. Time for me to start packing. I seem to have quite a bit more than I came with. That could pose a problem. Thankfully mom has room in her suitcase and is willing to loan me some space. Another round of trivia (losing) and then up to the donation lounge. I haven’t written much about the “donation lounge”, also know as the casino. Everything here is a lounge, the Atrium Lounge, The Vista Lounge so the staff refers to the casino as the donation lounge. Mom and I spent some time in there each day, not long and never really spending more than $10 each time. And always one of us took out more than we put in. So far I am up $35 and I think mom is up $15. Not too shabby for 10 days and a casino that boasts about having penny machines now. 2! They have about 24-nickel machine and a dozen quarters. The newest nickel I have never played before was the absolute nicest to me. I love GARFIELD! I took out $45 from him last night. I won $50 on the Enchanted Forest (kissing the frogs) on the second or third night here. We do well tonight and take out more than we put in and get ready to head downstairs for dinner. It is America night. The waits staff is all festive in flag vests and bow ties. There are red, white and blue balloons on every table. It is exciting as well as sad; this will be our “last supper”. Luis and Emelina are again on top form, and for once everyone at our table got something different to eat. Mom got Whitefish, Rita got NY strip, Kadreya got Scallops and I got Prime Rib (end cut of course). When most were finished eating the Jr. Waiters (Emelina) paraded around the dining room in the dark carrying huge Baked Alaska’s. It was really cool! Everyone but me gets that for dessert but Luis brings me my regular ice cream. Back upstairs to finish packing and then down for the last big show of the trip. I’m sitting at the bar as I type this, I’m afraid I will forget things if I don’t put them down the same day. Following this show is the passenger talent show, I told mom she brought the wrong daughter for that, but I will gladly watch others.

The Cruise Staff is comprised of the Cruise Director (think Julie from the Love Boat) John (England), the Senior Assistant Cruise Director Julie (Australia) and the Cruise Staff Lindsey (Canada), Theresa (Canada), Belinda (Australia), Mark (England) and Dan (England). We spent a lot of time with all of them since they are in charge of all entertainment including trivia and games. My first encounter with the staff was the tour on the first day with DJ Dan. He conducted the tour of the ship and was very welcoming to all of us newcomers. We met the others throughout the first couple days at trivia’s and such. They also came to know us. Each of the staffers was interested in talking to the passengers and makes everyone feel very comfortable and relaxed. Mark is the new kid on the ship. He came from another ship previously, and there was some fun teasing of him. Lindsey from Vancouver a professed Hockey fanatic missed a Scattegories question for the letter H category sports. She has yet to live that down. Theresa reminds me of a teacher from Muir who is also from Canada and I think in some way they may be related. Belinda is a sprite little thing with so much energy it makes me tired just watching her do things. John wasn’t seen much except for MC’ing some of the shows. He always had a funny anecdote each time. Julie was the most inviting and genuine person I have ever met. She was absolutely lovely to everyone and always had a smile even through her terrible cold.

The bartenders are a force to be reckoned with. The moment we walked on the ship they had my number. There was a man sticking a diet coke in my face enticing me to buy his promotion. You betcha! $40.00 for all you can drink soda. They put a sticker on my cruise id card and away I go. By the third or fourth day I didn’t have to show my card to most bartenders. By the sixth day I had sodas waiting for me wherever I would go. Bernardo had one at the bar for me in the Vista Lounge when a show was going to start. Most of our trivia’s occurred in the Atrium Lounge. Elliott and Carlos have diet cokes handy whenever trivia or a game is on schedule. I will really miss this awesome service.

Taste Testing:
I mentioned before that before this trip began I vowed to start tasting things that I assumed I didn’t like. Lo and behold I was right on most. I have been keeping a list as I go and will now en tertian you with my findings:
Spinach (cooked and raw) – No
Strawberries – No
Lettuce – Yes
Pineapple – No
Lima Beans – Yes
Mint Leaves – No
Beef ConsommĂ© – Yes
Cantaloupe – No
Beef Tortellini – Yes
French Onion Soup – Ok if it doesn’t cost extra
Won Ton Soup – No
Dark Cherry Sorbet – Yes
String Beans – No

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