Feb 19, 2014





Lazy day gone busy


We were up around 7am, took showers and sat out on the veranda for a while until it was time to get ready for our brunch reservation at Palo. About 5 minutes early we headed upstairs and again, were led right to our table by Corinne.

It was fun to see that we had the same table we had had the night before and after a short chat, Corinne pointed out that the first rush at the buffet was over and there was a lot of room for us to be shown around. Not that we still need the tour, but it is nice to have everything pointed out by the server. And after our tour around the buffet and a photo taken by another Palo server, Corinne handed us a plate and told us to make sure to come back to the buffet as often as we wished. We started our way around and picked up an item here and an item there and soon our plates were filled with yummy items.

When we returned to our table we had been served some water with lemon slices in it and Mimosas. Corinne came to ask if we wanted some coffee or tea, but we both declined. It was wonderful to enjoy the delicious offerings from the buffet, while looking out onto the ocean, where we could see several other cruise and cargo ships. It was interesting to see how fast the cargo ships moved, while the cruise ships just sat there. Once we had finished our first plate, we went back for a second round, this time consisting of sweet breakfast items and fruit. And while we were nibbling on those, Corinne came by to ask if it was too early to put in our order for a hot course. Sure, so we let her know what we wanted and kept on stuffing our faces.

As soon as we were done, our plates were whisked away and just a few seconds later, we were served the pizza we wanted to share. We had ordered a Half and Half Pizza, half sun dried tomatoes and cheese and half blue cheese and grapes, my favourite. Corinne helped putting it on our tables and then we were on our own enjoying it. We were getting pretty full already, but we had wanted to share the Chicken Parmesan on top of creamy Risotto as well. So, as soon as we had finished our pizza, Corinne changed our cutlery and serve the Chicken Parm. Food overload! At least when we had finished that we could have a little break. Corinne came over to chat some more and we learned that she had less than a month until the end of her contract and a 6 week break at home in Paris. And that when she had come back to her room she was hiding her chocolate, her roommate had seen her and she was now sharing her chocolate. It was dwindling fast. No problem, as we stocked that up right away, which we were thanked for with a huge hug. Then it was time to hit the dessert table. We both filled a plate with what looked yummy and headed back to our table to give it all a try. When we were done we were brought our bill and then after hugging Corinne one more time we headed towards the exit. But there was one more stop to be made as we saw Holly at one of the tables and we stopped to say hello.

After that we headed back to our stateroom, got changed and headed back upstairs, because with our large veranda and the fact that this was such a short cruise we had not been up on the top deck in 3 days. So we walked up, walked around and enjoyed the sun and the ship gliding through the sea. We returned to our stateroom about 40 minutes later and sat outside on the veranda with a Beer and a glass of the Prosecco. But we did not stop long. We had one more round of Fish Extender gifts to deliver and grabbed our prepared bag and off we went. When we had finally delivered our last gifts we headed back to our stateroom to find our Fish Extender filled as well. So we took everything inside to examine it thoroughly.

Then we started to pack away the first few things, but we did not have too much time to do that. We had another appointment to be at. We had signed up for the galley tour. So we walked down to the Royal Palace, but the side entrance was closed and when we got around to the Main entrance and there were already people waiting. About 5 minutes before the tour was supposed to start we were directed to the side entrance and we all headed over and were immediately welcomed inside the restaurant.

The Chef and one of the head waiters were introducing themselves and gave us an insight of what was to come. And then we headed off towards the kitchen. We have been on that tour on the before and it was as interesting as it was the first time around. We were shown the different areas, their ordering system and were told how operations ran on a busy night. The tour lasted for about 25 minutes and then we strolled through the bars back to our stateroom. We did some more packing, which was a lot easier after only a four day cruise than it had been after two weeks on the Fantasy. When we were nearly done with it we headed to 687, so Tom could have their signature beer.

Once we had made it there he did not feel like it any more and ordered a Beercktail, the Baha Fog, Corona, Jose Cuervo 1800 Tequila and Fresh Lime, while I stuck with a Strawberry Daiquiri, which he had to go and have made in one of the other bars. It was nice that it was so quiet in there, even though they were preparing for a tasting. While we finished up our drinks the room filled with people for the tasting and it was time for us to leave. We walked through the stores again and picked up a few more last minute items, then headed back to our stateroom to finish packing. We rested for a few minutes, but were out the door again soon enough.

This time we were on our way to the Castaway Club Reception, a meet and mingle with the ship’s officers. Holly was there too and we chatted for a while, then the Captain, Christiaan the Cruise director and some other officers came by to chat for a while.

And in between visits we sipped our Champagne and nibbled our Canapes. Captain Gus then gave a little speech and there was the usual video of Karl Holz before the meet was over and we were all handed a Mickey Rice Crispy Treat on our way out.  I put them into my new DCL D&B and we were heading to the DVC desk, where we had made friends with the reps. They were busy, so instead of waiting there, we walked outside onto deck 4 and wandered along. We did not get far, the sun was setting and it just was a picture perfect sight. So we found some loungers and watched the sun come lower and lower until we finally got up to take some photos. When the sun was no longer visible we headed back inside and had a peek at the DVC desk.

And this time they were on their own. They offered that day’s gift, which was a print we have about 6 lying around the house already, so we declined, but were handed some pins and a lei instead. We gave them some more chocolates as they had been fighting over them and while we did so, one of the two Future cruise reps came over to ask for some of their chocolate. There was a bit more left in my bag, so he got that. And after some hugs we learned that he was from England and had worked in the Swiss alps during the winter portraying the blue Milka cow. We all had a good laugh before we said our goodbyes and Tom and I headed back to our stateroom. We had one more package to deliver. So, once we had gotten hold of our package and left the Mickey Rice Krispies in the room we headed back down to the shops again. We needed to say goodbye to Oxana. We found her and had quite a long talk about the situation that was going on in her home country, the Ukraine. She told us that even though her mother and children were not in immediate danger, she was so worried and would call them as often as she could. She was also looking forward to the end of her contract which would be in three weeks and going home to see her family. It was heartbreaking to leave her there and know how worried she must be about her loved ones.

But once business picked up a bit and there were several people waiting at the cash register we really needed to hug goodbye and she had to go back to work. Our next stop was just across the hall. Captain Gus was signing whatever you held in front of him and we had brought some of our postcards to have signed by him. There was a HUGE family ahead of us and it was so fun to see all their excitement. When it was our turn Captain Gus asked if he hadn’t just seen us at the Castaway Club reception and signed our cards, then posed for a photo and off we went again. There was just time for a quick rest at our stateroom which we spent on our veranda before it was time for dinner.

We could not believe that it soon would be time to put our suitcases outside our stateroom and that that day at sea that had been supposed to be a leisurely day was nearly over and had been pretty busy. So we changed again and headed downstairs to Animator’s Palate for dinner. This is our least favourite restaurant, due to the fact that it gets pretty noisy when Crush comes out, but we had promised Mario to have dinner with him one more time. So shortly after the door opened we arrived and were quickly seated. The assistant server filled the water glasses, then went to get our Diet Cokes and brought back a basket full of Garlic and Herb Foccacia and the Rosemary Virgin Olive Oil for dipping. With all the nibbling all day long we had thought about skipping a course, but Mario would not have that at all. So Tom ordered the Tomato Tarte, with Glazed Goats Cheese and Radish Salad and I ordered something I can always eat, no matter how full I am, the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes, Pasta Purses filled with Truffle-scented Cheese and coated with a Champagne sauce. It did not take long for them to be served and both starters did not disappoint. I had been thinking about having some soup as well, so I ordered the Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese soup, served with Bacon bits and Chives. Very yummy, but very filling. Now our main courses were coming out and we both had ordered the same thing, the Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus beef Tenderloin, served with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, Bok Choy and a Tamarind-Barbecue Reduction.

The meat was perfectly cooked, the potatoes had an nice little kick from the wasabi and we both worked hard to more or less finish our plates. The show had not yet started, so we contemplated making an exit before it was to start and skip dessert, but just as we were about to do so the show started and Mario made sure we played along, which we normally don’t do. So we swam with Crush and watched all the commotion in the dining room. Once the show was over Mario would not let us leave without dessert, so Tom ordered the Cookies ‘n’ Cream Sundae, Cookies and Cream Ice-cream with Chocolate Sauce and Chocolate Chip Cookies, while I ordered the Duo Chocolate Cake, layers of Brownie and Truffle Mousse with Caramel Sauce. And since we were such nice guests, according to Mario, he brought us a White Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake with Whipped Cream and Raspberry Coulis as well.

Now, Tom doesn’t like cheesecake at all and I am not a huge fan of it either, so we barely made a dent in it, but finished most of the desserts we had ordered. When we were done, Mario came over to remind us of the comment card and how important it was to mark everything as excellent. We promised we’d do so and we had a little chat. Somehow we told him that we had had the same server for most of our Dream Cruises, but that she had now quit her time working on a cruise ship and was back home in Croatia. That peeked Mario’s interest, so he asked if we could remember her name and surely, yes, we could, we had gotten to know Ana really well. Now imagine our surprise, when he went on to say, “Tall skinny girl with glasses? Husband in Palo?” Yes, that was our Ana. Turned out that she had trained Mario and quite a few of the tricks he now showed to his guests he had learned from her. How awesome was that? If we could not have Ana, because she had left, we got one of her students. Score! They were already preparing for breakfast, so we knew it was time to finally leave and we said our goodbyes and informing Mario that we would have breakfast at Cabanas the next morning as we wanted to leave a bit early. We returned to our stateroom, finished off the drinks that were still left in the fridge and sat outside on the veranda to enjoy the night air and watch the ship heading towards Port Canaveral again. I guess we sat outside for quite a bit until it was time to go to bed.