Monday, May 24, 2010

Cruise: Day Two - Morning

It’s common, I suppose, to play the “where would I be, what would I be doing” game while on vacation. As I stood at the stern of the ship this morning looking at our wake (this particular ship being configured in something of a metaphor on life in that it’s easier to see where we’ve been that it is to see where we’re going) and enjoying my first coffee of the day, I couldn’t help comparing the fresh ocean breeze and the unlimited view with my normal Monday morning. Rather than a hectic, early dawn drive to work, I had a leisurely stroll along the nearly deserted decks. Rather than staring out the office windows at a sunrise that I could only experience as a picture of a day’s promise that I would forego in the pursuit of sustenance, I was able to take deep breaths of the morning air, knowing that the pleasures of a day spent in a tropical late spring day were mine for the taking.

It’s early, still, and while we have already had a pre-breakfast delivered to us at exactly the requested hour and minute (there’s no “Island Time” here, Mon), we are relaxing in the room and on the balcony with mimosas in hand looking forward to a more substantial breakfast in the main dining room. It is already obvious that cruise ships are made for those that like to eat every bit as much as for those that wish to travel to exotic locales. The range of feeding options runs from pizza and burgers all the way up to the five star Surf & Turf dinner we had last night.

While nearly all of the food onboard is “free” (in that it’s all included in the overall cruise price), there is one upscale restaurant available for an additional fee of $30 per person. In what is either a stunning display of truth in advertising or an equally surprising naiveté in the connotations of the English language, it is called The Golden Fleece. Having dined there last night, I can unequivocally state that the latter is the correct choice. It was very, very good.

In retrospect, my having already become accustomed to the high degree of customer service that Carnival provides, I should have known that the abnormally high bar of service would be raised to stratospheric heights in the upscale steak house. I learned a valuable lesson in being very careful in what you say to a server on board the ship, even jokingly. As we were seated at our table by a curved wall of windows that looked out onto the passing ocean, our hostess asked if we would prefer to be on the other side of the ship, although she warned us that should we choose to do so, the setting sun would likely be so overbearing that we’d have to pull the blinds. I told her we’d be fine where we were, but she night have to ask the t-shirt clad guy sitting in a deck chair right outside the windows to move as it felt like he’d be sitting at the table with us.

I swear I was just joking. I told her at least three times that I was just joking. But a few minutes later I saw her leaving her station and heading forward towards the bridge. She came back with a couple of white uniformed crew members who proceeded to make the dozen or so folks sitting out there pick up their chairs and move away from the windows.

I don’t think I would make a good King. I felt like a total jerk! I did overhear some deck workers later as they were gathering up the chairs as they were talking back and forth with each other about the passengers that had untied those chairs and moved them to places where they weren’t supposed to be, so it seems that there is an actual ship’s policy that precludes people from sitting where they were, but still. What an amazing power to have! I shudder to think about what I’d be like if I ever got used to having that kind of control.

Our waitress was a cute young brown-eyed blond from Belarus named Yulia. The dining room was extremely empty; there were only two other couples in addition to us. In fact, we later learned that they wouldn’t have opened at all that night (they normally require at least eight people to have made reservations) but they opened anyway because they knew it was our anniversary. With just us to serve, she was able to spend a lot of time chatting with us. The food was marvelous, from the Ahi Tuna Carpaccio (for me) and Baked Onion Soup (for her) starters, the Caesar salads with fresh-made dressing, the filet mignon and broiled lobster tail (for both) to the chocolate sample dessert.
The Bread Service

Ahi Tuna

Chocolate Sampler (and rare open flame)

Me, with "The Ugly Tie"

It was probably our best anniversary dinner ever!

1 comment:

  1. Does this mean that you're naming the RV-12, "Emperor?"