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19 April 2020 - Day 8 – Still At Sea

Sunday (Patriot’s Day), a week aboard, and I was getting used to my firm mattress. Awaking about 8:30 (although my body thought it was 7:30, but there goes another hour time

change), I was glad breakfast hours in Waves were extended by 30 minutes, as I leisurely prepared for my day. Walking to the stern, I was seated with a group of 4 women, all from Italy, who were travelling together. Fortunately, they had much better English than my poor Italian. They were delighted to hear that my itinerary was focused on 6 weeks in Italy, with more exploration than the typical tourist. I had to make notes in my plan for my visits to Cinque Terre and Amalfi, as two were from Liguria and a third from Salerno. Fortunately, my list of cathedrals included all their favorites, so I thought I’d done remarkable planning.

Up to do a few laps, I managed five today. The skies were partly cloudy, and the temperatures slowly climbing into the 60’s. There probably wouldn’t been many at the pool deck, and even fewer trying to get a bit of color. Fortunately, my Florida base was good, and I hadn’t faded much.

While Art was a minister, he was opting to be on vacation (as well as being retired) so he didn’t arrange to hold a service. A few folks were going to gather in the Sky Lounge to do Bible Study, so I figured I’d roll this Sunday, not that I attend any church with any sort of regularity, except on these trips.

Back to the Panorama dining room, I had “waited lunch”, at a table for 6 with two couples from Ohio who had boarded in New York. They would continue on to Copenhagen, and then do a Baltic Sea tour on the Meraviglia. I mentioned the tour to Winchester, but they were set on trying to do a ship-sponsored excursion to London, albeit rather rushed. We had a good conversation over crab cakes to

start, broiled sea bass and a salad. Dessert was a delightful pastry layered with pistachio and lemon cream, and a smear of strawberry puree. I accompanied my meal with a glass of kiwi sauvignon blanc.

Off for my tour of the engine rooms, I stopped at the Excursion desk and got signed up for the Tuesday tour of the kitchens. Off to see the mechanics! No photography in the engine rooms, the 45-minute walking tour had us climbing up and down steep stairs and being confounded by all the loud noise. Still, it was a very interesting tour, and I’m glad I was able to join it.

Some feedback had come in via email from these blogs. While I had to watch my Internet usage, I was still a bit under half my allotment, but we had 4 days at sea before the Azores, so I wanted to limit my uploads. Still, the more frequent question was about the wine choice options, so I’ll post two pictures of some of the standard fare.

Grabbing my reader, I headed to the piano lounge with a vodka and soda, pretty much to prepare my palate for later. Siting for an hour, I read one of my ebooks, finally finishing the novel I’d started 4 days ago. While I’d loaded up my reader (after clearing about 50 books that I’d already finished) before departing, I just wasn’t reading as much as I’d anticipated. Maybe during these 4 days at sea? In any case, the pianist had a bass player with her, and we were treated to soft jazz and some blues for 90 minutes (yes, there was a break).

Magic Martini time again, and Ramon had decided to go back to the fruity combinations. Blending cassis with grapefruit in the first martini, the flavors clashed poorly. Limoncello and Curacao’s bitter orange did much better, a complex mix of citrus. For our alternative, Ramon made a cinnamon maple whiskey sour, which proved to be a great favorite with the women at the bar. I’d bet he had to restock the bourbon and maple syrup twice! I, however, decided to take that citrusy second, with some prosecco added, as my evening strolling beverage.

Tonight was my first reservation at Ocean Cay, the seafood specialty restaurant which replace Eataly on Deck 6. The display at the entrance was impressive. Similar to Butcher’s Cut, I was doomed to be seated by myself, and resigned myself to conversation with my journal and my reader. (When dining alone, without someone to speak with and listen to, one eats quickly.) So I started with arancini, these breaded and fried rice balls made with the fresh mozzarella made on board. This was followed by a dish of tuna steak with a pasta made with garlic, lemon and capers, which was delicious. It was a bit of a flavor switch, as the rice balls were accompanied by marinara sauce, so I decided to go with a bottle of sparkling rose from Provence, which turned out to be a great choice; the touch of sweetness tampered the sugars of the tomato, while the acid stood up to the lemon and capers of the pasta. After a green salad (to clear the palate) I dove into a brownie and ice cream with my decaf cap.

Before heading to the Broadway Theater, I headed into the #Meraviglia Bar and Lounge to capture a nightcap. On an Italian-Swiss ship, and at the Italian bar, I opted for a grappa: Moletto Grappa di Nebbiolo da Barolo. Totally unfamiliar, it was a gamble but the bartender thought I might find it interesting. My grappa experience had been that it was like paint thinner, chemical and strong. This, however, proved to have a pleasant nose with some toasted nut aroma, and the palate was very smooth with a very long almost sweet finish. A delight to find.

The show tonight was “Life is Magic”, which involved a lot of ensemble posing and singing from across the stage between the magician’s tricks. Not my favorite entertainment.

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