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21 April 2020 - Day 10 – Last of four consecutive days At Sea

Fortunately, we had the third clock change today, rather than when we’re in port in Punta Delgada over the next two days. We can all be adjusted and ready to explore for a day and a half. In any case, I wound up sleeping in, and skipping breakfast per se, other than two bananas that my room stewards Ron and Lydia had left on my minibar, along with a juice box of OJ and a granola bar.

Heading up to the gym, it was another day for the stretching exercises before getting out on the walking track for 45 minutes. Skies were a bit more clear, and the temperatures were in

the low to mid 60°F-range. After my “workout”, I headed to the Sky Lounge to get some water, and to relax for a bit. I got into conversation with Peggy and Jim from State College, PA. Both retired, they had both worked at Penn State as academics and were getting off in Southampton for a two-week tour of southern England. We decided to see if the pair of Italian restaurants were open for lunch (they weren’t regularly) but we lucked out today and

got into L'Olivo d'Oro. As a starter I chose the calamari, followed by a cup of minestrone. The lunch portion of rigatoni was perfectly sized, and I didn’t even have to beg for more cheese. We split a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, from an area I’d be visiting after I was in Rome.

Skipping dessert, we walked to Jean-Phillipe Maury Chocolaterie, which I had been

studiously avoiding each time I’d walked down the Galleria on Deck 6. Over a decaf cup of coffee, I “sampled” two delicious truffles, while Peggy enjoyed a Nutella crepe drowned in dark chocolate syrup. Better man Jim just had a coffee. I left them as they crossed over to the Fine Watches and jewelry shop next to the Boutique, and I headed down a level to pick up my e-reader.

Heading back to Deck 6 and the area around the glittery staircase, I settled into a chair in the Edge lounge, smack between L’Olivo and Jean-Phillipe. A bit noisier that the Sky Lounge, the people watching was better and the bar was closer. I’d also brought my photobook, as it might result in striking up a conversation and I might find a partner for Southampton/Winchester. Figuring it was time to drink something foolish, I ordered a mango pina colada (fruit intake, plus it would be mostly ice and sugar.) This tall yellow-orange drink with a green straw travelled from the bar to my side table.

Well, something worked, because I heard CruiseCritic M&M folks greet me and they grabbed similar froufrou drinks and joined me. They poured through the book, and we discussed excursion plans. Betty and Bob from Mahwah (NJ) and their friends Joan and Pete from Hopatcong (NJ) were travelling on to Copenhagen followed by a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise to the fjords. They liked my England plan and said they’d love to join me. I made a mental note to advise my taxi and my guide we’d be 5! Mission accomplished as well.

They pushed off to do some shopping, and I go back to my book. When I finished the diabetic-inducing freeze slushie, I opted for a couple of classes of water. When I decided to move on to Martini time, I hit the head and headed to the bar. Ramon was already busy mixing Nilla Water Martinis (vanilla vodka and Amaretto), Smores Martinis (vodka, chocolate liqueur, graham crackers and marshmallow (cream & minis); his “brown” drink was a Kentucky Bubbly, made with bourbon and sparkling apple cider. Too much sugar for me in one afternoon, so after trying each and leaving a tip, I headed across Deck 7 to the Brass Anchor and got a double 15 year old Glenfiddich single malt. After a few sips, I took it and my gear and headed to my cabin to drop stuff off.

Tonight I’d booked my first Cirque de Soliel, a show called Viaggio. I’d included dinner with my reservation, part of the 3-dinner plan, and the seating started at 8:30. Due to my dining, the small table was set up a level from the main floor, which filled with couples and their complementary drink. I’d read on CruiseCritic the food at the shows wasn’t great, and that proved unfortunately true. The starter I picked was scallops, which were a bit chewy and tough. Beef seemed to be the wiser main, and proved edible, albeit drowned in sauce with wilted vegetables; I had a glass of mundane red house wine to accompany. Dessert was, however, stunning: a globe of white chocolate, over which hot raspberry coulis was poured, melting the chocolate. The show was about as bizarre as any of the previous 4 Cirque’s I’d seen, however there were really only two stages plus acrobatics, so I was able to pay more attention and followed the “voyage” story line. Impressive acrobatics and visuals, I left impressed but a tad confused. (No photos allowed.)

After the show I just headed to my cabin. I sent off messages to my Winchester guide to let Susan know we’d be 5, and I sent SWTE a note to make sure we’d have room for the two couples and me. Nightly rituals done, I crashed.

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