24 April 2020 - Day 13 – At Sea
After posting last night I got dressed and went out and climbed to Deck 7 to check out the Carousel Lounge – there was no Cirque tonight. That required walking through the casino, which permits tobacco smoking and unfortunately, passengers smoke there. So I held my breath as I moved quickly around the slot machines and table with craps and blackjack players. The Carousel Lounge has a round raised platform inn its center, with table seating set off to the sides and affords a view out large windows to view the ship’s wake. A singer was on deck with two accompanying musicians while cruisers enjoyed their drinks over conversation. [Yes, I do know that a singer is a musician.] The sound level of the music was pleasant, and the mix was interesting. I hit the bar for a simple scotch and soda and found a table over in a corner to watch for about half an hour before returning to my cabin.
After my late night wander, it’s no wonder that I slept in. Missing formal breakfast, I decided to see if the Butcher’s Cut would be having brunch, something which doesn’t happen every day. Set amidships on the starboard side of Deck 7, I was lucky today. With seven items on the menu, the most interesting to me was homemade carnitas with sweet potato tater tots. Carnitas is probably my favorite preparation of pork, and I am ever in search of the perfect presentation. This was done well, with the pork shoulder meat falling in moist pieces when lightly prodded with a fork. Not quite Mexican seasoning, but tasty nonetheless. The peppers and onions had been roasted together, creating a caramelization that was delicious with the broken runny yolk of the poached egg. The tater tots were nicely crispy, with the sweet potato flavor melting in the mouth. I had both the smoothie, made with raspberries, blueberries, banana and mango, and a spicy Bloody Mary. While I sat alone, I was close enough to the tables on either side to be able to converse with those couples. We discussed our impressions of the Azores, as they had done a ship excursion tour of São Miguel. They felt the eastern end was more scenic, but liked the volcanic crater in Sete Cidades better than Furnas. They didn’t realize that another island could be visited, as the #Meraviglia didn’t include the option. I suspect that for future cruises, they’ll explore more off-ship options.
Finished my brunch, I headed up to Deck 16 and the gym to do my stretching exercises, as I’d skipped for 2 days. And since I’d been mainly sitting for the two days while in the Azores, I made 5 laps my goal and achieved it. After, since I’d planned ahead and had my e-reader, I went to the Sky Lounge on 18 to relax for a bit. Armed with another Bloody Mary, I found a seat by the window looking out over the pool and forward to the exclusive Yacht Club “Castle”. After some journaling, I got into my novel.
At 5:30, I scooted down the eleven levels to the TV Studio Bar. Time for froufrou drinks. Ramon had this violet concoction on the bar, a Purple Rain, as the first drink. A frozen cocktail made with cranberry, lime Chambord, blue curacao, vodka and ice, it was certainly a flavor bomb. I suspect Ramon was into pastels, as our second drink was a watermelon martini, a bright pink drink made with melon liqueur, again in the blender. His aide-de-camp had been busy blending a lemonade rum punch, served in old fashioned glasses, for the non-vodka drink of the hour. All too much sugar for me, although I figured I got my 10 fruit servings for the day.
Descending two levels, I returned to my cabin. Plugging in the reader, I made a brief journal entry before a 30-minute nap and then changing for dinner. Getting to Deck 6 about 8, I wandered from midship to the stern and the dining room. Again we were 9, and the initial conversation dealt with the fact most of us were starting to run out of things to do on At Sea days. Fortunately, we only had one more, between Spain and England.
For my dinner I started with the paté, and then the roasted loin of beef. Art and Carole were also having beef, and we split a bottle of a nice Napa cabernet. The paté was good, and the beef fair. The wine was pretty nice. Three of us had ordered our cheese plates to be set out early, so I was sure to have a great finale, and our waiters remembered to snag a bread basket for me. Again, we went as a group to the theater where the show included Cabaret show elements, with two rather talented male singers featured.
Time change tomorrow, and we were due into Lisbon for a 8 hour stay. I headed to my cabin and performed those nighttime rituals, hitting the mattress after posting this blog entry.