Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday - Approaching Suez Canal

This morning we were off of the island of Crete in the Greek Islands.

We were up before Prakasan brought in our morning tea/coffee. We decided to dress and go down to the dining room for our breakfast. We have realized that when we order breakfast in our room it comes from a different kitchen than when we go to the Queen’s Grille. The biggest differences are the fresh squeezed orange juice and the hash browns, all so good.

We had to be back in our stateroom by 10:00 am for the “Pirate Drill”, yes that is exactly what it was for. During Jan 23-25 we will be going through the Gulf of Aden where most of the pirate activity has been taking place. Over those days were are supposed to keep the lights off in our stateroom when we are not in there and when we are in our rooms we need to keep the drapes pulled shut. They are also closing the outside decks at night. The Commodore has assured us that any and all precautions are being taken to keep us safe including escort by the Royal Navy. Nevertheless, if any pirates are approaching we are to go back to our staterooms, get a chair, and move out into the interior corridors – this is what we practiced today. It was sort of a fun exercise, but indeed necessary. We had the opportunity to meet the people who are in the suite next door and they are from San Francisco, but have a house in Oriental, NC. What a small world! After the drill was over I went down to watch the cooking demonstration which was okay, but he repeated the crab cake from last week, but included a new one for a rack of lamb. The Commodore came on during the presentation and was giving a lengthy explanation about the transit of the Suez tomorrow. I ended up having to leave the cooking demonstration in order to get to the dance class on time. Today’s class was the Salsa. This class was very well attended and taught by one of the dance hosts. The steps are pretty simple and I seemed to pick it up fairly readily. Mom had come down at this point and after the class we went up to get some lunch before the dining room closed. One of the highlights of today was our private tour of the galley! Erdal, one of the head waiters, was kind enough to take us “behind the scenes” to the Grille Galley which is only for the Queen and Princess Grilles. It was quite small, but so clean you could eat off of the floor. Between the two dining rooms there are less than 400 people. We then went down to the Brittania Galley which serves 2400 people (at two sittings). This galley looked like a city in itself! Again, it was immaculate – and we were even able to see them plating some of the appetizers and desserts for this evening. Since the Brittania dining room is two stories tall, they even have an escalator right in the galley.

It was so much fun to see where all of these fabulous meals come from! We then enjoyed the weather and sitting back and reading our books. We did fall asleep at one point and were awakened when Prakasan brought in our nightly canapés. We wanted to get to dinner a little earlier, so we went ahead and got ready for our semi-formal evening. Dinner tonight was fantastic. We started with the caviar off of the ala carte menu, followed by the potato, parmesan, and bacon soup (possibly the best soup so far) and then had the Duck A l’Orange (which was “finished” tableside by Fifi).

For dessert, I had the Mango Tart Tatin with Raspberry Sorbet – this was one of the top 3 desserts I have had thus far. Even though we got to dinner a little earlier, it was still 9:30 by the time we were done. I ran down to get our passports (which now have an Egyptian stamp!!) as we have to have them for entering into Cairo on Wednesday. We went up to the Queen’s Room for the Maritime Ball which was basically a Pirate Theme (coincidence??).

I had a lot of fun dancing again and I seem to improve a little each day. We decided to come on up about 11:30 pm. Where does the time go?


LEFThompson said...

OK, that sounds like the best meal so far. I think I would beg, borrow or steal to get that soup recipe. Any chance of you bringing that little souvenir home and sharing it??? It's mind blowing to think about the need for pirate drills. I'll be saying prayers for your safety for the next few days!


Anonymous said...

Hi Larissa, I have posted before and am continuing to greatly enjoy reading your blogs from onboard the world's best ship (apart from QE2 that is!!!!). Your outfits by the way as indeed your mother's are very elegant & soignée. I too love dancing & enjoyed many an evening on my last 3 week cruise on board in Nov 2009 with friends in both the Queens Room & G32 until the early hours dancing - it is such a great shame that we were not on the same cruise! Just a note with reference to breakfast in your suite not being from the Restaurant. If it is served during the opening hours of the Queens Grill it should definitely still be served from the Queens Grill or at least my understanding as I usually sail either P or Q grade is that this applies for any room service order for lunch & dinner! Very interesting to hear you have Erdal in your Restaurant this cruise - he was in the Princess Grill during my last cruise & whilst quite attentive is not as good as Beniamino Acler who is usually in Queens Grill! Enjoy the transit of the Suez Canal, kindest regards, Richard (JM Smith), Bristol, United Kingdom