Friday, April 18, 2014

Report # 110 Sailing Towards Bridgetown, Barbados April 18, 2014 Friday Partly cloudy, 73 degrees, muggy

Just want to mention that we are not ready to go home yet, as we are staying on and sailing through the Panama Canal after the world cruise ends in Ft. Lauderdale. Our final destination will be San Diego on May 13th.

When we got back to our room last night, we had the surprise of a gift with a balloon tied to it. 

Surprise birthday gift with balloon in our room

Good beer..Strela from Cape Verde
Tablemates Marianne and Bill had gotten Bill a large bottle of Strela beer for his birthday while in Mindelo a couple of days ago. We had a huge laugh when we saw the fish balloon in our room from the King Neptune dinner last Sunday. Got to admit, the fish is cute, as long as he stays tied up to the coat hanger on the wall.

On the outside of our door, Tom, our host, must have visited early this morning, and taped a happy birthday sign on it. Three cards were on the from our hosts, one from tablemates Margaret and Keith, and one from the Captain.

Balloons in our hallway

Happy Birthday to Bill, sign compliments of our travel agency
Today was different in that everything we did was planned for us. Even though we kept breakfast light, the 11am Mariner Brunch came too soon. 

Invitation for the Mariner brunch
The special brunch menu
Toying with the idea of not going, we figured with the gray weather outside, it was something to do. So we went at 11am to find the dining room doors opened and guests were being seated. Only the President Club members had assigned tables in the middle of the dining room. Earlier at breakfast, we had mentioned to Pandi that we would like a table for two. He said come early, and he would take care of us. Judging from the size of the group this morning, they will have to have two more brunches like this in the next couple of days. They always begin with the folks with high number of days, then work their way down to the newbies. To be precise, this brunch was for the 500 Star Mariners and up to the President Club members. Tomorrow, they will host another brunch for the 4 Star Mariners, and on Monday, the final meal will be for those under 200 days.

The menu was nice, and also different from the fish, pot roast, and quiche menu they always serve. Today they offered a Dover sole meuniere or a filet of Double R Ranch beef entree. We did not see a vegetarian choice, although we are sure they could find something suitable for those folks. The brunch consisted of a shrimp cocktail, a chilled berry soup, fish or beef, and a nice custard Napoleon dessert. Champagne was served while the Captain welcomed us all with a toast. And our glasses were filled at least twice, or more if we wished. 

Shrimp with red sauce

Chilled berry soup

Filet of aged Double R Ranch beef tenderloin

Custard dessert
The Captain and some of his staff

The Captain called us the cream of the crop, 5 Star Mariners and above
Before we left, we each got a Delft tile with the ship's picture on it. We have a drawer-full of these at home, and will add two more to the collection. In fact, we should get two more at the next Mariner affair on the Panama Canal trip in less than two weeks.
Two guests speakers gave lectures today. Another new speaker, Tom Goltz, spoke about Columbus and separting myth from fact. Volcanoes was the subject for Jill Eyers. And our guest chef Paulette presented a series on food from India. We did watch this on TV later this afternoon, and found it very entertaining.

We spent some comfortable time at the aft pool, sort of sleeping off our champagne from brunch, but also trying to get some reading in. The clouds never did clear up, and it looked like rain any minute. It never did rain, but only sprinkled a bit.

At 7pm, we were invited to the Explorers Lounge for the final cocktail party given by our travel agent hosts. They also have one party for the early seating group. We decided that group must be larger, because our group was fairly small tonight. A few of the staff members, as well as ther Captain, did attend for a short time. 

Travel agency's party in the Explorers Lounge

Bar staff

Ellen and Aart

Hotel manager, Henk, Michael and Joanne, cruise consultants chat with the guests

A smaller group this evening
We had a moment to chat with him and the hotel manager about the cruise, which has gone by all too quickly. The drinks were good, as was the company, as we visited with many people we knew.

Dinner was in the Pinnacle Grill, the last of our two freebies. Both of us ordered the grilled veal chop, which was really tender and tasty. Even a better choice than the steaks. We both had Caesar salad, while only one of us had the crab cakes. Whipped potatoes, a baked potato, and mushrooms were our sides. Champagne was served once again for the 141st HAL birthday. 

The very tasty, but garlicky caesar salad..good thing we both had one

No anchovies, please

Grilled veal chop, fully-loaded baked potato, and seasoned mushrooms
Dessert was bread pudding and coffee ice cream. Totally full, we walked the promenade deck for a while after we finished the meal. What a way to spend a day..........

Surprise gifts this evening were two Steiff blond "sugar" bear sailors dressed in white and blue jackets. Established in 1880, the Steiff company boasts unmatched quality. Every Steiff animal comes with a "button in ear" tag, which is their famous trademark. Anyway, we have seen some of these bears turn up on auction shows on PBS, and have been worth surprisingly a lot of money. They will be a nice addition to our growing collection at home.

Gifts of Steiff "sugar" sailor bears, and two Delft tiles

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