The staff onboard knows that these days will give passengers the opportunity to part with some cash while enjoying being pampered. Besides a series of exercise classes, there are also chances to get spa treatments. Good time to get updated on the current trends in the jewelry department. On this cruise we have noticed that ammolite is promoted. We did not know that this stone is one of the oldest gemstones dating back 70 million years. We also were surprised to learn that ammolite is only found in Canada, and it is rare these days. Another stone that was featured today was the opal. They come in shades from white to peacock, or harlequin rainbow. This may be an old wife's tale, but we always believe that only those born in the month of October should wear opals, or they were bad luck. Amusing fact: the shop's ad in today's newsletter said that opals have been known as the lucky gem since the 1880's. Now we don't know what to believe.
The day began with the sun shining, but later turned mostly cloudy. By the way, the sun rose at 5:01am. Sunset tonight will be after 11pm. No wonder Alaska is called the land of the midnight sun. It is strange, but sleep does not come easy with the room lit up like daytime. Of course, we do have blackout curtains, but seldom shut them. Never know when a whale might appear, so we are always on the lookout.
One highlight of the day was the virtual tour of the bridge as narrated by Captain Eversen. He was available for questions following the presentation. We missed his talk today, but we have attended on past cruises.
What is different about a shorter cruise, compared to a world cruise, is that we have no guest lecturers. Understandable, since in two weeks, there are only a few sea days. So the talks that take place in the show lounge are usually the port talks. Today was all you needed to know about Anchorage, Homer, and Kodiak.
Between walks outside, visiting with friends, and enjoying the cuisine in the dining room, we spent much of the day working on photos and catching up on reports. With three ports in a row coming up, it's always a good idea to gather the information ahead of time.
Tonight was a gala evening, but we did not join our table, since we had been invited to a President's Club dinner with Captain Fred, Bart, the hotel director, and Maja, the guest relations manager. Brooke joined Captain Fred in welcoming six of us members to the back room of the Pinnacle Grill. It began at 6:30pm. One couple we recognized from previous cruises, and the second couple were newly-inducted. The staff even brought out the good plate ware……Versace from Rosenthal with Medusa the central focal point. Bart said that the service settings of these plates are limited, so they are only used for a small group now. The Captain mentioned that it was a possibility that the complete set of dishes cost somewhere in the area of $50,000. Or maybe he was kidding. Each of the seven courses was served on a plate with a different design. And each one had plenty of gold leaf woven in the pattern.
What was over-the-top was the food served on them. Beginning with course one, we enjoyed a duck ravioli with Asian pear, and watercress. There was a dash of BBQ sauce underneath, giving it all the flavor. This was served with Dom Perignon champagne. Seared scallops with corn puree were topped with braised pork belly, although one of us had fish instead, due to a shellfish allergy. The staff is most accommodating in here. The third course was Maine lobster salad with mango. Everyone raved about the lime panna cotta on the side, although one of us passed on the lobster, and had salmon.
Green asparagus soup followed with tiny chicken dumplings on the bottom of the fancy bowl. This bowl was outfitted with golden wings for handles, in keeping with the Medusa theme. White wine from New Zealand was poured, then later a red cabernet sauvignon accompanied the main entrée. That was a beef tenderloin with sliced portabella mushrooms and a potato gallette. Totally delicious.
Dessert was number six course. It consisted of an Australian pavlova, actually small dollups of whipped cream covered with a white meringue. Surrounding these little peaks were strawberries, raspberries, and a huge blackberry. A strip of fruit leather wove through the center like a red ribbon, and one scoop of mango sorbet added to the flavors.
Coffee was served, then came course number seven….artisan cheese with dried fruit, nuts, and crackers. And they were not done yet. A waiter came to each of us offering the sweet chocolate candies we always have at the end of a meal. OK, now we were stuffed. We had figured we would have ended dinner by 8pm, but as it turned out, we left the room after 9:30pm. Thanking our hosts, we headed outside, but only briefly, for a quick walk. We forgot how cold it is here without heavy coats on. Captain Fred admitted that we have been most lucky on this trip so far. Having rain in icy Strait was not so bad. He checked the forecast for Anchorage tomorrow, and he found it was still going to be mostly sunny. Good for all of us.
The entertainment this evening was performed by the singers and dancers. The theme was rockin' roadhouse, but by the time we got there, it was about over. Maybe next time…..
Bill & Mary Ann