Today things heated up in the weather department. Now we are experiencing the typical warm and humid tropical temperatures, like it or not. Obviously, this is what the folks are liking, especially with the cold frigid fronts that have plagued the states.
Walking the promenade, we saw fewer flying fish than we saw yesterday. There had to be thousands of them. Keeping a lookout for birds, we did spot a pair of white ones but hundreds of yards off of the ship. This might be an indication that we are nearing the Marquesas, which of course, we are. One more full day at sea, and we shall be there.
For those who are interested, there are several bridge lessons during the sea days. Beginning as early as 9:30am, beginners can get instructions in the Hudson Room. This class is followed by the Intermediate group. The couple that are the teachers this year happen to also be President’s Club members. Later in the afternoon, the largest group congregates in the upper dining room for duplicate bridge.
The Casino has remained mostly non-smoking, with the exception of some slot machines, where one can smoke only if actively playing. A Texas hold’em tournament took place at 10:30am, followed by a blackjack tournament, then at 1:30pm, a poker game was repeated. Could not locate the bingo, but they did have a $290K paradise lotto jackpot drawing at 10pm. We have heard on past cruises, that if they don’t get enough participants for bingo, they cannot play. Hard to imagine that in days past, you could not find a seat in the show lounge when bingo took place. Everyone played. Not so anymore. While we are on the subject of the Casino, and in case we have not mentioned this yet, they only let you cash out your winnings now, no matter how much money you have put into your gambling account.
Tonight was our Captain’s Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill at 6pm. Oops, we had told Barb a few days ago that it was 6:30pm, and when we were seated with Don and Peter, the purser, she was nowhere to be seen. Peter put a call into her, and she did arrive close to 6:30pm. Better late, than never, we say. We asked Peter how many folks were “full cruisers” and he replied 1100. That has to be a record percentage. So instead of hosting these special evenings only on gala nights, they have to have them on casual nights as well. Tonight was a casual night ship wide, but the dress code in the Pinnacle was dubbed elegant. This meant dress or skirt for ladies, and jacket and tie for gentlemen. A handful of the guys did wear suits or tuxes, but most had only the required jacket and tie. To be on the safe side, it is always better to be over-dressed than the opposite.
The five of us had a grand time, as we always dine together on this occasion. The captain and his wife no longer eat at the large table in the back. That room is divided up with smaller tables with each one hosted by staff members. Captain Mercer and Karen were seated in a booth near the entrance with two couples we did not recognize.
The creative menu began with lobster medallions with the tiniest diced bits of green apple and watermelon. A dot or two of tarragon mayonnaise was on the plate. They served the best flaky butter rolls, and red or white wines. Good stuff, according to Barb. She knows her wines, unlike us, as we rarely drink it. Peter, knowing this, did offer to get us cocktails, but we thanked him and said no.
The next course was a plate of potato soup with smoked salmon, crispy leeks, and crème fraiche. A queso fresco with red beet gel, roasted hazelnut cream, and sweet and sour cucumber balls was served on the long rectangular plates. Barb joked that the plates were not big enough.
The entrée was slow roasted and pretty rare beef tenderloin. What looked like mashed potatoes, was really parsnip puree. Two sprigs of asparagus, glazed carrots, and a red wine beef sauce filled the plate. Really the tastiest part of the meal.
Chocolate sphere was the name of the coconut, cashew nut, coffee ice cream, and corn, which was served last. Corn? We all had a laugh when we saw that on the dessert menu. But we guessed it may be like Cracker Jacks, and it was just that. A few of us had coffee, while the others finished their wine. By the way, the wines were Grace Lane Riesling, Washington, and Penfolds Cabernet Shiraz, Australia.
Every guest received a box which contained a vase from Royal Goedewaggen. Peter thought with the shape of it, it could be used for a taco holder. This is why we have so much fun at our table. Actually these unique vases will hold four single stem flowers. The evening ended with a speech from Captain Jonathon, who thanked every chef, waiter, and Tina, the manager for their excellent dinner. The party broke up by 8pm.
Taking a quick walk outside, we went back to the room to find our room stewards doing their turn-down service. Forgot to tell them we were eating early. Only took them 10 minutes, and we stayed in for the rest of the evening.
Showtime brought back Helen Wilding, the singer. We snuck into the show lounge earlier and caught her rehearsal. She has a clear, fine voice, we thought.
The clocks went back tonight once again, but an odd time. Instead of one hour back, we only did ½ hour back. Isn’t it odd that French Polynesia would have such different times? But when you consider the size of the area these archipelagos are situated, it makes sense.
Bill & Mary Ann