When I left off last time I had just arrived on the ship and found our stateroom to be most satisfactory. The next event was leaving the harbor. I was, at one time, a New Yorker, and so feel irrationally emotional when I look at New York. Here are some pictures I took as we sailed away:
You know who:
The prow of our ship from Deck 4; you can see a slice of the helipad below. The upper deck with the row of big windows encloses two restaurants and the gym:
The Verrazano bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island:
A different angle:
It was incredibly windy and mostly overcast -- actually an unfortunate foreshadowing of the weather we would have throughout the trip. I was still thrilled. I was on a ship! A very big ship! Wow!
For the next couple of hours I explored and marveled. I'm going to save the "ship tour" for the next installment because there are so many pictures. Then, it was time for dinner.
O. M. G.
The dining room consisted of three connected decks; the outer tables could look out at the sea, and the inner tables rimmed an atrium supported by three-story-tall golden columns. From the glassware on the table to the dark and muted colors of the decor, the effect was intended to make the guests feel like fancy people going to a very fancy meal. I usually have to resign myself to the fact that a few items on the menu are simply out of budget for me when I go to such a restaurant. Not so here -- all the food is paid for as a part of the cruise package (the beverages are not, but I'm a water-drinker anyway).
In fact, if I wanted three appetizers and two entrees and another three desserts, I could just order them! And so I often did. I must insist, with pride, that I finished everything I ordered. It is one of my great joys to have been blessed with a stomach of extraordinary capacity and tolerance. Besides, this was food that rivaled any of the $50-a-meal places I've been to, and I would have hated to have to exercise restraint. Heavenly rich lobster bisque. Perfectly refreshing shrimp cocktail. Flaky and savory-sweet onion tart. Delectably seared scallops. Tender and juicy prime rib. Lamb shank that falls apart under the fork. Buttery and succulent lobster tail. Dense dark chocolate cherry cake. Tiramisu like the ones I had in Italy. Raspberry panna cotta that feels like a kiss on a winter day. I could go on, but my mouth is watering too much. I wish we had remembered to take pictures of the food -- I just couldn't think of anything but eating RIGHT AWAY! Our waiter, a gracious young man from Goa, never bat an eyelash at our gourmandism. Once he realized my insatiable appetite, he would hand me the dessert menu with an extra flourish and a wink, saying, "Yummy-yummy!" Every night I levered myself out of the dining room, fully convinced that I had just gained another three pounds (to my grateful surprise, I had only gained two pounds, and those have come off pretty easily).
To my surprise, by the fifth night, even I was feeling a little...not tired of, but perhaps less properly appreciative of the nightly feast. It makes me happy that I left my vacation absolutely satisfied and ready to return to normal life.
In the next installment, a tour of the ship that indulged my inner pleasure-seeker and that provoked my inner Marxist.