I was up fairly early this morning but our clocks were set ahead an hour last night. It was about 6:45 am when I got the Fitness Center. There were only 3 of us in the center this morning – I actually recognized both of the other 2 exercisers there this morning. This was a stark contrast to the first 2 days on the ship when all of the treadmills were occupied just after the Fitness center opened. I ran for 30 minutes then went down to shower. We had plans to have breakfast in the dining room today which only served breakfast from 8 – 9:30 am.
We were hoping to catch Krish in the dining room but were seated near the rear windows and Krish was nowhere to be found. The servers were extremely slow for breakfast and after our orders were taken and we waited for about 15 minutes, we finally ASKED for coffee and pastries. The breakfast selection was exactly the same as what was available at the buffet but there was NO freshly squeezed orange juice available. The service wasn’t worth foregoing the buffet, imo. The kids did enjoy a large strawberry Belgian waffle, though.
After breakfast, we went back to the cabin so the kids could change into their swimsuits. They stopped to play chess first with the oversize chess pieces on the Lido deck.
Surprisingly, Rhys knows how to play chess – and quite well. I didn’t realize that he had been playing chess at school and beating his classmates (according to him anyways). Amina was not doing well and soon a fight over the chess pieces broke out and they chose to go swimming instead. I worked on my journal some more and got a little more caught up.
At 11:30, I got the kids out of the pool and took them back down to the cabin to shower and change. While they got cleaned up, I went to the Queen’s Lounge for the Mariners reception. It was only our 2nd HAL cruise – our last one having been quite some time ago. The only reason we were on HAL (not that we have anything against HAL) was because we had used Disney Vacation Club points to book our trip and HAL was the only participating cruise line to Alaska.
The reception included champagne, wine, or mimosas and there were stewards serving small canapés. The Rosario Strings were performing on stage and the piano player had toned it down although their rendition of “My Favorite Things” was still at breakneck speed with the piano pushing the tempo all the way and the violin trying to play catchup. It was a shame that the string trio was not better but I’m a harsh critic of these things playing the violin myself at a semi-professional level.
The cruise director introduced the captain and the hotel manager. For passengers who had cruised for more than 30 days, there were varying levels and colors of pins that those passengers would be receiving. They made presentations and recognized the medallion winners who had cruised for at least 300 days. The passengers who had cruised the longest on this particular cruise had been cruising for over 600 days! Amazing. Although we like HAL, we (and the kids, of course) prefer Disney.
After the reception, I returned to the cabin and we headed to the Lido restaurant for lunch. Papa passed on lunch and we picked up Mimi from the library on the way to the dining room. I tried to eat a “light” lunch today since we had a cooking class scheduled for 2:30 today. The kids went to hang out at the Play Station room while Seth and I checked out the art for auction today. We wanted to do our guest bedroom in Disney colors and decorate with Disney art as well as pictures and memorabilia from our Disney trips. There were several very nice pictures of Mickey, Minnie, and Snow White with the dwarfs but I told Seth not to buy them unless they were under $500 per piece. He also wanted to add another Bellet to our collection and found some very cute Snoopy pictures.
The auction started late and hadn’t even brought the first piece to auction when I had to leave for the cooking class. The class was held in the movie theater which converts to a kitchen. The central movie screen retracts into the ceiling and the curtains are pulled back to reveal a full kitchen. There are a ½ dozen chef hats sitting on the counter when we arrive.
A family of 3 – brother, sister, and her son and another woman joined us. On the menu for today were 3 Food and Wine magazine recipes: corn chowder, asparagus salad with walnuts and goat cheese, and lamb steaks with cumin and honey. Our host was Fabritzio from Italy who was the Chef of the Pinnacle Grill. We were given very nice Food and Wine magazine aprons to wear.
Fabritzio seemed a little disorganized. He had not, apparently, even read through the recipes before the class. He handed out several items to be chopped and peeled.
I was given the coriander seeds to toast. I wasn’t at all familiar with the induction cooktop and the coriander seeds weren’t getting toasted. Fabritizio wasn’t really following the recipe which made it hard for me to know what to do. He seemed a bit impatient to me and preferred to “wing it” which was fine, but it didn’t make for a very organized cooking class. He ended up doing most of the prepping for the lamb which, in the end, he admitted didn’t really matter what we put on them or marinated them with. He had brought along a lamb loin rather than lamb steaks and they would have been awesome just with a little salt and pepper rubbed on them.
He browned the lamb in a skillet after marinating them briefly in a mixture of milk, honey, coriander seed (slightly toasted and slightly smashed), chopped garlic, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. He then put the lamb on a pan in the oven at 475 degrees until he felt that it was medium to well. He did share a method of balloting the meat to “feel” how cooked or undercooked it was.
We sampled the food which was great and these recipes were definitely keepers.
We concluded in just about 1 ¼ hours. After the class, I went to pick up the kids from the Play Station room and we headed down to the art auction which had just finished up as we arrived. Seth had purchased several pieces and we made our appointment to meet with the Park West people at 5 pm. We went back to find our pictures in the photo gallery and didn’t like the ones taken at formal night the night before. There were several others, though, that turned out quite nicely so I purchased the ones we liked. Seth took the kids to the library and I joined them after paying for the pictures.
The kids were playing with Scrabble with Seth and had gotten fruit smoothies from the Explorer Café. I got a mango fruit smoothie which was quite good and joined in on the Scrabble game. We played until 5 (“altered Switzer rules” which meant that the kids could construct words going forwards and backwards) then went to meet with the Park West people. Seth had purchased a picture of Snoopy as the Red Baron and we added on a picture of Snoopy hugging Charlie Brown with a bit red heart. He had gotten a Bellet piece and an additional piece that he liked which I’ve not even yet seen. We got everything framed, of course, but still felt that we had gotten a pretty good deal.
It was time to go back to the cabin to get ready for our dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. The ship was to dock in Victoria tonight but we decided that it was too late to get off the ship and take an excursion so we had moved our Pinnacle Grill reservation from Tuesday. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the seas were SO rought on Tuesday night that our meal at the Grill would have been ruined. We were docked during the dinner so there was no motion at all and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal.
Our waiter handed us our menus then soon came by to show us the cuts of meat available tonight. He wheeled over a dome topped cart and we marveled at the “Silver Cut” beef – the filet mignon, ribeye, and porterhouse. The cuts were HUGE and looked so delicious.
I ordered the duck breast appetizer and the Ribeye, medium rare with a baked potato. We were served the Amuse Bouche which consisted of a small mushroom quiche, salmon tartar, shrimp, and teensy bruschetta.
The duck was outstanding – tender and flavorful. Even Amina and Rhys liked the duck. The ribeye (bone-in) was incredible – both in terms of size and taste. I’ve never seen such a huge piece of meat placed in front of me.
Amina’s cedar planked scampi was also wonderful. I was nearly horrified at the 1/3 piece of meat that I couldn’t finish and had to allow them to take away. What a waste!! I thought briefly of taking a doggy bag and having a midnight snack tonight. LOL.
We ordered dessert and I elected to have the Chocolate volcano cake which was awesome – and I’m not a huge chocolate fan.
Amina had ordered coconut ice cream (not on the menu) and had ordered butter pecan ice cream as her “backup” plan. Unfortunately, neither ice creams were available so the waiter brought a butterscotch substitute with caramel sauce which Amina was perfectly fine with.
Rhys had fallen asleep during our entrée and when he awoke briefly during dessert, declined to have any. I also had a glass of the Riesling dessert wine while Seth tried a glass of Port. Yum.
Rhys woke up enough to ask to go back to the cabin to go to bed. Amina took him back to the cabin in one of her “mommy” modes and promised to make sure he got in his pajamas and in bed. Seth, Papa, and I went across the hall to the movie theater to see Letters from Iwo Jima. I had no idea that the movie was entire in Japanese with subtitles. The theater is not very conducive to watching a movie with subtitles – I had to move around to be able to read all of them. The movie was very good but I found myself dosing during parts of it. It was moving how closely the Japanese soldiers resembled the American soldiers at Iwo Jima – they were all young, naïve, and subject to the same worries and aspirations as the American soldiers.
After the movie, we returned to the cabin to pack our things. Rhys was already in bed. It took about an hour and a half to stuff all of our things back into their respective bags. We placed our things outside our cabin door We got in bed and started watching the cruise DVD being shown on tv but I just couldn’t stay up. We finally called it quits at about midnight. Fortunately, we were in no hurry tomorrow morning having “independent” plans – we requested to debark in the last group – at 9:45 am to allow for plenty of time to have breakfast and for our ride to meet us at the pier.