Monday, March 28
But tomorrow we get to our first port, Funchal, in the Azores. I think everyone is eager to get off the ship. We have not heard about any need to be tested, but we do need to bring our proof of vaccination as there will be random checks by the local authorities. Masks are recommended outdoors and as of the date of our sailing, they were mandatory in all indoor areas such as shops and restaurants. I will let you know the actual situation after our visit.
Here on the ship, life remains wonderful. On the night of the 26th it was the most rocky time of the trip. The rocking doesn’t bother either of us, but the rocking and pitching caused our water bottles, which are made of glass – no plastic bottles on this ship, to clank together and fall to the floor. One drawer in our closet actually flew out. This woke us up three different times.
We had the last of our clocks moving forward last night – for this segment, we are 5 hours ahead of NY time right now. On our next segment we will move one more hour forward just for our time in Greece and back again when we get to Croatia. I do have to say that there is a nice slow adjustment vs when you fly and you move the time ahead all at once. So, amazingly, I slept until 9:30 AM this morning! I can’t tell you how very rare that is, I can’t even remember a time. I am usually up at 6 AM or before so even with the slower time change, it does have its effects.
We heard Linda Gentille again last night and I remember now that she is at the NJ Symphony in Cape May in the summer. The last cruise we heard her on – she mentioned that and we decided to go while we are at our shore house in the summer. Of course, we promptly forgot. But this time, we will try to get there sometime this summer. She was amazing again. One of the things she does is take 10 song suggestions from the audience and then she plays them all usually in order backwards. The band is from Ukraine and they are wonderful. The way they play with the guest performers when they have only one rehearsal is wonderful. They get standing ovations when they are introduced.
Tonight’s show will feature the onboard entertainment team with a show called Broadway which I am sure we will enjoy.
I had the culinary class which was called Most Requested Red Ginger. It was wonderful. Here is the fabulously outfitted culinary center and pictures of the dishes we made and ate – along with a dry rose wine.
Our instructor, Noelle, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She has been teaching on ships for 10 years and is terrific. She demonstrates and then we go back to our stations to make each recipe.
This is the Pomelo Banh Trang Roll with Miang Dipping Sauce. We made 2.
This is the Miso-glazed sea bass which is served just like this in the leaf in the Red Ginger restaurant on board.
All the ingredients for the delicious Lobster Pad Thai. She recommends mise en place which means setting all of your ingredients out before you start cooking.
There are only 12 stations in the center and Noelle said that before COVID, they had 2 guests to a station, which would work well because as you can see from the first picture, there is lots of distance between them now.
The cooking class finished with ice cream that they made right there – it was cardamom ice cream and was just delicious. We got a recipe book with all of the recipes plus two – the Tom Kha Gai soup and the Duck Confit and Watermelon Salad which is a huge hit in Red Ginger. Since I don’t eat meat or poultry any more, I have not tried it but would certainly make it at home for Norm. We also got the recipe for the ice cream and a Soaked Ginger Cake too.
Now, the only problem with the story is that this class was at 4 PM and lasted until 6 PM. We had a dinner reservation in the specialty restaurant, Jacques, at 6:30. Of course I was not at all hungry so I had the onion soup and only ate the broth. But it was worth it. Norm had the special of the night, salmon.
Oceania is certainly known for their food and this cruise is no exception. There are a lot of plant based choices and I do love the fish and seafood.
I have done pretty well in the casino and had a second place in the blackjack tournament a couple of days ago.
I mentioned the switch away from plastic water bottles. This began on our 2019 world cruise. They give you a silver bottle that you can fill and take ashore and in the rooms the bottles are tall and made of glass. They refill them with either still or sparkling water every day. And unless you request it, they don’t use any paper straws.
In the Terrace Cafe where we have our breakfasts most mornings, they have always served you most of the foods and now the area around the food that was open and they handed things to you that way, is sealed with plastic wrap and they hand you the food over the very top counter which is hard for some of the shorter staff.
I did my Florence Nightengale thing this morning. As I was doing my morning walk on the outdoor deck, a woman fell right in front of me, hitting her right shoulder. The safety crew member came pretty quickly but wanted to help her up by putting his arm under the right shoulder! I advised against that, and helped her up from the other side, she asked me to walk her off to the library where her husband was. I don’t think she broke anything but she will be sore for sure. After that, they closed the whole deck to clean it even though there was just one slippery area. So I didn’t get my 4 miles in yet, and will go out again later. It is much calmer weather today and the captain says it should remain that way and we should get into port on time tomorrow. Our tour starts at 9.
Tonight is the first of 3 Oceania Club cocktail parties which are held for the Club members (returning guests). There are always a lot of returning guests given the quality and reputation of Oceania. We are asked to arrive 15 minutes early for a meeting with the Captain and the General Manager as we are their most traveled guests on this cruise and will be recognized in the party. We are also invited to the other two. Lots of free drinks await!