Day 2-8 - At Sea
|Wednesday, October 11, 2023: Good morning! Debbie snuck out onto the balcony just after sunrise to get this photo, and then came back to bed until breakfast arrrived.
|We'd ordered room service for breakfast and it was delivered just before 8:00 AM. There were mimosas, hot tea, cranberrry juice, orange juice, V8, scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and a rice and quinoa bowl.
|Around 9:30 AM, there was a knock on the door. When Tom opened it, there were half a dozen crew members pulling a large cart filled with bottles of alcohol. As part of our suite amenities, we could have four bottles of alcohol in our stateroom for the trip. We had requested two bottles of Absolut Citron vodka and two bottles of Malibu rum. We were surpised that they were one liter bottles rather than the normal 750 ml ones. We kept out one bottle of Malibu and stored the other three for later.
|At 10:00 AM, we headed up to the Crow's Nest on deck ten for the Cruise Critic meet-and-greet.
|We will likely know all of these people by the end of the cruise. We met Ross and Midge, on the left, an hour later when we checked in with them for one of the private tours that they had arranged.
|Here's the atrium on deck three, which we had last seen in 2012.
|We headed up to the Lido Market to get some lunch. The Fleet Executive Chef, barely visible in the back just inside the galley, had been there taking pictures of the food display just before service began.
|We both selected bowls of Asian food and a couple of pieces of sushi. It was all delicious.
|At 11:45, we headed back down to meet with Viv to check in for the private tours that she had arranged. We had many tours with Viv, and there was a long line of people waiting to check in. We were very glad that we had decided to get lunch first.
|Our line buddy, Gail, was the last person to check in before us, and we were at the very end of the line. Viv was very nice, taking a few minutes to chat with us about the tours.
|Check-in complete, we walked back to our cabin, stopping at this cool mirrored section of hallway to get a picture of us to match the one we had taken of us with Jill and Stewart in Alaska in 2012.
|It's Wednesday! We love that Holland America puts these mats in the elevators to help all of us keep track of the day of the week.
|Back in our cabin, we mixed cocktails with Crystal Light, the leftover cranberry juice from this morning's breakfast, and Malibu rum. It was a beautiful day at sea and a great start to the longest cruise we've ever been on.
|We'd brought a selection of games to play including Five Crowns, Itchy Feet (a gift from Carol), and a deck of cards.
|When we left the cabin earlier in the day, our cabin steward had asked us what we'd prefer to have in our minibar. We told him that the only thing that we wanted was Diet Coke and that he could take everything else out. When we came back after lunch, everything in the minibar was gone. Around 2:00 PM, there was a knock on the door and our cabin steward delivered a 12-pack of Diet Cokes for us to put in our fridge. Best. Cabin Steward. Ever!
|We put six in the fridge immediately, and put the remaining six in the little shelf under the fridge.
|Around 3:00 PM, we were both feeling a little hungry again, so we dashed up to the Lido Market for a sandwich and a couple slices of pizza. Oh, and dessert of course.
|There were storm clouds on the southern horizon, so we stepped out on the balcony to look at them for a while. We were really excited about this Atlantic crossing and hoped that we would be able to experience a storm at sea while we crossed. You may think that is weird, to hope for stormy weather, but we think it would be a very cool experience.
|At 4:00 PM, the shipboard activity was a block party. This is where everyone comes out of their stateroom and stands in the hallway to meet their neighbors. Crew members came by every few minutes with bottles of wine, champagne, and soda, filling up the glasses that people had brought with them. Cheers!
|Our neighbor in blue is Carmel, pronounced like the California Car-mel, not like Hoosiers pronounce it.
|Here are our immediate neighbors, Sheila and Gary in the foreground, and Janusz and Elisabeth in the background.
|Our minifigs were wearing ship costumes since today was a day at sea. Check out the seagull on the top of the display. Debbie thought of everything!
|As the sun sank in the sky behind us, we had dinner on our balcony, ...
|... and then sat at our table working on our laptops until the sun set and we went back indoors.
|There was one bird that flew over the ship just before we went inside. We thought it was a seagull to match the one Debbie had put on the LEGO daily calendar, ...
|... but it's actually a petrel. Close enough! We relaxed in the cabin until bedtime, and then watched "50 First Dates" on demand until we were too sleepy to stay awake any longer.
|Before going to bed, we set our clocks forward one hour. We needed to adjust our time by five hours before we reached Funchal, and we were doing it one hour per day as we headed east across the Atlantic.
|Thursday, October 12, 2023: We were up by 8:00 AM and walked up to the Lido Market for breakfast by 8:30 AM. We requested pancakes and the staff cooked up a stack to order for each of us.
|Delicious! We had brought a can of Diet Coke with us from our cabin and enjoyed it with our breakfast from a window table.
|After breakfast, we decided sit out on the balcony while there was still some shade.
|It was very nice. Not too hot, with just a little bit of a breeze. We both got out our laptops and worked on various things.
|A series of spots of what looked like algae floated by for 15 minutes or so before returning to a completely clear sea.
|Can you believe that this is our view? After a couple hours of that gorgeous view, the sun finally made it around to where we were sitting so we headed indoors. At noon, the captain made his daily announcement of our progress, the weather, and so on. He told us that we were taking a slightly modified route to avoid Tropical Storm Sean, then he reassured us that the Israel-Hamas war that started a week earlier wasn't currently going to change our itinerary. Another cruise ship, the Crystal Symphony, had just transited the Suez Canal the day before without any issues.
|We tried the Dive-In for lunch. It is a poolside restaurant on Deck 9 that serves hamburgers and hot dogs. They have seven different hamburgers and three types of hot dogs, and we were determined to work our way through all of them before the cruise was over. We placed an order for two cannonball burgers and one order of fries, ...
|... and then took the vibrating, buzzing, light-up pager thingie that they gave us to let us know when our food was ready. We sat nearby at a table by the pool, ...
|... and in less than ten minutes our food was ready. The cannonball burger had gouda cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, carmelized onions, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and Dive-In sauce served on a toasted brioche bun. It was heavenly.
|After lunch, we headed back to the room where Debbie opened the Halloween Fun VIP Add-on Pack that we'd gotten at the LEGO Store in Boca Raton. She was looking forward to using some of the pieces on future editions of her LEGO daily calendar.
|Speaking of the LEGO daily calendar, here is the display for day 3.
|It is time for today's photo safari. Here is a wide-angle view of our balcony from the very corner of the railing. All of that is ours.
|Here's a view looking across the back of our stateroom, ...
|... and here's a view looking back along the starboard side of the ship. We have yet to sit in the loungers on that side, but it's early yet. We'll get there. Don't worry.
|We documented all of this on our first day, but now we were settled in and had the room set up and decorated the way we wanted so it was time to get some views for our friends back home. Here's a view of our cabin from the balcony doors looking back toward the entrance, ...
|... and then looking left toward the desk.
|This is the view from the desk looking directly to starboard. You can see the table on the balcony through the doors.
|Here's the view from the forwardmost starboard side. Debbie has her back to the closet near the bar for this photo.
|This is the view from the entryway looking toward the room, ...
|... and from the dressing area looking back toward the entryway. The non-wooden walls are magnetic, so we've added hooks to hang our hats, calendar, and other items to personalize the space.
|This is the dressing area with the bathroom door closed, ...
|... and with it open. We put up our Schilling family calendar in here with a 3M Command Strip hook.
|We brought the black fabric boxes on the counter with us to better organize our stuff and so that it isn't just out on the counter.
|And finally, here's the tub and shower area.
|We had cocktail hour at 3:00 PM out on the balcony with the last of the cranberry juice, Crystal Light, and Malibu. There's nothing better than ice cold rum drinks on a hot day.
|Debbie set up our portable drying rack on the balcony and hung some of her wrinkled shirts out to take advantage of the humidity.
|At dinner time, we took an elevator down to deck three to try open seating in the dining room. The floor mat in the elevator reminded us that it was Thursday.
|We realized later that we were supposed to go to deck two for open seating. The maitre d', however, just looked at his seating chart and led us to a table for two by the inner railing.
|That works for us! Next time, we will definitely go to deck two, but we were very happy to get a table for two that had some privacy.
|Debbie ordered a shrimp crostini for a starter and Tom had the French onion soup. For a main course, Debbie had the New York strip and Tom had the Mahi Mahi Diablo, which wasn't at all spicy.
|After dinner, we decided to take one of the outside glass elevators back to the eighth floor.
|Ooooh. So fancy!
|Back in our room, we got out one of the bottles of champagne that we received for sail out while we watched the sunset.
|Another gorgeous sunset after a great day at sea.
|We watched half of "Crazy Rich Asians" before setting our clocks forward another hour and heading to bed.
|Friday, October 13, 2023: After drinking champagne last night and then setting our clocks forward, we accidentally slept in later than we wanted to this morning. It was nearly 10:00 AM when we headed to the Neptune Lounge to see what they had for breakfast. We needed to go there anyway since today was the day that the ship staff were collecting everyone's Yellow Fever cards and passports so that they could handle immigration procedures prior to our first port. We will be getting both sets of documents back the day before we arrive in Funchal next Wednesday.
|There was a little rain passing by this morning, ...
|... but it was bright and sunny around the corner.
|When our cabin steward came by to clean the room, we went up to the Sea View Pool to see what was directly over our room. The last time we had been on this deck was the last day of our 2012 Alaska cruise with Debbie's family.
|Here's the view looking back from the railing toward the pool, ...
|... and here's the view of our balcony from directly above. Only the last few feet of the balcony are visible with the rest completely private.
|After about thirty minutes on deck, we headed back to the room. Holland America is really stepping up their floor mat game. These mats are in the stateroom hallways just off the stairwells so that you can tell whether you are on the port or starboard side of the ship and then which way is forward or aft.
|Shortly after getting back to our cabin, our cabin steward brought by two gift bags. We had expected to receive a tote bag during the cruise, but this gift bag was beyond our expectations. There was one for each of us containing a safari hat, a 7000 mAh power bank, a travel wallet, a tote bag, and a messenger bag. Most of the items had the "Africa Grand Voyage" logo printed on them.
|We also discovered this assortment of L'Occitane items, including a bath mitt, bath gel, lotion, pillow spray, lip balm, and soap (which Debbie excitedly unwrapped before taking the picture - oops!).
|Here's the LEGO daily calendar for day 4.
|At 12:16 PM, we streamed the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch of the Psyche spacecraft hoping that we would be able to see something since it was headed nearly toward us.
|Tom patiently looked out toward the eastern horizon, but unfortunately we were too far at sea and there was too much cloud cover to be able to see core stage re-entry or the second stage burn.
|Debbie put more clothes out on the drying rack to hopefully steam out some more wrinkles.
|For lunch, we took one of our own trays to the Dive-In restaurant and picked up two High Dive burgers and fries to go. The High Dive burger was American cheese, lettuce, and tomato slices on a toasted brioche bun. Delicious!
|While the crew was working to resolve an intermittent issue with the stateroom toilet system, Tom headed out on deck to find a public bathroom. On the way, he noticed the bank of Starlink antennas mounted on the railing above deck ten. We were really happy with the shipboard internet on this trip. It was noticeably fast, we were able to FaceTime our family back home, and we could generally use it just like non-shipboard internet back home.
|Tom brushed Debbie's hair while she was working on her laptop and took this photo of the beautiful streaks of color in her hair.
|With our food schedule all out of whack since we slept in, we decided to get milkshakes from the pool bar to stave off some pre-dinner cravings. Debbie got a chocolate shake and Tom got strawberry.
|Time to rotate clothes. The drying rack that we brought with us is one of the best purchases that we've made for this trip. It is all one piece, with telescoping legs and center bar. The entire thing collapses down into a bag that is about eight inches long and two inches in diameter and it weighs almost nothing.
|A little after 6:00 PM, we headed up to the Lido Market to get dinner. We both grabbed a cup of shrimp cocktail, Debbie got crab cakes, and Tom got a bowl of roasted zucchini bisque. The tortilla-chip-looking thing was an Indian cracker called a papadum. It was light and crispy and delicious.
|Debbie took a dessert of craquelin topped with a chocolate wafer back to the room for a late night snack. Look at the embossed design in the chocolate. Gorgeous!
|We continued our tradition of sitting out on the balcony to watch the sunset.
|There were storm clouds blowing from north to south across our path, carrying rain that made a visible gray curtain across the sea.
|We watched as the rain curtain got closer and closer to the ship, but it just couldn't quite catch us.
|A little while later, our cabin steward brought the daily program and our nightly chocolates, which tonight were in a fancy box.
|Oooh. Look at how pretty those are.
|At bedtime, we finished watching Crazy Rich Asians that we had started last night, ...
|... and then set our clocks forward another hour before heading off to sleep.
|Saturday, October 14, 2023: Good morning! Our captain was doing a very good job of skirting around the weather as we followed behind a large storm front that was crossing the Atlantic ahead of us. We later learned that Holland America had paid extra for a service that provided detailed weather forecasting and weather-avoidance routing as we crossed.
|We headed to the Pinnacle Grill this morning for breakfast. It is only open for breakfast to Neptune and Pinnacle Suite guests.
|In addition to the standard cereal offerings, they had a special cereal menu that was printed with the Africa Grand Voyage logo.
|Outside, it looked like it was going to be another great day at sea. With all of our time changes, the sun was starting to come up just after 8:00 AM.
|Debbie ordered a smoked salmon omelet and Tom ordered the ham and cheese skillet. Both were delicious.
|When we returned to the room, Josmen and Catur had already cleaned it and left us an elephant towel animal, the first one we'd gotten on this trip.
|Debbie spent some time creating the LEGO daily calendar display for today and then went out on the balcony to photograph it. It was very windy on deck, so she had to use tape to keep the display from sliding off the stool while she took the picture.
|It was day 5 and the ship was near the mid-point of the Atlantic crossing, so the LEGO display featured a kraken and our minifigs showed that we had started to transform into kraken as well.
|Around noon, a tiny bird flew onto our balcony. It wasn't a sea bird, and we have no idea where it came from since we were almost 900 miles from any land. It hopped around on our balcony for a while, drinking from the water remaining in the scuppers that ran around the edge of the balcony.
|We headed up to the Lido Market for a late lunch, and Debbie almost forgot to take a picture of her sushi, ox tail, and bread pudding until she was finishing up. Tom had gotten beef, curry, and three different kinds of sushi from the Asian market.
|Later in the afternoon, we headed out on the balcony to read and surf while we got some sun on our feet. The breeze on the balcony kept it at a really good temperature as long as there was some shade. Once the shade was gone late in the afternoon, it was too hot to be on deck.
|Around 3:30 PM, the little bird was back again. We wondered if she had come aboard in Florida and was just living in various places around the ship until we reached land again.
|We broke out the Five Crowns deck once we went back inside to cool down. Debbie's Aunt Carol had introduced us to this game over the summer, and we very much enjoy playing it. We were pretty evenly matched, with only a few points separating us until the last round when Debbie absolutely crushed Tom.
|We headed back up to the Lido for dinner around 6:00 PM, getting a mix of noodles, fish, soup, and some pasta salad. The variety of food has been really good so far. With a cruise this long, we wondered when the dishes would start to repeat.
|When we came back to the room, our cabin steward had already been there for the nightly service. We noticed that the the laundry we had sent in yesterday evening was already back a day earlier than expected, which was a pleasant surprise.
|As we left dinner, we noticed that there wasn't anyone in the Sea View pool, so we changed clothes and went up for a swim. We had the entire pool and both hot tubs to ourselves until 7:00 PM when we returned to our room. We had such fun floating in the pool, then going to the hot tub for a while, then going back to the pool. After we showered, we set up the drying rack and hung up our suits.
|Around 8:30 PM, we noticed that there were two sales flyers stuck under our door. There was one for each of us, and the one for Debbie had Happy Birthday written on it, since she was the one who would be having a birthday during the cruise. Each contained a gift certificate - Tom's for the spa department and Debbie's for the jewelry shop.
|Tonight's movie was Tom's choice, so we settled in to watch "Hidden Figures" about the early days of NASA's Mercury program.
|Just before we went to sleep, we set our clocks ahead another hour, this time to UTC. After this one, there was still one more hour to make up before we reached our first port on day 9.
|Sunday, October 15, 2023: Welcome to day 6 of our Atlantic crossing. We slept in today and headed out on to the balcony while Josmen and Catur cleaned our room.
|At 11:00 AM, we headed down to the dining room on deck two for brunch. This was a special event, ...
|... and Debbie had designed the LEGO daily calendar display so that our minifigs were also having brunch.
|The menu was a little confusing at first, as we thought we were picking from the list of starters and mains, but a waiter came by a little later and explained that it was a fixed plate and that everyone was getting everything on the menu. How fun! Here is the first course: mini focaccia Caprese, egg salad and smoked salmon on brioche, muesli with berries, shrimp sushi roll, pÃ¢té home-style, and at the bottom is a grape and fruit skewer.
|For the second course, there was a vegetable frittata with carmelized onion, steamed broccoli on potato, a fried chicken tender, tenderloin medallion with Béarnaise sauce, two jumbo shrimp, and finally, biscuits and gravy.
|For dessert, there was a chocolate crème caramel, baked pear strudel, and a mixed nut tart. Everything was so delicious that we decided that we were going to go to every one of these that they had from now on.
|After brunch, we checked out the shops. We were delighted to see that they had bottles of Amarula on board, but sad that if we bought one, we wouldn't see it until the end of the trip.
|These guitar-shaped bottles of liqueur looked like they'd make a great addition to the Bundlings bar but we'll decide in December if we have room in our luggage for one.
|Forward of the shops, we stumbled onto the library and decided to have a look in.
|The books are organized on bookcases by genre.
|As we continued our walk forward, we discovered the wall containing plaques showing the first time the Zuiderdam visited various places. This is one of our favorite displays aboard cruise ships and we spent some time looking at all of them.
|This one is from Skagway, Alaska, from May 2006.
|This one was missing its identification plate at the bottom, but it had gorgeous wood detail so we had to get a picture of it.
|This cool one is from La Havre, France, from June 2018.
|This honorary crown of laurel leaves was presented by the mayor of Argos-Mycenae, Greece.
|Hey, it's Sunday!
|Later in the afternoon, we played two more games of Five Crowns, with Tom winning one and Debbie winning one.
|Debbie made our afternoon cocktail while we played, this time with the Absolut Citron.
|The laundry bags that the ship provides are quite small, so we decided to send in our laundry earlier than we had originally planned. This bag contains all of Debbie's dirty clothes since the start of the trip, which is about nine days worth. Once that comes back, then we will send in a bag with just Tom's clothes.
|We headed down to the main dining room for dinner. Since we are in a Neptune suite, we had priority seating and a special menu as part of their Club Orange. If you look at the menu, there a daily special in the mains section just for Club Orange members. Fancy!
|We both ordered the calamari fritti as a starter. We love fried calamari!
|Debbie ordered the lemon-shrimp fettucini for her main, ...
|... and Tom ordered the crew dish of the day which was black pork adobo with garlic rice and charred bok choy. For dessert, Debbie had the dulce de leche cheesecake and Tom had the chocolate delight. Everything was delicious, as usual.
|We took the elevator back to deck eight and admired the gorgeous fused-glass wall panels on the sides of the elevator.
|We had brought along one of our solar powered rainbow makers by Kikkerland, and the sun came through the window in front of the desk in the late afternoon desk to make it work.
|The rainbows were cast on the walls near the bed and on the ceiling.
|Let's zoom in so you can see them better. Here's one just above the outlets on the wall near the desk.
|We'd had so much fun at the pool yesterday evening that we decided to go again tonight. This time, we took the pool floats that we'd brought with us and our new waterproof camera that we'd bought for this trip.
|Here's the first photo with the new camera. The floats are two inflatable sides connected by a couple of feet of mesh net. They can be used as a chair, ...
|... or a raft.
|They worked even better than we'd expected, and we used them the entire time we were in the pool.
|Tom submerged himself in the deep end of the pool to take a test photo. Without his snorkel mask, it was impossible to see the camera's display, but this photo of the rare aquatic North American female turned out just fine.
|When we came back to the room, our cabin stewards had turned it over for bedtime and placed another reminder to set our clocks forward an hour before we went to sleep. This was the last adjustment we would need to make before we made landfall at Funchal in a few days. For tonight's movie, we watched "Encanto," which is one of our favorite Disney movies.
|Monday, October 16, 2023: Day 7 started with a trip to the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast. On a table just outside was a schedule for the pop-up dinners that will be held throughout the cruise along with the per-person price for each.
|We studied the menu, which hadn't changed from the day before, and made our selections.
|With all of the time changes, sunrise was quite a way off this morning and it was still pitch black outside. While we waited for a server to take our breakfast order, we admired the color-changing lights on the ceiling.
|A server came by with a choice of sweet buns and muffins. Debbie selected a chocolate croissant and Tom picked a blueberry muffin, and a little while later our server took our breakfast order.
|Debbie had ordered the Texas Toast French Toast which was delicious, but the small container of syrup ran out long before she finished it.
|Tom had ordered a build-your-own-omelet with ham, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and cheddar cheese. It was fluffy and light and perfect.
|After breakfast we returned to our cabin, and just before 9:00 AM, it finally started to get light out.
|Around 1:00 PM, Tom went down to the Dive-In restaurant and got two Dive-In Dogs and an order of fries and brought it back to the cabin. The Dive-In Dog features yellow mustard, pickle relish, and crispy frizzled onions in a poppy seed bun. He got Debbie's dog without the mustard or relish, of course.
|During the afternoon, our cabin steward brought us fresh flowers, ...
|... in time for Debbie to include them in the photo of the LEGO daily calendar. Tonight was the Captain's Gala dinner, and our minifigs were dressed in their finery.
|For today's afternoon entertainment, we got out the game Itchy Feet, which was a gift from Debbie's Aunt Carol. It's a card game where you have to use the cards in your hand to travel to two destinations before your opponent. We played two rounds with each of us winning one. It fun and quick and we enjoyed it very much.
|At 5:00 PM, dressed in our formal attire, we headed down to the dinning room and requested a table for two. We were seated on the port side this time, in a raised area just inside the dinning room.
|Debbie cleans up very nicely, doesn't she?
|Tom doesn't do too bad either. For starters, Debbie got the jumbo shrimp cocktail and Tom ordered the carrot coconut curry spiced cream soup, which was poured tableside.
|The main attraction at the Captain's Gala dinner was the broiled lobster tail, which is what Debbie ordered.
|Tom ordered the vegan jolof rice with rainbow slaw, and was very disappointed in how bland the rice was. Not only was it not spicy at all, it had almost no flavor.
|The star of the night was the S'mores Sundae which consisted of vanilla ice cream, brownie chunks, toasted marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, and chocolate sauce. Debbie vowed to eat this whenever it was available, which was hopefully every night after this one. She will be happy to describe its perfection to anyone who will listen.
|Back in the cabin, the laundry that we had sent out last night was back already. It was in a wrapped paper parcel with everything inside nicely folded.
|On the bed was the next day's program, a box of fancy chocolates, and a card with an adventure-themed quote and a wish from the captain and crew for a happy voyage, ...
|... oh, and another towel animal.
|The sparklies from our rainbow maker were perfect tonight and filled the room with light.
|Around sunset, we got into our jammies and headed out onto the balcony. It was another beautiful show, with orange rimming the clouds and our wake seeming to glow in the fading light.
|We got ready for bed and watched the rom-com movie "Bros." After the movie, we talked a little bit about the upcoming ports and how excited we were to reach the other side of the Atlantic before turning out the lights and going to sleep.
|Tuesday, October 17, 2023: Another glorious day at sea. This is the last day of the Atlantic crossing before we reach the island of Madeira tomorrow.
|Our first stop this morning was the Neptune Lounge on deck seven.
|Today was the day we were getting our passports back. While Tom talked to Alexa, the Neptune Lounge concierge, ...
|... Debbie checked out the breakfast items ...
|... that were only available to Neptune Suite and Pinnacle Suite guests. None of the items were tempting, ...
|... so we headed down to the Pinnacle Grill where Tom ordered the Asian Congee, ...
|... and Debbie ordered the banana pancakes. Tom declared the congee to be his new favorite breakfast food. Debbie noted that once again, there wasn't nearly enough syrup, so she stopped eating when the syrup ran out halfway through the stack. Note to Debbie: ask for two syrups and no butter next time.
|We spent the morning in the cabin napping, surfing, and reading, with one brief interruption for our cabin attendant to fetch a flip-flop from our balcony that someone had lost from the deck above. For lunch, Tom got burgers and fries from the Dive-In. The burger that we had today was the Gainer, which is crispy onions, lettuce, sliced tomato, and Dive-In sauce on a toasted brioche bun. As usual, they were delicious.
|The LEGO daily calendar display for day 8 featured a scene in which our minifigs caught up on some reading. Tom is reading "Moby Brick" and Debbie would be reading "Dealing with a High IQ" if it was possible for her minifig hands to hold that style of LEGO book. Instead, it rested on the tiny coffee table.
|We spent some time on the balcony enjoying the blue skies ...
|... and the first sea bird we had seen in a couple of days.
|For dinner, we had reservations at the Pinnacle Grill, which is one of the additional fee, specialty restaurants on board. Tom wore his new Pantone color swatch shirt, ...
|... and Debbie wore a beautiful white dress with a white sweater. It's fun to dress up and look nice!
|The meal started with a selection of bread, garlic butter, and roasted bell pepper cream cheese, ...
|... followed by appetizers. This is the exclusive David Burke clothesline candied bacon. The presentation is quite striking, and the bacon itself was very delicious.
|This is the jumbo lump crab cakes with cucumber and sweet chili mustard, which was also quite delicious. We shared both appetizers so that we could each taste everything.
|For dinner, Debbie ordered the filet mignon with béarnaise sauce with sides of mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. The filet came with two onion rings on top and a garnish of onions in a red sauce.
|Tom also ordered the filet, but he got a baked potato and sauteed mushrooms for sides. The potato came with little dishes containing bacon, chives, butter, and sour cream.
|Between the main course and dessert, our server brought us a tray of sugared passion fruit jelly, dark chocolate drops, and white chocolate drops. The sugared passion fruit was amazing, and we'd wished they'd brought us more of those.
|For dessert, Debbie ordered the Not-So-Classic Baked Alaska, which features Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream and Bing cherries jubilee. This is her very favorite cruise ship dessert and is the main reason she books dinners at the Pinnacle Grill.
|Tom orded the chocolate soufflé with crème anglaise, strawberries, and vanilla Chantilly foam.
|After dinner, we took our picture standing in the magic mirror in the walkway on deck two. Look up, Debbie!
|We were back in our room in time for sunset, and we used our selfie stick ...
|... to take some fun photos ...
|... from lots of different angles. Check out that mighty wake behind us!
|Along with tomorrow's daily program and the usual nightly chocolates, we received a map of the port area of Funchal where we'd be arriving tomorrow morning. The map showed where we'd be docked, and had information about the shuttle service that would be available. Tickets for the shuttle were available for purchase through the Navigator app.
|The sun set a little after 8:00 PM, ...
|... and then at bedtime we settled in for tonight's movie, a sci-fi thriller titled "65."
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy