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Finalized: February 15, 2009
January 26, 2009
Emerging from the portal of REGAL EMPRESS 1950s vintage finery (see prior blog entry) into reality can be a bit sobering, if not downright distressing. Fortunately, our dose of the absolute was a merciful five minute and $9.00 taxi ride between Port Everglades’ Terminals 4 and 22, where we embarked Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line’s deluxe MV SEVEN SEAS MARINER for the first five of her 122 night Ring Of Fire cruise around South America and the Pacific.
The 50,000 gt, 700 passenger, all suite SEVEN SEAS MARINER is just back from a multi-million dollar refurbishment that will keep her at the forefront of the luxury cruise market for many more years. I was more than pleased to sample the new wares and spend the next few days luxuriating on a southerly course to Barbados.
Radisson Seven Seas funnel markings.
My first and only visit to the MARINER was in Los Angeles on the day of her christening for then owners, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, on May 22, 2001. She struck me as a very spacious, elegant and low key ship.
Welcome aboard strings.
We were a tad early at 10:30 AM, which allowed plenty of time to obtain footage of the public areas before the ship filled with passengers that afternoon.
Atrium, facing up from Deck Five.
Champagne was being poured and the string trio tuned up to greet embarking guests in the Deck Five (bottom) level of the soaring, seven deck Atrium.
Newly added Prime 7 Grill, facing forward.
Part of Regent’s $40 million fleet enhancement program, the MARINER’s refit was miraculously rendered within a mere ten days at Freeport in early January. It not only saw the replacement of most of the original soft fittings with lively, contemporary colors but also included the installation of the Prime 7 Grill in place of the Asian-Fusion Latitudes restaurant.
The elegant Compass Rose dining room now sports cushioned arm chairs and a rich palette of merlot and chablis.
The respected marine architectural firm, Yran and Storbraaten of Oslo Norway (also currently designing sister company Oceania’s newbuilding MARINA) were at the helm of the SEVEN SEAS MARINER’s decorative transformation. A full before and after tour of the MARINER will appear in a forthcoming Decked! blog.
Aft from midships Deck Twelve.
The MARINER has eight passenger levels, ascending from Deck Five to Deck Twelve, connected fore and aft by wide stairtowers and banks of elevators. Public spaces are concentrated on Decks Five through Seven, Eleven and Twelve, sandwiching a wide variety of spacious outside suites, some of which are among the largest afloat.
Port La Veranda, facing aft.
By early afternoon, it was time to stow the cameras and head to La Veranda on aft Deck Eleven for a lovely buffet lunch.
Totally random La Veranda carpet shot.
La Veranda features full length windows and an al fresco, sheltered terrace aft. The port side now sports luxuriant shades of periwinkle versus starboard, which is done in a sea foam green. The comfortable, freshly reupholstered armchairs were originally from the Compass Rose.
We settled down at a table for two with a view of the Intracoastal Waterway and John Lloyd State Park through a patterned gauze curtain.
Buffet in La Veranda.
The La Veranda offerings (pasta, sandwiches, cheeses, breads, meats, fish, desserts and a separate pizza station) are presented on beautiful white china. I began my five day affair with the salad bar, developing a rather uncontrolled dependency on the fresh balsamic vinaigrette, accompanied with crumbled blue cheese and a mounds of parmesan. At the pasta station, the day’s special was a fettuccini with eggplant pomodoro sauce, which I enhanced with some extra garlic and sun dried tomatoes. The cook insisted on bringing it to the table, piping hot.
Sweets in La Veranda.
And the sweets! Thankfully, the ship’s gym was very well-equipped and ready for atonement.
Constellation Theater, facing starboard from Deck Five.
And the suites! At 2:30, ours was ready, so we proceeded to the Constellation Theater with the other embarking passengers (on Regent, check in is actually done on the ship — guests are led to a comfortable seat, offered a beverage, called up for a quick signature and security photo, and issued their ship’s identity card).
Suite 902 facing port.
Located on forward port Deck Nine, Penthouse Suite 902 would be our home for the next five nights. At 449 square feet, including a 73 square foot balcony, it was more like a New York studio apartment.
Suite 902, facing starboard.
All accommodation on the MARINER features a king or two twin beds with Anichini linens and a feather-down duvet, a teak lined balcony with comfortable seating, separate sitting area, a personal safe, individual air conditioning controls, a mini bar that is restocked daily, a large flat screen television, a DVD player and a writing desk.
A corner of Suite 902’s walk-in closet.
The walk-in closet was almost as large as some cabins I have cruised in. Cotton robes and slippers are also provided. No wire hangers here!
Suite 902 w/c.
Our bathroom had a marvelous, glass-enclosed shower stall with overhead and hand-held shower units, ample storage space and plush cotton towels.
Tolietries included shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, bath gel, a sewing kit, shoe shine cloth and cotton swabs, shower caps and two kinds of soap, all replenished on a regular basis.
Gloria in excellentis.
Our stewardess, Gloria, came to introduce herself and asked if there was anything we needed. I requested some more pillows, to which she responded, “What kind, sir? Down or foam?” I thought about it a minute, then asked for a couple of both. “Right away, sir!”
Gym, facing aft.
We unpacked, then headed to the excellent gym for a very quick romp on the ellipticals. A nice touch is the cooler with complimentary bottled water and Gatorade. Even the midnight blue gym towels are luxuriant. The only thing Regent doesn’t provide is the work out.
REGAL EMPRESS and SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR at Ft. Lauderdale.
At 4:45, we were up on deck to see who would be departing first. REGAL EMPRESS made the first maneuver, backing from Terminal 4 into the turning basin.
SEVEN SEAS MARINER to SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR at Ft. Lauderdale.
REGAL E sailing into the sunset.
As the REGAL EMPRESS exited the channel, MARINER’s lines began to loosen, and, with a slight rumble, her pods churned the waters into a boil. She and the NAVIGATOR, upper decks and balconies lined with toasting revelers, exchanged a rather boisterous salute. MARINER backed past her smaller fleetmate and into the basin. Meanwhile, the now distant yet ever earnest EMPRESS caught a glint of setting sun on her starboard flanks as she zig zagged on her southeasterly sprint to Nassau.
MV SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR at Fort Lauderdale.
Ft. Lauderdale shoreline.
It wasn’t long before the SEVEN SEAS MARINER had Fort Lauderdale in her wake. The winds licked at her upper decks with a winter-tinged tongue.
Observation Lounge, facing starboard.
We joined the press group in the Observation Lounge on forward Deck Twelve for canapés and cocktails as twilight fizzled into full-fledged darkness. The room’s handsome, yacht-inspired decor sports a new “sand and sea” palette of royal and midnight blue, beige and wood tones.
The MARINER began to pitch in the increasing swells. On the starboard horizon, a gently sheered line of twinkling lights was our final glimpse of the little REGAL EMPRESS.
Before I could set my near empty wine glass down, bartender Vincent was crossing the room to replenish it with more Australian shiraz.
Compass Rose, facing starboard from center.
Our next destination was the Compass Rose on Deck Five. A group of tables were ready for us underneath the domed ceiling compass centerpiece. This lovely space is an a la carte, open seating, dine when and with whom you please venue.
The pampering began almost immediately as the somellier presented the featured (included) wines. The evening’s choices were a Dry Creek Fume Blanc from Sonoma and a marvelous Cline Cellars Cashmere red, also from California. A separate, extra tariff wine list was also available with various recommended reserves.
Compass Rose table setting.
Silver plate chargers, reidel stemware and ergonomic silver cutlery certainly make an elegant first impression. Add gold-fringed Porsgrund china and soft lighting, and the setting is perfection.
The freshly made artisan breads (not shown) are out of this world, especially the parmesan rolls, but more on those tomorrow….
Lady Bird Beetle lands on a Compass Rose?
Each course was a culinary work of art. Blame it on the wine, but my Marinated Mediterranean Vegetables and Ballotine of Turkey (tossed in sherry-poultry dressing and garnished with young field greens) appetizer resembled a hovering, Miro-vian lady bird beetle. Other equally gallery-worthy choices included a Seafood Rendezvous (prawns, crabmeat and baby shrimps in three sauces), Chilled Seasonal Fruit Cocktail (drizzled with triple sec) and Moules Mariniere (steamed black mussels with vegetable julienne, garlic, fresh herbs and white wine).
A slightly more austere looking but absolutely delicious Chilled Ratatouile Soup (not shown — think Edvard Munch) was my next course. The alternates were Sweet Potato Soup (garnished with cumin-spiced plantains) and Beef Consomme Double (with vegetable crostini).
Marinated on the MARINER.
The salad courses included a Fresh Spinach With Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon and Chopped Eggs (dill mustard dressing) but I chose the Marinated Macaroni, Tomatoes, Corn and Basil (yogurt dressing with lemon juice, garlic and basil).
At this point, any sense of hunger had given way to highly caloric self-indulgence.
Of course, I did not need a pasta course, but could not resist a piatti of spaghetti pesto, doused in freshly grated parmesan. There was also a featured Spaghetti alla Neapoletana (meatballs in a rich tomato sauce) or a spaghetti bolognese. Bolognese, pomodoro and pesto are available each night with a different type of pasta.
A palette-cleansing “Intermezzo” of Kahlua sorbet followed.
Sable Fillet in Compass Rose.
For the Main Course, the following was available: Best of Pork With Roquefort Sauce (snap pea risotto with Champagne and chives and assorted spring veggies), Mustard and Herb Marinated Black Angus Rib Eye (mushroom stuffed baked potatoes and Hirocots Verts Sauce Marchand de Vin), Chicken Breast Stuffed With Avocado and French Camembert, Wrapped In Bacon (served with asparagus shavings, grilled mushrooms and plum tomatoes), Tofu Steak Marinated in Herb-Infused Virgin Olive Oil (on a bed of angel hair pasta with Aubergine sauce), Sirloin Steak of Black Angus Beef (grilled to preference), Salmon Fillet (prepared to order: poached, grilled, broiled or pan-fried) and Boneless Breast of Chicken. I chose a Broiled Sable Fish Fillet with Apple-Onion Compote (apple cider beurre blanc, snap peas and potatoes).
Dessert in Compass Rose.
A separate dessert menu followed. The left side offered International Cheeses with a glass of port wine, crackers, French bread and butter — tempting. On the right side, there was Crepe Terrine with Citrus Sauce (Grand Marnier Flavored Creme Anglaise layered Between Swedish Pancakes), Low Carb Cranberry Orange Scrub (milk-honey-orange and cranberry flavored mousse with sugar free chocolate chip cookies), Creme Brulee, Raspberry New York Style Cheese Cake, Sugar Free Pineapple Cake, Ice Coupe Peach Melba (peach slices with vanilla ice cream, Strawberry sauce and toasted almonds, Refreshing Coffee Kahlua Sherbet or a selection of Premium Ice Creams. There was also my choice, Rhubarb Pudding (oven-baked rhubarb cake in cinnamon-vanilla sauce) with a dollup of Caramel Praline ice cream.
An altar of petites fours.
And, then, Petites Fours, or, as the menu prefers, Gourmandises. I had the multi-layered one on the right and a raspberry-topped mini chocolate tart.
After our leisurely dinner, we were off to see the show, “From Opera To Swing” by clarinetist Wojtek Mrozek and his wife, opera singer Agata Sava, accompanied by the Regent Signature Orchestra in the Constellation Theater. Their ecclectic performance included Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk”, a tune we had coincidentally been humming earlier in the day.
A nightcap in the Observation Lounge followed, then it was back to the plush confines of Suite 902 to watch the ever-hilarious mockumentary DVD, “Jackie’s Back” on the flat screen as the MARINER plunged onward, en route to St. Barts.
January 27, 2009
En suite breakfast, Cabin 902.
What better way to be awakened on our first morning, than with a full breakfast, on RSSC’s fine china, set up in the sitting area with a view over the surging sea? Capriciously, we had checked off far too many items, from fresh orange juice to Swiss muesli, cheese omelets and coffee, but it was the smoked salmon (served with cream cheese, sliced onions, tomatoes, capers and a toasted bagel) that stole the show.
MARINER boat drill muster.
A most civil emergency drill muster was held in the Constellation Theater at 10:15. Thorough, to the point, and in a comfortable seat instead of the usual boat deck human sandwich.
Over bow from bridge.
It was a fine morning for a bridge tour, so once the life vests were stowed, we gathered with the media group for a tour of the MARINER’s state of the art wheelhouse, courtesy of one of the ship’s French officers.
Force Six from starboard wing.
The seas were a Force Six, enough to make the MARINER pitch and toss off the occasional rainbow-inflected spray.
Aft La Veranda, facing port.
Lunchtime at La Veranda was enjoyed on the terrace, overlooking a gurgling trail of pod-churned foam eleven or so decks below. Salad, pasta, sweets — it was an all-too-predictable, if utterly satisfying, and
Coffee Connection, facing aft.
For our early afternoon pick-me-up, we adjourned to the Coffee Connection on Deck Six. I ordered a double cappuccino, made with fresh Lavazza coffee. Rob opted for a chilled chai concoction.
Attendant Faye wanted to know where we were sitting so she could bring the orders over to us. We told her we could wait but she insisted, so we grabbed a newspaper and settled in a corner overlooking the promenade. Can’t do anything on your own on this ship!
Coffee was eventually followed by a leisurely afternoon workout, with an emphasis on the ellipticals. Uphill, downhill, side to side, occasionally assisted or impaired by the ship’s lurching.
Natural wave generations.
Although the wind was fierce, Deck Eleven beckoned. We took a dip in the pool, whose refreshing salt water was a constant, yet captive wave in a beautifully tiled basin.
No galley tour should begin without a welcome glass of champagne.
Late that afternoon, the MARINER’s Chef de Cuisine, 30 year old Dutchman, Mike Mulden, led us through the catacombs of the ship’s galley and stores on Decks Five and Four. Our first stop was the silver cleaning area, where all the ship’s silver flatware is dipped and polished each night.
In the main galley area, the din is so loud at peak hours that microphones and head sets are sometimes required for placing orders. There are over four thousand recipes available on a twenty four night cycle, meaning no menu items are repeated in that period.
Dessert gallery in the galley.
In one section of the galley, desserts and gourmandises (petits-fours) are prepared on an artful assembly line.
The MARINER had taken on seven containers’ worth of supplies in Fort Lauderdale (fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh and frozen fish, USDA choice meats, cartons of beverages, etc.) for the 122 day cruise, some of which were still being sorted.
Pastry Chef Kevin Lee.
The pastry chefs deserve extra special praise for their wonderful, crispy, flaky creations!
Without even consulting a numerologist, at seven, seven of us gathered in Prime 7 for dinner, where the specially commissioned logo china is by Schonwald of Germany.
To begin, a round of Kobe-style beef “burgers” is brought to the table.
Ahi tuna tartare, Prime
The ahi tuna tartar starter was artful and quite tasty, according to Rob.
Not the ultimate surf and turf guy, I began with a caesar salad replete with a generous heap of parmesan shavings.
Prime 7 Chicken.
My main course was a simple but delicious roasted chicken served on an iron skillet that was soon embellished with truffle fries, asparagus and green beans which we passed around family style. Other popular courses were prime cuts of beef (Porterhouse, Fillet Mignon, New York), lamb, veal and lobster.
Key lime in Prime.
The key lime pie seems to have won the consensus for best dessert, although it did get a pretty hefty challenge from the 14 layer mocha cake and a banana crumble doused in apple caramel sauce.
January 28, 2009
A perfect day, really. Not much to report of interest other than a very late sleep-in, more views of the surging seas (they notched up to a Force Seven overnight), a few squalls (one off our port side burst with a prism of color in the bright sunlight), the requisite cappuccinos, lunch in La Veranda, another workout, sunning in a padded deck chair on Deck Eleven (each with a cocktail table and attendant waiting to fulfill a beverage request). Can it get any better?
We did manage to take a break from all the indulgence for a little mental enrichment at 2:00 PM in the never more appropriately-named Constellation Lounge for guest speaker astronomer/naturalist David Aguilar’s “The Forty Minute Universe”. With spectacular videos and projections on the large screens behind him, he basically told us in layman’s terms how the universe was born and will eventually die. This was just the first in a series of talks offered during the Ring Of Fire cruise.
We missed tea the prior two days, so made sure to be in the Horizon Lounge at 4:00. Today, there was a theme, “Strawberry Heaven”, with all sorts of strawberry concoctions laid out center stage.
Horizon tea savories.
There were also some savories to enjoy in the corner next to the freshly-baked scones. We filled up a couple plates, let the tea pour, and even joined in on the daily quiz, albeit with disastrous results.
Aft Deck Six, facing aft.
Just outside, the seas surged quite enthusiastically. One particularly nice spot on the MARINER is the open terrace on Aft Deck Six, although today it was a bit drenched in salty spray.
Starboard Deck Six promenade, facing forward.
On the starboard Deck Six promenade, there were some dramatic views as we plunged onward.
It was formal night, so we eventually donned our black tie gear and joined the media group for dinner in Prime 7, once more. The crab cakes started me off nicely, leading into a caesar salad, fillet of sole and sides of asparagus and truffle fries. I decided to give the camera a rest, so, sorry, no food images tonight!
Broadway style shows on most cruise ships utilize click tracks, where the orchestra and even the singing is pre-recorded. Tonight, we enjoyed a real live show in the Constellation Lounge with the eight piece Regent Orchestra and attractive, talented ten member Regent Singers and Dancers cast. “Broadway in Concert” featured some familiar material from the likes of “Cats” and “Oklahoma” as well as a few surprises, with tunes from “Jersey Boys” and “Hairspray” to liven things up.
MARINER stack illuminated.
Limoncellos and more red wine in the Mariner Lounge were followed by limoncellos and more red wine in the Observation Bar before a walk around the breezy but somewhat balmy upper decks.
January 29, 2009
If our southbound oceanic sojourn of indulgence and relaxation had to come to an end, St. Barts was as good a place as any to leave our sea days behind. My first and last visit to this tropical, eight square mile slice of St. Tropez was aboard Fred. Olsen’s BALMORAL last year. We had a limited call of just a few hours, enough to allow for a circle island zodiac tour for a tempting speed ride through its astoundingly clear, turquoise waters. I vowed when I returned that I would have to spend a day on the beach, so we fulfilled that yen by opting for a full day rental car through the SEVEN SEAS MARINER’s shore excursion desk ($150 inclusive of all taxes).
Going ashore supplies.
We had to go ashore on the 9:00 AM tender to meet the rental car agent, deliver the requisite paperwork and secure the car as there is apparently more demand than supply. Meanwhile, Regent never misses an opportunity to provide for its guests, as evidenced by the umbrella stand and gratis bottled water at the tender gangway.
MV SEVEN SEAS MARINER at St. Barts.
After a fifteen minute boat ride past our handsome ship and some rather ostentatious super yachts, we disembarked in the red roofed haven of Gustavia. We did not put it to the test but were warned repeatedly that a coffee or lunch in one of its charming cafes could cause financial hardship.
Gustavia is named for Gustav III of Sweden. St. Barts was claimed by the French in 1648, sold to the Swedes in 1784 and then sold back to the French a century later. Much of the architecture has a Swedish feel to it but there is no mistaking this is a French enclave.
MARINER to Gustavia, St. Barts.
Rob enjoys a challenge much more than me, so he was our designated driver, which is a very good thing. Our map was almost unintelligible and the roads in many places are not only windy and steep, but lack guard rails. Not so great for acrophobic bloggers.
We managed to find our first beach, Saline, which is located on the south side of the island. A short trek past a salt pond, along a rocky path, over a small dune, and voila! An absolutely lovely stretch of white sand and turquoise waters. It was very nice but the rip current was somewhat off-putting, so we packed it up and headed for the beach at the top of every “A” list: Gouverneur’s.
Gouverneur’s Beach below.
All the way back through Gustavia and then up a small mountain, Gouverneur’s finally came into view.
Welcome to Gouverneur’s Beach.
St. Barts’ key beaches sport handsome hand painted tile placards at the entrance and all are accessible, as well as free.
Gouverneur’s Beach, St. Barts.
Alas, Gouverneur’s was, indeed, beautiful but the waves were more like mini-tsunamis. The embankment dropped off suddenly and the breakers smashed right onto the shore, so swimming was “at your own risk”. The sand was spectacular and the sun scorching. We lasted about twenty minutes before heading onward to our next beach. Goldilocks had nothing on us.
St. B “cruisers”: Teijo Neimela, Tom Cassidy, Rob Di Stefano.
There are two gas stations on the island. One was closed and the attendant supervising the second was away until 2:00 PM. We tried to swipe our credit cards at the pump, but it only took those with a special security chip. The result was that we had plenty of time to find something else to do, so we stopped at the top of the hill overlooking the airport where fellow journalist (and famed Cruise Critic blogger), Teijo Neimela, was plane-spotting. In St. Barts, a favorite pastime is watching the commuter aircraft drop precariously onto a very short runway that basically ends at St. Jean’s beach. A few planes have gone a little further than they intended to…
St. Barts landing. Photo by Rob Di Stefano.
They come in literally a few dozen yards overhead and drop suddenly to the runway for what must be a white knuckle ride. I think I’d rather stick to visiting this enchanting little island by sea.
A pot of gold at the end of the runway: Plage St. Jean, St. Barts. Sunbathing in this particular spot not recommended.
St. Jean’s Beach was actually our next destination. For us, it was lucky number three, in terms of beach-hunting.
Plage St. Jean, St. Barts.
The water was like a Chanel No. 5 advert. and the waves were actually ride-able
, so we took the plunge. A line of boutique hotels fronts the beach. One had its own outdoor cafe with a bar tender, cold beers and a cappuccino maker.
St. Barts coastline.
There was still some time left before the gas station opened, so we took another drive around the island, along some spectacular, if rugged beaches, before returning to Gustavia.
A misty MARINER.
Here is where I have to offer a huge thanks to the SEVEN SEAS MARINER’s tender driver, Ignacio. He was kind enough to circle the ship for us as we rode back and forth. On our second pass, a huge squall came up and inundated everything before heading across the channel towards St. Maarten.
We were back on board just in time for tea and another embarrassing attempt at the quiz (we really thought “trunk” was both a human body part and a box but the answer was “chest”).
The rest of the night was very low key. Dinner in Compass Rose where the food and service were brilliant, then back to suite 902 to, well, work.
January 30, 2009
Dominica is a lush, volcanic island with a beautiful rain forest, geothermal springs and renowned dive sites. This was my first visit since 1992, when I took a full day’s excursion aboard the 1959-built ROTTERDAM.
SEVEN SEAS MARINER at Roseau, Dominica.
In lieu of a tour, we chose to enjoy the comfort of the MARINER, although I did manage to get ashore for a few photos of the ship and a walk through the town of Roseau.
There is not much to see or do in this particular port town, which seemed a bit rough in spots. I wouldn’t recommend it for a self-guided tour, especially for anyone venturing on their own. However, the rest of the island does have a number of attractions, such as tours to a Carib Indian reservation, Trafalgar Falls, the evocatively named Emerald Pool, river tubing and the rainforest aerial tram.
SEVEN SEAS MARINER Face.
I had a chance to wander the ship and get all the shots left on my check list, including a view aft from the crew deck on the fo’c’sle head.
Deck Nine laundry, facing starboard.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying the near empty ship for lunch, tea and getting some logistical things taken care of, such as laundry. On Decks Ten, Nine and Eight, there are self-service laundries complete with gratis detergent, furnished with the original seating from La Veranda.
Signatures, facing aft.
Our final dinner was held in Signatures, the reservations-only, Cordon Blu-style a la carte French restaurant on aft Deck Six. For men, a jacket with optional tie dress code is enforced and for women, a pantsuit or dress is recommended.
The vividly-patterned black and white Versace chargers stand out in the room’s newly rendered deep blue and olive color scheme.
Magnificent bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil or Signature’s specialty truffle parmesan butter, began the round of courses, accompanied either by a Chablis Premier Cru, Mason Laboré Roi Burgundy or a Medoc AC Reserve Speciale, Baton Lafite de Rothschild Bordeaux. The entrées (starters) ranged from Lobster Medallions with Seafood Vinaigrette, Scallops Marinated in Herb Oil, a Foie Gras Terrine, and a Cassoulet of Snails “Signatures Style” to Crabmeat With Asparagus and my choice, a Camembert Quiche with Celery and Walnut. I followed with the Surprise Chicken Consomme Perfumed with Truffle. Other soup choices included Creamy Mushroom with Candied Garlic and a Crustacean Bisque. A lovely pear Williams sor
bet cleansed the palette.
Fillet of Halibut With Pistachio Oil and a Duo of Spinach and Herb-Marinated Tomatoes.
An amazing line up of plats principaux included Fillet of Halibut (above), Sauteed Salmon Fillet with a Mixture of Vegetables Barigoule Style, Potato Pithiviers (puff pastry pie) with Spinach Leaf Salad, Rack of Lamb with Mushrooms and Melted Potato Garnishes, Tenderloin of Veal With Eggplant Caviar Stuffed Tomatoes, Beef Tournedos Rossini with Glazed Vegetable Bouqetiere in Perigeux style.
Creme brulée to end the day!
I went “simple and light” (yeah, right!) with the Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brullée with Candied Fruits and Vanilla Ice Cream. Other choices included a Warmed Chocolate Tart with Raspberries, Cherry Griottes soft cake with light lemon cream, and a Port Wine Poached Fig with Fromage Blanc Mille-Feuille, Vanilla Sabayon and Roasted Walnuts.
On this final evening, we watched as guest artist, David Dimuzio juggled, sang, joked and unicycled (with machetes) his way across the main stage. From there, it was off to hop a few bars, from the Mariner Lounge, where bartender Jan delivered a glass of red something before I could even turn around and request one, to the Horizon Lounge, where the MARINER’s tossing was most prominent.
Was it really 2:45 AM when we finally left the Stars Bar?
January 31, 2009
I’ve become well acquainted with Barbados Airport from several recent trips, although its pink sand beaches have thus far been very elusive. After disembarking the MARINER, which continued onwards to circumnavigate South America and the Pacific, it was time to leave the Regent Seven Seas pampering, gourmet cuisine and sterling service behind and face the real world.
Special Thanks: Martin Cox, Rob Di Stefano, Andrew Poulton, Tim Rubacky
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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