Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sunday at Sea!

I always love sleeping on a cruise. The beds are usually super comfortable and I love the slight rocking of the ship. We had this great cabin, which Megan reminded me to mention that I forgot to say had a doorbell even! And of course, she had to ring it every time we came back to the cabin, even if she was sure we were all standing outside the door! But yes, it was pretty cool to have a doorbell! 

But sometime during the night I woke up to a slamming sound. Maybe it was a crashing sound...At first I thought maybe it was the cabin above us moving something around. But boy, it would have had to have been them rearranging their entire cabin! It just went on and on and on! It would stop and start. Being the middle of the night, I sort of drifted in and out of sleep. When we got up the next day, the four of us mentioned hearing the noise. Keith was convinced it was the theater moving that doesn't make sense since that is 2 decks below us. The kids figured it was the equipment in the front of the ship or the ship itself hitting the ocean. Sort of like when you're in a speedboat and you hit a wake. Yup, that's exactly what it sounded like. Only we were on a cruise ship. Imagine that sound on a cruise ship! So, no big deal, we left and went to breakfast.

It was a pretty windy morning, and the sea was slightly choppy. We all found something to eat in the Oceanview Cafe. We generally liked the buffet for the meals we had there. Usually breakfast and lunch. The overall opinion was that of all our cruises, they had the best "ship pizza"! 

After breakfast we went outside for a bit and found a few chairs and relaxed a bit...yes, just an exhausting morning!!

It was about time for the Top Chef Meet & Greet and also the Galley Tour. The kids went to the Teen club I think and Keith and I went to the Opus Restaurant for our Top Chef Meet and Greet.

The ship does have these ship map displays by the elevators so that you can find your way around. They're not the most detailed, but they get you where you need to go!

We probably wouldn't have done the Galley Tour if it wasn't right after the Meet and Greet. Keith and I had done one a few years ago on the Eclipse, and while it was really fascinating on that ship, it's sort of a been there seen it type of tour. Keith is also a chef himself. Which is a main reason we chose this cruise. And while he was really fascinated with the first Galley Tour we did, spending his outside cruise time walking through a ship kitchen, when he spends every day in a kitchen was a bit anti-climatic for him at this point. 

However, the Head Chef and several of the Chef's from the ship were introduced and they do an amazing job on this ship.

And then the four Top Chefs came out and each gave a VERY brief introduction. 

The chefs on our cruise were:

Tiffany Derry - Season 7
Hosea Rosenberg - Winner Season 5
Casey Thompson - Season 3
Shirley Chung - Finalist Season 11

Also, one other Top Chef note - Season 11 was on a continuous loop on one of the channels on board the ship. I believe it's on every sailing, constantly. It would have been nice if all of the seasons that the Top Chefs on board were played because for those sailing who were not as familiar with the show, they only really saw Shirley since it was her season playing. The other chefs remarked about this a few times. Also, just watching tv, by about day 3, even not watching too much tv, you'd turn the tv on and there would be the same episode on...again! Some variety would have been great!

So after their introductions, we moved on to the Galley Tour - as each group was called the Head Chef would take some Q & A's from those waiting to be called. Pretty much anything relating to food operations on the ship. 

Our group was called for our tour. We got to tour the "upper" kitchen. Every dining room has its own kitchen. I mentioned that we did a Galley tour on the Eclipse and we also did a cooking class when we sailed on that ship and got to cook in the Murano kitchen room at that time. Now we were in the upper kitchen of the Opus dining room. And every one has been incredibly spotless. For the number of dishes that go through those kitchens it is simply amazing how clean they are! That is what strikes me the most. That and how organized they are - although if they weren't so organized, they couldn't get the food out!

This is one of the boards that shows every dish and how it's prepared. This way the waitstaff will know what is in each dish and how it should look.

They even had the special dishes listed for the "Top Chef" night in the Main Dining Room listed

Overall the tour was interesting, but it was no where near as in depth as the tour we had on the Eclipse. I don't know if it was because we were in the upper kitchen, or if it was because they had so many people on the tour, or if they've just changed the tour itself. Here we just really had a quick walk through. But it was still very interesting and if you've never seen a professional kitchen, especially one of this scale - do it! 

After this we had a short bit of time to spend outside in the sun before the first Top Chef cooking demo! It was tough to balance the fun in the sun with the Top Chef activities! Inside or outside??? The tough decisions of vacations....

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