To be entirely fair to the reader, I think you should know my general philosophy. I think people who complain about their cruise experiences are idiots. How can you be unhappy in paradise? Come on!!!
With that said, I am happy to report that I had a fabulous time on this cruise! We left Ft. Lauderdale on 4/11/09. This cruise was meant to be all about rest and relaxation. Mother and I had traveled this itinerary before, so we had no plans to go ashore.
We were in Lido 242, a BA category balcony room. It was a great room, very quiet. It is just under the massage therapy rooms in the Spa, so no overhead noise whatsoever. Nice! And although it was not far from two pools, the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe, we were never disturbed by any associated noise.
Mother and I did two things on this cruise that I cannot say enough about. First, we reserved two deck chairs for the entire cruise in the Sanctuary. This cost an additional $20 per day for each of us. But it was well worth it. I knew that one particular, cushioned lounge chair was waiting for me every day, no matter what time I chose to arrive. And the service there was extremely attentive. Quite frankly, I felt like I was on a private yacht up there! One tiny annoyance was that we had to pay a delivery charge for free food to be delivered. I think that if you pay for the entire week (or if you are Elite or Platinum), that delivery fee should be waived. But I would still pay it, just for the convenience!
We also did the Chef's Table. We were very fortunate to be selected. We began with a tour of the galley where the Head Chef waited for us with champagne. We were presented with four hors d'oeuvres. First came Tuna Tartar with Wasabi and Pickled Ginger. It was fantastic. Then came Bliss New Potatoes with Sour Cream and Caviar. Ahhhhhh. Then the Fontina Cheese Quiche with White Truffle & Sun Blushed Cherry Tomato. (I can't speak highly enough about this dish. That cherry tomato was roasted until the skin peeled off and was so full of flavor that I wanted to cry.) Then, finally came the Foie Gras Terrine on Toasted Brioche with Apple Chutney. All of this with plenty of champagne.
Then we paraded back through the dining room to an elaborately laid table. We started with Risotto laced with Parmesan Cheese and Julienne of Treviso Red Radicchio and Langoustine Ragout. This was served with a wonderful white wine.
The palate cleanser was incredible "Amalfi" Lemon Sorbet with Mango Slaw. It had Limoncello vodka poured over it. Holy cow, that was so good!
The main course was Roast Veal Shank & Veal Tenderloin, carved Table side, with Cepes and Jus. The shank fell off the bone and melted in my mouth. This was accompanied by market vegetables (asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions, etc.) and Chateau Potatoes. This was served with a red wine that was, I think, some of the best I have ever tasted. It was a blended wine - mostly Cabernet, mixed with Merlot.
The cheese course was a Baked Camembert with Pine Nuts with a Port Wine Reduction, served with fig bread and date bread. What can I say - divine!!!
The dessert was an incredible construction that the pastry chef brought out himself. I'm not sure I can describe it properly. It was described as a Passion Fruit Dome Cake with a Whiskey Soaked Raspberry Soft Center served with a Mango Glaze. But to see this beautiful work of art sitting in front of me made my mouth drop open. Each of us had one. On the dessert plate sat a spun sugar "plate". The spun sugar was clear with raspberry swirled throughout. The edges of the spun sugar were lifted up into elaborate folds. Sitting in the center of the spun sugar plate was the dome cake, with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Sticking up out of the cake were two tall pipettes of raspberry spun sugar. Wrapped around the pipettes was a wafer cookie shaped like a pig's tail. Beautiful! This was served with a sweet dessert wine.
The whole experience was amazing. I am so glad that we did it!!!