Thursday, August 21, 2008
Sunday we cruised through the fjords. Everything was gorgeous. It almost got to be too much. How much beauty can you really take? How much stunning but endless (and deadly) ice can you stare at, day, after day? How long does it take for Alaskan fishermen to just start attacking each other with grappling hooks?
On deck, they were serving reindeer chili. There had been rumors of a chili cook-off, and I was a little disappointed I didn't get to compete. Their chili was OK, but I would have totally kicked ass in a cook-off. You know you're on vacation when you have beer for breakfast.
I wandered into the buffet for dessert and found this unusual delicacy
I thought it was like a cross between fruitcake and an English pudding, but Mary Anne may have been more accurate when she dubbed it "Meatloaf cake". Of course there were more creepy fruit carvings.
There was more sugar-free cake, this time with a label calling it marscapone cream, and I felt validated that my first guess had been correct.
Then on to more fjord watching
I had discovered a few days before that the ship offered afternoon tea in the Bordeaux restaurant. It was run with precision, exactly as the dinner service should have been. Staff was plentiful, service was attentive, and division of duties clear. Our tea was hot and quickly refilled.
I apologize for photo quality. I forgot my camera, and the only one available was a disposable underwater camera.
The sandwiches were cucumber, tuna salad, chicken salad, and pate. I wanted to like the pate, it was piped so prettily on the single slice of bread, but alas - too liverwurst-y. The genteel ladies with whom we were seated seemed to enjoy it. Although I have heard that your taste buds erode as you age.
There was a lovely selection of miniature pastries and cookies. I wish the other chefs had half the chops of the ship's bakers.
I tried to get reservations for dinner at the ($20) Italian restaurant, but it was booked up. I took my travelmates to the ($15) Cajun restaurant to celebrate our last night at sea.
The steak was tender, and the catfish was crispy, without fishiness or grease. Maybe not up to New Orleans, but as good of Cajun food as you can get outside of Louisiana. The gumbo was more like a seafood celebration than a soup/stew. The shrimp were good, but I still would recommend the catfish.
My mom's lobster tail was ginormous. There was an extra fee, maybe 5 more dollars. A 20-dollar lobster tail still ain't bad.
The sides were hit-and-miss. The jambalaya was not very good - practically Zatarains. But the succotash was so creamy, rich and delicious I would have liked a bigger serving. Everything else on the mixed side plate was average and unimpressive.
Of the desserts, I remember the bread pudding fondly. But I have no memory of this dessert at all, which is unusual. Not a clue.
I wish they would have made the effort to have themed drinks - at least hurricanes and Abita Beer. I asked the musicians to play something from New Orleans and they declined, explaining, "We're a jazz band." Yeah, because New Orleans has nothing to do with Jazz.
As we ate, another table let two small children run wild all over the restaurant. It was beyond "let kids be kids" - it was dangerous. At one point the 2-or3-year old ran right under the feet of a waiter rushing out of the kitchen with a large tray of hot dishes. Only Broadway-quality tap dancing by the waiter kept that kid from being scalded by hot soup - and the waiter out of traction.