Calm seas, a slight breeze and blue skies greeted us as we stepped out onto the balcony this morning. After a good night’s sleep I was anxious to get up and start my day.
The first thing that caught my eye as I started to dress was the light blinking on the nightstand. I pressed the message button on the phone and was delighted to hear a message from our Concierge Mario. In a very pleasant tone Mario started his message with, “Good morning beautiful people”. I was hooked until the message finished. Mario gave us the weather report for the day and samples of various activities we might enjoy during the day. I loved it.
We dressed quickly and made our way up to the lounge for a light continental breakfast and coffee. We looked over the daily newsletter, Cruise Compass, to see what was happening around the ship and spotted two presentations we thought would be interesting.
We returned to the cabin for a few moments before heading down to the Tropical Theater for a destination and shore excursion talk by assistant shore excursions manager, Claudiu. With the shore excursion catalog in hand, Randy and I made ourselves comfortable to see which excursions Claudiu would highlight. We returned to the cabin for a bit to freshen up.
As we entered the cabin, I spotted a lovely, small box on the bed. It was a gift from the Crown & Anchor Society. The box contained a variety of wonderful looking chocolates by Le Belge Chocolatiers. I could not help myself and reached for a wonderful milk chocolate morsel and was amazed when I felt as though I was enjoying a chai tea. I looked at the insert and read that this little morsel was described as a Chai tea ganache enrobed in milk chocolate. It was yummy!
A quick lunch at the Solarium and then back down to the Tropical Theater to attend an Enrichment Destination Presentation with Dennis Cheredar called Alesund – the Jugend Town of Norway.
Cheredar introduced himself then proceeded to give an interesting talk about all there was to enjoy while in Alesund. He started with what I thought was a much needed piece of information explaining the difference between Centigrade and Fahrenheit and how tourist react to the cooler weather of the north. A Canadian native, Cheredar said, “We don’t call it cold; we call it refreshing”. That brought a good deal of laughter from the audience.
He went on to say that Alesund was, “quite a unique place and considered a fairytale land”. Alesund is actually built on 7 islands connected by a system of bridges. The town was ravaged by a fire in 1904 and rebuilt in the art nouveau style and has become a cultural and historic site by UNESCO. After his presentation I was excited about visiting the city.
After the talk we retired back to our cabin. We were still feeling the effects from a lack of sleep and wanted to rest before it was time to prepare for the evening.
By 5 PM it was time to head up to the lounge for cocktails before dinner. I am not sure why but it seemed as though the hour passed very quickly because all of a sudden an hour had passed by and it was time for dinner.Tonight was our first formal night and the ladies looked beautiful and the gentlemen handsome. The first formal night is always one of my favorites as the menu includes Carved filet of beef tenderloin with Morel-crimini mushroom sauce and creamy whipped potatoes.
A good deal of our dinner conversation centered on what everyone was going to be doing at each port. Normally, when I go to a new place I schedule an excursion in every port this way I feel as though I learn a little about the country/island/city, a little about its history and a little about its people. After doing a some research I sent an email out to everyone with a list of potential excursions.
By the time we all made it to the ship Sue and I had set up one excursion in Norway and one in Russia. Vilma and the others had only scheduled one two-day excursion in Russia. There was a lot of conversation at the table about taking advantage of Hop On Hop Off buses. Randy and I had never used this system of tour buses. So after dinner Randy and I decided we would do a combination of planned excursions and Hop On Hop Off buses.
We ate quickly because tonight was the Captain’s Welcome Aboard champagne reception and photo opportunity. The photographs are taken on deck 5 and the entertainment and captain’s welcome take place on deck 4 in the Centrum. Randy and I made our way up to the deck 5 and met and had our photo taken with the captain but there was no way we were going to be able to find any open space to sit or stand on deck 4.
So, we found a small opening along the railing and watched the captain welcome everyone, introduce his senior staff and then watched the wonderful entertainment. We watched as members of the production cast performed an amusing song and dance routine and then turned our attention a pair of aerialists flying high above the Centrum. Amazing.
They finished just in time for us to make our way to the theater for the evenings headliner show starring United Kingdom recording artist Peter Grant. Grant entertained the audience with a variety of big band songs as well as several lovely ballads. I must say though, we were a little amused that he came onto the stage without shoes. He claimed he had left them home. Very funny!
It had been a long and full day and we were ready to retire to our cabin for a little rest before turning off the lights.
Tomorrow we arrive is Alesund, Norway.