18 Knots

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic
March 22nd 2022
Published: March 22nd 2022
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Sunday & Monday March 20 & 21

At Sea

Saturday night was a bit rough both for me and the ship. It started with me experiencing a nasty bout with vertigo. I was reading and writing on the computer while the ship was rocking and rolling – I got hot, then broke out in a sweat and was so dizzy I couldn’t focus on anything. So…I took to the bed. Nothing else to do but rest. No point in fighting it. My vertigo was diagnosed July of ’20. I’d had some “experiences” which I thought were vertigo, but nothing as bad as what sent me to the Doctor. Funny…while strolling on the beach last week, I had to keep my eyes on the horizon. The minute I looked down and saw the waves I lost my balance. A few times I thought I’d fall, but I didn’t. Thank goodness. It really can be quite difficult to walk sometimes with vertigo. I’ll get used to it.

Anyway Saturday night got worse – in the nastiest of way. Our toilet in the room would not flush, and when we pushed the button to flush, the bowl just filled with a little more water. MOST unpleasant. We called. It was fixed. Then it wasn’t. When we woke up Sunday morning, still no flush. We both had to locate facilities elsewhere, which took a while because most public loos were occupied. The ship was experiencing an issue with the system. Eventually it was resolved. Thank goodness.

Sunday got off to a rough start what with the toilet issue, but we managed. We had breakfast in the Grand Dining room. When I arrived (Christopher was taking “care of business”) Reggie said “hello Mr Jim is Mr Christopher coming? Yes, he’ll be joining me in a minute. She asked if she could guess our room – she got it right 11033 – I just love the staff on this line!!! When I was seated, Dorian (of Marina fame) came over to welcome me and said if there is anything you need “let me now” – best staff at sea as far as I’m concerned!

We both had the poached eggs and avocado toast. So good.

We spent our first sea day just laying about. We shifted from one deck to another to avoid the wind – which was the cause of the pitch and roll of the ship. The pool sounded like the ocean as the water rushed from side to side and front to back – it really was interesting to watch – for about a second – then the dizziness set in. Had to move up a deck at look at the flat blue horizon. We both read. I finished Cabal (I was right about the killer – I love figuring out who done it).

For lunch, we each had a light salad. We want our clothes to fit.

After lunch we got out the rummykub game and played for a few hours. Score remains tied.

We had the 2 for 1 happy hour in Martini’s – Gin martini for me, Vodka for Christopher. Dinner followed in the Dining room. We each had the Burratta Panna Cotta topped with chopped eggplant caponata which had a unique sweetness – I’m guessing from the balsamic vinegar. IT. WAS. OUTSTANDING! I want to make a meal out of this….I could have had three more, but I’m glad I didn’t. My main was Osso Bucco, Christopher had the Steak au poivre – neither of us could finish our mains. We are NOT going to stuff ourselves. Restraint is our mantra.

After dinner we went for a walk. Not too far. While on the deck we chose to stargaze. In Chicago it’s impossible to see any stars – the light pollution is so severe.

Just prior to our massage device lesson, we went on the spa deck for a dip in the Thalasso Spa. We got in and within minutes the wave action got quite wild. I mean Mr Toad’s experience was nothing compared to this! Literally hanging on so we didn’t crash into one of the sides or someone else. I lasted through one cycle, Christopher stayed in. I felt like one of those Wham-O rubber balls bouncing about in a closed box. It was an experience, not one I’d much like to experience again.

We got a tutorial in using our new massage device. We LOVE IT! That thing is powerful and really works. We learned not to hit bone, and to linger over knots and such for maximum effect. There’s a special nib for the feet. Christopher who is quite sensitive on his feet let out a low long moan when I started in on them. I think he liked it.

We’ve met a lot of interesting people, some are characters, others more sedate. There are so many types of people sailing to Lisbon, some leave in Barcelona and we’ve not met anyone staying on to Rome. The people watching is outstanding.

The crew are all masked. The guests have the option of wearing masks – it is not mandatory. I’m surprised at the number of people wearing their masks – gives me a little more confidence. I honestly haven’t worn it often, and if I feel the need, will certainly mask up. We haven’t heard anything more regarding Morocco – unclear if we’re able to dock there or not. Stay tuned.

The sea days are just so relaxing – but not much happens, so I’ll probably not post daily.

We had a very light lunch – one beef slider for me and a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, Christopher also had the beef slider as well as the salmon: also, a slice of cheese. We tried the savory puffs…and chose not to finish them. Don’t try them….I’m asking you to trust me on this. We are saving our appetite for dinner tonight.

Tonight we dine at Toscana FINALMENTE! I saw that the sformatino of artichoke has been replaced by one of red pepper. Oh well….change is inevitable. There is another artichoke starter on the menu. We shall see.

The captain just let us know the ocean wave height is 3ft as opposed to the 5ft from yesterday. So clearly, it’s not as windy. No sooner did I close the computer and pick up my book I heard a loud bang. I thought someone had dropped something on the deck above. Within seconds it began to pour. The rain just got harder and stronger then a bright flash right over our head and within two seconds the loudest crack of thunder I’ve ever heard outside of Chicago. GLORIOUS – if not a little scary to realize just how close the lightening was to the ship. It rained nonstop for well over an hour stretching on past two hours of constant downpour.

We gave up lounging by the pool in order to play rummykub. We went from location to location for a place to play and landed back on deck 12 just in front of La Reserve where they have nice tables so we don’t have to bend over to play. We played while it rained.

We got back to the room to change for dinner and found a few surprises awaiting us. This is our 10th cruise with Oceania. In recognition we received a pin, hat and really nice shoulder bag (perfect for going ashore). We are now silver level Ambassador club members! YAY!!! Time to get dressed for dinner.

Toscana is one of our favorites of the Oceania Restaurants. And…once again…when we checked in, we got a “welcome back – so nice to see you. You were on Marina with me” Copernico, greeted us before even asking for our room number. These guys are PROFESSIONALS…..and we’re eating it up. We received an amazing seat at the back of the restaurant looking out over the horizon. Watching the sky change color from blue to orange then pink and finally blackness enhanced our dining experience.

The menu arrived and we made our choices. Christopher had the octopus carpaccio, I had the stuffed artichoke to start. The artichoke, stuffed with cheese, served hot over a bed of arugula, mushrooms and finely chopped tomatoes. While I miss the sformatino, this is an excellent artichoke starter. Christopher and I have both had the octopus sliced so thin one can almost see through it. He was as happy as I was with my selection. Our pasta course was equally tasty. I had the Penne with a tomato/cream sauce with sausage and mushroom. Christopher had the Carbonara – it looked more like an Alfredo – the pasta was house made, but he was unimpressed with the sauce – but loved the pasta. Said he wouldn’t order again. Word to the wise! We each split an order of roasted suckling pig served over a bed of fregola pasta in an amazing sauce. So good the three pieces of pork were equally divided by Christopher. We washed this down with an Antinori Chianti Reserva which paired nicely. We did not finish the bottle. Dessert was beyond my expectations. I ordered the roasted peach in a Zabaglione cream sauce…the sauce was legit BEST zabaglione I’ve ever tasted, and so much more than I thought. It’s rich velvety texture was gently “roasted,” peach slices rested easily on a thin wafer of shortbread and the sauce blanketed the dish topped with sliced almonds. SO. GOOD. Christopher had the Apricot Tart with Pistachio cream. We each took a gentle bite of the other’s dessert. His was also wonderful, I love it when the fruit isn’t too sweet. The apricot had just the right amount of tart to offset the pistachio cream. We asked about Grappa. According to the Sommelier (and by that I mean wine steward) they only pour one grappa. We passed, and sipped some grappa and biscotti in our room.

After dinner we went for a walk, and listened to the String Quartet for a while before calling it a night.

And there you have our first two days at sea. Stay tuned. We arrive in Lisbon on Monday, the 28th. No stops between now and then.



24th March 2022

Marseilles Restaurants
I suspect you'll be stopping in Marseilles on this journey, and I just saw this article about good restaurants there. You might be interested, though I know you're already getting fab food on Riviera!! https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2022/mar/21/mouthwatering-marseille-france-culinary-revolution

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