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Kinda "Live From" - CSI: NA (Nieuw Amsterdam, 11/16-11/23/2014

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05-2014-11-20-Cozumel.jpg

 

On this day in history -- On this day in 1873, Budapest was formed when the rival cities of Buda and Pest were united to form the capital of Hungary. This sounds like something that I totally made up, but it's not.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest

 

The quality of your day in Grand Cayman was based largely on your experience with the tenders. Georgetown is one of those ports where cruise ships rely on the local shuttle boat style tenders for transportation from ship to shore. When we heard the announcement that 3 m/10 ft swells were expected by afternoon, DW and I made the game time decision to stay onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam, and forego the port stop. As you know, gentle readers, we're back here in two weeks, so we didn't not miss anything but the little boat thrill ride experience. (We credit the Holland America Club Sandwich for helping us to make this wisest of decisions.) Any time tender to ship transfer involves "pushers," "catchers, "and phrases like, "Ma'am, you have to jump!" it's a safe bet that the cabana on the Observation Deck is a better call.

 

The authorities in Cayman called for an early end to tender services, and all the ships in port did the same, but it still took a long time to get everyone back from shore. DW spent the afternoon with Cruz Chic in her cabana, and I caught up on some work.

 

We met up for the cupcake tea at 3 o'clock. It was quite nice, but sparsely attended. In addition to the usual tea time offerings of scones and finger sandwiches, a variety of mini cupcakes were served: vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, and bread pudding. You might not think that a bread pudding cupcake would make sense, but it works. It's like a bread pudding vitamin. Huskerchick declared the chocolate cupcake to be the winner. (No one who knows her would be even remotely shocked to find that chocolate anything is the winner in her book.)

 

We dined in the Pinnacle Grill for An Evening at Le Cirque. That will get its own little write up - and we actually remembered to take some food photos, but not until we had already tucked into the* amuse bouche. I considered asking our waiter for a "stunt bouche," so I could get a photo op. The look I got from my table mates told me that it would cause me to be considered a bigger idiot than usual, so I passed.

 

I banged my little toe on a chair in the room the previous night, and it was a lovely shade of purple, with black and blue highlights. I wanted to limit the amount of walking that I was going to do while wearing dress shoes, so we parked at the Queen's Lounge for all three BB King sets. Cruz Chic peeled off at the end of the band's first session. She claimed to be tired, but we think she was secretly heading off to join the pub crawl.

 

Huskerchick and I called it an early night and were back home by around 11:45.* We're in Cozumel today. The weather forecast was iffy, but we're hopeful. This is not a tender port, and my boo boo toe is healing nicely - thanks to clean living and the healing power of the club sandwich.

 

We'd like to get off the ship and walk around a bit in town, so we have our fingers crossed that the rain will hold off. We shall see. Perhaps I should skip the room service omelet for breakfast and get the club instead.

 

More to follow....

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Forgot to mention it, but we had the room service Club Sandwich yesterday. Our eyes are now bright and clear, and we have a contagiously cheery demeanor.

 

The same applies in Vancouver when the ship is bunkering.

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Huskerchick wore a purple dress and black satin Jimmy Choo evening heels. and I wore my tux with a vest and big boy bow tie that I tied all by myself!

 

The wrist corsages that you pre order on the website are very nicely done. I ordered a red one, but it was a white rose, deep pink Gerber daisy, and a pink carnation. Absolutely nothing like the picture, but lovely nonetheless. (Gentlemen: Order this for your sweetie. She will like it. The other kids will be jealous, which she might like even more. :) )

 

 

Lovely. Would make great photos, I am sure. Hint, hint.

 

And a good suggestion about the flowers! Talk to my husband, would you? P-l-e-a-s-e!

Edited by SilvertoGold

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POA1 - your posts and reviews are always SO good.

 

I'm really enjoying this and totally agree with Gran Cayman. I'd stay on the ship too :) Nothing like a big private yacht to yourself.

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We took part in the Evening at Le Cirque on Wednesday evening. It's a $49 supplement and has a completely different menu from the usual Pinnacle Grill bill of fare. While I finally remembered to take some photos, I forgot to get one of the amuse bouche. The amuse was foie gras mousse over rhubarb gelee. It's served in a little glass, but we certainly wouldn't have complained if they brought us a bucket. :)

 

Here's the menu. Please accept my apologies. This isn't a scan. It's a phone camera shot from March on the Noordam, but the menu is the same.

 

http://www.evernote.com/l/AFi75RlddApE0aCIp3hsdq6b3iyOEdbT-oo/

 

Our Cheer Wine Package only had 12 bottles, which left us short for one of the 7 nights. We decided to get wine off the list for Le Cirque. You can do a pairing, with a glass of red and a glass of white, as well as a glass of Champagne for $20. We opted to simply buy a bottle of each of the Le Cirque selections. They were $39 per bottle.

 

Remember those crazy wine markups? Read on...

 

Feudi del Pisciotto Sicilia Valentino - 90 points (Wine Spectator) - 2009 - $32 release price - (Merlot)

 

A suave red, with plush tannins and fine balance, this offers macerated black cherry and plum fruit underscored by black olive, mocha and loamy earth hints. Fresh and lightly juicy, with a sanguine edge to the lingering finish. Drink now through 2022. 1,000 cases made.

Feudi del Pisciotto Chardonnay Terre Siciliane Alberta Ferretti - 2012 - $31 release price - 88 points (Wine Spectator)

 

Perfumed and creamy, this soft white offers floral and spice accents and flavors of quince paste, mandarin orange peel, vanilla and creamed hazelnut. Smoky finish. Drink now through 2018. 1,666 cases made

 

You'll note that the markup here is teeny-tiny. The release prices are the retail price of the wines. The selling price in stores is usually pretty darn close to the release price. Granted, you're in for the $49/pp dinner price, but the wine is a veritable bargain.

 

We really enjoyed dinner. The food and presentation was outstanding. If you saw the sentence about "foie gras and rhubarb" and went "Ick," I'd recommend that you give the Le Cirque dinner a pass. On the other hand, if you read that sentence and said, "What an awesome start to a meal," we recommend that you give Le Cirque a try. (We are decidedly in the latter camp.)

 

Our meals, with photos can be found here:

 

http://www.evernote.com/l/AFiwsDNbl3RMj6GpCGEsvke1Sr7NN-3ckgw/

 

DW had the lobster, the lamb, and the Napoleon. I had Le Trio, the Chateaubriand, and the Creme Brulee. We both had the butternut squash soup.

 

Tonight's an MDR night. Tomorrow is a sea day and our 2nd formal nightl

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Thank you for that great review. We've never done Le Cirque before, but have booked it for our cruise next month. After seeing the pictures and reading your update, we are absolutely in "the latter camp".

 

The input on the wine was great - and that reminds me, I have to go order our Ice Bags.

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Remember those crazy wine markups? Read on...

 

Feudi del Pisciotto Sicilia Valentino - 90 points (Wine Spectator) - 2009 - $32 release price - (Merlot)

 

Feudi del Pisciotto Chardonnay Terre Siciliane Alberta Ferretti [/b]- 2012 - $31 release price - 88 points (Wine Spectator)

 

You'll note that the markup here is teeny-tiny. The release prices are the retail price of the wines. The selling price in stores is usually pretty darn close to the release price. Granted, you're in for the $49/pp dinner price, but the wine is a veritable bargain.

 

Both these wines now sell for $19 to $21 USD mostly everywhere. So paying an $18 corkage fee or the HAL markup is pretty much a wash in this case. That is very rare!

Edited by taxmantoo

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Both these wines now sell for $19 to $21 USD mostly everywhere. So paying an $18 corkage fee or the HAL markup is pretty much a wash in this case. That is very rare!

Do you mind if I ask where you are finding these wines at the prices you quote? Wine Searcher's database has the average prices at around $30. Given that neither of these wines is very high production, I'm surprised that they would be 'everywhere.' They only make about 1,000 cases of Valentino a year. And of that, they usually import fewer than 200 cases into the US. The numbers for the Chard are similar.

 

We don't have access to the wine at Total Wine or any of the other wine shops near us, so I jumped on the chance to try it.

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Do you mind if I ask where you are finding these wines at the prices you quote? Wine Searcher's database has the average prices at around $30. Given that neither of these wines is very high production, I'm surprised that they would be 'everywhere.' They only make about 1,000 cases of Valentino a year. And of that, they usually import fewer than 200 cases into the US. The numbers for the Chard are similar.

 

We don't have access to the wine at Total Wine or any of the other wine shops near us, so I jumped on the chance to try it.

 

Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. In Canada, we can get it through private importers.

You did get a good price on the ship and it was worth trying.

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Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. In Canada, we can get it through private importers.

You did get a good price on the ship and it was worth trying.

 

sorry to go off topic for one second, but Louis I know you know a lot about wines. If it isn't too much trouble could you email please on a wine list question ?

 

Thanks so much . apologies POA1 for the thread drift.

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Thanks so much . apologies POA1 for the thread drift.

 

Thread drift? What in the world makes you think there's a straight course to this thread? :D

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Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide. In Canada, we can get it through private importers.

You did get a good price on the ship and it was worth trying.

Thanks. I didn't realize that you were in Canada. I see "tax man" in your user name, and immediately think US government. ;)

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The input on the wine was great - and that reminds me, I have to go order our Ice Bags.

 

I cleared out our mini fridge and pulled out the shelf. We're able to stand up the red, and the white or Champagne in an Ice Bag. (They're too cold right away, but by the time you have a pre dinner cocktail, and head to your table, they're at just about the right temperature. (In the Caribbean, anyway.)

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I cleared out our mini fridge and pulled out the shelf. We're able to stand up the red, and the white or Champagne in an Ice Bag. (They're too cold right away, but by the time you have a pre dinner cocktail, and head to your table, they're at just about the right temperature. (In the Caribbean, anyway.)

 

Hadn't thought about pulling out the shelf. Excellent. Enjoy your evening!

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Thread drift? What in the world makes you think there's a straight course to this thread? :D

 

well, it was wine related so I guess that is somehow related :)

 

Thanks. I didn't realize that you were in Canada. I see "tax man" in your user name, and immediately think US government. ;)

 

yes, another Canadian - in the wine belt of Ontario :) They do make some good ones there and there's actually a decent winery in Nova Scotia!

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I don't know. I'll see if I can find out for you. I have to imagine there's somewhere. Either that, or the sail-away is sponsored by Nicoderm. ;)

 

Thank you kind sir!!!! :D:eek::D

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This is probably duplicate information, but I just called the concierge to check, and Fort Lauderdale is completely non-smoking, both inside and outside the ship. It's not just the ship's policy. Evidently, it's a Port Everglades thing.

 

WOW! Very good to know! Thank you for your effort in this matter!!!!! Thank you Thank you!!!!! :p

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No smoking anywhere when bunkering.

If it's a big withdrawal thing going on, smokers might want to invest in an ecig. which can be smoked in your stateroom. Not sure if they would be allowed on decks. Probably not, as it would look like you are actually smoking.

 

Excellent Idea!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!:D

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06-2014-11-21-Sea-Day.jpg

 

On this day in history -- Thomas Alva Edison announces the invention of his phonograph in 1877. While initially hailed as a sonic breakthrough, this development eventually leads to annoying background music in restaurants and other public areas, as well as Justin Bieber.

 

We docked in Cozumel yesterday. The weather forecast had been threatening rain, but we lucked out, save for a few sprinkles. Once again, we'll be repeating this port in a mere two weeks and have big, big, plans. So we decided to walk around a bit and grab lunch and a Margarita. The ship was docked at the downtown pier, which has an attached shopping area. (The "Only Mall in Cozumel!" as the sign proclaims.) We walked up, over, through, and down the mall so we could get to the street. From there we headed what I believe to be north** to a restaurant called Pancho's Backyard. From the ship to the restaurant - via the mall - is about 2.5 to 3.0 km.*** We walked by countless shops and small restaurants along the way, including - and you'll be shocked to learn this - Diamonds International! Tanzanite International! Polycarbonate International! and at least two or forty places selling watches at deep, deep discounts. We must have arrived on a special day, because many of the stores were having their BEST SALE EVER! and ONLY FOR TODAY! with SPECIAL CRUISE SHIP PRICING! and FREE STERLING SILVER EARRINGS!****

 

**It could have been south.

 

***For some reason, the Google maps app on my phone went all native and changed from the real distance units (miles) to the funky ones that Canadians use to confuse us. Luckily we had Cruz Chic along to translate for us. The calculation involves 1.6 or 6/10 and you either add 32 if it's warm, or subtract 32 if it's cold. I got a little confused, and this was pre-Margarita.

 

****Suggested research project for someone who's not us: Try to collect as many free sterling silver earrings as you can in Cozumel. Take bets of how many pairs you will get. The over-under is 75.

 

If you are are a beer drinker, there are many places where you can get a can of Mexican beer for $1. While you will sometimes have to travel as far as 35 feet (10.5 nautical meters in Canada) between beer stands, you ae unlikely to die of thirst. The cheap beer stands were quite popular with the passengers from certain other ships that were in port with us.

 

Our lunch at Pancho's was very good. We started with guacamole, salsa, and chips. (Homemade flour tortilla.) I had the Burrito Sonora, as did Cruz Chic. DW had the lunch special, which was a spicy tenderloin platter. We split a sopapia for dessert. DW and I had Margaritas. Cruz Chic announced that she was taking a day off from drinking. (As you may recall, dear reader, we are pretty sure she was out raging on the pub crawl the night before. We think the whole "I like to take a day off from alcohol" thing is just code for: "I won the beer chugging contest and I'm a little banged up today." Either way, it's going to call for an adjustment in our wine plans for the evening meal. We'll probably "sit" the Sauvignon Blanc and "start" only the Mollydooker red blend.)

 

======

 

I'll get back to last night's dinner and festivities later, but I have to get ready for the Mariner's reception. Huskerchick and I are getting our bronze-like medallions today, and we have to look pretty for our pictures. We were hoping to hit four stars on the same cruise where we got our medallions, because you get a pony, but alas that is not to be. We'll hit 4* after the B2B in a few weeks. It's kind of a shame. We were really hoping to return to the room last night and see a bale of hay and an bunch of carrots. I guess it's for the best. The pony would have had more room in an SA than an SS anyway

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We did manage to see a full set in the Piano Bar. However, it was a Movie Music Trivia set, so it wasn't the normal piano bar affair. Jeremy was good, but the event was sparsely attended. It was competing against the Marriage Game in the Queen's Lounge, and a late port night with a 10:30 PM departure, so I don't think the size of the crowd was indicative of the quality of his performance.

 

Next, we headed upstairs to the Crow's Nest to catch Donald Waugh, the guitarist. He's really quite good. The Adagio duo, now billed simply as "Adagio", has had a decent following all week.

 

We'll give the Piano Bar another shot tonight, and we plan to see the show "Garage Band" in the main lounge. It's gotten rave reviews, so we're eager to check it out.

 

I did get the e-mail about the Pumpernickel bread recipe. I'll see what we can do. If we don't get it this week, I'm sure we'll be able to check when we're on the B2B.

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Here's the menu from 11/20/2014:

 

http://www.evernote.com/l/AFhDQmdeCFNARY8gIpUE6TsMYEDkD_t9zP4/

 

as well as the Beverage Events flyer for this sailing:

 

http://www.evernote.com/l/AFg_Z3Q07O5CwbIMiu_r7cnQc_ELeZCZWJI/

 

I hope these PDF links are working okay for everyone. They're not as comprehensive as what you'll be getting from CrewNews in a few weeks, but hopefully these will hold you over until Roger does his magic. :)

 

The On Location/Daily Program for today will follow later.

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Congratulations on your copper medallion.

 

Still laughing at the pony!:p

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06-2014-11-21-Sea-Day.jpg

 

snip

 

***For some reason, the Google maps app on my phone went all native and changed from the real distance units (miles) to the funky ones that Canadians use to confuse us. Luckily we had Cruz Chic along to translate for us. The calculation involves 1.6 or 6/10 and you either add 32 if it's warm, or subtract 32 if it's cold. I got a little confused, and this was pre-Margarita.

 

snip

 

 

I suspect Google Maps sensed you were in a country that uses the metric system and switched units on you.

 

Don't feel bad. I still have to convert the temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit so I know how hot or cold it is. I'll tell you a quick way to convert without using a calculator when I see you the week after next. :)

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