Day 2 of this cruise sees us sailing down past France towards northern Spain. In the morning, the sea was still a bit rocky although less so than it was last night. The wind had dropped quite a bit and it was ever so slightly warmer.
Starting as I mean to go on, I got up early to get a gym session in before breakfast, even though the clocks went forward an hour last night to bring us in line with Spain. The gym on this ship is open 24hrs, although you can only use the treadmills between 8am-8pm as there are cabins below. They also ask you to take care with resistance machines and weights outside these times.
After breakfast, I woke up my shipmates (well, only Mr FFF as MIL was already up and about!) and we went for breakfast in the buffet. It was about 9ish by the time we got there and again, although it was busy, we soon found a table. The selection was very good. I chose a freshly made omelette with cheese, tomatoes and onions with tinned tomatoes and mushrooms followed by fruit and a croissant – I find breakfast pastries so hard to resist!
There was a cooking demonstration being given in one of the speciality restaurants at 10am so Mr FFF and I went along to that whilst MIL went to look around the shops (we were slightly worried we’d never see her again!)
The demo was hosted by the Executive Chef, Andy Yull, who hails from Glasgow. It was held in Sindhu which is the Indian specialty restaurant on board that has Atul Kochar’s name associated with it. Andy was very entertaining giving us facts and figures about food on the ship (285 tonnes of it were loaded yesterday!!!) whilst talking through the dishes that various chefs were cooking from the different specialty restaurants. We also got to try a chicken tikka bite whilst we were watching – it was delicious though not photogenic. There was also the opportunity to sample some Crepes Suzette afterward but I was too stuffed from breakfast and Chicken Tikka! As a foodie, I obviously found the talk interesting and, although I’d already got 2 speciality restaurants booked for the cruise, I was impressed to find that there was no hard sell to book any. That said, I’ve ended up booking Sindhu as well (at Mr FFF’s insistence, honest!) and Mr FFF is also very keen to try the steak in the Glass House which I’m more than happy about as it will mean I’ll get to sample both that and whatever I choose from their menu. Yum!
With the weather still not that great and having tracked down MIL, we grabbed some coffees from the café, Java (Costa coffee – £2.60 for a small latte) and went to the theatre to hear the presentation about Barcelona. Having been there 3 times before, I didn’t really learn a great deal about Barcelona itself although it looks like I’m going to have to visit again after this cruise as I now quite fancy going to visit the monastery at Montserrat. MIL seemed to enjoy the talk though and is quite excited for this port.
By the time the talk finished, the weather had started to improve slightly so we headed out to the Terrace Pool at the aft of the ship to relax. I made some good progress with the book I’m reading before we had a sudden rain shower. The closest inside place to this pool is the buffet and so we decided that the best thing to do was to eat lunch! I again went with the healthy option of soup and salad.
The afternoon saw us relaxing with a book in Planet Bar before heading back to the cabin for a quick siesta before getting ready for our first ‘Black Tie’ night. There was a Captain’s Gala with free fizz, red & white wine, whiskey, G&T or fruit juice, scheduled for 6pm and 8pm. We managed to time it just right to grab a drink on the way in to dinner at 6pm, beating the dinner crowds, and were out just in time to grab a drink and experience the 8pm Gala – every little helps when you haven’t got the drinks package!
Dinner was a menu devised (apparently) by Marco Pierre White, although there were also other options to choose from. However, we all went with the Marco option. All of the savoury courses were delicious although the dessert was just ok. I find this is often the case with cruise desserts but I keep trying them in the name of ‘research’! We also enjoyed a very nice bottle of wine – Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Valley, CA £23ish – which went very well with the Beef Wellington. As we only drank half of the bottle with dinner, we asked the wine waiter to keep the rest for us for the following night. It is possible to do this at all of the restaurants and, I think, most of the bars.
Following our second round of free drinks at the gala, we headed to Malabar Lounge where we thought there was going to be a country singer but actually it was one of the house bands – a Caribbean band called Accent. They were very good and managed to get a few people up dancing – quite an achievement on a ship full of Brits so early in the evening!
When they took a break, we went to the Manhattan Lounge where the country singer was actually performing and were there just in time for her second show. Her name was Laura Austen. She’s from Wales and had a fabulous voice. She said that she is going to be playing the young Tammy Wynette in an upcoming Netflix film so I’m definitely going to look out for that.
After a good old country sing-a-long, it was time to head to bed before another sea day tomorrow.
Thanks for reading,