Sea Day #1

Many people who have never cruised worry about what they will do all day on a sea day. Once you have cruised, you realize this fear is unfounded. One may still not like the feeling of being “trapped” on a vessel, but there is always plenty to do. I’ll mostly focus on what we actually did, but other offerings included dance classes, trivia, gambling, shopping/port lectures, technology/jewelry/spa seminars, and the ever present art auctions. And, of course, plenty of food and drink.

We started the day with room service “first breakfast.” We had signed up for an indoor cycling (spin for the initiated) class that started at 8 a.m. We didn’t want to go to the breakfast buffet before class, but worried that we would “bonk” if we didn’t eat something first. Our dilemma was solved when the room service door hanger appeared the night before. Aha–we could just get a few things delivered to the room early, then go to class, then have “second breakfast.” So we ordered toast, coffee, yogurt, and juice, which were delivered promptly at 6:30 a.m. No sleeping in on this day!

This ship uses Schwinn spin bikes. They are pretty much like all other spin bikes. You are not permitted to use them outside of class time, so you have to sign up (and pay, of course) to get your pedaling time in. Fitness manager Natacha is a good teacher and put us through a challenging workout. Some sprints, some hovers, some climbing, lots of sweat.

Metabolisms kick-started, we headed for the buffet. On Holland America, the only time you can get complimentary beverages (other than water, tea, and coffee) is at breakfast. They have a wide variety of juices–pineapple, V-8, cranberry, guava, fresh-squeezed orange, and more. I love fruit and vegetable juices, so I definitely take advantage of this selection. They also have a made-to-order omelette bar. This is a good way to get hot food with the ingredients you want. Another positive is the availability of PG Tips. The hot drink stations could use a redesign, though–something I suspect has been addressed on newer ships (this one dates to 1993).

We thought we’d have some downtime after breakfast, but we really had just enough time to get showered and get to the Sip, Savor, Sail guest chef event at 11 a.m. Our cruise has guest chef Natacha Gomez from Haiti sharing her expertise. This event was much like a cooking show on TV, where the chef demonstrates how to make a couple of entrées. Of course, the chopping and other prep work has been done in advance, to make the presentation flow more smoothly. Today’s recipes were a scallop dish with citrus sauce and a coffee-glazed chicken. Here’s one of these for you 🙂

We enjoyed the presentation, but forgot to take our camera. Happily, Natacha was still there when we went back and we got to take photos with her. You can learn more about her at this link.

Next–big surprise–more food. We had perused the main dining room lunch menu and found it limiting (consistently so for lunch thus far), so we climbed up to the Lido buffet for a lunch of sushi and salad. Lest anyone be concerned for our well being, the sushi was all made from smoked fish and/or vegetables, thus it was quite appropriate for a buffet. One of the delights of a cruise is the opportunity to have dessert at every meal and this was no exception. We both chose the Irish Coffee Mousse and a couple of meringues.

Lunch was followed by a couple of laps around the promenade. It was a beautiful sunny day!

We had some intentions of activity throughout the afternoon, but I ended up with the vacation/cruise afternoon standby, the nap. 

Continuing the day’s food theme, we attended another Sip, Savor, Sail event at 5 p.m. wearing our formal attire. This was a tasting event. Chef Natacha made avocado shrimp in plantain cup appetizers and guest mixologist Trevor was preparing banana daiquiris. Yum. We had a nice chat with the young woman who runs the culinary events before heading off to dinner. I think we should have done two hours of spin!!

Formal night dinner usually showcases the cruise line’s best food. This was no exception. I had duck and Maureen had lamb. And there was chocolate soufflé for me and a coffee ice cream sundae for Maureen. Dinner was quicker than expected, so we had a little reading time before the Captain’s toast and evening show. The show consisted of the ship’s entertainers singing a variety of Broadway tunes from many eras dressed in costumes designed by Bob Mackie. I enjoyed the more recent songs most and they also seemed to suit the singers best.

The night was still relatively young, so we watched Up in the comfort of our stateroom. Holland America has a library of DVDs from which guests can borrow, as well as a DVD player in every room. This is a nice alternative to their planned entertainment and the movie of the day.

So, food, exercise, food, shower, food event, food, exercise, read & rest, food event, food, rest, show, movie. I think I see a pattern…

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