Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Foliage Cruise - Hits and Misses

It's that time folks!  Our post vacation wrap-up with trip hits and misses!

So let's get started:

Dick (onboard) - Le Bistro, the up-charge French restaurant.  I had a lovely duck two ways (roast duck breast cooked perfectly and a moist confit of duck leg with crispy skin).  Nicely seasoned and presented.

Frank (onboard) - Bamboo, the up-charge Asian restaurant.  I had a Cantonese style chicken dish.  MUCH better than something you would get at PF Changs or the usual Sino-American establishment.  I'm not talking authentic here, but an admirable attempt just the same.

Dick (off ship) - TOAST! (Quebec City) - Had an amazing selection of appetizer sized plates.  My deer tartare was unusual, ultra-local, and surprisingly light in addition to being tasty.  The restaurant is connected to the Hotel Le Priori, which is also a very nice establishment, for those who may be looking for room and board in QC.

Frank (off ship) - I have to give it up to TOAST! as well.  I have never had sweetbreads (and, although I loved them, probably will never again), but the idea of pairing them with seared scallops as an ersatz surf and turf was genius.  The whole place is genius, really.  A bit of a splurge, but fun, cutting edge and definitely stylish!

Dick (onboard) - La Cucina, the up-charge Italian restaurant.  The osso buco I had was fall off the bone tender, and flavorful.  Alora, it was over-salted.  So close, and yet so far!  That's amore...

Frank (onboard) - Aqua, the main dining room.  If you EVER see holiday turkey with all the trimmings on a cruise ship menu, waddle to another dining spot cause it's not gonna be the type of meal momma would server on turkey day.  This was a big disappointment.  I have had better turkey dinners from a microwave.  In all fairness, I shouldn't have expected a real roast turkey from what is basically a catering environment.  But still, a little more thought than warming up a Jenny-O turkey roll would have been appreciated.

Dick - However, in defense of Aqua, I had a VERY nice whole lobster on the first night, which Frank did not order.  So BOO-YA!

Dick (off ship) - No misses off the ship, other than $10 bucks for a lox and bagel in Peggy's Cove seemed a bit excessive (it was good lox, though).

Frank (off ship) - The food poisoning I got at the Carrabba's at the Tampa Airport when we got back from our trip.  Not a great way to cap a wonderful trip.

Dick - Much of what we saw was very dramatic, and I enjoyed it very much.  There was still some color in the trees, which made for pleasant drives on the tour buses at each port.  But, I guess my overall favorite sight was Peggy's Cove.  I had visited years before, but enjoyed it as much this time as the last.

Frank - Well, my favorite sight is always seeing Simpson at the ship buffet beaming over a full bowl of ice cream (such a happy face!).  But, other than that, I really loved PEI and Quebec City.  Of all we had seen, those two spots would be the ones I would return to.

Dick - La Baie - This was my least favorite port of call.  It was a nice city, but really had nothing to offer in terms of significant sights.

Frank - Have to agree.  If you weren't into high-impact sports (zodiac rafting, etc.) or a narcolepsy inducing faux-folk extravaganza, you were kind of out of luck.  In all fairness, there were excursions to a National Park, which I am sure was lovely.  But not for us on this go round.

Ship Board entertainment:
Dick - While we did not attend any of the "Vegas" (quotation marks intentional) style productions in the main theater, we had the pleasure of realizing that our favorite performer from a prior cruise was on board, Nathaniel Reed.  He sings standards and modern pop and soul.  If you ever get a chance to see his Motown Revue, don't miss it!

Frank - I will give special mention to the folk strains of the three piece Celtic Umbrella.  One of the members was from PEI!  Listening to Scotch, Irish and Canadian music on piano and fiddle with vocals was lovely.  But my favorite entertainment was watching the rowdy drunks come to happy hour from 4-6 every night at the pub.  Two for one beers and wine and even some cocktails.  Nothing comes between an octogenarian and their scooter and two bloody marys.  Look twice or you are road kill!

BTW, I went there for observational purposes only, you nasty people!

General Comments:
Dick - Not surprisingly, we had only a couple of chilly and windy days, with temps in the low 30's and feels likes in the low 20's.  Mostly though, in the 50's and 60's with PLENTY of sunshine in Quebec City.

Also, back to the food.  One of the reasons I have always been reluctant in the past about cruises is my low expectations about the level of food quality at the main dining rooms, let alone the prospect of having to dine with complete strangers at a big table at a fixed time every night.  NCL has the up-charge restaurants, which I have always found to be good.  I ate much more often at the main dining rooms this time, and I was surprised at the quality of the food, and the ability to be seated at two tops with no problems or lengthy waits.

Frank - I really loved being able to see Canada, for the very first time.  I enjoyed all the ports.  Really thought the people were great (ok, so I got into a scuffle with the Canadian Customs guys, but I wasn't on my meds and had a bad day.  Details in my forthcoming memoir).  All in all though, it was a GREAT trip, good memories, and of course, good company.

Dick - I must agree with Frank, it was a great cruise, with colorful scenery, and delicious food.

Until the next trip, that's all folks...

1 comment:

arcadian said...

cellsuExcellent, Amazing, Incredible report. As always, I knew SOME of the words you used. I'm so glad, as always, that you guys continue to travel and derive so much pleasure from it.