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Old February 24th, 2009, 11:50 PM
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Day 7 – Silver Shadow at Sea
The seas remain calm, and the temperatures are rising, as we slowly make our way north to Punta Arenas, Costa Rica. Today got into the 30s Celsius (approx. 90 + degrees Fahrenheit). Carrying on with our customary sea day tradition, we slept late. I waited patiently for sleeping beauty to rise, thinking we’d go to La Tarrezza for breakfast. Her highness (as she now likes to be called, after spending time with the people from Great Britain) deemed a Continental Breakfast pool-side would do.

We enjoyed the morning working on tans, and had best intentions to go the lecture on Volcanoes at 11:00 A.M. Of course, one of us would have had to look at our watches to be on time, and both were too lazy to turn our wrists to check. Knowing we could watch it on television later, and not miss it entirely made us feel better.

By 12:30 Her Highness had decided upon lunch at La Terrazza, and I followed along as her loyal subject. Just as at breakfast, La Terraza serves a buffet during lunch. There was an elaborate selection to choose from; cold cuts, a variety of fish, salads, carving station serving Turkey, a delicious rice dish (that I didn’t pay to get the name of), beef stroganoff, pork tenderloin, turkey club wraps, soups, etc.

As soon as one fills their plate a server is right there to carry your plate to your table. They carried Mrs. Kuki’s, but I told them I was still young enough to carry my own. As soon as we were back seated a waitress came by offering wine. I had brought a BBC with me from the pool, so I was set. For those wondering… a BBC is Fresh Banana, Baileys, and Colada mix, run through a blender with ice, to make the best tasting “smoothy” concoction ever. If you like Banana milkshakes, this is the drink for you.

By now you’re probably thinking I’m turning into a drinker because the alcohol doesn’t cost extra. In this regard, having been in the bar business for 30 years, I did ask myself before boarding, if passengers would tend to drink more if they weren’t paying extra for alcohol.

Perhaps oddly (and perhaps not) that does not seem to be the case. I’ve only noticed one person thus far who seemed to be inebriated, though I have most certainly noticed the guests enjoying their wine, champagne, and drinks of choice.

The “standard” Champagnes served are Perrier- Jouet Grand Brut, from France, as well as Nicolas Feuillatte Brut, which is also French. The Champagne found in our suite on arrival was a Franicacorta Bellavista Curvee Brut, which remains unopened.

It’s difficult to figure out how to give away a bottle of Champagne on a ship where the Champagne doesn’t cost extra. Perhaps, in a few days, we’ll have some fellow guests into the suite to consume our in-suite liquor and wine for us. The in-suite alcohol set up includes a bottle of Castiglioni Chianti, Remy Martin VSOP Champagne Cognac, 1 Litre of Absolut Vodka, a bottle of Glenfiddich Scotch Whiskey, and a bottle of Sapphire Bombay Dry Gin. All are replenished as desired, or you can choose your own, at no additional cost. The bar fridge contains sodas, juices, and beer, and they too are restocked as used.

I should note, as we entered La Terrazza for lunch Mrs. Kuki is escorted to the table by hand by a waiter. That is the case whenever entering any of the dining rooms. I follow them because she tugs on my leash. Another nice Silversea touch is there are no paper napkins. Even in the bars and lounges, the napkins they slip under your drinks are linen.

The ship also has large self service Laundromats which are free to use. Even though we’re fortunate to have free dry cleaning and laundry, Mrs. Kuki has on several occasions washed our underwear. She doesn’t like to send mine out as she worries they’ll be mistaken for sails.

There are a couple of very unobtrusive games “played” every day pool-side. One is called the “Surprise Box”. A member of the Cruise Staff walks around with a big red wooden box, with something inside of it. Guests shake, rattle and roll it, and then guess what item is inside. If you guess correctly, you get a coupon, worth a point. You get points for all activities that you win i, and at the end of the cruise you can choose to “spend” your points on some paraphernalia. Even when they have “cruise ship horse races” the races are for points, not dollars.

Another daily game, that may sound lame, but the passengers really seem to enjoy as I have, is Mileage Pool. Everyone simply guesses the number of nautical miles they think we’ve sailed since our last port stop. The Cruise Staff note your guess and cabin number, and at Noon the Captain gives the correct answer during his daily 12 Noon update.

There’s a full slate of activities throughout the day to choose from; Bridge instruction and play, Arts and Crafts, Classes for learning Italian and Spanish, Shuffleboard Tournaments, Ping Pong tournaments, Trivia games, Napkin Folding demonstration, Ballroom Dance classes, and more.
One thing you don’t have to worry about on a sea day is rushing out to claim a sun-lounge chair early. There are plenty of loungers and plenty of space.

As today marks a full week that we’ve been onboard, I thought I would talk about how “The Kuki’s” are fitting in amongst the “Silversea crowd”. The good news… we haven’t been set adrift in a dinghy.

We have sailed a couple of times on other luxury brands; Regent and Seabourn, but the majority of our cruises have been on the mass market, and premium brand lines, so the question of “fitting in” did cross our minds prior to boarding.

Aside from some of my previous antics, and what I like to refer to as the “variety of patterns” my mind wanders in, I think we two are pretty average cruisers, and average people. And I think it’s worth noting that we fit in here just fine!

I admit to a slight adjusting of my personality… I’m not wearing antlers, nor organizing Pajama parties. But, I’m telling the same bad jokes, and carrying on the same nonsensical banter as I always do, and so too is everyone else. The point I suppose I’m trying to make is that cruisers are cruisers; some more traveled than others, some wealthier, and some less well off than others, yet we all have things on common when on a ship.

For example, after dinner last night, we found out that one of our tablemates is a British Knight (no, he wasn’t wearing his suit of armor, and readying to joust), so “properly” they should be addressed as Sir and Lady. They were a delightful couple, with wonderful senses of humor, and we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company as I have with so many other people I’ve cruised with over the years.

The manner in which the Silversea brand is delivered is different than the mass market lines, and yes the costs may be higher, however the people are the same; just people out to enjoy their travel and cruise vacations! Well, maybe with the exception of the one couple we saw at lunch today, dressed in full length slacks, and both wearing sweaters (in 90 + degree weather).

2009 may be THE year for you to try a Silversea cruise. This week in our editor and chief, Paul Motter’s editorial in his newsletter, and on our home page, he talks about the deals available on Silversea. Check out the details:
http://www.cruisemates.com/CF/bargains/newsletter.html
Someone had asked for a sampling from the menu. I listed the always available items yesterday. Here’s tonight’s choices in The Restaurant (dining room).. though I’ll list them by description, rather than by name:
Appetizers
Marinated Seafood with Extra Virgin Oil, Lemon Juice, and Parsley
Raw beef tenderloin with Fresh Argula, Basil, Celery, Walnuts and Parmesan shavings
Fresh Strawberriess Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Potato dumplings Pan Fried with Sage Butter, and sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese

Intermezzo

Minestrone with Pesto
Red Pepper Voulte
Home-made Herb and Ricotta Ravioli with Walnut sauce
Crispy Romaine with marinated artichokes, Bell peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Bittersweet Onions, and Chili Peppers, Balsamic Vinagrette

Entrees
Grilled Fillet of Cod with Raisons and Pine Nuts in a Tomato-flavored Nage
Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary Butter, and Garlic sautéed Porcini Mushrooms
Osscobuco – Braised Shin of Veal with Crispy Polenta Cake, Vegetable ragout, Tomato jus
Herb-crusted Rack of Lamb with Tomato and Parmesan Gratin, and Forest Mushroom Gravy
Spinach –stuffed Pancakes baked in Tomato Sauce and Gratinated with Cheese.
Three dessert choices, or a cheese selection, or ice cream.

That’s about equal to the number of choices every night, though the menu changes daily, plus if you request it 24 hrs. in advance they’ll make you pretty much anything, as long as the ingredients are on the ship.
Tonight’s meal was incredible.

I began with the Gnocchi (the potato dumplings) which I love and could be amongst the best I’ve tasted. From there I went to the Ravioli, which was just as good. I could have been happy just getting another 10 orders of either, but I also had the Beef Tenderloin as an entrée, and it too was superb. This may have been the best meal on the ship to date.

I don’t even recall what I had for dessert, but it was average at best. But I do recall that once again we finished dessert before the coffee arrived. It’s odd, because the service through the earlier courses was outstanding. I suppose I’ll have to ask where it is they have to go to get the coffee.

Once again we dined with four people we hadn’t yet met, and once again had delightful conversation and the mood was light and fun.

Tonight was our second Formal night, and prior to dinner was the Venetian Society cocktail party. I’m told there are two couples onboard who have more than 500 days sailing with Silversea!

Tonight was going to have to be an early night because tomorrow we visit Costa Rica, and I’m going golfing. This sailing is designated as part of the “Silver Links Program”. There is a golf professional onboard, and 3 opportunities to golf. I’ve signed up for all three games. The first is tomorrow in Costa Rica, another in Acapulco, and another in Puerto Vallarta.
More on the Silver Links Program tomorrow.
From our balcony...
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Kuki
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- The Kuki Side of Cruising-
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