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Old December 4th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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Default Day 3

Yesterday was a very good day on Oasis. First we arrived at Labadee, where the new pier for Oasis is complete. We did not even attempt to be the first people off the ship, but my Colleague David Beers was, and he said the island was virtually empty up until 10:00. When we left about 11:00 we had no line or waiting at all. Coming back on the ship they had two gangways, and they were checking security items. Once again, we walked straight on the ship with no delays at all. They even had a whole bank of elevators waiting to take people upstairs – so there was no crowding at the elevators at all, and we jumped aboard one we had to ourselves and rode to our floor alone. Bottom line, it appears worries about over-crowding on Oasis have been greatly exaggerated.

By the way – we did the “Dragon’s Breath Zip Line at Labadee – Wow. Not for the faint hearted. We had been zip-lining before so we felt fairly confident. They go to extreme safety measures with this zip line, however, because it is one of the world’s longest.
Here is another example. They actually put a misprint in the daily Cruise Compass that said “Today is your last chance to see Hairspray” and it was showing twice, at 4:30 and at 10:00 pm. Well, we have reservations for the show for tomorrow night. We asked at the guest services and we were told it was a misprint, that the show IS indeed still scheduled for tomorrow. But we decided to go last night anyway.

We had no problem getting last minute seats – no reservations. It seems all the shows have been that way. You get a reservation if you want one of the better seats, but if you want to go on a whim I don‘t believe any of the shows have been “sold out” to non-reservation guests.

I had dinner at 150 Central Park last night. I invited my colleague David Beers since my wife cannot eat anything other than her special diet these days. We both agreed the food is absolutely delicious, including the banana split which supposedly takes two days to prepare. Keep in mind, this restaurant is about senses for the mouth, so it is a tasting menu. There are no “lamb chops” or stuffed pork chops on the menu. If you want that, you should go to “Chops.”

150 Central park is the Gourmet experience onboard, presided over by Chef KeriAnn Van Raesfeld; The youngest and the first woman ever to be named “best young chef in the world” at the Dubai World Culinary Congress.

As it turned out, what was promised to be an “eight-course” menu was only six courses because some of the necessary ingredients had not arrived on the ship yet. Most of the courses were barely more than a few mouthfuls. For example, there was a beet combination (today’s chefs are obsessed with beets, I don’t know why). This had a serving of vanilla-beet ice cream the size of a large marble, two small bites of baked beets, some long rashings of pickled beets and a tiny arugula salad with Keri’s signature caramelized walnuts and feta cheese. All together about 10 bites of food. Here is my point, it was all extraordinarily delicious. The ice cream was sweet and bright red, and delightfully unusual – nothing like that red-bean Chinese ice cream. The baked beets were tasty little nuggets, but it was all so small.

I don’t have the menu I saved in front of me, so I can’t go into more detail, but in the end I have to say that although it was absolutely delicious, I left still quite hungry and could have easily walked straight to another restaurant and ordered a main course, a steak or something to really satisfy the hunger pangs I had walked into the restaurant with. I did not want to ruin my dinner by not arriving hungry (I have done that for special restaurants before and that is a terrible mistake). But I am sorry to say I left with my palate fully satisfied but not my stomach. It was about half the amount of food I would have preferred. I will get into the details of the recipes later, however. The tastes were extraordinary.

After dinner we sat in the Pub for awhile and listened to the guitar-singer. He wasn’t exactly the same laugh riot personality we have seen on other RCL ships in the same pubs. He sang his songs and said thank you, but not much personality.

Then we saw hairspray. All I can say is “wow,” they really pulled this show off. With a cast of 23 or 24 people (amazing size for a cruise ship show) and all the original songs, chorography and great sound and sets, I guarantee you will enjoy this. This show is done perfectly, and was obviously ready with the ship’s opening. I have heard the same about the ice show - that it is the best ice show RCL has done yet. We will see it tonight.

Here is another odd bit of news – for al the talk of the company not being able to feed 5200 passengers at once, I have not eaten in the dining room once yet this trip, although my wife did last night where they made her a very special vegetarian menu. Her diet is so strict she cannot even have any animal products and very few carbohydrates. They did accommodate her, by getting yet another Boca-burger from Johnny Rockets at no extra charge and making her a special salad.

We walked through Central Park last night at a leisurely pace, and although you may not “see the sea” – you certainly don’t forget you are on a cruise ship. The warm tropical air, which at night in the park is just exactly right for temperature and humidity, is a wonderful, quite place where you can hear the wind and some music wafting in from other parts of the ship, but it very tranquil.
I had seen the ship last week on the media trip, so for me this voyage has been more a focus on food and entertainment. But for my wife and David beers, this is their first time seeing the ship andthey are suitably wowed. It is a shame my wife cannot taste all the goodies there are around the ship (cupcakes, donuts, pastries, etc), but there is a lot of fun food. What she craves the most is the pizza.

By the way, the Pizza Parlor here will make you a custom pie with any ingredients you want – they are displayed out front for you to choose from; anchovies, mushrooms, pepperoni, peppers, onions, etc. Just order it up and they make it for you.

That is all for now – more later today. We are off to see the ship….
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