Hello again, it's still Wednesday, April 27, and we have just returned from a fabulous shore excursion to Honeymoon Beach. Unfortunately, it has been raining, and although the rain has stopped, the pool decks are very wet and slippery, and all the deck chairs are wet too.
So, I decided to finally try out a Carnival Pilates class, because I had missed them all week due to scheduling conflicts (just TOO much to do on board!) I go to a Pilates class every week at home, and I look forward to them because they always completely relax and de-stress me, as well as making my body feel more fit and flexible. Not so with this class!
I showed up at 4p.m. and there was a very tall, young, good looking, tanned, bleached blonde Australian surfer type conducting a class of 1. I was warmly welcomed and given a large rubber ball, which I had never used in a Pilates class before. We were instructed to do various exercises with this ball, balancing it on our legs, our feet, and rolling over it on our stomachs and "walking off" it on our hands. It soon became apparent that the other student was way more fit, flexible and co-ordinated than me; I was falling off that darn ball all over the place, arms and legs akimbo! We were soon joined by another young woman who was even more fit and energetic than the first. They both put me to shame. Lying on my back, I was very distracted by the bright ceiling lights shining in my eyes, but worse than that, was the loud and annoying techno-pop music blaring from the PA system. And then, one of my worst pet peeves - perfume! One or both of the other women was wearing very strong perfume, and I am allergic to scents and felt a headache coming on. All of these distractions and annoyances were not very conducive to a relaxing, de-stressing session of Pilates. In fact, there were no relaxation breathing exercises, and I felt like I was in training for the Olympics. For every exercise that at home, my instructor would require 4 repetitions, this guy wanted 15 repetitions! It was only after I huffed and puffed and embarassed my way through the whole class that I found out that the other 2 women were Carnival Show Dancers!! Although this activity was listed as an "Introduction to Pilates" class, it was apparent that it was really a training session for the dancers! I was proud of myself for trying to keep up with them, but I regretted it for the next 2 days, when I couldn't sit up, lie down, cough or sneeze, without excrutiating abdominal muscle pain!! Remind me to never do Pilates on Carnival again....
Even though I could barely move, I had to get ready for a special night - our dinner in Valor's specialty restaurant, Scarlett's. The setting was beautiful, tastefully elegant, and I loved the crystal chandeleirs (sp?) and the beautifully painted birds on the ceiling.
This photo does not do it justice, it really was exquisite!
Scarlett's did not appear very busy this Wednesday night, and we had wonderfully attentive and friendly service from all the staff, especially our sommelier Amit, who remembered us from the wine tasting seminar the other day. He helped us choose an absolutely wonderful white wine from New Zealand, called "Cloudy Bay", and even agreed to take our photo!
We were then served lovely, fancy appetizers, and our first choice, French Onion Soup.
A word of caution: French Onion Soup can be a meal in itself, and this one was no different. Wonderfully flavoured, with thick, chewy cheese, it was delicious, but combined with the appetizers, bread, and a small salad, it left us with little room to enjoy our main meal choices: lobster and filet mignon! Both our meals were beautifully prepared, presented, and served, but with extra vegetables and baked potatoes on the side, they both proved to be too much for us to handle; neither of us could finish our meal!
Service was excellent, and friendly, but Carnival really must do something about those strait jackets their dining staff must wear! They were not as bad as the ones on Legend, a little better fitting, but still, not as nice looking as the main dining room staff's uniforms.
When we first entered Scarlett's, I had noticed a dance floor and small stage, but nobody was there. We were seated around the corner from this area, where we couldn't see, which annoyed me a little, because I love to watch musical entertainment. While we were eating, I noticed some music start up, and I said to James, "that's funny, the music sounds like a recording (muzak), because it was Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand singing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", and usually, there is live entertainment in the supper club. So James got up to look, and came back to the table with his jaw on the floor! He said "you won't believe this, there's this little Japanese couple over there singing!" I had to go see. By now, they were singing "Unforgettable" in the voices of Nat King Cole, and Natalie Cole. I could not believe my eyes!
As we finished our dinner, they continued to astound us with their renditions of Elvis, Bette Midler, Johnny Mathis, Louis Armstrong, Karen Carpenter, and funniest of all, Willy Nelson and Julio Iglesias singing "To All the Girls I've Loved Before"! Miracle of all miracles, James actually got up and asked me to dance, and we danced to everything they sang, some of it moving me to tears. When they took a break, we found out that they were called "Play That Duo", aka Joel and Lorna, and that they were in fact, Filipino, not Japanese, and are married to each other. We congratulated them on their wonderful singing, and asked them to pose for a photo.
James and I felt VERY tall!
They were very friendly and humble, and took the time to answer our questions, and when we found out they had a a few CDs we bought one!
Joel asked if we had any requests, and I of course, said "Bee Gees"! So, when they came back on, the first thing he did was play "How Deep is Your Love:" I thought I'd died and gone to heaven; it was like having Barry and Robin Gibb singing right to me!
So this, my CruiseMates friends, is Valor's best kept secret; Joel and Lorna, the best singers (and mimics) I've heard in a long time, tucked away in a little corner of the ship, in Scarlett's Supper Club. That's the good news. The bad news is, that was their last week, after 5 months onboard, and they were heading to the Philippines for a 2 month vacation. However, in mid-July, they will be heading out to join the brand new ship, Carnival Liberty for it's trans Atlantic crossing and it's European itinerary. So, if anyone is going on Liberty later this year, be sure to look for Joel and Lorna, and tell them Donna and James sent you!
Again, your magnificent story telling makes me feel like I was right there with you. You have a gift Donna......have you ever written a children's book? You should..........looking foward to more Valor installments!
Very nice, Donna! Now I'll have to go back and read the first nine installments. I just looked at your pictures in the gallery. Brought back some good memories for me. We were on the Zuiderdam in Sept. 2003. Our cabin was aft, second deck from the top. I think I saw it in the picture! In the middle of the deck.
You are a wonderful storyteller! Lynne
Donna, I have eagerly looked forward to all your fantastic reviews. Sounds like you had an awsome time. I wished i'd been there at scarlets for that entertainment--sounded like it was Heavenly! and i bet you were in Heaven when they sang "beegees"! Hope the entertainment will be just as good on Conquest when we sail in Aug. We'll eat at pointe on our anniversary night! I can't wait!!
I also went to honeymoon beach that day. I went on the catamaran sailaway. I saw therain across the bay, it didnt rain at the beach! I am putting more pics on my Maurice Cruise pics for anyone to see. ENJOY!