Another port day and a rush to leave the ship to meet our tour guide. We ate breakfast at the Windjammer Buffet (we personally enjoyed breakfast and lunch in the main dining room or Park Café).
The eggs over easy were perfect this time; there’s nothing worse than not being able to dip your toast! The bacon was crispy; just the way we like it. We loved the thick slices of Austrian Strietzel, our absolute favorite new find! H doesn’t like cranberries or raisins, but he was crazy over this bread (go figure). Something we rarely do at home is indulge in bread and butter, which we did on our cruise, and enjoyed immensely!
After breakfast we were excited to start our 6 hour island/beach tour of St. Maarten and St. Martin. I had reserved this excursion in advance with “Bernard Tours.”
Our favorite part of the tour was Maho Beach. It’s a famous spot for watching planes fly in VERY close overhead. There is also a posting of all incoming airplanes.
We had very limited time due to our tour schedule so we positioned ourselves as best as we could. After missing a few photo ops, we figured out where I should be, and where H should stand. I was blinded by the sun as we were all standing on the beach, hot and tired, looking in the far distance for the tell-tale red dots of in-coming planes. When someone would spot them, they’d yell and we would all be shooting in continuous mode! H was very appreciative of the shots I captured with a plane flying right over his head! I was also able to capture a video of him (for our personal collection).
Despite how common it is to get sand blasted, we didn’t even feel a flicker. I also didn’t smell any intense fumes.
The experience was truly thrilling! Do not miss Maho Beach if you visit St. Marteen! It was the highlight of our day!
We returned to the ship tired and sunburnt and had a snack at the Wipe-out Café to tide us over (no pun intended) until dinner time. We enjoyed the tacos, fries and hotdog, and we had to have more of the chips with salsa and guacamole! We finished with frozen yogurt twists; chocolate/vanilla and strawberry/vanilla. So refreshing!
For dinner, we returned to the main dining room. It was always such a pleasure to see the wait staff, especially after a day in port. They welcomed us back, and asked how our day went and what we did. When we informed them we had a show immediately after dinner, they did their best to rush everything through, and ensured we were finished on time. Here’s a tip: let your wait staff know what time you need to be out, and they will be more than willing to accommodate you. Your dinner may be a bit rushed, but you won’t be late. Keep in mind the long walk to your venue, and the long line ups that quickly start.
This was the evening they changed the menu twice. In the morning, they had posted the entrée would be a T-bone style Osso Bucco. H was excited! At dinner, we were informed the Chef from Miami was on board. We were also looking forward to trying the Rack of Lamb (as first time cruisers, we wanted to try everything). We asked our head waiter why it wasn’t available, and he informed us they testing a new menu, and we were the guinea pigs!
Our poor waiter, he had recommendations every night we dined in the main dining room, but he was confused on this night. Later we laughed and told him he’d have recommendations for the 8:30 p.m. seating, since H felt the Chef from Miami should fly back via the helipad immediately! Just our thoughts.
H started with the New England Clam Chowder and said it was okay; the clams were a bit chewy. I decided to try the Green Gazpacho – chilled lettuce and cucumber soup with diced tomatoes and chopped parsley. H thought I was brave! It looked worse than the liquid greens I drink each morning. It wasn’t awful, but after two spoons, I passed. I did try to eat healthy!
The Crab Cakes were average; they paled in comparison to Chops Grille.
H ordered the Pan Seared Sole Fillets. He’s not a picky eater, and loves food in general, so I was surprised to see he just picked at his entrée. I asked him what was wrong, and he said it smelled and tasted off, and the fillets were not pan seared, just mushy. We noted the large table beside us left theirs barely touched. The asparagus was also overcooked and mushy.
Our waiter immediately noticed H’s plate, and suggested the Shrimp Gyoza Dumplings. They were very good! As suggested by seasoned cruisers, trust your waiter, he or she knows what dishes are hits or misses.
H was in the process of ordering the Slow Roasted Double Cut Pork Loin, when our assistant waiter brought the Conchiglioni Pasta (from the Spa Vitality menu) to our table by mistake, so he ate that instead! Since it was already placed down, our waiter advised her not to give it to the correct table, and we didn’t want it to go to waste.
Wow, the pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and spinach were scrumptious! I felt sorry we didn’t have time to try any of the other healthier food items from the Solarium Bistro (on our next cruise for sure).
I chose the Beef Stroganoff and it would have been great, however, this particular Chef from Miami decided to add slivers of pickles. I hate pickles! I picked out all the pickles, but the pickle taste was already incorporated. Boy that was a mouthful (no, not of the stroganoff). I couldn’t finish it.
Our head waiter was kind enough to save two desserts from the night before (since we dined at Chops Grille). The Banana Cream Pie was delicious! The chocolate custard was super creamy, with a hint of Kahlúa. I’ve never tried it this way, as most times I’ve had it with just vanilla custard and sliced bananas. Very unique!
The Coconut Crème Brûlée was heavenly! I can’t stop writing about the brûlée, or craving it. I normally don’t order this dessert, but this one, and the Vanilla Crème Brûlée from Chops Grille – OMG! I absolutely love anything with coconut and vanilla beans. H kept laughing, and saying “so embarrassing,” as I was spooning into ….. nothing.
The dessert from the new menu also listed an individual Lemon Meringue Tart. You know I ordered it right. It was your typical lemon pie, if I had to describe the taste. The meringue had been lightly torched. The filling was very tart!