Day Seven – Sabattini’s, Art and Separation

Today is a sea day.  Basically a nothing-on-your-plate day.  Do what you will or nothing at all or something in between.

Another perk is breakfast in Sabattini’s (the other surcharge-based dining room).  Normally a dining room only place, it does serve breakfast, but only to an exclusive clientele.  It really would be too easy to get used to this.  🙂  Amongst other things it includes (if you wish) Mimosa (essentially, Orange juice and Champagne).  Ok…talk me into it.  Sometimes you just have to accept what is thrown at you.

After a wonderful beginning to the day, it’s off to do a little ship-shopping.  One has to be careful with this because not everything is as good a deal as they would like you to believe (typical of anyplace, really).  Nothing really suits our fancy but one item piqued my interest so much I had to take a picture.  It will be easy to figure out which one it is.  My youngest daughter used to work in a liquor store and I was pretty sure I had seen all the different flavored vodka available.

Apparently I was wrong.  If you happen to guess what it is BEFORE looking at the picture, I will be suitably impressed.  There will be no hints.  If you’re reading this blog at all, that should give you enough hints.

Mother tires easily so she went back to the room just before lunch.  Rose gathered up the netbook and her sketch book and left for parts unknown to do some sketching.  That left me to my own devices.  Hmmmm…could be dangerous.  Yesterday I had quickly scoped out Vines and made friends with Raphael…one of the waiters.  Vines is the wine and sushi bar on the ship and I know that will be someplace important.  Let’s see…it’s lunch time…I’m not really ‘hungry’ but part of this journey is to increase our overall wine knowledge and expertise.  (I’m finding age is giving me a much improved ability to have the proper excuse at hand to drink wine. 🙂 )

Given the time of day and the fact that sushi/sashimi will be involved, it seems most apropos to experience the white wine flight.  It consists of three – Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay.  They turned out to be perfectly complimentary to the salmon, tuna and octopus (along with some very fresh seaweed).  A most delectable light lunch.  Fortunately I had also taken my eReader along so sitting, reading and enjoying both the wine and the other delicacies provided a marvelous break from pretty much everything.

My location allows me to keep a lookout on center court where, during the day, entertainment happens.  As it turns out a demonstration of Martini Mixology is beginning.  Again, always wishing to increase my knowledge of things alcoholic, I put down my Kobo and take numerous mental notes.  The mixers are professionals from the bar, but they get members of the viewing audience up to ‘shake’ the martinis.  They won’t make any cut on So You Think You Can Dance, but they do provide a lot of fun to watch.  For their efforts, they’re given the martini they shook.  However, as luck would have it, there is a little more produced than the three martini glasses would hold.  So, smaller versions make their way out to the rest of us.  One even managed to find its way into my outstretched hand, and from there found a home swirling on my tongue.  Shaken, not stirred, a chocolate martini is actually quite tasty.

Time slips by and now it is time to meet Rose at the Explorers lounge for one of our favorite pastimes onboard – the Champagne Art Auction.  Yes my wife is an artist (and if I do say so myself, a damn good one) so why look to buy others?  A different way of looking at it is why limit yourself?  On our very first cruise (Caribbean in 2005) we had the opportunity (at this function on board the Star Princess) to bid on some paintings by a new up and coming artist by the name of Michael Godard (  Opening bids were much less than $200 (for original works!).  Today you can’t buy prints for less than $450.

A couple of hours later it was back to the room to freshen up just a tad (after all it was ‘formal night’) and make our way back down to do a more official ‘wine tasting’.  This time it was the s hips Wine Sommelier Club which brought about its own flavors.  We were seated at a table of eight (and there were about another twelve or more tables of eight) each position being accompanied by six glasses and each two positions also accompanied by a plate of a variety of fourteen canapes.

The tasting started with a 2002 vintage Dom Perignon Champagne and ultimately finishing with a 2006 Opus One.  When surrounded by a group of people who (for the most part) know little or nothing about wine, coupled with a sommelier that really needed a lesson in public speaking, I couldn’t, in all good conscience, keep quiet for long.  Near the end of the tasting, two of our table mates asked me if I would give the next presentation.  I took that as a compliment and filed it away as a future career choice should I get tired of computers.  🙂

Back to the room for a quick shower and shave before our formal dinner.  However I am now faced with a slight problem.  Another perk to our room (as I said earlier, they’re endless) was free pressing (they used to offer complete dry cleaning but due to environmental concerns they have since discontinued that).  My suit, which I gave up yesterday, has yet to return.

Yet another perk is half price cocktails at the Captain’s Circle club up on the eighteenth deck (Skywalkers) which we wanted to take mother to prior to dinner.  But I probably shouldn’t go up attired only in a shirt, tie and underwear.

Finally it arrives.  Pressed well and even cleaned (I know because there were some spots on the lapel that had magically disappeared).  On with the corsage and boutinier (yep…another perk) and up to the lounge.  one absolutely fabulous Mojito later it is back down for dinner.

We had to wait, partly because of my suit delay and partly because I hadn’t made the phone call that would have reserved us a spot in our ‘anytime dining’ (yes…tiresome as it is, it is yet another perk).  Eventually we are seated, a table to ourselves yet totally immersed in tuxes, flowing gowns and tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry.  Impressive, yes, but I’m also very happy formal night is not every night.

After yet another fabulous dinner it’s back to our suite, and a change of clothes to something much more comfortable.  With that comes a sudden desire to settle back even further and catch a movie on TV.  After that comes an even greater desire to crawl into bed, grab the eReader once again and hope it doesn’t fall out of the hands due to the eyes slamming shut.

Well…two out of three ain’t bad.

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