The Mysterious Case Of The Satsumas At The Security Checkpoint

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Breakfast was something special as long as you were willing to try some of the local food.

    She definitely was.

    I am still not over this.

    The solarium with my favourite hang out.

    Well, people in China seem to have a different kind of relationship to food than we have.

    I was absolutely delighted about this. With the park being so quiet, we covered a lot of ground.

    I had read about this happening, but we never saw this. We did however get stung by this in Dubai once and the hotel we were staying in on that trip tried to con us with a towncar as well. By then I had learned my lesson and pointblank refused to get in.

    That definitely made the process smoother.

    I really do not understand how somebody can behave like this. The average Chinese passenger may not understand enough English to be offended, but that does not make it right. They also have a high proportion of Chinese crew and they are all fluent in English.

    The food was absolutely amazing.

    Just in time for me posting the next update.

    Corinna
     
  2. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 11

    We were awake bright and early at 7:00. We got up and dressed and decided to head down to the Royal Esplanade to get something to drink. Graham wanted a coffee and I decided to take my souvenir cup to get something from the Coca Cola Freestyle machine that is in Sorento’s. Unfortunately the machine was out of order. I did not fancy coffee and the selection of teas did not thrill me. Graham got his coffee and I wandered across to the patisserie where they sold Starbucks coffees and specialty teas. I noticed that they sold something called a joy card there. This cost $20 and entitled you to 15 specialty coffees, teas, non-alcoholic cocktails and soft drinks. I thought that this was really good value. I got myself a citrus-scented black tea, which still came out of a tea bag, but was delicious. I went back to where Graham was sitting and once he had finished his coffee, we went up to deck 14.

    Part of the perks of having a junior suite is that we had reserved venues for breakfast and lunch. They offered a buffet breakfast in the Solarium Bistro and an a la carte menu in Chic, which is one of the restaurants that is used as a main dining room in the evening. We had decided on the buffet that morning. On Ovation, the access to the Solarium Bistro was from the solarium. So this is where we headed. Just as we reached the entrance, there was a group coming the other direction. They advised us that the access was from the elevator lobby. When we got there, they were not quite ready for us yet, but the doors were opened about 5 minutes later. We found a table and then went to see what was on offer. Graham started with broccoli, cauliflower, grilled tomatoes, scrambled eggs, American and Taiwanese sausages and bacon. I had vegetable fried rice, American and Taiwanese sausages and a traditional fried bread. The Taiwanese sausage had a funny taste to it and the vegetable fried rice was not as delicious as I remembered it from Ovation. I enjoyed the rest though. Graham then got some yoghurt with granola as well as cold cuts, cucumber and tomatoes and a bread roll. I got in line for an omelette. I like the way they handled this. You placed your order and were given a number. Once the omelette was ready, it was delivered to your table. I had an omelette with sausage, tomato, onions, mushrooms and cheese and this was absolutely delicious. I finished off my breakfast with some tropical fruit salad, melon and mandarin segments. We both had some juice, water and coffee.

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    After breakfast, we headed down to the Schooner Bar for morning trivia. There were maybe a dozen takers from the USA, Malaysia and the UK. We did not win that session, but we had a lot of fun. After morning trivia, we went back to the cabin to get changed into swim gear. I also picked up shampoo and shower gel and my iPad. Then we went up to the spa to use the thermal suite. We settled down on the heated tile loungers and I started off reading, but ended up having a nap shortly afterwards. Graham must have fallen asleep as well. When people started to come in, I looked at my watch and realized that we had been there over two hours. It most certainly had not felt that long. Graham did the rounds of the steam room, sauna and the tropical rainforest shower. I stayed on my heated tile lounger and read a bit more. Once Graham was done, we went to the respective changing rooms. I had a shower there and then I met Graham in the relaxation room. We went back to the cabin to drop off our stuff that we no longer needed and then we decided to check out the a la cart lunch at Chic, which was another junior suite perk.

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    On the way there, I spotted something I had never seen on any of the cruises we had been on. They actually had two backdrops set up at lunchtime. Hardly anybody was around at that time so we stopped for some photos. Then we went to Chic for some lunch. I was delighted when I saw the menu. Before we got on Ovation, I had a look at the sample menus and one thing in particular caught my eye. They had a dessert on the menu for American Icon Grill that was called Icon’s Candy Bar and consisted of peanut butter mousse, nougat brittle and caramel drizzle. I love everything peanut butter and was so excited about this. In 16 days on Ovation, it never materialized. I was therefore both surprised and delighted when I spotted it on the lunch menu that day. Normally I prefer an appetizer over dessert, but I skipped the appetizer that day as I definitely wanted dessert this time. I had Pad Thai for my main course. It was not particularly authentic, but very delicious. Graham had the Philly Cheese Steak with fries followed by rice pudding. I finally got my Icon’s Candy Bar. It was definitely worth the wait. It was quite sweet, but not overpoweringly though and the flavours worked very well together. This was definitely one of their better desserts.

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    After lunch, we went to the solarium. I found myself a round lounger and settled down with my iPad to read. Graham spent some time on one of the outside decks at the front of the solarium and then he found himself a regular lounger. He is not that keen on the round loungers. I had spotted that there would be a session of bumper cars in the Seaplex that afternoon. I had every intention to go to this. At some stage, I double-checked the timing for this on the Royal IQ app and to my delight, I realized that you could make reservations for this via the app. I was just about to do this, when I realized that they charge $5 for a 8 minute session that includes 2.5 minutes in the bumper car. I did not want to do the bumper cars that badly. I knew that the charge for the North Star observation capsule and for the iFly skydiving simulator on cruises from China, but I had never heard that the charge for bumper cars as well. So I passed. I went up to the Seaplex a little later as they have a Coca Cola Freestyle machine there. The bumper cars session was underway by then and they only had 6 cars out and only 5 were actually in use. This is only fun if there is a bit of a crowd so I am glad I did not pay.

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    After I already found the Coca Cola Freestyle machines on deck 4 out of order in the morning, I noticed that the one in the Seaplex was out of order as well. I decided to go down one deck to the Windjammer as I knew they have two machines in there. I had to wait in line to get in as people were still having a late lunch. I waited about 10 minutes and after washing my hands, I went to one of the Coca Cola Freestyle machines. This did not have an out of order sign on unless the other three I had tried, but I did not do anything either. I approached one of the bartenders close by and he initially offered to get me some Coke from the bar, which I declined. He then came with me and he could not get the machine to work either. He then called a supervisor who turned up shortly afterwards. Again I was offered a glass of regular Coke. I have to admit, at that stage I had enough. I told him that I did not want regular Coke and that I can have this every day at home. I explained that I had only got the soda package because I knew that the ship has the Coca Cola Freestyle machines and that this is a special treat for me. He went backstage to make a call and then came back to offer me a refund on the package. I asked when the machines would be fixed and he did not know, but was not optimistic that it would be during our cruise. So I gratefully accepted the refund. He took the souvenir cup and removed the sticker from my SeaPass card and by the time I got back to the cabin later that afternoon, the refund had already been processed. I was still thirsty when I got back to the solarium. I ended up getting some ice water from the dispenser on the bar.

    Around 16:15, I went back to the cabin to get changed. That evening was Royal Night, which is as close as you come to formal night on the Quantum class ships. The Captain was out for photos that evening between 16:30 and 17:15. I always like to get a photo with the Captain. Graham had one look at how busy the Royal Esplanade was and refused to go down there. Where we were standing on deck 5, we could see the front of the line. I offered that I would go down to join the line and Graham could come and join me once he saw me near the front, but he was not having this either. I was not overly happy about this turn of events, but I know when I am defeated. At that stage the decision was made to not get the photo package, but just a couple of select photos.

    We then went to the Schooner Bar for evening trivia. I got myself a strawberry lemonade and a Virgin Pina Colada for Graham with my joy card. We actually managed to win and got a couple of pens. After trivia, we went back to the solarium to enjoy the sunset before crossing the deck to Coastal Kitchen.

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    This evening we were at the opposite end of Coastal Kitchen and we were seated next to couple from California that I had bumped into a couple of times before. We chatted with them all through dinner. It turned out that they were travel agents, too. We were sitting pretty close to the back entrance that leads from Coastal Kitchen and noticed something amusing. There was a steady stream of locals heading from Coastal Kitchen to the Windjammer and came back with multiple plates piled high with food. I could not understand how they could carry all of this without dropping it. At some stage Graham mentioned that he fancied some chips. There were none on the menu. I commented that he could get some from the Windjammer as everybody else seemed to get food from there. He did get a plate. Normally the chips at the Windjammer are absolutely delicious, but those were nothing to write home about. The food that was served at Coastal Kitchen however was great. Graham started with the Snow Crab California roll, which he enjoyed. I had the roasted & stuffed zucchini with fresh ricotta, seasoned bread crumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fra diavolo sauce. The sauce could have been a little spicier, but I enjoyed all the different flavours. For our main course, we both had the roasted beef tenderloin grilled asparagus and fork crushed potatoes with a cabernet wine jus. This was washed down with a glass of Caliterra for me and a glass of White Zinfandel for Graham. Graham passed on dessert, but I went with the rather strangely named Wine & Cheese. This consisted of red wine-poached pear on a ricotta-puff pastry tart with honey mascarpone. I still cannot figure out what drew me to this as I normally detest puff pastry, but this was a great choice. It was a riot of flavours and textures and absolutely delicious.

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    When we finished our meal, I could not believe how long we had been there. We had taken the best part of 2.5 hours over dinner. Between the good food and amazing company, time had just flown. We shared an elevator with our dining companions on the way down. They went to see what was happening around the ship, but we were ready for our bed. We said goodnight when we got to our deck. Once we got to our cabin, we used our respective bathrooms to get ready for bed. I had a quick look at the Daily Compass for the following day and then we settled down for the night.

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  3. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

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    Caught back up again. What a chaotic boarding process...Glad you found a fairy godmother to get you sorted!

    Too bad about the Freestyle machines being down...thankfully they quickly refunded you. That suite looks amazing!

    Jill in CO
     
  4. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    Lovely sea day. I can’t wait to get back onboard a ship. They do the make your own omelettes like that on DCL as well, there’s just no sign where to order, which is a bit annoying the first day.

    How disappointing about the Freestyle Coke machines, I’m sorry. Glad they were speedy about the refund.

    Strange about charging for the bumper cars, and for that small amount of time too.
     

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