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Cruise Dinner: Day 1

September 24, 2013

After two amazing days in Hong Kong, the day had finally arrived for us to join our cruise ship for our 7 day journey through parts of Southeast Asia.  Obviously, jet lag must still be having an effect on us, as the third morning of our trip, my husband and I found ourselves up just past 5 am.  Trust me, at home, we’re never up without help at 5 am.  To be wide awake and 5 am definitely means we haven’t quite adjusted to the 14 hour time change yet.  However, on this day, in particular, the neat thing about being up so early is that with our hotel room’s floor to ceiling view of Victoria Harbour, we actually got to see our cruise ship sail into the Harbour to its berthing dock a little past 6 am.  What a sight to see, this large cruise ship sailing through Victoria Harbour in the early morning hours just after sunrise.  We were lucky enough that our cruise ship would actually be spending a night in Hong Kong.  So, while we might be checking out of our hotel today, where we’ve had a wonderful two night stay, we actually won’t be leaving Hong Kong.  We did some sightseeing in the morning on our own, checked out of the hotel, and checked right onboard the cruise ship.  With the cruise ship staying overnight in Hong Kong, that meant we had an 24 hours to explore the city.

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The first night of our cruise, we opted to eat dinner onboard the ship since it was being provided anyways.  That saved us the hassle and decision-making that would have to go into trying to find a place in the city to dine at.  As requested, we were assigned to the early seating dining, which meant dinner was served at 5:45 pm each night.  Our assigned dining room table #49 in the Marquis Dining Room (the ship actually has 2 dining rooms to accommodate all of the passengers).  This was our private (sort of, we only had a divider between us and the 2 seats on the other side, rather than our own private table, but the other 2 guests only showed up for dinner on the last night of the cruise) table, exactly as we had asked for.

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Tonight’s menu option was an international selection with everything from American food to Greek to Italian to Asian selections.  As on any cruise ship, there are appetizers and soups and salads available as starters and then there are the main courses.  There is also a selection of “always available” items, such as Caesar salad, roasted chicken, and steak for those picky eaters who don’t like the more unique options being served on any given evening.  And as always, the food is all-you-can-eat.  So, even though you’re waited on by a wait staff, you can order as much, or as little as you’d like.  You can order one of everything on the menu, or 10 of a specific item, it doesn’t matter.  It’s all included as part of your cruise experience.

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As usual, every night when we would arrive at our table, we’d have a basket of bread waiting for us.  This is fresh baked bread made onboard the ship daily.  The selection of the bread changed very little, and though we knew what to expect, we often couldn’t say no to fresh bread and butter.  Sadly, our bread basket was generally empty by the end of each meal.

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My husband started with an appetizer of smoked duck breast with roasted walnuts.  Before I could even ask him for a sample, it had been inhaled.  Suffice to say, he thought it was pretty delicious.  I’ve learned over the past couple of years that my husband is a duck meat lover, and if duck is on the menu, it’ll be in his stomach!

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For my appetizer, I ordered a soup.  One of the things I love about cruise ships is that you can always count on soup as a menu item, and most cruise ships love to serve cold fruit soups.  Luckily, I’m a fan of cold fruit soups because it’s like having a smoothie.  Here on this cruise ship, most of their cold fruit soups are even served in cocktail glasses with straws, so you’re supposed to drink it up like a smoothie rather than scoop it up with a spoon like a soup.  I ordered the chilled tropical stone fruit soup.  I had no idea what stone fruit consisted of, but I figured if it was blended together into a drink-like concoction, who cares what was in it because you probably couldn’t really distinguish one fruit from the other.  I’ve since learned that stone fruits generally refer to fruits who have an outer fleshy exterior which surrounds one hard inner seed.  Examples of stone fruit would be peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries and apricots.  Either way, whatever was in this soup was delicious because I drank it all up!

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For my entrée, I went with the US option of surf and turf of grilled filet mignon and gulf prawns with vegetable batons and browned new potatoes.  Yum!  The meat was nice and tender and the sauce was flavorful.  The gulf prawns were perfectly grilled and tender and juicy and the complement of vegetables was the perfect touch to the meal.  At this point, I figured that I wasn’t going to be starving on this ship with food like this.

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My husband took the Italian option of penne pasta with smoked salmon in a vodka cream sauce.  As soon as he saw smoked salmon (his new obsession) on the menu, he knew that was what he was going to order.  And he devoured the pasta right away.  I could barely get him to stop enough to tell me he liked the dish.  I guess he must have really liked the dish.

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For dessert there were several tasty options on the menu.  There’s generally 3 or 4 desserts, and then a sugar-free selection, a selection of ice creams, artisanal cheeses and then fresh sliced fruits.  Of course, there’s also the “always available” menu, which is a section of 3 items that are on the menu every night.

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After a bit of debate, I chose the chocolate obsession gateau.  I just can’t pass up something that says chocolate.  The gateau was served with chocolate mousse, passion fruit brulee and chocolate ganache.  It came to the table like a piece of art, and tasted might fine.  It wasn’t too sweet as the lighter buttery layer really complimented the sweetness of the chocolate.  It also helped the chocolate cake to stay moist.

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My husband, to my surprise opted for the burned rhubarb napoleon which came served with white peach ice cream.  I had no idea my husband liked rhubarb.  He said he loved the rhubarb napoleon.  It had good flavor and was nice and crispy and flaky and the peach ice cream was subtle and fit well with the sweeter and tangier rhubarb flavor.

If this was a preview of what would come through the rest of the cruise for meals we could look forward to, I think we’re going to be ok.  Let’s see what the next 6 days onboard the ship have in store for us!

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