Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sojourn of the Seabourn Odyssey Pre-Inaugural Cruise - Dinner With The Captain

Last night I was honored to dine with Captain Karlo Buer, the captain of the Seabourn Odyssey. This was quite an honor as it was the first formal night - ever - on the ship and I was seated next to the captain. Once again I had to say to myself, "How cool is that?!"

For all those spreading rumors that there are some big problems or issues with the ship (not true!), let me make this simple observation: If all hell was breaking loose, Captain Buer would not have taken the time to have dinner with me on the night before the Maiden Voyage. In fact, not only did he have dinner with me, he was charming, funny and appeared relaxed. (I also ran into him this morning and he was, again, all smiles and took the time to chat for a minute or so.) But I digress...

The Captain and I spoke of the challenges in building the Seabourn Odyssey, the 82 steps up to his apartment in Genoa, the plans for him to stay with the ship until (oh, I guess I shouldn't say that!) and then shifting over to the Seabourn Sojourn for its final construction stages, etc.

When I asked him if there any things he would like to have done differently on the Seabourn Sojourn or the third ship, he was rather certain to say nothing. But when I said, "I bet you have a wishlist...don't you!" Captain Buer gave me that smile he gives and might have even blushed a bit. It was all good fun, but more than that. It was such a source of pride for the Captain not only as to the hardware, but the crew as well.

Once again Seabourn outdid itself in both cuisine and service. I won't bore you with the entire menu, but I must mention two things:

First, if you ever have the chance to order the Nigerian prawns with truffled gnocchi and mushrooms order it. (And for those that want a little "Don't have red wine with fish" thought in their head - it screams for a red wine to play off the earthiness and richness of the gnocchi and truffles. And Seabourn had a great selection!)

Second, and this is going to cause shudders everwhere: Seabourn did not have breadsticks! Yes, the waiter offered to swim to shore to get them for us, but I reminded him that those breadsticks would not be Seabourn breadsticks. It was the single greatest disappointment of my cruise. (Heck, I might even write a letter to the President about that one!) I was assured breadsticks will be available tonight.

Congratulations, Captain. You are the master of the most luxurious and innovative cruise ship in the world.