Sunday, October 4, 2009

Seabourn Spirit 2009 Food & Wine Cruise - Meeting Up With The Big Sister & Chef's Surprises

The next day in Kotor, Montenegro, started out with a bit of excitement. When I stepped into the Veranda for breakfast the Seabourn Odyssey was berthed right behind us. It was great to see her again and also to say hello to some of my clients who were enjoying a cruise on her.

An interesting note for those of you who think she is too large: I have two couples sailing with me who thought the same thing…until they saw her in person. They are now very excited to cruise with her on the 2010 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise. And those on the Seabourn Odyssey concerned that their experience would be less personal came away with a very positive and personal experience.

It was then off to walk around the old city and, possibly, walk up the incredibly steep hillside to a church and fortress. My first impression while I was walking through the local market was one similar to that I had when visiting the Ukraine: It could be really nice, but there is just a sort of slightly not maintained, slightly dirty, less than energetic, feel about the place. There was not a restaurant or cafĂ© that attracted me and the shops were very ordinary. Others complained about beggars, though I didn’t see any.

We did start the climb up the absurdly steep hill, but we knew starting out making it to the top is something you have to really want to do. When we reached the point where it said 2€ per person, we stopped and quickly retreated to level ground and a more comfortable walk.

Now for my plan: I decided to try to make my own wine tasting and gourmet lunch at the restaurant we were to visit. So we walked over to it and it was allegedly all booked out for a group that was not for the Seabourn Spirit or the Seabourn Odyssey. Curious...and I am looking into this.

At that point I didn’t want to further impact my day, so we returned to the Spirit for a nice lunch at the Sky Bar, a sleep and a soak in the forward spa. After beating my head against the wall, not knowing of the seriousness of the internet issue, it was time for a an exceptional Chef’s Tasting Menu for dinner.

The next day was a late rise as it was a Marina Day in Truike Bay, Croatia. After a dip in the marina’s pool, it was a banana ride followed by kayaking where a friend and I somehow wound up pulling our wives’ paddleboat around the bay. It was then a Sky Bar lunch.

My group was then given a private tour of the galley with Bjoern, the executive chef, and some very nice wine and caviar. Really having the time to understand all that goes on in the galley puts things into some perspectives you would never think of. I will write more about this another time, as it really is a topic unto itself, but just know that I will never arrive for dinner at 9:00 p.m. again as it really puts the galley into chaos. (It is not improper, but it just isn’t something I would do because I would feel guilty.)

After our tour it was a bit of relaxation and boy would we need it for our day in Koper, Slovenia was jam packed! Bjoern let us know we had another surprise in store: An early morning private experience before our afternoon Ensemble tour.