Sunday, October 2, 2011

Goldring Travel's 2011 Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn - Part VI


Our arrival into Halifax, Nova Scotia was not until 1:00 p.m. so the morning was spent exploring the ship and then supervising the sail into Halifax Harbour (in the hot tub, of course) while spotting some whales and dolphins with a brilliant blue sky and warm temperatures.  It was all so beautiful until we arrived in the harbour.  We were greeted by the Queen Elizabeth and Emerald Princess and Silver Whisper.  With four ships in port things were a bit chaotic, but we are here overnight, so there is no rush and a quiet morning tomorrow (hopefully) to look forward to.

Fortunately, this afternoon was the complimentary Ensemble Experience; hosted by yours truly.  Those who chose the Experience (rather than a $150 per person onboard credit) were first given an overview of Halifax and then visited the Fairview Cemetery to see some of the graves of some of the lives lost in the Titanic tragedy.  (There are actually four cemeteries where people are buried.)  What I found to be a tragedy was the disrespect the masses of passengers from the other ships had for the graves. I had thought visiting the site was to respect those that lost their lives; not to trample upon their graves.  (The one obnoxious tour guide with her headset and loudspeaker didn’t exactly add anything positive to my experience as we waited for them to move on.)

It was then off to The Citadel for a tour and high tea.  I was a bit disappointed that the original venue for tea, The Halifax Club, was not available as it is now closed for renovations.  Our first stop was, I though curiously, for tea.  It was enjoyable and my guests from Shanghai were a bit baffled by the cucumber sandwiches, scones and sweets all together, but once I showed them to add a bit of butter and strawberry jam to the scones it was all smiles…and then onto tasting some Western sweets. 

But then the real dessert:  The tour.  Sometimes it is not necessarily what you are seeing, but who you are seeing it with.  Our guide is one of the honor guards used when Queen Elizabeth visits Halifax and he was fantastic.  Dressed in full Highlander regalia, our guide was full of passion and information along with a great sense of people.  He brought the history of Halifax, military, royalty and armory to life.  It was a treat.




After a short ride back down to the ship, it was off to find a place to watch the New York Jets.  My local sources (the tour guide, the Highlander guide and the security guard all said that Bubba Ray’s was the place to go.  While I was a bit leery of a place sounding like it was from the Deep South of America in Halifax, it was apparently my best (and only) shot at watching the game.  So off we walked across town and up the hill, with the sun in our eyes and unusually warm (80 degree) weather we finally arrived, hot and sweaty, at Bubby Ray's and its multitude of varieties of chicken wings.  Fortunately there was one television showing the Jets game.  (There were about six showing the Green Bay game.) Unfortunately, watching the game was difficult as the Jets lost. 

Oh, but there was more.  Just after my English friend asked me how there can be a holding call when the Jets player hadn’t touched the Oakland Raider player, his wife says, “Look!  The Seabourn shuttle is dropping people off right across the street.”  And we walked up hill in the heat because????

With the game over and the other cruise ships gone, we walked down the hill, with the sun having, set right toward the far end of the boardwalk that runs along the waterfront.  As it was Sunday night with little activity we were looking at more closed restaurants than open ones. However, one crossed my eyes that seemed interesting…because its name was so confused:  Hamachi Steakhouse Bar and Grill which, of course, had teppanyaki.  Usually when I see such confusion I think, “Master of None”.  Hamachi Steakhouse however mastered teppanyaki nicely.

Being in Halifax I thought lobster would be in order and, with the Asian flavoring, a nice Riesling would be appropriate.  Not only was the chef’s show top notch, so was the food.  It was not your typical overcooked hibachi fare, but expertly prepared seafood and steaks that were done perfectly.  With clean, upscale, furnishings and a friendly staff, I can easily recommend it, but with a warning that it isn’t inexpensive.



We were back to the ship in time for the latter part of the Rock the Boat party which was enjoyed by a good portion of the guests.  With this having a decidedly older demographic I was surprised by how many guests were on deck for this…having experienced a very, very, very quiet experience in The Club, The Patio Bar and The Observation Lounge after dinner virtually every evening.