More fun at sea, Palo, whales, St. Thomas

Picking up from my last journal entry on Sunday, March 10, I have lots of fun to share.

On Sunday night, we had dinner at Palo, one of the two adults-only fee restaurants on Fantasy. We made our way to deck 12 aft and had a glass of wine at the Meridian bar, located between Palo and Remy. There was quite a bit of ship motion and a stiff breeze blowing outside, so we sat inside at the lovely bar. We were seated around 7:00 pm and had a very sweet young lady from Britain as our server. The food was incredible, from the antipasti to the appetizers and our amazing entrees. We started with the antipasti, with artichokes, olives, grilled peppers and killer Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. I then had an appetizer of grilled shrimp pesto done with a light touch of mussels and crab in the sauce; Steve had a yummy Tuscan bean soup for his first course. We both had the rack of Colorado lamb, which was absolutely exquisite. Our dessert was the famous Palo chocolate soufflĂ© with vanilla bean ice cream. For $25 a person, this is an amazing gourmet experience. We finished the evening with a cognac tasting in the Cove Cafe near the Quiet Cove pool (I showed pictures of the actual Cognac area during the tasting; I’m not sure the other passengers appreciated that, but it seemed like a good opportunity). We happily scored another reservation for Palo on the last night of the cruise.

Monday, March 11 was another day at sea. We slept in until 10:00 am, had breakfast again at Cabanas, then enjoyed lots of deck time. I had back pain and spasms first thing in the morning, but fortunately it did improve. We put our swimsuits on and enjoyed the pool area in the Quiet Cove and spent some time in the ocean-facing hot tub. While relaxing on some lounge chairs near the hot tub, I went into whale watch mode, knowing we were near the Dominican Republic and the Silver Banks, the winter mating/calving grounds for a large pod of humpback whales. Sure enough, I spotted whale action and the ship nearly tipped over from the folks running over to the port side to see a few animals spy-hopping and breaching.

We finished our evening on Monday with dinner at the Royal Court, one of the rotation restaurants. Before dinner, we bought all sorts of stupid pirate gear for Tuesday night, which is Pirates night, with the fireworks at sea. The dinner at Royal Court was ok, but not spectacular. We both had the duck breast appetizer (the best thing that evening), followed by French Onion soup and a tenderloin steak entree. The beef was good, but bland (they forgot to bring the sauce). Oh, well – the rotation restaurants are the equivalent of the theme park restaurants at WDW , while Remy and Palo are like the best resort hotel restaurants. The Royal Court was beautiful, however, with mosaic images of the Disney princesses. Our bar journey after dinner last night took us to Ooh La La, in the adults-only Europa district. We had two killer bee champagne cocktails that sadly had the unfortunate side effect of causing heart burn for both of us during the night.

This morning we got up a little earlier because we had a shore excursion to Magen’s Bay Beach for a few hours. We were docked in the first berth across from Charlotte Amalie. Two large Carnival ships shared this dock area, while Oasis of the Seas and the Maasdam docked in a new dock area west of town. The beach was jam-packed; we found a table to sit at in the shade near the bar, which was fine for me. The surf was quite high and rough and I had no intention of getting knocked on my can walking on the beach. Steve did a short walk, then joined me in the shade. We got into a fun and long conversation with two young men from Baltimore cruising on Oasis of the Seas and watched them down quite a few beers. We had a great time with them talking about travel. We came back to the ship about 3:00 pm and Steve was happy to finally ride the Aqua Duck (or as I call it, Le Canard Aqua).

Tonight we’re back at Animator’s Palate for dinner and the interactive show with guest-created animations, then fireworks at 10:15 pm after the loud and crazy Pirates deck show. Our shore excursion in San Juan tomorrow doesn’t leave until 11:15 am, which is great. We’re doing a Criollo cooking class in Old San Juan. We’re having a really good time and think this ship is so gorgeous. Oh, and the Internet is extremely fast, which is quite dangerous.

More from our cruise very soon…

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