1-19-2013 Day 15 At sea

After today, only 100 more days of our trip!  Hard to believe two weeks have gone by!

More of the routine things we seem to be doing on sea days – techspert time, bridge lesson, etc.  Today there was a special event, however, that was such fun to see. 

On this ship, there are two wonderful florists who have worked together for many years.  They were on our 2010 World Cruise, and we were so impressed with their work, we bought one of thP1010514eir frame/stand centerpieces that holds a flower arrangement.  We had it designed with silk flowers, and it sits in a prominent place in our home.  These two people on the ship are the most creative florists we have ever seen.  Today they did a presentation, making four flower arrangements with commentary about how they do it, why certain flowers are used, etc.  It was fascinating.   This was my favorite one, although the most simple one they made today.  The blue “things” sticking out are zip ties they bought at Home Depot when they were visiting in the USA this past summer.  They come in a wide range of colors, and they use them to accent the more subtle part of the flower.  In this arrangement, the inside of the bird of paradise is the same shade of blue as the tag.  If I had arranged this, someone would have thought I just forgot to cut off the tag.  These creative masterminds use them to accent their arrangements in a most unusual way. 

I also learned that if you take tulips out of water overnight, their stems are very flexible and can be wound in and around a centerpiece and then put back in the water in the vase or whatever holds the water.  They will perk right back up.  Also, putting the smallest amount of bleach in the water of an arrangement of cut flowers keeps them fresher longer because of the lack of bacteria.  These florists also used yarn (from Michael’s!) to wrap around other stems – an inspiration from the wool we had just seen in Peru.  Finally, they hung their amaryllis flowers upside down and filled their hollow stems with water – one of the only flowers with a hollow stem. 

Had a very relaxing afternoon – went out on the deck and read while looking out at the sea.  Then at 4 p.m. we had the 2nd (my 1st) book club discussion of the book History of the World in 6 Glasses.  Well, it was a bit disappointing in that the discussion was so general.  Guess I am spoiled by the good book clubs I am in back home.  I’ll finish this book, but Bel Canto is the next one which all my book clubs have discussed – although I haven’t read it yet!  I’ll wait until I get home to read this one.  I brought a stack of books I want to read and also have a few from the ship’s library to read first!

Tonight P1010523was formal night with the theme “Flower Power.”  This was a throw back to the 70s with the flower children, peace, and love as themes.  Here is how the dining room was decorated for tonight’s gala.  All of the balloons have the peace symbol on them.  We did not have dinner in the dining room tonight, however.  We were invited to the Captain’s dinner.  Every formal night, there is such a dinner where guests get to eat with the ship’s officers. 

Cocktails and appetizers first, followed by dinner in the Pinnacle Grill – the ship’s premier dining room where you need a reservation and it’s an extra cost.  It was a lovely night.  We were at Henk Mansink’s table.  He is the #2 officer on the ship, the Hotel Manager, and the person we so enjoyed spending time with on our 2010 cruise.  When we saw him earlier in the cruise, and re-introduced ourselves, he immediately said we would be invited to share his table at one of the formal nights . . and so we did.

I didn’t want to take a picture of each of the courses at such a P1010542formal dinner, but I am including the menu.  It was the best meal we’ve had on the ship and served so beautifully.  We totally enjoyed the evening and always enjoy spending time with Henk.  I won’t be trying to make any of these items when I return home, but will bring the memory with me.

After dinner, we went to the ship’s entertainment – we had to go to the 10 p.m. show because dinner lasted so long.  Scott Record was the entertainer and one of the best we’ve seen for a while.  We laughed the whole time.  He routine is a combination of comedy and singing and impersonations, mainly the latter.  He was truly funny.  I’ll share one joke I found especially funny.  There were these two blonds sitting outside on the porch one evening and looking at the night sky.  One asked the other – “which do you think is farther away, the moon or Los Angeles?”  Her blond friend quickly replied, “Well that is easy . . can you see Los Angeles?”

Back in our cabin, there were our formal night “gifts” as well as gifts from the Captain for the special dinner.  It felt like Christmas.  The formal night gifts have been especially nice this year with real thought put into them.  Tonight we each received an 8” digital picture frame that can also play music with the slideshow of pictures you put in.  The special Captain’s gift was a two piece flower vase that fit perpendicularly to each other – with a display from Amsterdam (hence the ship’s name) that match the china napkin rings we received at dinner.  And, of course, the little plate of truffles was the icing on the cake! 

This was a very special day and evening, and we totally enjoyed all of it.  We feel very fortunate to be able to have this array of amazing experiences.

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