MAY Dayra

Posting this on Tuesday morning from the Viking Sky’s Living Room where I’m having the late breakfast shown above. OMG, what I thought was a sticky bun is instead a really delicious not too sweet soft as heaven roll with pistachios and some fruit (apples maybe?). I will be back for another before Saturday!

Yesterday we were in Madeira which we quickly learned we were mispronouncing. The correct version is the title of this post.

It was great to be on land after eight days of rolling (FYI, we are back to rolling this morning though less so than before MAY DAYra under grey skies with cooler temperatures. Layers are our friend. Madeira is a Portuguese island off of Africa (find it on a map Jack!) and we landed at its capital Funchal. The island was formed by volcanoes and is very steep.

As you can see it typically has clouds at the higher elevations. Unfortunately these kept us from being able to enjoy the glass floored observation viewing point we visited during the included tour. Hopefully when we are back in November on our return to the states we will be able to see this high cliff that drops straight down to the Atlantic with our own eyes and not via our friend Google where I got this picture.

We did see with our own eyes the beautiful municipal garden, center city and the cathedral in Funchal. While beautiful the mosaic paved streets were slippery!

During the tour we also visited a little fishing village where in a little bar we got to taste Poncha (a punch made of dark and light run, honey and orange and lemon juice) which was tasty. In addition to peanuts, it was served with a snack made of a relative of the garbanzo bean. They had been cooked and soaked in a liquid with garlic. They were tasty too!

We returned to the ship and enjoyed the sailaway from the stern.

No food shots of dinner last night, while not bad, not worth sharing either-Mike said the tuna at the pool grill was better than what he was served and the lamb shank I had needed something, a sauce perhaps. After dinner, the acappella group from UVA that has done 15 minute shows in the Living Room did a full show in the theater. They have been a great addition to the cruise!In place of food porn, here are shots of us trying on what apparently are the native’s chapeau. Thankfully we did not find the costumes in our sizes.

Full Day.

Actually made it to breakfast this morning! Yay for us!

I stayed on deck to drink coffee while Mike walked. I then did my two miles while he hung out on the balcony. As you can see we are still rolling! Some of the troughs appear to be higher than than second deck where the promenade / walking track is located The video above was taken from our room which is one deck higher.

After I had finished we had lunch from the poolside grill. Above is my grilled tuna with beet salad, black bean salad and shredded cabbage with bacon and cardamom (meh). How healthy!

While Mike returned to the room to check on finances (and methinks a nap) I laid by the pool. It was a lovely day, mid 70s, sunny and windy. To keep up with him I had double lobsters too…except mine were of the liquid variety-a tropical drink called a rock lobster.

For dinner this evening we ate again in the Chef’s Table. This time the menu is a historic journey through time. We shared a table with a couple from Houston and another from the south of England. Enjoyable conversation and a tasty meal. With the exception of the amuse which was just ok, I thought the other courses were quite good.

Tomorrow we see land for the first time in eight days! We are scheduled to be in Funchal, Madeira before 8 am. Hopefully the two fellow CruiseCritics who missed the ship in San Juan and then again in Sint Maarten will be boarding. They arrived in Funchal yesterday and I am sure will be happy to finally be caught up!

Here’s dinner tonight:

Amuse-cucumber mousse with foam

Oxtail

Oxtail Consume’ after they poured in the consume’

Granita (tasty this time!)

Lamb (well at least three morsels-we all thought another morsel or two would have been welcome)

Chocolate and Nut bar with pistachio gelato

Green Flash.

This is a picture I found online (since I wasn’t going to chance missing seeing it with my own eyes while fumbling with the camera)

Several have asked so this is what my friend Mr Google says:

The finale of every sunset is green. Try to catch it, if you can. The story of the so-called green flash begins by answering this question: Why is the sky blue?

Sunlight contains every visible color, each with its own wavelength. Light travels as ripples, with crests and valleys; wavelength is the distance between the crests. The shorter the wavelength, the steeper the ripples. Of the three primary visual colors—blue, red, and green—blue has the shortest wavelength, and red the longest. As sunlight hits Earth, blue light’s steep waves cause particles in the air to scatter it almost totally, turning our skies cerulean. The leftovers combine to create the sun’s yellow glow.

At sunset, colors fade at varying rates. Just before the sun vanishes, the red light’s shallower ripple causes it to shoot overhead and miss your eyes. Green, with its steeper wavelength, remains the sole color survivor, if only for a second.

The green flash may happen every evening, but it’s hard to spot. Atmospheric conditions, like moisture and pollution, can warp and deflect the verdant tone before it reaches our eyes. A clear coastal night is typically your best chance.

This article originally appeared in the Extreme Weather issue of Popular Science.

When just one isn’t enough!i

Lovely day today. Still didn’t make it to breakfast but did enjoy a coffee and muffin in the atrium (while Sir Michael slept) with a fellow CruiseCritic from Victoria.

After his majesty deigned us with his presence, it was almost lunch time so we had our usual salads (no ice cream today-you’ll see why in a minute) and then started our walk. As posted earlier I was striving for 2 miles and made it. Of course Mike had to show off and do over three!

We then took a plunge, showered and changed clothes to go to Tea!

I had Lemon Black (wasn’t very so asked for a slice of lemon). Mike had Hopalong Cassidy (whatever 😂) which was very interesting. We were sitting and I kept getting a whiff of smoke-like Killen’s BBQ. Turns out it was his tea!

It was lovely. This is held everyday but this was my first time-naps have interfered before. The sandwiches and pastries were all fine but nothing special (well except for the double decker one-it was chicken salad that tasted like it came from Midtown Market in Danville-my fab) but the scones were delish. So much so I had two! Now you know why no ice cream!

After tea we headed to the atrium to catch another performance by the UVA boys along with a cocktail of course.

Then we went to the buffet and had our drinks, a bit of sushi and a glorious sunset. Here’s the best part-after all the years of trying, we finally saw the green flash!!!! YeeHaw. Life is now complete.

We then headed to the Restaurant for dinner. Not to be outdone by my double scones, Mike had doubles too.

It really wasn’t his fault. We were sharing a table with a couple from Pittsburg (cruising in celebrating their 50th Anniversary) and both Mike and Pittsburgh Mike ordered lobster. After they were both about half done, the waiter shows up with two more which apparently had been accidentally made. The waiter asked if they each wanted one or wanted to share one of these spares. Danville Mike said share, Pittsburgh Mike said I’ll take another so both Mike’s ended up with two! And these weren’t the 4 ounce tails we used to buy at Kroger for special occasions. These were full on (1.5 pound? ) whole lobsters, split and broiled

Here is a photo of his first one:

My Mike couldn’t eat much more than half of Lobster #2 so I helped him eat a part of it. Pittsburgh Mike ate both of his. Needless to say, Mike canceled his dessert order!

Off to bed, damn clock moves ahead again so suddenly it’s midnight and we have promised ourselves (again) that we are gonna get up for breakfast.

Karen, below is your fix for today:

Coquilles St. Jacque (Scallops with mushrooms and cheese) delish!

My short ribs over polenta with beetroot and marscapone. On any other night this would have been the winner but nothing can compete with double lobsters!

As requested.

A follower of the blog requested photos of the ocean. Just took these from Deck 2 during the first mile if what I hope will be a two mile. So thanks for the excuse to sit on the aft and write (and take the picture above) for a minute!

Weather today is beautiful but windy and a little cooler. The swells continue to rock the ship from side to side. It seemed to be worse overnight than we have had since just after leaving San Juan. We noticed that there weren’t many folks up this morning so perhaps they were making up for sleep lost overnight.

It is difficult to get a picture that shows the ocean as it really is -they all seem to look the same but that certainly isn’t the case. It is constantly changing and so wonderful to gaze at endlessly.

Lazy Day.

So if one nap is good two is better right?

We actually got up early enough this morning for breakfast despite another hour being lost. We are now four hours ahead of eastern standard. We ate at Mamsen’s this morning which is a small food counter in the Explorer’s Lounge named after Viking’s Founders mother. They serve relatively small plates of Norwegian specialties. I elected to bypass both types of smoked fish and had the waffle with sour cream, fruit and brown goat cheese shown above. It was tasty but I think I’ll stick with bacon and syrup next time with my waffle. Mike liked it because it wasn’t sweet.

We returned to the room with the intent of putting on our tenni-pumps and taking our walk. Alas, the weather has continued to cool so I found myself reading on the balcony enjoying the sound of the ocean while Mike did his Spanish lesson. Next thing I knew, I was laying on the bed reading and listening through the open door to the ocean and then it seems the ocean got to hear the sounds of me snoring.

I woke in time for lunch (see how I did that?) which we enjoyed outdoors. Salad and a few nibbles from the buffet …and a taste of the praline ice cream.

Afternoon somehow became a repeat of the morning. Except this time we both napped. All you silly people still working don’t know what you’re missing! 2 naps will be my new sign of a great day!

Anyway we awoke in time to get our walk in, take showers and make it to Manfredi’s for dinner with 10 other CruiseCritics in the restaurant’s Private dining room. It was fun to spend time with folks we had been “chatting” with online for several months.

The table in the room is incredible. It’s a single slice of a sequoia!

Below are some photos from dinner of dishes that weren’t in a previous post. The dinner was very good but the conversation as camaraderie even better.

Mussels in a saffron and crab cream sauce-delicious!

Insalada Caprese

Duck

Pasta with mussels in a lobster stock

Seared sea bass

Chocolate bar dessert

Chef’s Table

We dined at Viking’s other alternative restaurant tonight. They have a menu that rotates every three days. Tonight was the French Bistro. It was very tasty in general and the service was a step above what we had last night. We were seated beside a couple from Florida and Maine who were enjoyable to talk with. Throughout Viking’s restaurants their tables for two are arranged “just” far enough away for privacy if you desire that, but “just” close enough together to allow for conversation also.

Below is today’s food porn, the second course was the winner IMHO especially with the delicious wine pairing. The only dish that was underwhelming was the amuse-a consume with mushrooms that needed salt-and if I say that you can imagine with Sir Michael thought. We were also a little disappointed by the granita palate cleanser. It was tasty but the wine in it lingered on the palate and certainly left my palate less than cleansed. The main-was very tasty soufflé of sole in a wonderful lobster sauce. The wine pairing for it was the least successful but still tasty enough that we both had two glasses. The dessert was delicious and the sweet wine with it was most enjoyable.

We are looking forward to our next visit to the Chef’s table on Sunday for their “Gastronomic Journey Through Time”. That’s quite a title, hope dinner lives up to it!

Menu:

Wine List (didn’t cost us extra since we have the Silver Spirits package)

Soup

2nd course – mushrooms and cheese in pastry in a wonderful wine sauce

Granita (partially eaten-oops!)

Main

Dessert

Weather Change.

Awoke this morning-yes it was still morning but only barely (this moving the clock ahead every night is tough!) to a change in weather. Still partly cloudy/mostly sunny and warm but a noticeable drop in humidity. And the wind is up a bit. We of course love it after all those days two levels above hell (as Mike described it) in the inferno that was Houston but suddenly there is an abundance of seating in the shade. Yea! And while I noticed some folks with sweaters, we are still in shorts! We also saw our first ship today (we should be halfway across the Atlantic sometime overnight tonight). A cargo ship in the distance.

The swells continue but seem to be spread out a bit more. It is what I expected the middle of the ocean to be like.

Several followers have asked about food, entertainment, drinks and room service.

Food so far has been great. The buffet is a step above other cruise lines but it is still a buffet. The main dining room has been well above most cruise lines specialty restaurants in quality and comparable in service. We have only eaten in one alternative restaurant, Manfredi’s and enjoyed our meal throughly (see previous post) but we both noted that there wasn’t the difference between it and the main dining room that one sees on other cruise lines. We mentioned that to the Dining manager when he stopped by our table and he stated that wasn’t “the Owner’s” vision and why they call them alternative rather than specialty restaurants. He wants all the restaurants on board to be of a similar high quality. Our only complaint at Manfredi’s which didn’t affect us l, was watching a table of eight have to wait and wait and wait and wait for everyone to be served their dishes. Rather than the servers assisting each other to deliver dishes or using a tray, their waiter brought out two patron’s plates at a time and once they were all delivered (four trips) he then had to make two or three more trips to bring them their sides. Very strange.

We have the drinks package and have (well except so far today) been making good use of it. If we hadn’t Ilhad the OBC to use, we probably wouldn’t have bothered as the included wine at lunch and dinner is fine and cocktails so cheap ($6-8). The bartenders and servers are all outstanding. Somehow not only do they remember our names and room numbers but most remember our drink of choice. This is after four days aboard! Yesterday I was meeting Mike in the Explorer’s lounge and didn’t see him and server Stefani said, “Mr John, if your are looking for Sir Mike he is upstairs, I just took him a martini would you like a G&T?” Now that is full service!

Neither of us typically attend the shows on a cruise regularly. So I am not the best judge as I find almost all the shows a bit cheesy. We did go to Viking’s Rat Pack show last evening as during the welcome aboard we had been impressed with all three guys voices. They did not disappoint though the show could have been a few minutes shorter for my taste. The visiting Va Gentlemen have been great and their youthful vigor (as well as the eye candy) has been a welcome addition to this cruise where the average age has to be in the upper 60s. The piano player, string trio and the guitar player who appear around the ship are all enjoyable.

Since some fool decided to keep the roof on the pool closed despite the beautiful weather we are on our balcony listening to the bow wave breaking, reading and waiting for the timer to go off indicating its time to retrieve (and fold😢) our clothes from the launderette down the hall…does that qualify as second world problem?

Yet another 1st World Problem.

Thought the title of today’s post was gonna be “2nd Verse Same as the 1st” since we slept in (missed breakfast even…Horrors!) and did our walk (1.5 miles for me and 2 for Mike!) and figured we would end up at the spa but we were thrilled when we went up to the pool to find that they had finally opened the roof on the mid ship larger pool and filled it with cool water (the infinity pool on the stern has been like a bathtub). So we spent the rest of the morning there, had burgers from the pool grill for lunch-mighty tasty and generally were enjoying ourselves. Viking brings around cool towels, water and even sorbet!

All was going well until someone decided they had to do maintenance on the movable roof. So with a hundred folks enjoying the beautiful day, they suddenly closed the roof creating the world’s largest sauna at sea. Needless to say, we and most everyone else left. We spent the rest of the afternoon on our balcony reading.

The Virginia Gentlemen (UVA choral group) did a set pre dinner in the atrium and then We had dinner at Manfredi’s one of two alternate restaurants aboard. This one is geared towards Italian. We had a great meal-the steak Florentine was the big winner and I suspect when we eat there again with the CruiseCritic group on Friday, we will both have it rather than half and halfing our entrees. And Mike liked the wine!

Hopefully they will have the roof open again tomorrow so we can go back to being problemless no matter what world!

Tonight’s Dinner:

Appetizers -Fritto Misto & Carpaccio

Pasta Course-Ravioli with smoked mozzarella & Parpadelle with mushrooms

Mains-Pancetta wrapped Osso Bucco with risotto & Steak Florentine

Dessert-Lemon Delice (moosey-very tart) with basil sorbet & Pistachio Torte (tasty but dry).

Rolling.

While less intense and less frequent than on Sunday and Monday, we continue to roll with the large trough waves. If you watch the top of the handrail in the video you can see what I mean. Previously we were regularly seeing 5 degree changes in each direction, according to the app on my phone the max is now about 3 degrees.

No one seems to be ill from it, but most of us walk around holding the handrails and trying to be low and wide as recommended by the Captain. I’ve got the wide part down….but hard for me to be low!