Day Thirteen – Sea Day

Day Thirteen

Sea Day again. Yay!

Boy, there are a lot of speed bumps and potholes off the coast of Portugal. It’s very bumpy today. Quite hard to stay awake, to be honest, because it’s so soothing, the rocking motion. Except when we hit a pothole and your teeth bang together. That’s not so soothing.

Got up early today and went to see a film. First one I’ve made it to on this entire cruise. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Thoroughly enjoyed it. They have no theatre on here, so they lower a big screen onto the stage of the theatre, which means very comfy tiered seating, but right at the bow of the ship, so not the best location on a bumpy day. Particularly when we are mostly pitching, not rolling. Still, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Such a wonderful cast.

I have watched some movies in my cabin, though. I think I mentioned Frozen and Paddington. If I Stay was VERY good – highly recommended, The Fault in our Stars was not nearly as schmaltzy as I was fearing – very enjoyable, and I have also seen Mockingjay Part 1 – I think, I missed the first few minutes. I have also watched bits of The Theory of Everything, Annie, and Still Alice, but none grabbed me enough to stay for more, and one film I cannot find the name for. The bit I saw was a man in a spacesuit trapped in another dimension (time) inside a bookcase and he communicates with his daughter using Morse code to make her watch stop. Does that ring a bell with anyone? It was weird, but weirdly enjoyable. If I could find out what it was called, I might endeavour to watch the whole film some day. Please let me know if you know which film I am babbling about.

Then a late lunch up top in the sunshine, but indoors (a bit blowy for outdoors – hence the bumpiness). The white horses are rather plentiful in this neck of the woods – the Bay of Biscay –but the stabilisers are dealing with most of it. Some people refuse to cross the Bay, and fly into and out of Barcelona in order to skip it. I don’t see the problem, myself. Although it is a little tricky to get anything done when you can’t keep your eyes open.

Poisoned again tonight, but not (as far as I know thus far) by gluten. I ordered a chicken burger, which they assured me would be in gluten-free breadcrumbs in a gluten-free bun. I ordered it yesterday – twenty-four hours in advance. When it came, it was not in breadcrumbs, but in some brown gunk that looked distinctly unappetising, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and ate it anyway. Big mistake. I now know, with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight, that the chef, for some reason best known to himself, decided that what this perfectly ordinary chicken burger really needed was large slices of RAW GARLIC hidden inside it. My mouth was on fire all through the meal, and my dessert tasted very odd indeed. I have now brushed my teeth and rinsed with mouthwash, in order to get rid of the taste (and make me acceptable to talk to!), but I may have another go in a few minutes, just to be sure. What kind of a moron thinks that you put raw garlic into a burger?! Raw onion rings, perhaps, tomatoes, maybe, lettuce, definitely, but raw garlic?! I had been looking forward to that meal for twenty-four hours, and I am beyond disappointed. So sad that they cannot even be trusted to make the simplest of dishes. No matter how much warning/time you give them, they will still not produce what you asked for. Mum actually had to send her order back tonight, because it bore no relation to what she had ordered, either. And it took nearly twenty minutes for a replacement to arrive. Which was still wrong, but at least edible.

Everyone I have spoken to says the food on this ship is diabolical. People who have sailed on her before say that the deterioration has taken place in the last twelve months (some people like going away in November on a regular basis). I have not met one person who is complimentary about the food. The best I can find is ‘not bad/alright/okay’, which is hardly a ringing endorsement. Yesterday, the chefs paraded through the restaurant for their traditional end of cruise appreciative round of applause – their reception was lukewarm at best. The waiters, however, got a roar of cheers and applause. I’m sure the chefs heard the difference just as much as we did.

There may be a clue, in fact, in the parade we saw. Dad said at the time, “There’s not many of them, is there? Not like usual”. And he was right. They presented a skeleton crew at best. Maybe that’s why we have had consistently bad service (did I mention the day we didn’t get our hors d’oeuvres until 40 minutes after we sat down?), with delays in delivering food every night, and badly-prepared orders, as listed.  The food has also been bad cuts of meat, poorly cooked, under-cooked, incorrectly cooked, it’s shocking really. There’s no point in asking us to applaud them making 10,000 meals a day if the majority are inedible! This may have to go in the customer satisfaction questionnaire, methinks. It’s really not good enough. To be fair, inedible food is occasionally a good thing on a cruise ship, because the weight gain is thus limited a little, but not every night! I have never before, in all the years we have been cruising, been looking forward to getting away from the food served on board. But this time, I’ll be glad to get back to dry land, where I have at least the modicum of hope that what I order will be what arrives. Very sad indeed. Right, time to go and rinse again, I think.

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