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by Patrick O'Halloran
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Atlantic Ocean. Tuesday 31st October 2017

Today starts fairly well that is until I bend over to get some socks from the bottom drawer and I pull my back out. This always seems to happen to me on cruise ships and I know I will be uncomfortable for the next few days. Luckily we have 4 sea days ahead of us so I can rest up and take things easy…no more gym for me. At least not this week.

Breakfast is again in the OVC. I stick to my regular of scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes and beans. No sausages or hash browns which normally make it onto my plate. I am slightly jealous of Peter when he returns as he has located some English bacon which we all know is far superior to the monstrosity my American cousins call bacon:-)

We stop by the photo gallery on the way back to the cabin to look at the photos we had taken last night. Some were actually quite decent. We take them all as we have the package that allows us to do so for one fixed price. Friends and family might be receiving some as gifts whether they want them or not.

Peter heads off to the gym whilst I relax on the bed to give my back some rest. Peter manages to obtain some menthol ointment on his return that I can put on my back which helps relieve the pain somewhat. I am fine when lying down or moving about. It’s the transition that hurts and so i intend to be careful today and tomorrow.

We lunch today in the Moonlight Sonata dining room. It’s a far more sophisticated affair than the scrum of the OVC as its waiter/table service. We both order Key West Salad to start and then I have Nagasaki Udon Noodles with shrimp, pork and vegetables. It’s very good. Peter has a cheeseburger. His first of the cruise. I have chocolate brownie with ice cream to finish and Peter has a delicious looking peach panacotta. We even have a glass of wine to accompany it.

It’s Halloween and some people have gone to great lengths to dress up and we see plenty of witches, ghouls and zombies on our way to the Martini Bar. We get chatting to a nice young couple from Essex (I cant remember where they were from exactly but they said it was about 15 minutes from Leigh-on-Sea Chris). Turns out they are on the same flight home a us on the 12th November. We spot Mhairi & Graham shortly afterwards so we have a chat with them before heading to Cellar Masters for a glass of wine. The server there remembered to get in a bottle of our favourite wine. We get chatting to another couple here who ask if we would mind taking a couple of photos of them both. Peter volunteers. Turns out the lady is quite fussy and demands several retakes until she is happy with the results. Her husband jokingly apologises to us. A lot of the people in Cellar Masters have pagers as the Select Dining is oversubscribed and so they cant seat everyone at once. We did choose select when we booked but they bumped us off onto 2nd dinner seating which is at 20.30, which is our preferred dining time anyway so wasn’t a problem.

We are back on the main dining room tonight. Peter gets lost on the way to the table. He was behind me one second and then I could see him wandering aimlessly over near some other tables. A quick wave from me and he was back on track. Once seated we are served the delicious breadsticks (devoured as quickly as they turned up). I then have duck terrine and a shrimp cocktail followed by a gorgeous Rigatoni dish with prosciutto, peas & pecorino cheese. Peter has a caprese salad, shrimp cocktail and a main of Sea Bass which he really enjoys. The standard of the food overall in the main dining room is very good. Better than it was on Reflection and certainly way better than anything Royal Caribbean served up.

We relax in the Ensemble lounge afterwards which is fast becoming our favourite post dinner haunt. Tonight there is a jazz quartet on and although not the biggest fan of jazz the female singer and the pianist are excellent and some of the songs they perform were really good. We stick to wine rather than indulge in brandies although we do find ourselves stopping off in the passport bar where I have a baileys (or was that 2) on ice.

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Patrick O'Halloran

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