Cherie’s Castle On Blue Seas
0930, 9 Dec 10, Centrum, Towel Folding Demonstration
I grinned in delight as I raised my towel poodle for all to see. Everyone had been talking about the goofy towel animals on board and it felt great to do one myself.
I examined my handiwork and decided that it was not too bad for a newcomer totally unskilled in the fine art of rearranging cotton towels into cute replicas of animals. Well, I couldn’t have done if without the guidance of the two fantastic instructors on stage of course, and also the occasional assistance of Philip who was beside me to give me a hand as well as to snap away at my creations with his camera.
Other than the poodle, I also tried a hand at creating the towel versions of a monkey and an elephant.
And then it was time for Pâtisserie Cherie to take the stage.
1030, 9 Dec 10, Centrum, Make a Cake Challenge
Donning on my apron and chef’s hat, I was in the mood for cakes, making them for once, instead of eating them as I had been wont to do for the past 4 days aboard the Legend of The Seas. I stood at the Centrum taken over by the rush of excitement as I came to terms with the fact that I was about to make a cake in front of an audience on board the Legend of The Seas.
The task was to create and design a Blackforest cake and I sunk right into my task, beside a fellow competitor and Pastry Chef Baktha. Chef Baktha was great but I was in my element and determined to prove my worth as a Pâtisserie on board the Legend of The Seas. Despite my relative novice status, I managed to keep pace with Chef Baktha (well I guess he was just trying to encourage me) as I joined the layers of chocolate sponge cake flavoured with Kirsch syrup and dark cherry filling on top of each other and applied a smooth layer of cream as a final coating.
The decoration was decidedly harder. First, I created a dappled coating of dark chocolate flakes, after which I piped 8 small dollops of cream on the rim of the cake face and 1 larger dollop in the centre of the cake. This was followed by anointing each of the cream dollops with a bright red cherry and mint leaves.
I beamed with pride when Chef Baktha appraised my work with an experienced eye and decided that it was fantastic for an amateur. I was happy as a lark!
“Voila!” Cherie’s Blackforest Desire.
1030, 9 Dec 10, Kitchen Tour
The troupe of 10 bloggers filed into the kitchen aboard the Legend of The Seas. This had to be the highlight of the day. For days, we have eaten till we could eat no more and yet still found space to pack a little bit more. For days, we have wondered how the amazing chefs on board delivered gastronomic wonders with panache and poise that leave us begging for more. For days, we have been blessed with culinary delights and today, we will how they were all invented and replicated in this kitchen on the seas.
The kitchen was a tantalizing mix of aromas. My nose tingled as fragrance of freshly baked bread, of juicy grilled meats and various crispy fried meats mixed with the fresh green smell of veggies. This was a pilgrimage to the source of fine dining.
Executive Chef Suresh Ballal promptly appeared and arrested our attention. He educated us on the various departments at the kitchen – there was a baking segment where fresh bread was baked everyday, there was a dessert segment where the sole function of the chef was to turn out sinful sweets and desserts, and there was the main segment of sous-chef and chef de partie who specialized at creating appetizers and main dishes of every cuisine.
Even as Chef Suresh moved on to the finer points of rank and positions denominated by coloured scarves within the kitchen, my attention wandered onto a delectable array of mouthwatering dishes displayed in a single long row on one of the longer counters in the kitchen. For that moment, I totally forgot that Chef Suresh was speaking.
This food had to be mine to eat!
1300, 9 Dec 10, Ship’s Bridge Tour
I peered out of the Bridge from my position of power. There was nothing but clear blue skies and cerulean seas. It was a brilliant day at sea. Whisking the Captain’s cap off Captain Ryan, I was quick to appoint myself as the new commander of the Legend of The Seas by placing the emblem of stewardship on my head. I am Captain Cherie!
I scanned through the wide array of navigation and communication equipment and laid my eyes on the wheel. I was about to assume direct control of the ship when Captain Ryan took his rightful place at the wheel, denying me my opportunity.
I was only Cherie, a blogger with no power, at the bridge simply by nature of the grace of Royal Caribbean who had invited us OMY Bloggers for a tour at the helm. Semi-chastised, I excused myself and wandered over to a picture board where I conjured up a state of wonderment at seeing the massive Legend of The Seas at the dry docks.
2000, 9 Dec 10, Romeo & Juliet Restaurant
It was time for dinner and the OMY Group settled down into their seats for our nightly routine of expanding our waistlines. As usual, I found Dong Biao nearby.
“Dong Biao! Today is our last night! Will you miss us?”
A warm smile spread across his face. “Of course! Now there will be no one to serve my honey her honey!”
My heart fluttered for a moment, touched and as I was by the sincere kindness and hospitality of Dong Biao. There was a “Awwwww…” coming from behind me at the OMY table. I felt a warm feeling on my cheeks. Was I blushing? Well I was definitely flattered by the attention.
From behind, someone wondered aloud, “Dong Biao is so nice, I wonder if I told him that I had no money, will he give me some?” A round of chatter and merry laughter followed right after that comment.
Brushing aside their comments, I continued chatting with Dong Biao and found that this was in fact his last trip with the Royal Carribean as he would be returning to spend time with his family in China. Just as we were resigned to leaving with a heavy heart the next morning, Dong Biao was also trying to come to terms on his last voyage. I reckoned it must be difficult to for him to leave such as wonderful place, where he has the opportunity with work with a gold anchor service crew, travel the world and interact with people from so many different countries and places.
I felt that I had found in Dong Biao the model waiter for Royal Caribbean. He was attentive to his designated table, was friendly and had the ability to make excellent conversation and connect with the travelers on board and across the last few days had built such a strong rapport with us that we felt our cruise would have been incomplete without him being around.
The OMY Group settled down and had our excellent dinner as usual. But something was different; there was a decidedly unusual mood in the air. I guess it was part solemnity, a lingering sense of sadness that took over some of us subconsciously as deep inside we had already started to treasure the camaraderie we have shared this last 4 days.
Before the end of dinner, I noticed more and more of the crew filed into the Romeo & Juliet Restaurant. Just as my curiosity peaked, the crew started clapping and cheering and the head chef took over the microphone to address the room.
He was then swiftly drowned out (of course this was planned) by an uproarious crew which started to sing love songs in Italian and Chinese, “O so le mio” and “月亮代表我的心” respectively.
It was a magical moment for me and I was deeply touched. I glanced around and noticed many of us with tears brimming in our eyes. This was a kitchen crew that made a connection with each and every one of us on board, and it was stunning that they have decided to come out to give thanks to us even as I believed that each of us should thank them for feeding us with delightful food on a daily basis.
2200, 9 Dec 10, Royal Caribbean International Shops on Board
The Legend of the Seas was such a delightful experience that I knew I could not leave this ship without a trusted souvenir to remember her by. Pictures I had, and these pictures I will keep. But I wanted something that was of this ship, something that I could immediately connect with and place in clear view on my office table or my bedside table to remind me of the wonderful times I have had aboard The Legend of the Seas, courtesy of Royal Caribbean and OMY.
“Lets go shopping! I want to grab a souvenir to remember this trip by,” I announced. Both Mui Yee and Calvin signaled they were ready to go. Each of them had the same in mind. Without delay, we moved the shopping district aboard the cruise.
“Hmmm…” I thought aloud. “What can I buy?” My eyes ran over the shelves of the shop, looking at the various perfumes and liquor. No, not those.
I moved around the other end of the shop and found myself looking at T-shirts which bore the Royal Caribbean Logo and other smaller paraphernalia. After a while, I settled on a square shot glass bearing “Legend of The Seas, Royal Caribbean International”. I brought it right to the counter, a satisfied grin plastered across on my face. I could already imagine where I would place it in my room.
2330, 9 Dec 10, Room 6094
Mui Yee was not around when I returned to the room. I placed the shooter glass safely in a corner of my luggage, well padded by my clothing and other items and looked forlornly at the room, a small room but a cosy one, and one I have come to love and to call home. This was my castle on blue seas, a bastion of peace, a place to recharge every night even as I looked forward to exploring the brand new day ahead.
Tonight was the last night aboard the Legend of The Seas.
I gazed out of the porthole window of the stateroom. There was nothing but darkness outside. Sitting on my bed, peering outside, I ran through my amazing journey in my mind. Tomorrow, I will be back on land again. I will miss everything aboard this cruise, especially the people who made it such a wonderful journey.
I collected myself as I wandered out of the room again, looking for the rest who were somewhere peddling ghost stories but basically just sharing more moments with each other.
Read all about my Royal Caribbean Experience