|Sunset on a cruise!|
Of course cruising also means you can hang out on the high seas and eat. To whit: While cruising on the Holland America ship Westerdam to
, I toured the kitchen and had a private dinner with chef Troy Wastell. Totaling the passengers and crew, the ship holds just under 3,000 people, small by usual cruise ship standards, though considerably larger than parties I host at my house. Consider that on average this particular kitchen puts out 10,000 meals a day (factoring 3 meals per day per person) with the help of 97 cooks, 2 butchers and 9 pastry chefs. Average food consumption per cruise? 1,675 pounds of butter and margarine; over 23,000 eggs get cracked, 1,150 gallons of ice cream are sucked up, and nearly 12,000 pounds of meat and meat products are consumed (I’m not exactly sure what a “meat product” is – meat is either meat, or it’s not). The food is, overall, very well executed with an amazing diversity of choice and is designed so that meals don’t repeat during the week. Alaska
|Chey Troy Wastell makin' my dinner|
The private “Dine with the Chef” dinner, though pricy at about $80, does allow a small group to dine on a 6-course meal with wine paring as Chef Troy cooks your food in front of you. It’s about 3 hours, but you’ll find various foods presented: in my case there was passionfruit baked shrimp, lobster ravioli, veal scaloppini and the beverage pairings included vodka with a potato and cavier appetizer, as well as wines from across the globe. Happily, I meandered back to my state room.
But cruising also allows for nightly entertainment and every ship has plenty of activities for travelers of all ages, and something I need, a gym, and something I don’t need, a spa. Do with it what you will, or hang out on your verandah and stare at the Pacific as you effortlessly glide over it. When I did my first cruise, I hated it. It felt too confining. But choosing the right cruise line for your needs is crucial. Different cruise lines appeal to different demographics: the sedate set, the party cruise, and there are specific themed cruises as well, so do your homework.
But try it at least once. It really is a fantastic way to get an overview of a region and if you plan it right, you can cruise for a very reasonable amount, about $150/day. Try that with a hotel, 3 squares a day, gas, and no entertainment! If it’s your first time, make sure you do a shorter cruise first, not a 14-day adventure. Start slowly and work into it. And cruises work best when you grasp the idea that there will be a boatload of people around you, so the more you make friends (you’ll see them on land and on the ship) the more you’ll enjoy your time. Some ships offer behind the scenes tours. As a travel writer a get a lot of cool opportunities, like touring the kitchen with the chef, and hanging out on the bridge with the captain. Always check to see what is offered each day you’re aboard ship; be adventurous and try something new: otherwise you’ll be at the point of no return and we know where that leads. Have fun. Go cruise.
|Cruising is easy, as shown here on the Westerdam's Bridge|