Lisbon, Portugal to LeHavre, France
After the hectic schedule and long tours around the Meddy, a couple of sea days are a very welcome respite for us and I believe many others aboard the Sea Princess. However, since French time is ahead of Portugal and UK, we had to put our watches ahead last evening, loosing an hour of sleep. This was the first lost hour of sleep and I believe it may be the only one, as all future cloxs should be back, or gaining sleep. The ship is most definitely back in the ocean, with 30+ kt winds and seasick bags again strapped to the stairwells.
Temperature: High 24C/75F, Low 15C/59F
Wind/Weather: NE’ly winds at 35+ kts, moderate seas and partly cloudy
Clox: Z+2 (ahead 1 hr last night)
Sea Princess maintained a N’ly course along the Portugal and Spain coastline until mid-afternoon, when abeam of Cabo Torinana, at which time a NE’ly course was set across the Bay of Biscay.
Up bright and early again, I headed down for another brisk 6 miles around the Promenade Deck before returning to the cabin and working on photographs. Once Judi was awake, we headed down to the restaurant for breakfast, noting that my discussion with the Customer Service Manager may actually be creating waves in the catering operation. This morning, the porridge was actually hot and Head Waiters are circling around asking how was breakfast.
After breaky I headed to Princess Theatre, catching the end of the Paris port talk before the Navigator at Sea Lecture. When discussing the Louvre, he mentioned they have 35,000 pieces of art on display at any time, so if you only spent 4 seconds at each, it would take 4 months to see everything. Kind of irrelevant, since with a 3 hour drive to/from Paris the tours get a maximum of only 4 hours in the city, before returning to the ship.
I usually attend these lectures and actually enjoy them, however today’s version was the worst ever presented. The lecture was provided by the 2nd Officer, who’s English is extremely poor. He frequently stumbled, apparently trying to think of the English words, most of the time giving up and moving on. With the accent and poor English I highly doubt anybody actually learned anything from the entire lecture. In fact, a large number of attendees left throughout the presentation, some after only a few minutes.
Next on the agenda was our face to face meeting with UK Immigration. The previous evening we received a letter addressed to Ms Andrew and Mr Judi, advising of our scheduled appointment at Noon. Apparently, we were not the only pax to receive letters with the genders mixed up. You would think that somebody would proof read this material before it is issued. We met a very pleasant young lady, who just had a quick look at my passport, but had to stamp Judi’s.
Tonight was a formal night, so our table elected to give the Steakhouse another try. We met in our cabin for drinks and Canapés, heading up for the meal about 19:00. The Head Waiter and Waiters were excellent, remembering that on our previous visit the steaks were over-cooked, so they prepared a special plate of cheeses and breads for us. Everything went well, the starters and soups were excellent, but then the steaks arrived. Surely, they would get them correct tonight, but no. Three of us requested Medium Rare and Judi Medium. From a positive note, the chef is definitely consistent, as all four steaks were well done. When I cut into mine, not even the smallest hint of any pink remaining, completely fully cooked throughout the entire 2” slab of Filet Mignon. To top it off, the baked potato was under-cooked. The Head Waiter’s smile disappeared immediately on seeing the results of the steaks and he immediately offered to replace them. The others declined, but I accepted his offer, little did I know that the first steak was the only one that was edible all evening. About 5 minutes later the Head Waiter returned all smiles with a new steak. On touching the top I immediately knew it wasn’t cooked and on cutting into it found it seared on both sides and completely raw throughout. The Head Waiter was devastated and immediately removed the plate, returning a few minutes later with another plate. This one was a little more seared on each side, but still had about 1” of raw meat in the middle. Again, the Head Waiter, immediately removed the plate. The Head Waiter brought the 4th attempt out and had the chef come to the table to observe his culinary skills. Yet again, this one was again raw in the middle, with the chef commenting, “You want, medium rare – pink”. Totally fed up with the incompetency, I gave up on steak and the Head Waiter made up a nice fruit plate and pot of tea.
Mistakes can happen, so I was interested in how they going to close out the evening with respect to the cover charges and bottles of wine, I had already signed for. At a minimum, I expected the Head Waiter to attend the table, apologise again and advise how he will adjust the bill. However, the waiter arrived and asked how we would take care of the cover charges, asking if each couple would be paying 2 cover charges. At that point I almost lost it, they can’t cook a steak, but still want to charge a $25 cover charge. While I initially expected to pay for 3 cover charges, I found this a disgrace and promptly advised him that he better get the Head Waiter, as all meals should be complimentary. The Head Waiter returned shortly advising his boss had approved cancelling the cover charge.
This will be our last visit to the Steakhouse aboard Sea Princess and I will be requesting another meeting with the Customer Service Manager tomorrow.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.