31 December, 2008, 4:00 PM – Along a narrow corridor on Deck 2 of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship Legend of the Seas, 3 generations of my family were re-united to spend the last few hours of 2008 together.
We’d traveled down from different parts of Asia for a 5-night cruise around Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday, and of course, the new year. I’d not seen my parents, sister, her husband and baby Julian for over a year, so it was a very happy reunion.
We explored our new home, and in the evening, donned our life-jackets for a compulsory “muster” (evacuation drill). Luckily, there were no icebergs floating around in the tropical evening heat. After that, it was time for our first dinner on board and we made our way eagerly to the Romeo & Juliet dining room. I wasn’t too impressed by the name (too cheesy and brought to mind that old tv show The Love Boat), but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food served there. Continue reading...
There were 7 starters and 10 different main dishes to choose from, with a good mix of Asian and Western selections. As food was already included in the cruise package, you could freely select as many or as few dishes as you wanted. This type of dining is particularly dangerous for my family, as we are all mad about food.
I started with the Vidalia Onion Tart which had been recommended by our waiter. It was excellent, with sweet Vidalia onions and Gruyére cheese, baked together and served with sautéed red peppers and a leek fondue sauce at the side. The pastry was crusty and flaky, and the onions soft and piping hot. My sister and parents also loved the tart, and after tasting some of mine, my husband YH ordered one as well.
My second starter was the Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup. It was a clear soup, and tasted like Thai tom yam soup without the red curry paste. It was very spicy, which was to my liking, with a delicate lemongrass flavour, but the prawns in the soup were limp and totally tasteless (a sad case of boiled-to-death seafood).
For the main course, everyone at our table ordered the Slow-Roasted Prime Rib, served with a horseradish jus and potato. When the dish arrived, we all gaped at the large slab of meat reclining across the entire dinner plate. It was delicious, though. Tender and juicy, as stated on the menu.
We also ordered the recommended Pan-Seared Atlantic Salmon to sample, which was served with braised lentils, green beans, snow peas and a verjus beurre blanc. Unfortunately the salmon was dry and overcooked, and worse of all, had a slightly fishy taste.
Although by now we were all stuffed full, we felt obligated to order dessert. I tried the Strawberry Pavlova, and it was surprisingly good. Pavlova has never excited me that much, as I’ve always found it too sweet, but this one had a perfect blend of texture and taste, with its not-too-sweet crispy meringue, soft fresh cream and strawberry compote. I also tasted a little of the lemon sherbert, which could only be described as - strange. It was neither creamy, nor icy, neither sour not sweet… it ended up being just a cold goo. If I’d been hungry it may have been more appealing…
After dinner, we headed to the theatre for a live magic show, and then it was time to gather around the centre of the ship to countdown the new year. The ship generously provided free flutes of champagne, and as the clock struck twelve, 2000 balloons were released from above as the live band played “Auld Lang Syne”. It was a lovely moment.
The night wasn’t over yet, as we had a little birthday surprise for my dad. The previous day, I’d made some sticky date maple cupcakes and had packed them along with me in an airtight bento box (lunch box). After the new year festivities had settled down, we headed to a quiet corner, and by removing the container’s lid and adding some candles on top, I presented my dad with a little birthday “cake”. I knew we would all be too full and I wanted something that could travel and keep well, so these mini cupcakes were perfect. My dad loved them, and everyone managed to eat (and enjoy) a cupcake, despite our enormous dinner…
Our night was a huge success, and extremely memorable. We all felt it was very special as we were able to meet and celebrate together as a family. Thanks to my mum for organizing this cruise and to Foodbuzz for selecting my entry as part of their 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs special.
Happy New Year! And here’s wishing everyone a very blessed year ahead.