Friday, November 13, 2009

The Long Cruise: Follow Me! - 12,000 feet of water beneath us

MS RotterdamDay Thirteen: Still the Mid AtlanticLovely and warm today, high seventies and sunny.

We have asked Miftah to help us plan a birthday cocktail party for our new friend Matthew, who will turn 65 today. He and Gaby are coming to our room for cocktails before we go to a special Indian dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. Miftah arranged to get some extra chairs, a wine bucket, more champagne glasses and ice, as well as some nibbles to be delivered to the room.
Room service outdid itself. ‘Nibbles’ turned out to be an elegant tray of cheeses, pistachios, sugared walnuts, dates, fresh grapes, French bread, and little crackers. We sat out on the veranda of our room and watched the sunset, enjoyed a glass of bubbly and toasted Matthew’s birthday.

Then we went to the Pinnacle Grill, the gourmet restaurant on board ($20 extra pp) and had a special Indian meal:
Here's the menu:
Aloo Bonda ( spiced potato quenelles, fried in chickpea batter and served with mint chutney
Tamatar Shorba ( slowly simmered tomato soup flavoured with coconut and coriander)
Kozi Varta Currry (spiced chicken in black pepper gravy)
Jinga Masala ( Goan style prawns prepared with coconut milk and Indian spices)
Malai Kofta Korma
Cheese stuffed potato dumplings in a creamy tomato sauce

All served with saffron and geen pea pilaf rice, butter naan bread anda condiments

Gajar Ka Halwa ( carrots cooked and sweetened with cream and nuts)

Washed down with cold Dutch beer - Grolsch’s - it was delicious. The dessert was a bit odd, kind of like a mushy carrot cake, but the spicing in all the dishes was aggressive and delicious.

But no dancing for us, although many on board do so. I’m afraid that the rocking of the boat combined with Bob’s problems with balance would put us overboard.

Not such a bad way to go, really, romantic and dramatic at the same time. Apparently it takes over half an hour to slow the ship and get it turned around to come back for you , and that’s only if some one notices and raises the alarm. There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, although John Duffy, the hotel manager on the QE 11 for many years swears it is true, of a couple in their eighties who dressed up in their best outfits for dinner, enjoyed a good meal and a bottle of champagne, and then disappeared off the back deck. No one saw them go over, but their stateroom was empty the next day. The wife, so the story goes, had a terminal illness and had only months to live, and they had been together for many years.

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