Friday, January 28, 2011

Meeting interesting people on my travels

Working on a ship has never a dull moment and more, one always meets interesting people like the one I met last cruise. She is a chef from India cruising with us and having a fantastic time. We had time to chat a bit and it was great talking to a fellow colleague. Her name is Gujan Goela and she specializes in Vegetarian Indian Cuisine. She advises one of the major hotel groups in India about the vegetarian cuisine. I really loved talking to her and I am sure if we would have had more time we would have ended up in the galley cooking up some lovely recipes, but, alas, as usual, there are rules and regulations and another 1800 guest who want to be fed, so we kept it just with the chatting about food and what we did in the past.

Then I was treated with some Indian Sweets she took with from India, what a lovely combination of sweet and spicy and some of them were very refreshing, completely different flavors than what we are used to.

Then I met another very interesting person, his name is Reed Hellman and he is a wordsmith. Ever heard of such a profession? I am sure you have, just under a different name…..he is a writer. But in the medieval times when most people could not write, they had a profession called wordsmith. So he is writing a lot about food and I looked at his blog and like it a lot, of course he writes about food. He was traveling with his lovely wife and we had many good times together, tasting the meals with all the chefs, having a private galley tour, just to give him a glimpse of the life in a ships galley producing around 10’000 meals per day.

I took the liberty to add their blogs on the side, just if anybody feels like browsing and having some interesting reading.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Private Island in Bahamas

We are on one of the two private Islands Royal Caribbean owns. It is very exclusive as one needs to sail with us to be able to go to the islands.
For us it is nice too as we have a lovely change of scenery, not to be surrounded by steel the whole day, but fresh air, heat, sand and beach. Yes we have time too to enjoy our time, there is lots of crew coming out, we have a special crew line where they have their own BBQ and there is always a great atmosphere.
On our menu looks like this:

Home marinated Pork Spare ribs
Mediterranean herbs roasted Chicken
Hamburger with condiments
Hot Dogs
Tender Minute Steaks
Lime marinated Seafood Skewers
Everything has to be off loaded early in the morning, so we have to pack all the goods on pallets, wrap them properly and keep them in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning we get them to the loading area and off we go.
Like I said, there are two private islands, the one is in Cococay, Bahamas and the other one is Labadee, Haiti. The second one is extremely secluded and shut off from anybody, so whatever the news say about Haiti, it does not affect our spot. The one we are on now is called Cococay and is a lovely small island with all the facilities one likes to have. There is diving and snorkeling, there are jet ski (loads of fun, we did them once) then there are great children playgrounds; there is kayaking and para sailing and of course the glass bottom boat to go out with. And after all these activities one gets hungry and thirsty and there we go, [plenty of bars and one big central grill were we serve the food. There is a second grill, but we are too small a ship to open both (if one can say 1800 guest is small). As we have a lot of people who are not the best in walking anymore, we have these special beach wheel chairs, don't they look funny with the large tires? I was blown away when I saw them the first time and had to laugh, but in the sand they are really handy!
Now we need to have a recipe again, we had so many Blogs with travel, now we need recipes again, so today we have our own marinated pork ribs.The recipe is very simple and I give just the bsic ingredients as one can add and leave away as one feels like.

For the basting

BBQ Sauce
Soja Sauce
HP Sauce
Worchestershire Sauce

I take the BBQ sauce as a base and then add the other sauces, most of them you have in your cupbpard. I don't add too much, just a bit to refine the BBQ sauce. Especially the honey gives it a lovely sweetness to it.

Then I take the whole raw rib and make sure I have a lot of marinade on top. I then cook it in the oven at 180 C (350 F) till they are nearly done. Only then I will put them on the BBQ to give it the nice smokey flavor.
Here is the shopping section!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
Wow, what a hotel complex, it is just huge. So after having gone to Nassau already 5 times this season, it was about time to pop in this super huge hotel and have a look around. One can see it already from far with the huge bridge suite between the two major hotel towers.

The best way from Nassau is actually by Water Taxi. It takes god 10 minutes and only costs $6.00 per person for a round trip, the taxi costs more and one is guaranteed to get stuck in traffic. To we just hopped out the beautiful Celebrity Mercury, walked for good five minutes through the terminal, and just there is the water taxi stand. Shortly after that we were on Paradise Island.

From the ferry terminal everything is very well marked and it is a leisurely stroll to the hotel. There is the Marina with plenty shops and restaurants, very quiet during the afternoon, but that has its charm too. The shops are far too expensive, and I mean too expensive, so we just browsed a bit on the way to Atlantis.

Now, the hotel has a lot to offer if you stay there, book a tour or buy a ticket for the water world, otherwise, if like gambling, that is the perfect place. The Casino is big and has plenty of space and some amazing glass sculptures from the same artist who did them when I went to the botanical garden in Miami (there is a blog about it too). Here is a photo of the sculptures, they are absolutely amazing to see.
Then of course there is a huge aquarium in the main hotel lobby, it is lovely to just walk along and see all the fishes behind the glass, especially the huge Sting Rays, they float so majestically through the water, that was a highlight.
The only other thing that of course caught my attention is Nobu’s Restaurant, I made a photo of the menu, I just love Nobu’s food, it is just amazing. Of course the restaurant is only open for dinner, so there is no way to go in there and have a delicious meal, but one can at least read the menu and dream of it. Nobu has many restaurants all over the world and they are all fantastic. It is a partnership between him and Robert de Niro who loved his food so much that he went into partnership with him, one of the restaurant ventures of a Hollywood Actor that is really working.
Anyway, now we saw Atlantis and no, we did not get a T Shirt, just some photos and some lovely memories, photos and yes, maybe one day we will go back there, the water world looks like a lot of fun and there are so many restaurants to try out. Of course there is the casino as well, but not being a gambler, it doesn't excite me too much.
The Lobby

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

St. Johns, Antigua

It has been a while since I went out last in St. Johns, Antigua and I forgot how beautiful it is here. It is quite a big city, 31000 inhabitants and of course the main income is the cruise industry. We were lucky, only two ships in total where docked, and it was already full with tourists, imagine when there are even more ships.

Antigua was discovered by Christophe Columbus, like many of the Caribbean islands and today is a cosmopolitan island with St. Thomas as a landmark with many fine dining restaurants, fashion spots and good life.
Not too far away (about 40 minutes drive) is the tropical rain forest. An amazing place to go, unfortunately I did not have enough time to do so. The best way to see the rain forest is by a canopy tour. One zip lines from place to place and can experience the rain forest at its best. The cost is $85 per person plus getting there of course. There are many places selling tours just at the port, so one can just shop around a little bit.
Town itself is very nice, of course with the landmark cathedral, St. Thomas. It is worth the little climb up the hill to the cathedral as the view is great from there, one can see the entire city from up there. The Cathedral was closed at the time I was there, but hopefully will be re-opened soon.
Of course there are the usual beautiful beaches and resorts, a lovely place to spend a great vacation which is relaxing and fun at the same time. We are off again, sailing to St. Maarten, our last stop in the Saints cruise. I am not sure if I have time to get out as we have a conference call with head office and after there is not too much time left to go all the way to St. Maarten. Next time we will go out again, that time we want to go over to the French side, so stay tuned for more.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

We are sailing again in the Caribbean, the weather is absolutely stunning and we have a fantastic crowd onboard, they really enjoy sailing with us and that makes work so much easier.
A Fantastic beach just by the town
We have 5 ports this cruise and I call it the cruise of the Saints as every island we stop is named after a Saint. There is St. Thomas, St. Croix, St, Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua) and St. Maarten. We are now on the small but beautiful island called St. Croix. There are two major towns on the islands, sort of one on each side and they are both worth seeing. We dock in Frederiksted which is the smaller of the two towns. The taxi ride takes about 25 minutes to get from one town to the other, so it is not too long.
The towns have been founded by the Danish, that is why the names are like that. There are still many historical buildings from that time, museums and of course Columbus' Landing. It is the most eastern part of the United States. It is very close to St. Thomas, only 19 miles south, but it is a lot more relaxed then the other island. A prefect place to chill out.
The old Danish Fort from 17.....something
I just went out a bit to see the town as I haven't really had the time to go out here yet and I have to say, wow, what a quaint little town. OK, there are again, the same shops like always, but it is just sort of so beautiful here. So I made a couple of photos to show you the beauty of this part of the island.

There is 3 Kings day today here in town, of course nothing is happening on the island, it is a Saturday and there is just a big traffic jam in the little town as there is a big parade. I think the whole island is here, lots of fun, lots of booze and plenty of people doing sweet little nothing, what a way to pass the weekend!
The Carnival
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