Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Genealogy notes 22 Nov 2011 - Day 2 on board Volemdam
As usual I woke up early before the alarm so had plenty of time to shower, dress and do final run through of my talk for the early 8am start to our genealogy sessions on board. We also decided to simply have breakfast in the cabin rather than have it up in the restaurant in case there were any delays. The ham and cheese omelette was certainly substantial and the cup of tea welcome. I usually like one first thing but no tea making facilities in cabins although you can get them to bring you one but that seems a bit strange to me (perhaps I’ll change my mind before the end of the trip).
My talk At Sea Then and Now was on at 8.00am followed by Chris Paton then no more sessions till after lunch as we were travelling around the scenic Coromandel Peninsula and people wanted to be out on deck looking around. I have put my report on the various sessions I attended on my website to avoid making this too lengthy. See Day 1 sessions at sea report here.
I decided to skip Chris Paton’s talk on Discover Scottish Genealogy as I had heard it before and went instead to the Meet the Captain session (I always like to know who is driving the ship)! The other ship offering I attended before the talks after lunch was the Tour of the Kitchens which was amazing in every sense of the word. They give you a four page handout with various facts including how much food is eaten each week (40,000 eggs is just one example). There are dedicated areas to all the various kinds of meals eg soups in the soup kitchen, huge dishwashers one for china and one for glassware, lots of staff and the head chef gave us a brief chat and of course, there is the ship cookbook which I must have a look at.
We had lunch on the Lido Deck at the Terrace Grill (overlooks the pool area at the top of the ship) and I had my first cheeseburger (may even be my last, the pickle seems odd) and it is easy to see the Volendam is an American ship which usually caters for that market. I like my burgers with beetroot but then I also realise that not all Aussies like beetroot.
Then it was off to the Hudson Room for an afternoon of talks. To avoid having too lengthy blogs I am splitting the genealogy component out and putting that on my website. My report of the sessions is here. Just before the 4.00pm talk, the ship was due to circle around White Island which is an active volcano and I simply had to go out on deck and see that. We went up into the bow area with lots of others to get a really close look and the ship actually circled around the island several times and at one point stopped off shore at the area where the volcano is most visible. But this meant I missed the last two talks of the day and I had wanted to hear them – like any genealogy conference you make choices but it is hard.
It was a formal night tonight with everyone dressing up for dinner but we had already decided not to attend the dinner in the Rotterdam dining room with the other UTP cruisers. We were sneaking off for a private, romantic, celebratory dinner at the Pinnacle Grill (each UTP person was given a gift voucher to try out this pay restaurant on board). Now before all the romantics leap to conclusions, it was not that kind of event. It is three years since Max’s major surgery for cancer and we like to take time out to reflect on the last few years and to plan ahead. We should have known you can’t hide on a ship and as we had been seated in one of the restaurant’s windows (internal), we were spotted by none other than Alan Phillips!
The Pinnacle Grill was a fantastic choice as the staff were friendly, the food amazing and perhaps too much (four different kinds of bread, three kinds of salt to try (and I don’t even eat salt but loved those three), natural iced water was automatically put on the table, there were lots of choices but we couldn’t go past the seafood and the desserts were so good. After a delicious scallop in pumpkin puree, we had an entree of smoked salmon, with fresh salmon and prawn with an amazing wasabi cream followed by a small lobster with butter sauce, mango coulis (feel like I’m describing a Masterchef show) with fresh asparagus & hollandaise plus an Idaho potato with the works (garlic butter, sour cream, bacon and chives). Desserts (shared) were a cherry bombe Alaska and a divine chocolate lava cake. We went for a bit of a walk on deck afterwards!!
I was a little put out at first that the Pinnacle Grill didn’t have any Australian and New Zealand wines to choose from on their wine list – mostly American and French. However, when we travel we always try to have the cuisine and drinks of the country we are visiting so as we were on an American ship, we decided to go American. I ended up selecting a very nice chardonnay from Washington (the State not the city) and was pleased with the choice as it complemented the seafood perfectly.
We had such a great time we will probably go back to the Pinnacle Grill again before the end of the cruise – even though it is a paying restaurant on board, you could have everything we ate for just $25 per person. Amazing value for a delicious meal with excellent service in a quiet venue!
After our walk it was back to our cabin to read up on visiting Tauranga, our port of call tomorrow. There are only two talks tomorrow night, I’m doing one on asylums and Rosemary is doing one on directories and almanacs.