Days 39-40-41, Feb. 13-14-15:
Love was in the air as the Amsterdam sailed in the South Pacific en route to the French Polynesian idyll of Tahiti. Highlights of these days at sea included pianist Debbie Bacon playing romantic songs with the word “love” in the title beginning on Feb. 13, and waking up to lavish red hearts and flower arrangements and other decorations in the ship’s atrium and various public rooms on Valentine’s Day. Among the fun activities for lovebirds was “Love In The Afternoon,” a program in the Queen’s show lounge featuring songs, poems, quotes and dances that would have made Cupid himself jealous.
Among our favorite numbers in the show was Cruise Director Bruce’s ornate rendition of “Till There Was You” on the piano and Debby Bacon’s singing and saxophone interpretation of “It Had To Be You.” Among our favorite quotes, Cole Porter’s lyrics, “Night and day, you are the one,” Truman Capote’s likening Venice to “a whole box of chocolate liqueurs in one go,” and Napoleon’s remark about his relationship with Josephine: “Generally, I had to give in.”
Chocolate lovers could meet in the piano bar to compare notes, and dinner in the La Fontaine Dining Room was a beautiful, festive, formal affair saluting Valentines with the restaurant decorated with flowers, an ice sculpture of a swan, a giant heart-shaped balloon, individual balloons at each table and other decorations. A special menu featured such Valentine’s specials as Cupid’s Golden Baked Brie in Phyllo Dough, Forever Yours Lobster Bisque, Mi Amor Tournedos Rossini, Lover’s Embrace Lobster Tail, Romeo & Juliet’s home-style Lasagna, Melting Hearts Raspberry Mousse Cake, Lover’s Lane Strawberry Flambe, Kissing Souffle au Grand Marnier and Lover from the Kitchen (a heart-shaped biscuit with bing cherries). Be still my heart!
Dinner and all activities reached a crescendo at the ‘Hearts and Flowers Ball’ in the Queen’s Lounge, decorated in warm reds, with curtains of tinsel-like red materials, tiny hearts confetti, blooms and red lights. Guests dressed up – many in red – and went for a spin around the dance floor. The next night, Feb. 15, we toasted our impending arrival in Tahiti the next day with complimentary wine for all passengers at dinner. It was a generous “gesture of goodwill’’ by Captain Jonathan Mercer for the 24-hour delay in our itinerary caused by the recent storm in the Pacific. We got another bonus too: Instead of leaving Tahiti at 5 p.m., we will stay until 10 p.m., an extra five hours in this romantic paradise.
Freelance travel writer Georgina Cruz and her husband Humberto are currently sailing on Amsterdam’s 112-day Grand World Voyage and will be sending in cruise diaries throughout their time on board. She has logged 174 voyages to all seven continents and visited more than 100 countries.