DBA’s Log – Second Sea Day, Behind the Scenes
Sea days offer a lot of variety. This is truly one of those days where as the cruise directors will usually mention, you can do as much OR AS LITTLE as you like. You can pack the day full of non-stop things to do, or lay by the pool except for when nature and hunger call you away for a few moments. In the case of this sea day, the Mariner Dream Bed had my complete and undivided attention until about 10:00am, followed by a lengthy shower testing out all the various jets in the penthouse’s unique “capsule” shower, a stop through the lido for a bite to eat (a salad with mixed greens, carrots, beets and Italian dressing and a salmon burger from the Terrace Grill) put us through to about 1pm. Following lunch everyone started figuring out what they were going to do.
For instance, I was headed for the Behind the Scenes Ship Tour at 2:30pm, friends were headed to the Cellar Master’s Navigator Wine Tasting in the Culinary Arts Center at the same time. I assumed VERY incorrectly that the tour would last an hour and a half or so (how did I not know better than this) and promised to meet back up with the others at 4:00pm in the Mainstage for a chance at $90,000 in the Jackpot Bingo. More on that later, but first the ship tour.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had a very close tie to Eurodam since the first blocks were laid in Marghera, Italy but was just now seeing the ship for the first time. So I’ve missed a lot of Eurodam firsts. I wasn’t there for the naming ceremony or inaugural cruises, the first transatlantic, the first Caribbean season, any maiden calls. However, I was (unbeknownst to me at the time) part of the first group to ever do the Behind the Scenes tour. And while I have been to many of these areas before, there were some more firsts for me. The write-up in the Explorer (that’s the new name for the Daily Program by the way) was very non-descript on day one: “Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes on board Eurodam? From the engine control room to the navigation bridge, this is your unique chance to experience ship life first hand. Sign up at the Front Office, 1. Only 12 spaces available. $150”
Now, I’m not going to tell you EVERYTHING that happens on the tour or the answers to all the questions that were discussed, but I will give you a preview. And the sheet that we were given on site went into a lot more detail is a great place to start.
First up, Backstage. “Meet our Event Manager Julie Seidel and our talented singers and dancers. They’ll give you a glimpse into what it takes for sound, lights and music to come together. After all, the show must go on.”
Next, the Main Laundry. “Our Chief Housekeeper Michael Passchier will share some insider tips and tricks on laundry at sea and how to launder thousands of towels using an environmentally friendly process.”
On to the Engine Control Room. “One of the highlights of our tour, this stop is much desired and usually restricted for visitors. However, as part of this tour with VIP privileges, you’ll get the opportunity to experience the fine pieces of engineering that run the mighty Eurodam. And as a keepsake, our Chief Engineer Jan Koller has prepared a personalized technical facts sheet of our ship. Now, as an aside on this one, while I don’t know if this will always be the case with this tour, Jan took us in through the engine room while the ship was moving at near 20 knots. We were supplied with earplugs, shown the main generators, the engines themselves not to mention the azipod room itself all the way aft. This may not always be a part of the tour as it wasn’t mentioned anywhere, but was certainly memorable for all of us on this inaugural tour. I’ve seen a lot of these spaces before, but not while the ship was in motion… and loud!”
On we go to the Waste Management Area. “Our Safety Environmental Health Officer Peter Bouwmeester will share unique insider information on how waste is handled on board the ship. He’ll share the green practices used to ensure the waters on which we sail are kept in pristine condition.”
Next, the Provisions Area. “This area is vital to the daily operation of our ship and much more than just a warehouse. Here, food and beverages are stored in refrigerators, freezers and dry storage rooms. Every morning, thousands of rolls, croissants and hundreds of loaves of bread are baked right here in the Bakery. You’ll get a chance to peek in our store rooms as our Culinary Operations Manager Jonathan Lewis walks you through his empire of goods.” (And among those goods was a glass of bubbly for all who attended.)
And speaking of food, that brings us to the Main Galley. Sure you can see this area on a tour the first sea day, but it’s not led by the Executive Chef… “Meet Executive Chef Rob Van Leeuwen and his time to find out how a galley of this size works so efficiently, delivering over 50,000 delicious meals per cruise. Enjoy a sweet treat and take home a keepsake of the Main Dining Room – the Dinner Menu for all seven days of your cruise, compliments of our Culinary Operations team.” (And signed by the Executive Chef himself)
And it’s not over yet because now it’s time for the Navigation Bridge. “We made it – this is it, the wheelhouse as it was called in old times. Enjoy the view from above and have our Deck Officer guide you through the maze of buttons and handles that make up modern navigation today. You’ll receive a complimentary group picture with our Captain Jeroen van Donselaar before we make our way to our last stop.” A couple things here… not only did the Captain go one step further and take individual photos with each participant, but he did so both with the help of the ship’s photographer AND with your personal camera if you liked. Second, we were present when a little bit of commotion erupted. Hundreds of miles from any land at all, we had a visitor… and one that no one would have ever expected. And then s/he landed right on the top of the forward mast and perched where the Dutch flag resides when the ship is in port. We were also intercepted by Hotel Manager Stan Kuppens who didn’t want to wait til the next step. He shared some inside stories from the inaugural with Queen Beatrix and a couple funny stories involving her and Carnival Corporation President Micky Arison.
On to the final stop, Cocktails in the Captain’s Corner. “We hope you managed to work up a small appetite! As we conclude the tour, our Hotel manager Stan Kuppens and Manager of Onboard Marketing invite you to enjoy a selection of gourmet appetizers and sample some Signature cocktails or wine. You’ll also receive a Behind the Scenes gift package.” What all is in the package? Well, I’m not going to spoil the surprise and it could also vary a little from ship to ship, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised in the end and the $150.00 cost is more than made up for between the unique opportunities you get to experience as well as the swag bag you get to depart with Just leave a small amount of space and a couple pounds allowance in your suitcase
for the flight home!
So like I said, that started at 2:30pm and I didn’t make an appearance back to the suite until just before 7pm. In the meantime, the others had various wines and cheeses at the tasting and “my card” played by one of my friends as I was probably in the Provisions Area at the time, split a bingo for $420.00 meaning the group as a whole was $210.00 richer! Not a bad afternoon! And now onto dinner. How do you complete a perfect day like this? This was the second formal night and that means Surf and Turf! It also means jumbo shrimp cocktail with an orange aioli, more French onion soup and in lieu of a salad course one extra lobster tail. I’m a man of compromise. Even with Surf and Turf the table did show some diversity. We saw a dish of escargot make it to the table (and no, likening it to a very buttery calamari doesn’t make it any more desirable to me) and some got Turf and Turf while others got Surf and Surf. Dessert around the table were a combination of Master Chef Rudi’s Premiere (a mousse filled white chocolate chef’s hat and berries), the no sugar added cheesecake which received amazing feedback, the wine poached pear (AMAZINGLY GOOD!) and the chocolate brownie stack. This was also our last night with our dining room staff headed by Doddy so we said our thank yous for some incredible meals in the Rembrandt Dining Room and headed to Mainstage to watch Dreampark. Some pics follow from the show:
We rounded out the night with a stop by Northern Lights to see Arnold and Ronald and DJ Issa and then off to bed. Paradise (Half Moon Cay) awaits!