Micky told me the truth. I just ordered caviar at dinner and poof!! it arrived with all the fixings. This cruise ship life is pretty good. Dinner was just the four of us—we have a table for 8, but the others didn’t show up the first night.
We spent today in Venice, just walking around. The cruise ships dock a couple of miles from the town center, San Marco Square, so there is a shuttle. It’s a water-taxi, naturally. Venice has done a wonderful job of keeping the city looking just the way it did hundreds of years ago—no new architecture here. Motoring down the waterway to the square, I kept thinking that this looked just like it must have when Marco Polo returned from China.
Once on land, the big difference is the thousands of tourists infesting the city. Venice is comprised of hundreds of islands, slowly sinking into the Adriatic Sea, connected by canals and hundreds of steep-sided bridges you are constantly climbing up and over. The ‘streets’ are for walking only, there are no vehicles. In the downtown/tourist area, every storefront is either a ristorante or a souvenir shop—although some of those souvenirs are very expensive Murano glass or Brioni suits. You can drop a lot of Euros here.
On the waterway, we passed a couple of serious yachts:
The big blue one appears to be from Latvia—it might well belong to a Russian billionaire.
At dinner tonight, we met our tablemates. Turns out that the two men are sports fanatics, so I may as well bring a book to dinner for the rest of the trip. When the conversation is about what is the worst trade the Giants ever made, I have no interest in the answer and nothing to contribute.
Dinner had another surprise: the much vaunted Crystal dining experience came up a big time loser when my entrée was dreadful and had to be sent back. It was a venison stew, and tasted like it had been on the stove for weeks. Fortunately, the salmon and halibut that replaced it were decent, if not great.
After dinner, we headed off to the big trivia contest. Today was the 20th anniversary of the launching of the first Crystal ship, the Crystal Harmony. The trivia contest offered an enormous prize—a very fancy, expensive dinner for the entire winning team in a special room. Sadly, the questions were all about the Crystal Cruise line, so my phenomenal breadth of useless knowledge was even more useless than usual, and Mike’s encyclopedic grasp of sports trivia had no value at all.
We managed to get 7 out of 10 answers, but the winning team got 9. One of the questions was “who is the president of Crystal Cruise lines?” and my guess of Hideo Watanabe wasn’t even close. (The answer turns out to be Gregg Michel. Spelling counted)
Wednesday is a full day at sea, so we get to play bridge. I’ll report the scores tomorrow.