Sunday, April 26, 2009

Galley tour and last day on the ship...

Saturday, April 25, 2009 – last day at sea!!!!!!!!!!
Set our clocks back another hour. We are now just an hour ahead of Delaware.

We woke up to the loudspeaker hunting for a crew member so you knew something must be wrong. About 20 minutes later, the Commodore came on the speaker to say he had been found and all was well. Well, the gossip has it that he was indeed found, in a location where he was not supposed to be. Word has it that he will soon be “visiting his mother” from the next port of call, NY.

We were late for breakfast so they were not happy with us. But we made it for last call in to the kitchen. Worked on paperwork before our 11:15 galley tour. It was great! We toured the main galley for the largest restaurant onboard, the Britannia. We saw the stations for the each course, the dishwashing, the drinks area, the new glasses being delivered, cakes being baked, soups being made, meats being cut, fish being filleted, bread being baked…It was very clean and they have won 100% ratings in the last years of health inspections from the US Dept. of Health.

They spend approx. $41,000 per day on food. There are 150 chefs under the direction of the Executive Chef. There are 85 dishwashers, pot washers and galley cleaners working around the clock. The restaurants serve over 1200 meals per seating and there are at least four seatings a day. There is a provision team of 13 who load all the Stores (food supplies) in the major ports of call and issue the Stores when required. Sometimes when they unexpectedly need additional food in a port, they have to go 3-4 stores to buy the quantity they need – like 500 pounds of butter. They cannot take it from one store or their supply will be depleted and they will not be able to serve their regular customers. They have a petty cash fund of $250,000. There are 21 refrigerated rooms for all the food and beverage items.

Every seven days they load fresh milk, vegetables and fruit as well as fish and seafood.
Every 14 days they load dry and frozen products.

Requisitions are submitted up to three months in advance for longer voyages and 3-4 weeks in advance for the transatlantic voyages.

On a typical 6-day transatlantic crossing, the following quantities of food are consumed:
50 tons of fresh fruits and vegetables
12 tons met
8 tons poultry
13 tons fish and seafood
2 tons cheeses and dairy products
2 tons sugar
5000 gallons fresh milk
32,400 eggs
20 kg Russian Caviar
4 tons flour
2 tons rice

Other trivia about the meals onboard…
120 pizzas are consumed each day
700 English scones are served during afternoon tea
9500 canapes are consumed ruing the Captain’s cocktail parties
Almost 16,000 meals each day are prepared and consumed onboard
Approx. 87,000 pieces of china and glassware are used within the dining areas and they all have to be washed!
Over 8000 linen napkins are used and laundered every day
6000 cups of tea are served daily
Almost 610 miles of cling film is used onboard each year!!

We had a fun lunch with friends and then worked on paperwork. We were supposed to be packing but we still needed time to explore the ship. Missed the wine tasting and decided to roam the decks. Found the library and stationery store, the outside elevator and the golf simulator. The decks were incredibly windy and I can understand how someone could be swept off the deck and into the sea!!!!

They carry additional azipods in the front of the ship and they look like modern art! But they are so heavy and awkward, Cunard found it more sensible to carry them onboard and have them for any needed emergency.

We climbed to find the four pools – three outdoor and one indoor, the paddle tennis area, the lookout (near the top of the ship over the bow), the golf cages, the huge open deck spaces which must be great when sailing in warm climates for parties and sunning and cafes…

We passed the kennel and heard the dogs barking, found the Canyon Ranch Spa and beauty salon, the fitness center (the view from here is not nearly as nice as on the Queen Victoria), the shop (Hermes, H. Stern, the logo shop…)…

Dressed for dinner and we joined some of the group for a cocktail party in their suite. Everyone has bottles and bottles of wine to be consumed before we arrive in NY tomorrow!! We had the strip steak and they prepared it tableside for us -- a huge piece of steak with all the trimmings! I went to the show in the Royal Court Theatre and enjoyed Bettine Clemens on her flute and then the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers singing about arriving in New York as an immigrant.

Up to pack and pack and pack. It never seems to end! But finally all the cases are out in the hallway and I plan to be up at 4:30AM to see the Verrazzano Bridge and then the Statue of Liberty. I remember passing it in 1983 on the QEII and how much it meant to me then (age 24) to be coming home after living in the UK. I am sure I will feel even stronger tomorrow about arriving back into the country I love. I heard many passengers say today they are so glad to be going home to the United States of America. It is wonderful to travel but it is even more wonderful to arrive home. We have passed through many lands and you can’t help but compare them to your own. With the Constitution to back us and our Bill of Rights to support us, America is the place to be. No other country enjoys the freedom we have. Let’s work to keep it that way. Sometimes you have to leave to realize how good you have it at home.

Several times during the day the fog set in around the ship and the whistles were blown every minute and then every five minutes. I like their sound. It makes it feel like the golden olden days of crossing the Atlantic.