October 18, 2012
Wyona has shown Margaret and me the way to the Diamond Lounge – a place for free drinks for people who have cruised over 80 days. Three of us escort Margaret up there – she doesn’t mind a glass of wine and 3 of us drink Diet Coke. We like to look over the hor d’oeurves.
Someone who has been cruising for 40 years, since she was 26, asked me how long I have been cruising. I told her only since a year ago June. I didn’t tell her that late at night, when I am tired, I have been going so often that I can’t remember where I have been or where I am going next. Wyona has been my cruise director and has a better idea of what is happening, since there is a club associated with cruising: the Captain’s Club. I have been a gold member, an emerald member, a platinum member and now upon having been on the water a total of 80 days I am a diamond member. This means that when I arrive there is a welcome gift in my cabin, two luxury bathcoats, (which I have to leave behind on disembarking, unfortunately), a coupon booklet for some ½ price glasses of wine, and access to the Diamond Lounge. The later requires a card – one for me and a complimentary one for the person I am travelling with.
Inside the lounge, from 5 to 8:30 there is wine and hors d’oeurves. The wine is wasted on Wyona, Greg and me. Thank goodness, Margaret drinks. This was also true of the Captain’s Reception where champagne was served – a waste on teetotallers, to be sure. The cookies in the lounge are not a waste, though I say that with my tongue in my cheek, because I asked for the name of the little black square that was being served: a 1 centimeter bottom of shortbread, a thick layer of raspberry-flavoured ganache, a thin topping of a dark chocolate ganache, and to pick this one inch, by one inch square up is only barely possible because of the softness of the filling. In terms of dipping chocolates, I could cover it, but just barely before it would get away on me. Yes, I had the first one, then two more, and then asked the cruise director for the name of that cookie. She thought I was asking for the recipe. No. I already had the figured out – even the proportions of the chocolate, cream and raspberry liqueur were clear to me. And I forgot – there were also raspberries nestled in the ganache. “The cooks won’t give away the recipe,” Ruth Ranola, the Loyalty and Cruise Manager said to me. I didn’t want the recipe. I had that figured out already. I said again, “No, just the name.” “Oh, all of us just call that cookie,” she said. Mmmm, more like a cookie for the Goddess Athena, I thought.