You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Our Cruise - Celebrity Mercury - Oct. 8-13, 2005

(If you absolutely can't wait to see the pictures, scroll down)

To sum it up on one word..........ahhhhhhhhhh. We had a great time, met some really nice people, ate really good food, and totally relaxed. Celebrity Cruise Lines knows what they're doing. In all the years that Biscuit Boy and I have been together, I have never seen him relax so quickly. He was apprehensive about going on a cruise to begin with since he had never done one before. And no matter how much I tried to explain to him what a cruise was like, he had to experience it himself to see what I meant. He's now looking online for other cruises....hehe. I think someone's been bit by the cruise bug. He said it's like crack....very addictive and you leave the ship wanting more and more.

Our cruise started in Seattle the went to Astoria, Oregon; one day at sea; Nanaimo, British Columbia; Victoria, British Columbia then back to Seattle.

One of the things we were looking forward to was the food. Everyone raves about how good the food is on Celebrity ships. And while we never went hungry, I'd say the food sort of met our expectations. Right up there on top of the list were the desserts. Oh, my....they were incredible. Creme Brule to die for, apple tarts that begged you to lick the plate clean, chocolate cakes that satisfied even my choc-o-holic self. Next were the beef and lamb entrees served at dinner. The kitchen knew how to cook these bad boys. Tender, juicy and so full of flavor. Seafood was hit and miss. One night the fillet o'the day was very tasty but the chilled fish appetizer the next day tasted suspiciously like the left over fish from the night before. Vegetables were just ok, mostly steamed and somewhat bland.
Lunch in the dining room was fair. Biscuit Boy ate there one day and said he liked the open air grills and buffet options on the pool deck. I had a hamburger one day from the grill that was actually quite tasty. Other choices were pizza made to order, your standard buffet line with hot entrees, and a pasta bar. Given mydrutherss, I'd choose these options over the dining room. They were less formal than the dining room and you could sit outside, weather permitting, and enjoy spectacular views.

For breakfast we tried the waffle bar and buffet on the first morning. I had read so many comments online about the waffle bar that we had to give it a shot. Biscuit Boy is a waffle-hound so I figured he would be in heaven with this dining option. Unfortunately the waffles were a bust. They weren't bad, they just weren't as spectacular as we had been reading about. They were a thick Belgian type of waffle that lacked a whole lot of flavor which is probably why they offered so many toppings for them. The rest of the trip we went to the dining room. The menu was nice and had plenty of choices. My usual fare was fresh fruit, eggs, grits and bacon. Biscuit Boy varied his routine usually having fresh fruit, eggs benedict one morning, kippers another and eggs on other days. And of course he had toast and sausage or bacon. I enjoyed the dining room in the mornings because I didn't have to fool with getting a tray and walking through a buffet line then finding a table. For the dining room, you were met at the door, shown to a table and people magically appeared to serve you coffee and food. A nice way to start your day.

And with out further adieu, here are some food pictures.

One of the meals we at on land. This is a cajun salmon sandwich with cole slaw from the Silver Salmon Restaurant in Astoria. Also from the Silver Salmon, Fried Oysters with potato cakes. This is a view of the Manhattan Dining Room on Mercury. This is upstairs looking down and across to the other side. Our table was downstairs just below where this was taken. We had a lovely window right behind the table so we could watch the sunsets and watch as the ship left for our next destination.The daily breakfast menu in the dining room. Pastries from the Cova Cafe. This was taken in our cabin. Ham and Cheese Fritters appetizer Escargot appetizer Shrimp Scampi entree Duck A L'Orange Truffle chocolate cake Apple Tart Baked Alaska Night. All the waiters and wait staff parade around the dining room with flaming baked alaskas. Hokey but fun.A slice of the baked alaska. Here are some other random pictures from the trip. This was a marina in Astoria, Oregon. If you look closely at the dark line in front of all the boats you'll see sea lions. Big, lazy, barking sea lions. We were on a little trolly that ran up and down the city shore line and our guide said these were the males that could not find mates down in California so they come up here to winter by themselves. This was our one day at sea. And what a wild ride that was. This is the pool early that morning......before all the water was thrown out of it by the rough seas. About 1/3 of the passengers and a good number of crew were sick. I came close but thankfully our cabin steward gave me some bonine. By the time the ship left the open waters of the northern pacific and turned into the Canadian Inner Passage, life began to stir again onboard.This is a view of Mercury from the pier in Nanaimo. We had to take tenders in from the ship which is why it's not right up at the dock. We like Nanaimo. It was a small town like Astoria that was really trying hard to become a port city for the cruise lines. The people were extremely friendly and the town had a certain charm to it. And of all the days during the cruise, this day was glorious. A picture perfect day for exploring a new city. This is a shot of the harbor area near the place we got on the tenders to head back to the ship. This is Victoria's famous Empress Hotel. An old ivy-covered hotel known for serving anelegantt high tea. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to experience the tea but it will be on my agenda when we go back. This is a shot of the harbor in Victoria. Even on a cloudy, drizzly day the city was beautiful and had a comfy feel to it. Being a librarian, I just had to see the ship's library. It was nicely set up with one wall of glass enclosed bookcases full of books from just about every genre. The ship's librarian (Yes, they actually have a librarian on staff) will help passengers find reading material, prepare copies of the daily crossword puzzle and sit and chat with passengers. I could do this......... I would miss my husband and the dog greatly.......but I could do this. Ah, but I know in reality it is just a dream. This was our cabin. Biscuit Boy was standing at the window looking back into the cabin. We had a little love seat and a desk and chair back where he was standing. The window was just about the full width of the cabin so we had a nice view where ever we went. On the last day we woke up back in Seattle before sunrise. Biscuit Boy took one last opportunity to take some pictures of the beautiful skyline. This one is my favorite. It's the same view we had from our cabin only this picture was taken up on the pool deck.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005


I know some of you have been waiting with baited breath to hear about the cruise. Bottom line, we had a GREAT time! Biscuit Boy was sooooo relaxed and is already looking at other cruises, hehe.
I hoped to have gotten my post about the cruise done by now but since we got back we've been working, Biscuit Boy's been fighting a cold and I had a brief bout of food poisoning from one of our favorite local restaurants where we ate on Saturday. I was sick all day Sunday and Monday, what a lousy way to spend my birthday too!

But I'm better now and Biscuit Boy's cold is getting better too.
And with my sister and brother in law visiting this weekend, I probably won't finish my post on the cruise for a few more days. So I posted a few pictures just as a little teaser. Enjoy!

The picture at the top is an appetizer we had on Formal Night. It was called Smoked Salmon Claudine. The menu described it this way:
"An envelope of Smoked Salmon filled with Smoked Trout and Salmon Mousse complimented by a refreshing Cucumber Relish." It was wonderful. As was most of the food we ate, and we did eat a lot of food.

This was Mercury in port in Astoria, Oregon. Notice the sailboats in front of the ship. They're dwarfed by the size of Mercury. She's a beautiful, classy ship.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Where are my stretchy pants?

Why do I want to know where my stretchy pants are? The answer is simple, we're going on a cruise! We leave before the butt-crack of dawn on Saturday to fly out to Seattle for a 5-day cruise in the Pacific Northwest. See that thin line of blue on the middle of the ship? Our cabin in smack in the middle of that row.

Our ports of call are Astoria, Oregon; Nanaimo, B.C., Canada; and Victoria,B.C., Canada. We also have one day of just sailing through the Canadian Inner Passage (basically the water way between Vacouver Island and the mainland).

And of course, there's the food. Lots and lots of food. I will try to get some good pictures to post here after we get back.....try not to drool on your keyboards.

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Back to my roots

I found a cheap flight to Knoxville so I made a quick trip home to visit my family last weekend. It had been over a year since I was last home and the only family member I hadn't seen since then was my sister. The rest of the family had either been up here to visit or met us in Florida back in May. And I really missed my off I flew.

Now let me ask you...What family get-together would be complete without food? Not one involving my family. Mom made a huge pan of baked ziti and we all got together the first night. It was delish. No one makes better italian than my German-Irish mom. She actually learned to make her sauce from a neighbor in NY when I was a baby. Never have I gone home without a pot of sauce in the's pretty much a staple in my mom's house.

The next night just us kids got together. We ate pizza and watched movies at my brothers new house.

Sunday morning, we had our traditional family breakfast. Even though it's been almost 30 years since my family moved to TN from NY, we still have roots in NY food. Mom made her usual trek to the bagel place and bought bagels, bialy's and kaiser rolls. Then we feasted on fried egg on roll with homemade NY crumb cake afterwards. Mmmm..... I may have lived in the south for most of my life but I still have a few roots from NY.

And speaking of crumb cake, mom sent me home with a big ol' slab. There's one peice left.....and Biscuit Boy just asked me if we had anything sweet in the house...... I lied and said no. I want that last piece of crumb cake for me.....