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The formal evening began with the ‘Gala Reception’ and the chance to meet the captain. Actually, there are multiple Gala Receptions; two for each sitting, and there are two sittings. Ours was in the Pacific Lounge;  we were greeted by the Chief Technical Officer, and had a brief address from the Staff Captain. The captain himself was on the bridge – as we departed Zeebrugge the weather had turned bad with heavy rain, thunder & lightning, and very poor visibility, and these conditions persisted during the evening. Clearly the Captain had used this as an excuse to not attend any of the Receptions – oops, I mean of course that the Captain’s presence was obviously required on the bridge while the challenging conditions lasted!

 

Dinner itself was excellent, the best meal so far (dinners have been getting better as the cruise has progressed, from a rather disappointing first night). We had ordered a bottle of wine during the afternoon using the ‘wine line’ – ring them up, give your order, and it’ll be ready for you. Something went wrong with this – we had selected a New Zealand Pinot Noir (a red wine) but were presented with a Chilean white! But the mistake was corrected without any fuss, and to be truthful I don’t know who made it, us when we phoned in the request or them when they took it. Either way, it wasn’t a problem. For the meal itself we ate a rabbit, pheasant & veal terrine, and my wife had celeriac & stilton soup. Next there was a champagne sorbet to refresh our palates, after which my wife had beef wellington for her main course while I enjoyed slices of pheasant breast, on a bed of mushrooms and mashed potatoes, in a red wine sauce. With the Pinot Noir to wash it down, these were both excellent.

 

(My wife did make one comment during the evening – she didn’t feel impressed by the standard of the gowns on display. “They were better on Galaxy”, she said. She also asked me not to post her comment, but hey, it’s my blog… So score one for Celebrity!)

 

I went for a late night turn around the promenade just after midnight and conditions weren’t too bad. Some wind, obviously, and a bit of rain, but not as cold as I had expected (I felt OK in my dinner jacket) and the sea was still quite calm. Later on in the night (3:30?) we were woken by the sound of the ship’s hooter, and a quick glance out of our window revealed thick fog. But we quickly got back to sleep (we’ve slept better on Oriana than on any other ship, in fact) and the next thing we knew was that we were at rest off St Peter Port and could hear the sounds of the tenders being lowered.

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