Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Seabourn Legend... Legendary Indeed!

The Seabourn Legend
With four action packed walking, touring, eating, sipping and photographing days under our belt in Rome, the thought of leisurely enjoying our awaiting cruise ship, the Seabourn Legend, was beyond enticing.  After all, our anniversary vacation was meant to provide some much needed rest and relaxation time which had thus far been excitedly filled with quite the opposite.

With Rome at our backs, our driver, Mauro, transported us from the hectic paced Eternal City through slower paced suburbs, on to grassy hills and fields and finally to the smooth blue Mediterranean.  Arriving at the port of Civitavecchia our next mode of transportation, The Legend, awaited.  White gloved attendants whisked away our luggage and within moments my husband and I found ourselves with glasses of champagne in hand while checking in onboard the ship.

In a matter of minutes, another white gloved gentleman led us to our veranda cabin which was to be our home for the next seven nights.  Bidding us "Bon Voyage", the attendant departed as we toasted each other with the remaining champagne in our glasses just before popping the cork of the chilled bottle which had been so patiently awaiting our arrival.

Opening the veranda door we gazed at the ocean that would soon be ours and grinning, we toasted again as our luggage arrived along with Sonja, our room attendant, who brought indeed more champagne and a smoked salmon appetizer.  Yes... this was the rest and relaxation we were looking for!

Easy to get used to, the aptly described 200 guest mega-yacht provides a most comfortable atmosphere along with touches of luxury at every turn - sophisticated yet simple.  From the delicious food, to the friendly staff to the thoughtful itinerary with special touches (Captain Anderssen took us past the erupting Stromboli for our viewing pleasure), sinking into vacation-mode was no problem at all.  More importantly, some of the "usual" touches from larger cruise ships (queues, loud announcements, soda cards, signing for drinks, sexy leg and belly flop contests, etc) were noticeably absent.

Twice Baked Goat Cheese Souffle - I'll take two!!!
Most evenings began meeting new friends aft, at the Club Bar, as we chatted and sipped a cocktail before moving on to the Dining Room, aptly named "The Restaurant".  Different nightly menus provided exceptional dining choices suiting nearly all tastes.  First course soups received rave reviews over and over again and the entrees and of course the desserts never failed to please.  Favorites for me included the Pan Sauteed Salmon, cooked to perfection and served with Cauliflower puree, capers and radocchio, Chateaubriand cooked perfectly to my requested medium-rare, and the Twice Baked Goat Cheese Souffle with Roasted Sweet Garlic Cream that literally melted in my mouth.

Sauteed Salmon with Cauliflower Puree
Restaurant 2, a second aptly named dining option, provided a somewhat different dining experience.  Reservations required and only serving some 30 guest a night, Restaurant 2 brings a special dining menu to each evening.  Our two visits to this venue brought incredible meals, the first being an Asian affair starting with a Chinese Hot & Sour Chicken Soup which my husband actually dubbed the best soup he's ever had.  Ginger Glazed Portobellos with Crisp Onion Rings and Orange Dressing, and Pan Roasted Marinated Cod, Stir Fried Vegetable & Egg Noodles with Miso rounded out the menu where we found ourselves enjoying our meal so much we were the last to leave.  I might add that the Passion-Fruit Creme Brulee Lime Sorbet was positively addicting.  Additional Restaurant 2 offerings throughout the voyage included a Tapas-like tasting evening (the Apricot Beignets were to die for!), Indian Spice Market, Surf N' Turf, and Steak House.  Definitely worth a visit if you are onboard.

Breakfast with a view of the beautiful cliffs of Lipari
Breakfast for us was most preferable on the back of the ship, outside at the Veranda Cafe with stunning views of the Mediterranean vistas and ports.  After placing our cooked to order and beverage requests each morning with our server, the always energetic and smiling Boro, we then headed inside to peruse the fresh fruit, yogurt, cheeses and meats, and bread offerings.  Memorable indeed... I miss my breakfast with a view.

On a side note, I was interested to learn that all of the incredible breads and pastries were baked onboard the Legend.  Apparently one man begins baking bread just as the rest of the chefs are retiring for the evening and he bakes the entire night through providing all of the bread needs for the following day.  Rolls, sliced breads, and bread sticks were always available in addition to muffins, croissants, and other offerings.  Pastries, cakes, cookies, and innumerable other sweet confections were also available leaving one with more choices than one can possibly try.  Pastries and such were provided by a wonderful team of talented pastry chefs who had my heart from moment one.

I couldn't decide... so I chose both the White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Sauce AND the Coconut Cream Pie...

Fueled and ready to go, a new port awaited our exploration each morning by 8 AM.  Most ports were simple enough to wander through on foot as the Legend docked or anchored nearly downtown in the small ports of Sorrento, Taormina, Trapani, Valetta, Lipari and Gaeta.  Transportation to town was provided by the ship if walking was not possible, and in addition excursions to various tours and activities including pizza making and olive oil tasting were available for purchase.  Preferring to keep our days mostly unplanned after our full speed ahead days in Rome, we chose to forgo most excursions in place of a more relaxed pace spent wandering about the local ports and tasting the local fare.

While lunch was served onboard the Legend, taking advantage of the local fare and cafes in most ports was our preferred choice.  Enjoying fresh Italian Pizzas, Cannoli, Cappuccinos, and Salads had us gushing with pleasure and considering a full time move to Italy.


Continuing our new wine with lunch practice, a return to the ship for a nice nap before partaking in the daily afternoon tea in the lounge became a habit.  Then it was off to our pre-dinner cocktail where Ben, my favorite bartender, mixed our drinks and had us on our way to dinner before heading to bed and so we could start all over again.

Early in our voyage, Captain Erik Anderssen hosted a Gala where he introduced the ship's officers and many of the staff, obviously a close knit and cohesive group.  Taking a moment to address the guests, Captain Anderssen read the following poem which touched my heart and seemed to sum up our vacation and in general, our way to Liv Life:

Decide to be happy today,
to live with what is yours,
your family, your business, your job.
If you can't have what you like,
perhaps you can like what you have.
Just for today, be kind, cheerful, agreeable,
responsive, caring and understanding.
Be your best.  Dress your best.
Talk softly, look at the bright side of things.
Praise people for what they do,
Don't criticize them for what they can not do.
If someone does something stupid,
Forgive and forget.
After all, it's just one day.
Who knows,
It might turn out to be a nice day.


  
With memories of the Legend still swirling in our heads, returning to real life has had its difficult moments.  We simply can't thank Captain Anderssen and his crew enough for seeing to our every request and for pampering this tired mom and dad for a week. 

Bon Voyage!


14 comments:

  1. Oh wow, look at all of that food! It is all gorgeous! Happy Anniversary!

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  2. Oh Kim, reading this brings a tear to my eye. That you had precious time as a couple a way, that you were treated in the royal manner you deserve (I see how much energy you have and you must never stop!) and I wish I was at that table of friends with you there, sipping Champagne (that's another reason for the tear) and enjoying life to the full. The last part of the tear is reading your poem: for growling at a someone today for doing something stupid, for being bad tempered with a neighbour and his car.... the list goes on. I need to get hubby to read your post!! Hint, hint.
    Seriously, this was one unforgettable and fabulous way to celebrate together. Wonderful post!

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  3. What a lovely time this must have been (and I always drink wine with lunch when vacationing in Europe). Happy anniversary!

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  4. Happy anniversary! Your trips sounds like it was truly wonderful. The yacht must have been an experience, and all that food looks incredible - especially the goat cheese souffle! Gorgeous pictures, and what a beautiful poem...

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  5. What a wonderful escape. That cruise sounds like the perfect anniversary getaway. Thank you for sharing the poem. It really spoke to me.

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  6. WOW! that's all I can say! What an amazing experience and your photos made me feel like I was right there- and making me want to do this with my husband! Cherish each day you have together, a happy marriage is worth way more than a pot of gold! Thanks for sharing your special dream vacation!

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  7. Kim that is a beautiful post. The ship, the food, the scenery, and your words are just beautiful.

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  8. I absolutely love cruising! It has been almost 4 years since we went on our last one. This sounds like a great anniversary! Glad to hear you had a wonderful time!

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  9. Now THAT'S a cruise I can get into! Since moving here and seeing cruise ship passengers getting herded around everywhere they go on a schedule, I haven't really been that interested in doing one. But THIS looks like a lovely cruise vacation! Less people = better atmosphere and service :) Happy Anniversary!

    Buzzed

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  10. Happy Anniversary! Sounds like a wonderful time. I have never been on a cruise but I think I might like to give it a try just for the food!

    Your picture with Lipari in the background reminds me of my honeymoon. Hubs and I visited the Aeolian Islands for a few days for part of our trip and it was wonderful!

    Wishing you many more happy years together. :)

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  11. Wow, all of that food looks and sounds amazing! What a trip! Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Love this - I am drooling over all the delicious food! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip - thanks so much for sharing with your readers, and congratulations on your anniversary! :)

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  13. It looks like you all had a fantastic anniversary! Glad to have you back and hopefully you're well rested =)

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