Tuesday - 2006 Carnival Valor Wine Cruise

Tuesday was our day at sea. We began with a conflict in schedules - 10am was the golf talk with Scott but also the Q&A with Bob Dickinson. We'd done the Q&A last year at the wine festival and it was mostly people asking Bob questions about the wine club and him having to explain or defend things. With all the issues this year at the wine festival, I wasn't really looking forward to this. So I slept through it, while Bob went to the golf talk. We figured that we could hear from others how the Q&A event went.

Bob came back having signed up for tomorrow's golf trip, and with a set of clubs to play with. We headed up for a quick buffet lunch, then at 1:30 went to the Wines of New York wine talk. We sat with a couple from Toronto who was very familiar with the great wines of the Niagara region. The talk, given by Brad Emler, was interesting, but odd. Many of the slides were wrong, and conflicted with what he said. For example, one slide said that there were only 9 wineries in Long Island, when only 10 minutes later in his talk he said there were over 40. We certainly have personally visited more than 9 wineries in Long Island on our trips there :)

The wines he brought were apparently not the "best" wines, but were the ones he got for free from the wineries. So for example he brought a wine from Wolfer Estate, which is on the south fork of Long Island, and which few people liked. It was a shame because many people there were new to New York wines and were now forming opinions about the quality of wines from NY based on this selection. There were two "ice wines" ... well, NOT ice wines, but they kept being called ice wines except when he was explaining that ice wines had rules to follow and that these wines didn't follow those rules :) The Canadians and we found this a bit odd. Ice wines are wines where the grapes are allowed to freeze on the vines, and are harvested frozen. This process makes a very complex, sweet, delicious wine that is very concentrated and therefore very expensive. What these two NY wineries had done was tossed grapes into a freezer :)

Once that event was over, we roamed around the ship a while. Tonight was the past members gathering from 6-7. It was held in both the Eagles Lounge and the Paris Hot. We asked as we walked up which room we should go into, and were told Paris was much more fun. The band in there was playing 60s and 70s classics and was really quite good. We ended up sitting with an African-American couple who was great fun to talk to. They said they'd been hanging out on the Lido deck pretty much all the time, enjoying it. They had even had their first dinner there instead of going to the Lincoln dining room. The second night when they went to dinner, their table was so "quiet" that people hadn't even introduced themselves yet. They had hoped for a much more lively group to sit with. We suggested that they could always ask for another table, if they really weren't that suited to the people they were placed with.

The captain came in to say hello, and then we watched a 10 minute promotional "Carnival is Great" video :) Then people began loading up on the free drinks and food to tide them over until dinner. I had 2 Melon drinks over the course of the hour, but didn't bother to get any more - we were having wine with our dinner :)

We meandered around a bit, and soon it was time for dinner. Our fourth couple finally showed up tonight - apparently they had been gambling rather than eating the previous nights. We finally had a full table! We began by opening our Canadian Cabernet Franc Stoney Ridge wine - the Niagara wine, about $18/bottle. We'd been thinking about it for the main course but of course it was gone by then :) We sent two glasses over to the couple who had given the Argentinian wine talk and they responded by sending back to us a full bottle of their lovely Joffrey merlot. In between, the other two couples opened one of their bottles, a Clos du Val Chardonnay.

For dinner I had the mushroom which was great, then the spinach salad and sweet + sour duck breast. They were slow - we were waiting for our food while they were singing their songs.

The food was very tasty, but slow - we didn't get our main course served until after the waiter "show". We liked the chicken and the teriyaki short ribs. Dessert came at 10:15. For dessert I had the melting cake again and it was slowly getting better. The person who got the fig cinnamon cake loved it.

We went with one of the couples to the magic / comedy show, which was OK but not great. The other couple left before it was over. Then it was a stop at the Java place to get a piece of the black forest cake ($2). I was the first person to take a slice at all, this entire trip! We brought it back to the room to have with our port and watched a few episodes of House. Then it was to sleep early, so Bob could get up for his golf game tomorrow.

I don't have photos loaded for Tuesday yet.

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