Our entire commute from the Queen Mary to our next destination took all of ten minutes – of which half of that time was spent waiting for an elevator to take us from the lobby on the third floor to the ground level. So not only did we arrive fresh and stress-free, we were also the first in line and ridiculously early.
Once we boarded and got to our cabin, I was treated to a special surprise – my Darling had not only upgraded us to a lovely suite, but had ordered champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries to be delivered to our cabin.
“After all, this is our honeymoon,” he explained, “even if it is a little late.”
The champagne needed to be chilled, so we opted to toast ourselves that evening after dinner. We decided to explore the ship instead and opened the cabin door only to find a note informing us that we had a reservation for the Pinnacle Steakhouse at 7:30 that evening. That gave us just enough time to suffer through the mandatory safety drill and dress before cocktails and dinner.
Along the way back from the drill, we met a lovely couple who were trying very hard to hit the maximum allotment on their prepaid cocktail packages. Over our protestations, they surreptitiously bought us each a drink on their account (their excuse was that there was no way they were going to meet the amount themselves for that day and the drinks were already paid for). We eventually stopped their well-meant intentions by signing up for our own cocktail package since it seemed like a pretty good deal for us. But we thought we’d return the favor and invited them to meet us back at our suite after dinner for dessert and champagne.
The Pinnacle Steakhouse is the premier dining house on the Splendor. It makes the food in the dining room seem like bad cafeteria food in comparison (likewise, the food in the dining room makes the buffet food seem like swill). We arrived a couple of minutes early and were immediately whisked to a table by a very polite maitre d who pulled our chairs out and put our napkins in our lap (I notice this stuff).
Overall the service continued to be as lovely as you would expect in a five-star restaurant. Our drink orders were taken, we were offered sparkling water and after our orders were taken, the silverware was swapped out with the proper implements (I ordered fish and was actually brought a fish knife and a fish fork). The old money sensibilities I inherited from my grandmother were suitably impressed. And the food hadn’t even arrived!
We were presented with a special hors d’oeuvre, compliments of the chef. As many of you who follow this blog know, I’m gluten-intolerant, but that didn’t stop the chef from preparing something special for me. Our server also made sure to bring a separate set of condiments for my gluten-free bread so that I wouldn’t experience sickness from cross-contamination.
We ordered a nice 2015 Catena Malbec to go with our meal. Malbecs are a good medium-bodied wine that we find generally pair well with everything from steak to fish, so it’s usually a safe bet and one of our go-to wines when we’re unfamiliar with the selections on the wine list. This one had a lovely fruity flavor, with tons of deep cherry and red fruits on the palette and spicy notes on the finish. It paired very well with our eventual dinner choices.
For starters, my Darling ordered a shrimp cocktail and I ordered lobster bisque. It’s almost impossible for some reason to find lobster bisque that hasn’t been thickened with flour, so I’m usually unable to enjoy this, one of my favorite soups. So if and when I stumble upon a gluten-free version (which this was), I will always order it. I wasn’t disappointed. It was scrumptious. My Darling’s shrimp cocktail was as lovely in presentation as it was delicious, made with large black tiger prawns.
Another of my favorites was on the menu – sea bass. I had it the previous night at Sir Winstons, so I was eager and curious to try it again for comparison. The presentation was almost as lovely. It was grilled perfectly, with a citrus glaze and served on a bed of baby spinach.
Mark ordered the surf and turf – a 5oz filet mignon and a 5oz main lobster tail. He said the steak was cooked perfectly and the lobster tail sweet and tender.
For dessert I opted for fruit while my Darling had the Carmelized Washington Apples. It was just enough sweet to finish off a wonderful meal without sending us into food comas. We ordered coffee with dessert, since we figured the night was still young and we had plans for after dinner.
We went back to our suite to meet our new friends and ended up staying up like a bunch of teenagers, talking and drinking well into the early hours. What a great start to this leg of our adventure!
Next up: Cabo San Lucas