Friday, March 23, 2007


SHARING vacation photos is one of my favorite thing about traveling. However, the 1,000 digital photos from our recent cruise to the Southern Caribbean are not yet ready. My husband who is in charge of those photos, is extremely busy with our income tax return, although it will be finalized by our accountant.

This time, I share with you some past memories from previous cruises. So far, we made four cruises to the Caribbean. We have visited many of the islands in the Western, Eastern and Southern Caribbean. We loved the Caribbean because its setting is close to our homeland - tropical, humid and charming.

COCLEAR AMERICA CELEBRATION Last year on February 2006, my husband and I attended the first Cochlear America Celebration and Reunion in Walt Disney Resort (Orlando, Florida). The celebration was for people who have cochlear implants, spouses and supporters. To justify the big expense for such a short event, we decided to embark on a fantasy cruise on Disney Wonder to the Bahamas, prior to the Cochlear celebration.

DISNEY WONDER The 4-night Disney cruise was short, but the most magical and fantastic cruise we had ever experienced. This cruise sounded like a fairy tale because it happened in a floating castle known as "Disney Wonder." With Walt Disney, the creator of Disneyland, as our imaginary traveling companion, it's guaranteed to be a fascinating and interesting cruise.

CHILDHOOD DREAM Its time to recapture my childhood dream on board the Disney Wonder. This cruise ship is very artistic, impressive and innovative. Disney's creative talents and dozens of world's best ship designers task, were to design a cruise ship that makes every adult feel the vacation was intended for them, while at the same time giving every child the same impression. The result may surprise people: whether they please everyone, particularly adults without children, remains to be seen. Look, how happy I was.

This was my photo taken in front of Disney Wonder. Keep smiling!

My husband with full view of Disney Wonder. SMILE! Good shot.

On board the Disney Wonder was like living in a fantasy castle. We talked, laughed, danced and sang among Disney's famous characters. Believe me, they were not robots. They're real.

We posed with Captain Mickey Mouse. Hail to the Captain!

Hello Snow White! So happy together. During this photo shoot, the seven dwarfs were in a different place in the floating castle.

My favorite fantasy princess. A beautiful moment with Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.

We posed with the Donalds. Not the famous Donald Trump but the friendly "Mr. and Mrs. Donald Duck." By the way, we fired Donald Trump.

NIGHTLY ENTERTAINMENT Was unlike any other cruise line's and featured quality, Disney-produced shows. The 1,000-seat Walt Disney Theater staged a different musical production each night with talented actors, singers and dancers. The costumes were extremely elegant,
backgrounds very impressive and shows very artistically lavished.

ART OF DINING Of course our favorite part of cruising was the nighly dinner on board. Here at Disney Wonder, it was a wonderful experience because of its major innovation in dining. The ship had three different family restaurants, plus an alternative restaurant for adults only. Every evening, we dined in a different restaurants with different theme and menu, but our waiters and dining companions moved with us. In each restaurant, table wares, linens, menu covers, and waiter's uniform fit the theme.

FIRST NIGHT We dined in Parrot Cay, which dished up Caribbean-accented food in a fun, tropical setting.

SECOND NIGHT We had a dinner at Palo, an Italian restaurant.

CHEERS! We were toasting our peach flavored bellini. The Palo is lovely with semi-circular room that had a sophisticated ambience with soft lightning, Venetian glass, inlaid wood and backlit bar. It's the best on board.
ART OF FOOD PRESENTATION I don't know about you but I care a lot how my food was presented. I remembered most fondly those aesthetic experiences that have unity -dinners that were attractively presented as well as super taste, treats, that were complete in themselves. Not "just a meal," these special experiences gave daily life quality and resonance. High color contrasts, textural changes -from the crunchy bright green asparagus to the richness of velvety chocolate mouse - quality around us, All these added to the incomparable pleasure dining could be. No matter, how good a cook we are, the presentation of the food and the setting should be a large part of the art of dining.

At Palo, the food and presentation were excellent. No kidding! Here's a photo of my main dish. What a special way to garnish the platter of fillet mignon with asparagus spears and carrots, mini-squash and roasted garlics. What a special dinner! How tasty!

Here's my husband's dinner. A platter of leg of lamb whet his appetite. It was beautifully presented with twigs of rosemary asparagus, carrots, and crunchy chips. Yummy!

We couldn't all go cruising and couldn't live in luxury every day, but I learned a lot how careful details contribute to the beauty of life and the pleasure one could get from a beautiful meal.
THIRD NIGHT We dined at the Triton, a handsome Art Deco venue serving continental cuisine. Themed after "The Little Mermaid." We ate seafood that night.

ANIMATOR'S PALATE But its this restaurant that reflected the creative genuis of Disney animation.

Diners were given the impression they have entered a black-and-white sketchbook. Over the course of the meal, the sketches on the walls were transformed through fiber optics into full-color extravaganza. Waiters changed their costumes from black and white to color.

The first course was a montage of appetizers shown above. It was presented beautifully.

Many times, I and my husband ordered different menu, but not that night. We had the same New York Steak for dinner. Who could resist this beautiful and delicious food? Wow!

DESSERT A mouse in the shape of Mickey, came with a parade by waiters bearing trays of colorful syrups - mango, chocolate, and strawberry- used to decorate it. It's very entertaining. We got absorbed in watching Disney performed his magic. Our eyes feasted not only on the show but our tummies as well. We felt so good and that's the magic.

"Eating is and always should be one of life's greatest pleasure," according to Bob Greene, the personal trainer for Ophrah. Yes, he's right.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Throughout history, food has been a subject for artists to draw and paint. When cruising, I never paint. But I took lots of food photos. Back home, I like to paint the food that inspired me during our cruises. Of course, on a cruise, food is the biggest enticement for us. But after six cruises, I am more interested in how the food is presented. I also feasted with my eyes not much with my tummy. My latest paintings are about food too. Did I make you hungry?

POSTCRIPT Someday, if given another chance, we'd like to cruise with Disney Cruise Line again. No doubt about it. It's worth sailing with Disney and its Imaginneers. He was one of the most inventive, creative and imaginative artistic visionary that one could find in the world of entertinment. He was brilliant and dedicated man who loved ART - a highly stimulating artists.

Who wouldn't like to be with anything created by Disney? It's never boring.