The Albany Chaîne Hits the High Seas – 10/5/14

Who doesn’t like a cruise? Well, honestly what’s not to like? You leave your cares behind as concerns about where your next meal is coming from are non-existent, wine and spirits flow freely, transportation is provided, entertainment and other diversions onboard abound, interesting ports of call beckon and you only have to unpack once. What could possibly enhance this experience? Perhaps sharing it with a fun-loving coterie of fellow Albany Chaîne members – and that is precisely what the Albany Chaîne did from October 5 to October 12, 2014.

Fourteen of us set forth from Albany on a private bus (laden with Bloody Marys, Champagne, two types of donuts and enough bagels, lox and cream cheese to feed an army), which took us directly to the pier in Boston where we quickly boarded Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas. What happened after that is kind of a blur, although our photographs suggest that we visited Halifax, Nova Scotia, Saint John, New Brunswick, Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine. During the day we pursued our individual interests ranging from a spa treatment, a workout in the fitness center, watching a movie, reading a book, soaking in the hot tub or just lounging around the solarium. In the evening we joined together for dinner proudly wearing our Chaîne decorations. The ribbons were a source of interest to curious fellow passengers, and we fielded numerous questions and cheerfully provided them with information regarding the Chaîne. We believe that several will be contacting a local bailliage with a request to be put on a guest list.

Our group enjoyed communal dinners in three of the specialty restaurants: Izumi (Japanese and Thai cuisine), Chops Grille (steak house) and the Chef’s Table, an intimate and elegant dining venue with multi course food and wine pairings providing a Chaîne-like experience. At this dinner, Chef Dita came out to explain each course and Maitre d’ and Sommelier Gary Bateman did a nice job with the wine commentaries. The other evenings, we enjoyed dinner in Mistral, the main dining room, where the food was quite good and the service even better. Following dinner, we usually adjourned to one of the many bars to enjoy live entertainment, singing along with the piano player, and often closing the place. On the bus trip back to Albany, we discussed the possibility of future cruises and unanimously agreed that another one is definitely in the cards, although the next time heading south to the Caribbean.