The thirteenth annual Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Cruise is about to commence on the Seabourn Ovation’s August 3, 2019 sailing visiting Demark, Sweden, Norway, England, Scotland, Shetland Islands and Germany. Lots of culinary and lots of culture…and lots to do!
|Tivoli Gardens Entrance|
In addition to the normal extraordinary Seabourn experience, I have organized a few experiences:
- Oslo, Norway brings a Culinary Walking Tour where my guests will experience at least 24 different Norwegian culinary tastes plus a number of beers and aquavit.
- Newcastle Upon Tyne, England is where we will visit a castle and then have a traditional British lunch in a very unique treehouse restaurant.
- Edinburgh, Scotland we will experience a private Shopping with the Chef at one of the world’s best farmer’s markets in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle…plus the Military Tattoo.
- Invergordon, Scotland is where we head to Glenfiddich for a traditional Scottish lunch (including haggis for those that want to try it…and I like it!) followed by a private tour and a private whisky tasting, including some very special selections.
- Cruising the Kiel Canal brings a special cocktail party in a Penthouse Spa Suite
- And, of course, there is always more!
But first I have to get to the ship. And with that, what happened to me is a testament to why you never, ever, ever fly to a cruise on the day of the sailing. Hold on, because you simply cannot make this stuff up.
As I am a slave to United Airlines and its Star Alliance partners since I am a Million Miler, I booked two tickets; one to get me to San Francisco at 12:30 PM on United and one nonstop to Copenhagen on SAS at 5:20 PM. (Booking them as one ticket would have cost me over $1,000 more, believe it or not.) My bags were checked all the way through and I had, when I planned it, a 3.5+ hour layover, and knew there was a later flight to get me to San Francisco if my aircraft had a problem, so I was disaster-proofing myself…or so I thought.
As we were about to board my first flight the gate agent announced that San Francisco placed a ground stop on all incoming flights due to clouds and wind and there would be at least a one-hour delay. (Not a problem.) When that happens you never leave the gate area because that ground hold can be instantly lifted…and it was. So we boarded and went speeding down the runway to takeoff…and then the pilot aborted the takeoff because of a light malfunction. The good news is that everything was normal. The bad news is that the braking of the aircraft at that point so overheated the brakes that we had to head back to the gate and deplane while the brakes cooled and could then be inspected.
Not a problem (or so I thought) because there was my backup flight at 2:35 PM. But I came to find that the flight was seriously delayed so that it would not arrive in time for my SAS flight. Boxed in, I called United’s Premier Desk and, after dealing with repeated incompetence, United protected me on a flight to Frankfurt and then to Copenhagen in case I needed it. Whew.
The aircraft wound up being fine and we were given a 3:00 PM departure time…still giving me about two hours of cushion to make my flight. But then there was an air traffic control delay because all those previously held flights were arriving. With the clock ticking we finally arrived at 4:31PM, so I pretty much ran through the airport because I had to get to the International Terminal and, because it is me, literally the last gate (as per usual). I made it! Unfortunately, my luggage didn’t.
I settled into my bulkhead aisle seat and relaxed…until a very nice man who weighed at least 350 pounds sat next to me; consuming a good bit of my seat along with his. He was so large that he could not use the tray table because in the bulkhead row it is in the armrest so it is closer to you. In fact, he couldn’t reach around to get it out. Why do the airlines allow this? Just a bonus to my day.
It was beyond time to settle in as best I could and, being this is a Culinary & Cultural experience what better way to begin than with a Swedish single malt whiskey (only Scotch whisky omits the “e”). I can’t say it was one of the better whiskeys I have drunk, but after my day so far, it was well needed and enjoyed.
Anyway, to review my travel experience so far (seatmate aside):
- Weather delay
- Aborted takeoff
- Mechanical issue
- Air Traffic delay
- Lost luggage
These are the reasons one never, ever, ever, should try to fly into a cruise on the day of sailing…and I got them all!
At that point I knew my bags “should” meet me at the ship, but even if they don’t, I can buy clothes and I will be on the ship! It is so much better than even one of those things happening and having to catch up to the ship and miss part of my journey!
OK, with that behind me, it was time for me to enjoy a little bit of Copenhagen!
|Axel Guldsmeden Hotel|
I have a little funky very eco-friendly hotel I really like in Copenhagen: Axel Guldsmeden, which is walking distance to Tivoli Gardens and many of the major sites of Copenhagen. It is not for everyone, but I love it. The hotel has a lovely garden where you can enjoy cocktails in the evenings and breakfast and lunch each day.
My Junior Suite comes with a huge stone bathtub at the foot of the bed, wonderful eco-friendly toiletries, hemp towels, and recycled unbleached paper products. One that surprised me is the body oil they provide: It smells like marijuana…which I noticed after I put some on my beard!
After a bit of a rest, I met one of my favorite clients (I know. I know. All of my clients are favorites!) for a pre-dinner glass of wine in the garden and then we headed to one of my favorite restaurants anywhere: Formel B
; a Michelin star experience, but without any pretense whatsoever.
For me the young, charming, and talented staff make you feel at home almost instantly…and that literally sets the table for a memorable 3+ hour dining experience.
We decided on the Formel B six-course set menu and paired it with a Chassagne Montrachet; a wine that is high on my list of favorites and can virtually compliment, while standing up to, almost any dish you wish to pair with it. Perfect for a fixed menu.
We started with wonderful crisp lettuce with bacon and garlic aioli deliciousness
Followed by a superb and beautiful Baerii (Siberian) caviar with green peas, sour cream and chicken broth.
This was followed by a Potato Pancake (rosti) with lovage (a herb described as a combination of parsley and celery) pickled pine and whey.
Monkfish with spinach, onion broth and aged beef fat was next
Finishing the main courses with Stuffed Quail with morels, aromatic herbs and lemon thyme sauce.
Dessert did not disappoint either: Syringa (related to lilac) sorbet with an ice cream sandwich with hay cream, honey and bee pollen…and a double espresso.
It was then back to the hotel to settle in for a good night’s sleep…only to be awoken by a text message that my bags were located and will be on the next flight to Copenhagen arriving at 1:15 PM and will be delivered to the Seabourn Ovation. (Now for the delivery to the ship to be timely.)
I wandered down for my included breakfast and the Axel Guldsmeden provides an amazing buffet filled with organic and otherwise healthful delights as well as some wonderful cured meats and cheeses.
After a bit of a rest it was off to buy some clothes…just in case and paid for by the airlines…and then, off to the Seabourn Ovation.
I arrived and found a new system where I was given a check-in card telling me I was in Group 5…and they were only checking in Group 2. Fortunately, an old friend saw me, grabbed my passort and credit card and checked me in instantly. I was escorted to the ship and as we headed to the elevator I was asked if I knew my suite number, which I gave. I was told, “Wrong!” and was led to a Signature Suite, which is one of the best suites on the ship and overlooks the bow and “my” hot tub. What a wonderful surprise! And I am sure my guests will be enjoying it with me; especially as we enter the Kiel Canal at the end of the cruise.
A few minutes later I received a text that my bags had landed in Copenhagen and shortly thereafter the Seabourn Concierge advised me that they were on the way to the ship. And arrive they did!
So with that, Let the Adventure Begin…or, er um, Continue!
If you are interested in a Seabourn, or any other, cruise, give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!
US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
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