Day 3 - Portland, Maine
We were smart last night and placed our breakfast order outside the cabin. It arrived promptly at 6:30 as we requested. Chris and I exchanged “Happy Birthdays” since we share our birthday. We had cards for each other and had our coffee and croissants before meeting my parents for breakfast at O’Sheehans.
We were not arriving for a few more hours so we enjoyed the views from our balconies. The ship passed Portland Head Light located in Fort Williams Park. It was a very beautiful approach to Portland. We sat for a bit on the balcony before meeting my parents back at O’Sheehan’s for a drink before venturing out. Chris and I both tried the Buena Vista Style Irish Coffee. We have had the original one in San Francisco and this is a good attempt at recreating it but the coffee needs to be hotter to balance out the cold cream.
The mission today was to find a lobster lunch for our birthday. I was proud of my dad for making the walk of .75 miles to the Portland Lobster Company as he has trouble walking far distances. The place was perfect as we ate outside in the unseasonably nice weather enjoying live music. We had lobster rolls with the exception of my dad who ordered a peekytoe crab sandwich. I also shared whole belly fried clams with Chris. My mom and Chris also sampled the clam chowder. We shared a pitcher of Allagash White beer which was so refreshing. It was an amazing birthday lunch that my parents treated us to. The music was great and when they played Maxwell’s Silver Hammer we all thought of the one missing person, Veronica. This song has special meaning for my dad and Veronica. Of course, we sent her a video of the music right away! I noticed walking out that this was the last day of the season for the restaurant so I am sure we were lucky with this gorgeous weather.
Across the street was Holy Donut which is a popular local bakery that specializes in potato donuts. There was a line outside of about eight so we decided to have one for dessert. We were only going to order two but they were giving away extra since they had made too many. We tried lemon, pumpkin, sea salt chocolate and cinnamon sugar. The donuts were slightly greasy on the outside yet super dry on the inside. None of us were fans of this style at all. I prefer a chain donut like Tim Horton’s to these for sure.
My mom and dad walked back to the ship and Chris and I explored a little bit of the town. We found a cute store that sold clothes made from alpaca. Since that is the name of our blog and our travel advisor website, we had to stop in. Chris bought me a cute pair of socks and a stuffed alpaca for my birthday. We didn’t stop in any other stores but went down towards one of the piers to see the smaller boats. We stayed there for a bit because his parents called to wish us a happy birthday. Chris saw the small train next the ship and asked if I wanted to ride but I took a pass on that. Instead, we went back on the ship and met up with my parents for a cocktail.
Syd Norman’s outside bar was the spot we chose to meet so we could enjoy the weather. I did some writing at the bar and enjoyed an Aperol spritz. When the sustainable bar opened, we traveled across the hall to sample the drink of the day that happened to be the Croissant Mai Tai. This one is probably my favorite. It is made from the almond croissants only available in the Haven. My dad took a chance and tried one as well and liked it. While sitting at the bar, Chris and I both noticed an officer standing off to the side and recognized him. It was Made from our Gem cruise, 11 years ago! He looked the same except he has been promoted. We had a wonderful chat with him and Chris found the photos we had taken of him from a martini tasting he hosted. Before the days of the beverage package, the martini tasting was a very popular event. For twenty dollars, you would get four full size martinis, lots of entertainment, and sometimes the chance to win more! Made ran these expertly and provided knowledge as well as entertainment in the form of bar tricks and balancing glasses on his head sometimes while doing push ups. It was fun reminiscing about the old days of NCL with him. I had to return to the cabin though to get ready for our birthday dinner in Le Bistro.
Before dinner, we met at our usual corner in Shakers. There was a small rainbow visible through the window. We enjoyed all our usual cocktails this evening. Allan told us he had something for our birthday and to stop back after dinner.
For our birthday, Chris and I chose Le Bistro. Each couple used their Latitudes coupons so we were entitled to two bottles of wine this evening. I selected the Chenin Blanc and the Cabernet Sauvignon. I decided to give the escargot another try for my starter and while cooked perfectly, I still felt like there is something missing as they seem blander than in previous years. Chris tried the steak tartare and enjoyed the mustard flavor. We both had the crab salad with smoked salmon and think it is a wonderful dish. For entrees my dad had the Dover sole, Chris had the veal, and my mom and I both had the filet. The entrees were excellent. For dessert we all ordered I’l flotante except my dad, who skipped dessert. They also brought us a cake for our birthdays and Made sent a bottle of Moët for us to celebrate. It was a fantastic bottle and we didn’t leave a drop!
We headed back to Shaker’s to visit Allan. He made us the most adorable and creative gift. It was a diorama made from repurposed bar items on a coaster. It had chairs, umbrella, table, flowers, and a sign. He also made one for my mom. I will pack this very carefully and display it on our bar at home. He is an example of some of the amazing service and connections you can make onboard.
We made reservations for the 9:30 showing of Burn the Floor for tonight. Burn the Floor is a Broadway show that is a tribute to ballroom dance and how it has evolved into a sexier style than the early years. It features live music and singing as well. The dancers are top notch and many of the professionals on Dancing With the Stars have performed as cast members. As students of ballroom dance, Chris and I both enjoyed the show. We were pretty tired after the show so we walked around a little and decided to call it a night.
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