We had a bit of rain in Genoa today, but luckily we have our superb team of butlers to keep everyone dry.
Meanwhile, final preparations onboard continue. Chef Kelly is now settled in at the Bon Appétit Culinary Center. She’s been working to get everything set up for our new classes, which include one-hour sessions on paninis and how to make friends with your pressure cooker. We now also offer a class called Beyond Brie that will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about cheese.
She’s also been making final arrangements for our new Culinary Discovery Tours that will launch with Riviera. When she was onboard Marina, she recently did some exploring in Sicily looking for potential tour destinations. She took a small group on a treasure hunt through the farmers market in Catania; then they filled some cannolis in a bakery in Taormina; and then they were off to a winery on Mt. Etna. Finally they returned to the ship to hand-roll pasta using the ingredients from the farmers market. Phew!
Chef Kelly also told me about a new Culinary Discovery Tour she is planning for St. Petersburg called Cuisine of the Czars. You explore local shops and restaurants to learn what the czars and peasants have historically eaten in Russia during each season. Of course, back on board everyone eats like a czar.
Speaking of eating like a czar, the onboard restaurants are almost ready. New recipes are being finalized, and the staff is already providing their excellent service because after all, chefs have to eat too.
The olive oil from Riviera’s godmother, Chef Cat Cora, will be served in Toscana. Considering her Greek heritage, Chef Cora certainly knows her olive oil. Now I’ll have an even tougher time deciding which olive oil to order.
And don’t worry, after indulging in the onboard restaurants, there will be plenty of activity on the decks to work off some calories. Today I played the inaugural game of ping pong on our new table.
I have the same table at home so I like to think I know how to play. I have a pocket full of Big O Points for anyone who can beat me.
We are also all setup for shuffleboard, bocce, croquet and miniature golf.
In fact, all the decks are coming to life, and we’re putting the final polish on the indoor venues as well.
As you can see, we’re nearly ready to welcome the first guests onboard! More photos to come soon.