The Anonymous Widower

Arriving At Gibraltar

Arrival at Gibraltar was early in the morning of March 23rd.

You certainly can’t miss the Rock.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Gluten Free Food On The Oriana

I had been a bit worried about getting gluten-free food on the cruise.  But to be fair, the food was generally good to excellent and I certainly didn’t have any problems.

I should say that although, I’m a properly diagnosed coeliac, I think that if I was to eat a couple of slices of regular bread, it wouldn’t do me that much harm.  Not that I’m going to try. But I’m definitely not supersensitive!

According to the restaurant manager of the 1,800 or so on the ship, twenty-four were on a gluten-free diet. This number probably gave us all a bit of safety, as if it was typical for a cruise, they would be getting quite a bit of practice in dealing with those needing a gluten-free diet. And as they say, practice makes perfect.

Initially, at dinner, they wanted me to choose my meal the day before.  I wasn’t having any of that, as I like to stick to a balanced diet and how would I know, what I would eat at breakfast and lunch, so that I could properly choose the dinner.

I had seen the menu and noted that there were three starters, two soups and six or more main courses. So I felt that there must be something I could eat, perhaps by removing one element if required. The only day I was in trouble, was when most of the main courses had a small problem or I didn’t like them and I was left with just Norfolk turkey.  As an Ipswich Town supporter, you don’t eat oversized budgies from our Northern neighbours.

So I swallowed my prejudices and had a very nice turkey and vegetables without the stuffing.

One thing that surprised me about the food at dinner was the variety. As an example, I was surprised to see tuna steak on the menu.

Tuna Steak For Dinner

Tuna Steak For Dinner

And very nice it was too!

I should also note these points about the dinner.

1. The staff were very knowledgeable and one told me, that they used flour in the cream soups, so he said stick to the clear ones, of which there was usually one.

2. Many of the main courses were meat and vegetables and you could generally have them plain.

3. I didn’t really look at the vegetarian options, as they weren’t for me.

4.  I had gluten free bread every night and it was served separately.

5.  I didn’t have puddings, except for ice cream, which was delicious and someone thought it was made on the ship. In one instance the ice cream came with a biscuit and the waiter took it back immediately he put it down and then got me another. And it was another and not just the original with the biscuit removed! We’ve all had that in restaurants, haven’t we?

The real problem about dinner was the company on the first night, who were a couple who didn’t speak to me or each other for that matter! After that experience, I was moved.

Breakfast wasn’t a problem at all, with many things I could eat. There was gluten free toast, which was quite nice and as it was very similar in taste to that in the Hope Street Hotel, I suspect they made it themselves from some sort of standard mix or recipe.

A Typical Breakfast

A Typical Breakfast

Towards the end of the cruise, I’d settled down to a breakfast like the one shown, which I ate in the buffet restaurant, with good views of the sea. The toast hadn’t arrived, if you’re wondering, why I have marmalade and no toast.

The bacon wasn’t the usual mass catering rubbish, with a lot of fat, but lean and tasty. I sometimes had an egg, but I find that too many are not good for me, so I usually limit myself to three a week. The beans incidentally were Heinz, as I heard someone ask!

If I have a small problem in the buffet restaurant, it’s that the labelling could be better.  For instance, the beans could have been labelled Heinz, which many and not just those on a gluten-free diet would find comforting. With better labelling, staff wouldn’t probably have to answer the same questions over and over again.

I usually had salad for lunch, if I actually needed to eat and they were very acceptable. Again, in some instances the labelling could have been better, as sometimes they mixed up a few vegetables and ham to create special salads.

If there was a problem, it was in the lack of gluten free cakes and biscuits. There were some, but they weren’t to my taste, as they had coconut in them and that’s something I can’t abide. So I would recommend that you take a few of your own.  I did! But I didn’t take enough!

Another problem, was that I think I might have put on a kilo or so!

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Dressing For Dinner

Three nights on the cruise were black tie.

I wore a new shirt and the result seemed acceptable.  Well to me at least.  Note the safety pin in the trousers. I never remove them after clothes have done a trip to the dry cleaners, as you never know when you might need them, as I did in this post!

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Leaving Casablanca

I took these pictures as the Oriana left Casablanca

I have not annotated them. The mosque named after Hassan II is in many of the pictures.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Maverick

This ship was docked in front of the Oriana in Casablanca.

For whatever reason, I don’t know, it was stuck in the port, so the captain of the Oriana sent some of our food to keep the crew of The Maverick going for another few days.

The Maverick

The Maverick

I would assume that the owners didn’t have the money for port fees or something.

Everybody thought it was right, that the Captain took the action he did.  But then it is a law of the sea to help fellow seafarers.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Summing Up Casablanca

The trip to the beach was excellent, but that couldn’t be said for the weather! I’ve been to Morocco before, and it was just as non-threatening as Marrakesh was ten years ago.

One thing that I noticed, was that a lot of the young Moroccan women, don’t bother to cover their hair, as most women do in Muslim countries.  Coupled with the vast numbers of newspapers on the streets, does this show that Morocco is joining the modern world? Incidentally, I did hear a report on BBC World, that said that Morocco was one of the most welcoming countries in the world.

Let’s hope it stays that way! Or possibly gets even better!

I remember last time in Marrakesh that we had been recommended a restaurant by one of C’s colleagues in her chambers.  We asked the concierge of our five star hotel, how we could get to the restaurant and he said to take a taxi, as the restaurant was difficult to find. We then asked how we got a taxi to get home and he said, that if we felt up to it the best way was to walk, as Marrakesh was a safe city.

So after an  amazing meal, we walked back to the hotel!

The only interaction we had on the walk, was when a guy courteously waved us through, as he was in a hurry.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking Back To The Oriana

I took these pictures as I walked back to the Oriana.

They do illustrate, what I said in this post about there being a need for a good walking route from the tram to the dock.

I always photograph daisies.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Beach At The End Of The Line

The beach was lots of flat sand, with the sort of dramatic sea, for which the Atlantic Ocean is renowned.

It was actually fairly deserted, so after my orange juice, I returned to the city centre.

But it was worth it, just for that orange juice alone, which had been freshly squeezed for my benefit. I have only ever had one orange juice anywhere near the same quality and that was in a five star hotel in probably Spain.

That would have cost me a lot more than the thirty pence or so the Casablancan one did!

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Casablanca Tram

I was about to go back to the boat, when I saw a tram, with the destination of Plage on the front.

It was a trip worth taking on the Casatram, that was only a few months old.

If the tram has a problem for cruise visitors, it is that although it goes fairly near to where the Oriana was docked, there is no walking route to the tramway, as there is a lot of dock-related buildings in the way.

It was however very easy to use, provided you had a few coins in the Morrocan currency. Instructions were in French, Arabic and English.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Casablanca In The Rain

As we started to explore the city it started to rain.

As you can see, it wasn’t just drizzle.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment