Food, Exercise and Smoking
Part III - Life on the Ocean Wave
A. Food, Glorious Food - For People Who Love to Eat
The Britannia Restaurant and Other Dining VenuesThe Britannia is the main dining room that seats 1,347 guests and is one of the most extraordinary rooms at sea. It spans the full width of the ship and is almost three stories high. It comes with two grand sweeping central staircases perfect for those who want to make a grand entrance. It serves breakfast and lunch in open-seating. The dinner is served with crisp linen and fine china in two seatings. All menus come with the Canyon Spa Ranch recommendations.
Queen Mary 2 also has a 200-seat Queen’s Grill and a 178-seat Princess Grill. In addition, there is a Todd English Restaurant on Deck 8 that offers Mediterranean Cuisine. As if we didn’t have enough food to sample at Restaurant Britannia where we were assigned, Queen Mary 2 brought along the celebrated cuisine of Todd English, one of the culinary world’s brightest stars. His Mediterranean fare and award-winning restaurants have received many rave reviews including “Top Table” and “Best Food” by Gourmet.
This is an alternative dining venue that seats 216 diners and is available only for reservations. It is named after the American TV Chef whose Olives restaurant in Boston has a fine reputation. The décor is Moorish, designed with intimate detailing. It overlooks the pool terrace that allows for al fresco dining.
The presentation of the food is excellent but at times fussy reminding us of the times we dined at the Ritz Carlton in Montreal where the tuxedoed waiter removed an important part of the fish dish I ordered. I almost slapped his hand to leave my poor fish alone.
Cunard, renowned for providing top service and food is delighted to give the guests the option to dine at Todd English’s first restaurant at sea. There is a speed dial on your phone to book a reservation. Lunch is $20 per person while dinner is $30 per person.
The Kings CourtThis is an informal eatery that seats 478 diners offering self-service breakfast and lunch, buffet style. The breakfast fare is the same with British Traditional standards of eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes and kippers but the lunch menu changes every day. Some do not recommend the pizza but we like it especially when they prepared it for us with anchovies. But the next time, the server said the anchovies were gone.
We used the hand antiseptic dispenser that Queen Mary 2 has encouraged us to use to maintain a healthy ship in Kings Court before proceeding to the self-service buffet. The dispensers are conveniently located next to the service trays. Top hygiene standards are the order of the day in this ship.
But you know what? Studies have shown that if you get your hands dirty you’ll be healthier. The antibacterial products may be contributing to the soaring rates of allergy. That’s what the scientists at Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan found. Don’t take this to the extreme though.
At night the Kings Court is transformed into four different dining areas. The Lotus seats 212 and serves Asian fare, the La Piazza with 66 seats offers Italian menu and is open 24 hours, The Carvery with 164 seats offers British fare and the 36-seat Chef Galley demonstrates the meal preparation of your choice of entrée. All four venues are sit-down table cloth service.
There are comfort foods, fast foods really, but they are served in the outside Boardwalk Café whenever the weather permits it. As well, there is British fare in the Golden Lion Pub where we sampled their Fish and Chips and found them excellent although Rita, our new-found friend from England said we should sample the Fish and Chips near her place.
There are fourteen bars and seven galleys serving ten dining rooms and eateries, all with ocean-view windows. One of the world’s top wine experts, Michael Broadbent, had the task of selecting the wines and champagnes. The main dining room is the Britannia that seats 1347 diners.
What is the key to preventing illnesses? This is no longer news for we now know that healthy eating is key to longer living and good health. Nutrients can help like Omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon and trout. So it was heartening to know that there is almost always fish on the menu offered by Queen Mary 2.
Caloric restriction is another factor for longevity and good health and judging from the portions we were served, it is something that we can do if we’d only adhere to eating what we have in front of us. People who live long life, like some Okinawans, eat a plant-based diet on 25 super foods like plenty of vegetables and fruits, lentils, fish and such.
That is why on April 17, while we were en route to Southampton, an Art Culinaire was conducted aboard the Queen Mary 2 by Chef De Cuisine Suryo Schlereth-Sukresno and Demo Chef, Chef Galley Shailendra Gopee. Here they compared Cunard’s Cuisine to those of yesteryears reflecting the lifestyle of today that is less strenuous than in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Then again on April 24, Chef Macario Arboleda, Chef De Cuisine and Demo Chef, Chef Galley Shailendra Gopee showed how to create sumptuous dishes. Afterwards, Cunard Line’s Culinary Ambassador, Jean Marie Zimmermann, was available to sign copies of her book.
That is why people today do not need to eat as much heavy food and have come not to like heavy caloric foods and sauces that are thick. To meet this challenge, Cunard Chefs adopted the modern classical style of cuisine. They were inspired by the French Maitre’d Chef de Cuisine Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935).
The style of cuisine was back to the basics of classically grounded techniques and ingredients to meet the healthier taste of today’s traveler. The food is quickly prepared, with the vegetables just lightly cooked and the meal attractively presented. We didn’t mind for we’ve always been adventurous eaters and always delight in discovering things that are unbelievably scrumptious and unexpected.
And we loved it that Queen Mary 2 made available all kinds of vegetables for snacking for a study found that snacking on carrots can make one sexier, not that we mean to be so. Just healthy, you know? But we’re not kidding, the research showed that veggies and fruits like carrots and berries give the skin a healthy glow.
How To Eat and Not Gain WeightBut let’s face it; some of us just can’t resist the temptation of the lavish food laid before us. It’s hard when cruising not to eat too much and we end up having a food hangover. There’s a way to avoid this though. With the correct mindset, starting the day with a brisk walk can help with the mood-enhancing chemicals the body produces after exercise to make healthy choices.
For example of making a healthy choice: Eat ½ rack of baby back ribs or any 4 oz meat with 480 calories and 30 grams of fat OR eat 4 oz of barbecue pulled pork plus one 2 oz piece corn bread along with a pat of butter and 1 cup of collared greens with 480 calories and 20 grams of fat. The math is done for you, so which is your healthy choice?
Have potassium and protein at breakfast for research has shown that potassium counteracts the bloating effect of sodium. Eggs can make one feel fuller longer. Do you want an example of these two nutrients? A cantaloupe with low fat cottage cheese has both protein and potassium and Queen Mary 2 has these supplies.
Researchers at Purdue University found that adding hot sauce and spicy seasonings helps hold back the appetite. Swedish researchers found that green tea that is unsweetened helps satisfy the appetite making one burn more and eat less. Eating vegetables will do this too. There you have it, five ways not to gain weight when food is staring us down.
Just remember, losing weight does not mean you have to deprive yourself of a food item. If you do, you will go crazy for it, so when it does appear, you will eat a lot of it as if there is no tomorrow. It is better to indulge without feeling guilty. Any diet is unreasonable but try to enjoy the process and not think of the whole thing as miserable.
Queen Mary 2 has lean and light options and heart-healthy meals. It is a matter of one’s choice with selecting poached fish or grilled items over the fried variety although we liked the fish and chips in this ship. Coupled with eating slowly and chewing the food well, we found our choice of food helped a lot in not gaining weight.
They even have a midnight buffet which we are sorry we cannot report on for despite decades of cruising, we have never participated in one. Besides being asleep by then, we were battling the battle of the bulge.
Believe that you’re worth it to lose weight and get rid of that pain in the knees and be able to wear your nice clothes. Have a buddy to keep you on track for having someone to cheer you on will make a difference. So despite the temptation at the King’s Court to sample the garlic whipped potatoes to compare it with the best we’ve ever tasted, we just walked on by.
MenusThe menus are worth keeping for the descriptions of each food item are stellar. One time we had Oysters Rockefeller (named for the richest American when it was created in New Orleans at Antoine’s Restaurant) that reminded us of the best oysters we ever tasted when we were visiting Louisiana.
They were so good we had to buy a set of dishes to serve them when we have guests. Sadly, we no longer prepare them for when we retired from our professions, we also retired from cooking and all that is left of our cooking forays, are thousands of recipes and sets of cooking and serving dishes that we bequeathed to our daughters Rolyne and Roevel.
Then there was the ham that was served to us that was almost as good as our ham recipe but theirs was dressed up with something elaborate while we dress our ham with pineapples and cloves. And our secret for having such delicious ham is that we boil it in seven up. Don’t tell anybody, okay? It’s been in our family for generations.
Allow us to show you three menus presented to us by the capable waiters with such flair you can’t help but be impressed. The first menu is the breakfast one which did not change daily unlike the menus for lunch and dinner. One of each for the lunch and dinner are below as well.
We were impressed by what Roy Maghinang, a head waiter, told us that foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and buffets are all cooked fresh every four hours and that they’re following the strict Health Regulations. All baked goods and desserts are made by the respective chefs. For some, it was a foodie’s paradise for the meals are elegant, leisurely affairs.
CHILLED JUICESChoice of Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry, Apple, Prune, Pineapple, Tomato, V8
FRESH FRUIT, COMPOTE & YOGHURTSHalf Sectioned GrapefruitFresh Melon PlatterCR Fresh Fruit Salad 65/0/2Compote of Stewed FruitsChoice of Plain or Mixed Fruit Yoghurts available as Regular, Low-Fat or Non-Fat
HOT & COLD CEREALSChoice of Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat Choice of Corn Flakes, All-Bran, Raisin Bran, Special K, Rice Krispies, Total Shredded Wheat, Swiss Muesli, Alpen, Weetabix
FRESH FROM THE BAKERYFreshly Baked Danish Pastries & Croissants Served at your TableToasted Bagels, White & Whole Wheat Toast, Rye Bread, Pumpernickel, White Rolls, Banana BreadCR Fruit Crisp 160/3/3
PRESERVES & SPREADSOrange Marmalade, Strawberry, Blackberry, Apricot, Cherry, Honey, Peanut Butter
FROM THE HOT GRIDDLE & IRONPANCAKES & WAFFLESFresh Pancakes Buttermilk or BlueberryServed with Maple Syrup or HoneyGolden Waffles with Fresh FruitFrench Toast with Whipped Butter & Maple Syrup or Honey
FROM THE HOT GRIDDLE & IRONFried Eggs to orderScrambled EggsOmelette with Ham, Cheese & MushroomsCR Egg White Omelette with Onions, Peppers, Tomato & Cheese 140/7/1Eggs Benedict on English Muffin & Canadian Bacon with Hollandaise SauceSmoked Salmon with Toasted Bagel, Cream Cheese, Red Onion & CapersGrilled Scottish Kippers with Sauteed PotatoesSmoked Finnan Haddock with Melted Butter(Please ask your server for low cholesterol egg alternatives)
SIDE ORDERSEnglish Bacon, American Bacon, Corned Beef Hash, Vegetarian Sausage, Chicken SausageLink Sausages, Cumberland Sausage, Mushrooms, Baked Beans, Grilled Tomato, Sauteed Potatoes, Hash Browns
ASSORTED COLD CUTS & CHEESEBlack Forest Ham, Smoked Turkey, Roast Beef, Italian Salami, Liver PateCheese - Emmentaler, Camembert, Cottage, Cream, BlueNutrition Key: Calories/Fat Grams/Fibre Grams CR Indicates dishes created & recommended by Canyon Ranch Spa Club***************************************************************************************Here’s the sample of a lunch menu:
BRITANNIA RESTAURANTLunchTuesday, 22nd April, 2011
CANYON RANCH SPA SELECTIONSAppetizer - Minestrone Soup 70/1/3 (V)Entrée - Salad Nicoise with Grilled Ahi Tuna and Red Wine Vinaigrette 390/15/6Dessert - Freshly-sliced Watermelon 120/tr/6
APPETIZERS AND SOUPSNew Zealand Green Lip Mussels on Marinated Vegetables with Citrus LiaisonPlum Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Cocktail (V)Minestrone SoupChilled Banana, Passion fruit and Dark Rum Punch (V)
SALADS AND SANDWICHESWatercress, Oak Leaf, Crisp Vegetables with a Choice of Dressings and Canyon Ranch Signature Dressing Crispy Fried Chicken Wrap, Avocado, Plum Tomato with Cheddar, Jalapeno Bacon SauceA Selection of Cold Meats is always available
Spaghetti BologneseMixed Seafood Paella Creamy Veal Ragout with Broccoli and SpatzleBlack Bean and Pine Nut Burger. Lemon Yogurt Dressing with Fatoosh SaladSalisbury Steak, Onion Rings, French Fries
Raspberry Panna Cotta Treacle Tart with Vanilla Ice CreamSugar-free Red Plum PieMaple Walnut and Vanilla Ice Creams with Chocolate Frozen Yoghurt and Mango SauceNutrition Key: Calories/Fat Grams/Fibre Grams (V) Indicates dishes suitable for Lacto-ovo-vegetarians***************************************************************************************And here’s a sample of a dinner menu:
BRITANNIA RESTAURANTDinnerWednesday, 22nd January, 2011
CANYON RANCH SPA SELECTIONSAppetizer - Chopped Vegetable and Bean Salad 130/6/4 (V)Entrée - Seven Spice Chicken with Fresh Pear Jus and Sesame Rice 380/13/7Dessert - Fresh Fruit Tart 170/6/2
APPETIZERS AND SOUPSSymphony of Salmon - Gravlax, Hot Smoked Salmon and Tartare of SalmonPeppered Goat’s Cheese on Beetroot Mousse, Tossed Herb Salad (V)Dutch Style Golden Fried Chicken CroquetteCream of Yellow Squash Soup with Basil CreamLemongrass and Chicken Egg Drop Soup with Cilantro
SALADS Lollo Rosso, Tomato, Avocado Chunks, Flat Parsley and Tarragon Vinaigrette (V)
Spaghetti al’ Aglio e PepperonciniPan-roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass, New Potatoes and Citrus Butter Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetables and Burgundy GlazeVegetable Lasagne, Plum Tomato Coulis, Parmesan Biscuit (V) Forest Mushrooms, Onion and Potato Gratin with Creamed Spinach (V)
Strawberry Shortcake, Berry Sauce Butterscotch Parfait with Almond TuileJamaican Rum Cake with Caramelized Banana, Coconut Ice Cream Sugar-free Mango Royale, Crusted with Passion Fruit Sauce and LycheesChocolate, Coffee and Cookies and Cream Ice CreamsCheese Selection with Danablu, Gouda, Emmentaler and Caerphilly
Nutrition Key: Calories/Fat Grams/Fibre Grams (V) Indicates dishes suitable for Lacto-ovo-vegetarians***************************************************************************************
The Grand Finale
They made such a big thing of this when they served us the Baked Alaska. It is the same in every cruise we’ve ever taken which started in 1983 on Queen Elizabeth 2 (the longest serving Cunard flagship launched in 1967 and made her final World Voyage in 2008). They have a good reason though for the Baked Alaska is the definitive big-finish dessert. Everyone says it tastes as incredible as it looks. The best part is it’s low fat, low-calorie and guilt-free.
Personally, we prefer the crème brulee and the soufflé. At our age, we need all the preservatives and fat we can get, just joking.
The Galley Tour
We were so intrigued by the food served at the restaurants that we decided to go on a Galley Tour on April 23. They were very careful in maintaining a hygienic and safe environment for all, that we were asked to review the safety and health requirements that have to be followed the whole galley tour. Among the requirements are:
Guests with gastrointestinal or respiratory illness or have been in contact with others who have these illnesses within the past 58 hours are prohibited from participating in the event.
Guests who feel sick or nauseated must not participate in the event.
Guests with symptoms of illness, including but not limited to skin rashes or jaundice may not participate in the event.
Guests with food allergies or intolerances or have allergies that cause coughing or sneezing should refrain from participating in the event.
To prevent the potential or spread of illness, all guests are required to sanitize their hands before entering the galley.
Guests are asked to refrain from touching any food items, surfaces and equipment during the galley tour.
Guests are asked to stay within the group at all times.
Guests must ensure that all clothing worn to the event is clean.
No open toed shoes will be allowed in the galley.
Smoking is prohibited.
We regret that the galley is not a suitable environment for mobility scooters, wheelchairs or guests with reduced mobility.
We must thank Terry Mere Wool, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager who so kindly furnished us with the following information:
Galley BrigadeThe entire Culinary Brigade consists of 150 ChefsWho are under the Supervision of the
Executive Chef Karl Winkler
Born in Salzburg, Austria, Karl spent time perfecting his culinary skills in Europe, New York and London. He has been working for Cunard Line for the past 35 years. His most challenging undertaking was Executive Chef of the opening team and the launch of the largest Ocean Liner Queen Mary 2. His philosophy is simplicity, creating food with the freshest ingredients chosen from an extensive repertoire of his career in the hospitality industry.
Karl is assisted byExecutive Soups Chef - Rene Rojas from Mexico
Each Galley has its own Chef de Cuisine:Britannia & Britannia - Jixi Anujan from IndiaQueens and Princess Grills - Catalin Baba from RomaniaKing’s Court - Mennard Ramos from the PhilippinesTodd English - Prasadd Haldanker from IndiaChief Baker, All Restaurants - Jose Paras Jr. from the PhilippinesExecutive Pastry Chef, All Restaurants - Sigfredo Satin from Philippines
The whole Galley and Dining Operation is supported by a team of 85 Dishwashers, Pot-washers and Galley Cleaners working around the clock.These Gentlemen are an invaluable asset to the whole operation and are headed by Sanitation Officer, Andrew Ollivierre from Barbados.
Queen Mary 2 is equipped with the following Galleys:
Britannia - Serving the Britannia RestaurantWith over 1200 Meals per seatingQueens and Princess Grills - Serving both Grill Restaurants with 400 CoversTodd English - Specialty Restaurant from the eponymous American ChefLa Piazza - Italian FareChef’s Galley - Experience cooking demonstrationsThe Carvery - Traditional English RoastsRoom Service on Deck 10Boardwalk Café - Our Fast Food station on Deck 12 MidshipCrew Galley - Catering to all the Ship’s Officers and Crew
Storage and Loading
To support the galley staff in providing meals to both guests and crew we have a provisions team of 13 - who load all the stores when required.
The storerooms on board Queen Mary 2 are located on Deck 1, Decks A & B and consist of 21 refrigerated rooms for all Food & Beverage items.
Queen Mary 2 loads Stores which include Fresh Milk, Fresh Vegetables and Fruit as well as Dairy Products, Fresh Fish & Seafood every week. Dry and frozen products are loaded every 12-14 days depending on the ship’s schedule.
The Food & Beverage Department submits its requisitions up to 3 months in advance for longer voyages, but typically every 3-4 weeks in advance for Transatlantic Voyages.
On a typical 6-day Transatlantic Crossing, the following quantities of food are consumed
Fresh Fruits & Fresh Vegetables 50 TonsMeat 12 TonsPoultry (Chicken, Duck, Turkey) 8 TonsFish & Seafood 13 TonsCheeses & Dairy Products 2 TonsSugar 2 TonsFresh Milk 20,000 Ltr/5000 GalEggs 32,400Flour 4 TonsRice 2 Tons
120 Pizzas are consumed each day.700 English Scones are served during Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room and Queens Grill Lounge every day9500 Canapes are consumed during the Captain’s Cocktail Parties and in the Bars. Almost 16,000 meals each day are prepared and consumed on board by Guests and CrewApproximately 87,000 pieces of china and glassware are used within the dining areas on a daily basis and they all have to be washed.Over 8000 linen napkins are used and laundered every day.6000 Cups of Tea are served daily.Almost 610 miles of cling film is used on board each year. As you can see, the trip has cook offs, wine tasting tours, afternoon teas and chef demonstrations that will keep the die-hard ’foodie’ amused and well fed. There was even a Seder Dinner at the Winter Garden to celebrate the Jewish Holiday of the Passover. Really anyone can eat round the clock 24/7 but with the world-wide obesity problem, all should exercise caution.
Part III - Life on the Ocean Wave
A. Food, Glorious Food - For People Who Love to Eat
B. Exercise and Smoking - Be Kind to Your Heart
Part III - Life on the Ocean Wave
B. Exercise and Smoking - Be Kind to Your Heart
There are many chances to exercise on Queen Mary 2, there really is no excuse for not doing so. It is a ship of many firsts, including the longest jogging track at sea. We were advised that jogging and power walking on Deck 7 is not permitted before 8 am and after 8 pm because of the disturbance it may cause the other guests below. This makes sense and so everyone has to cooperate.
Signing up for shore excursions that require a lot of walking or hiking is a good option to exercise. Then there was the Challenge your sports directors. We were encouraged to take on and beat them at any of the sports on board like table tennis, deck quoits, shuffleboard, baggo, paddle tennis. They called it a Decathlon Challenge that lasted for three days. Needless to say, there is a Sports Centre on Deck 13.
Walking up the stairs to go wherever you want to go is a good way to exercise. Not only is it good for digestion but it also is an opportunity to exercise. Doing this is a guarantee you will be fitter. The Groovy Choir often times held in the afternoon was some kind of exercise for the lungs We couldn’t help but sing along what with Bee Gees and Bacharach and others. You could also sing your heart out at the karaoke get-togethers.
There’s swimming of course and don’t get us started on the benefits of swimming to the overall health. Besides, how can you miss this when there are three outdoor swimming pools and two indoor ones, one of which could be enclosed under a retractable glass roof? This is great during bad weather.
And dancing? That’s the most fun way to exercise. There are all kinds of dancing in this boat. Line dancing, sequence dancing, ballroom dancing, need we say more? And the instructors are great. Gun is amazing and while she claimed she was not really good at line dancing, still she was one of the best line dancing teachers we ever had, second only to our beloved, Jean Curtis.
We know by now that exercise is good; it is the panacea for almost everything that afflicts human kind so let us push ourselves and exercise. We know it is hard because we experienced it ourselves that some days we just don’t want to bother but those are the days when we get the most out of it. It helps us feel a whole lot better.
Exercise does not have to be intense. The Pennsylvania State University found in a new study that women who are middle-aged get more positive benefits from activities that are less intense. Brisk walking is a more moderate exercise that is more pleasant and an assistant kinesiology said we are more likely to stick with it.
The sports facilities had a paddle tennis court, a giant chess board and a golf simulator. We were tempted to experience the last one because one drawback of this world cruise was that we had to give up our golf at home. We backed out though thinking it would not be the same as the real thing.
As for the Cunard Smoking Policy, there was a change in that smoking is no longer permitted in the casinos. Smoking is allowed in Churchill’s Cigar Lounge, the port side upper area of the G32 night club, designated areas on the open deck, in staterooms and private balconies, outside on Deck 7 aft under the clock and deck 8 aft under the canopy.
This is a good thing too for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that smoking can damage almost every part of the body. It can cause heart disease, blindness, stroke, lower fertility, chronic lung problems and many types of cancer like colon, cervical, lung, pancreatic, cervical and bladder cancers.
So what have those states who have not kept their promise to use a good portion of the settlement funds to deal with cessation programs and tobacco prevention been thinking? In fact, they have cut down funding for the programs to help smokers stop smoking and prevent kids from smoking.
They are now spending less than two cents of every dollar out of the $246 billion over the first 25 years of the multi-state tobacco settlement for smoking cessation programs. This is according to the annual reports that evaluate how the different states are keeping their promise.