Baltic cruise aboard Windstar Cruises’ Wind Surf: A day at sea

Executive Chef Olven Dsouza presents a well-attended cooking demonstration in the Wind Surf lounge.
Executive Chef Olven Dsouza presents a well-attended cooking demonstration in the Wind Surf lounge.

ONBOARD WIND SURF-A relaxing day at sea now and then is always a good thing, and we’re enjoying one today as we sail from Klaipeda to Tallinn, Estonia.  We didn’t get that much extra sleep, however, as we wanted to be on hand for a 9:30 a.m. galley tour with Executive Chef Olven Dsouza.  By now Melinda and I have had a chance to dine at most of the Wind Surf venues and we’re keen to see where all the fabulous food originates.

Chef Olven, who hails from Mumbai, India, is a cheerful, articulate fellow who hardly looks old enough to have worked as a sea-going chef for 27 years (19 with Royal Caribbean).  An additional 15 years spent cooking in hotels and restaurants in the Middle East and Africa adds to his familiarity and expertise in preparing quite a variety of cuisines.  He’s served aboard Wind Surf since March, 2014.

A galley tour gave us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the sparkling and efficient environment that produces every meal served onboard Wind Surf.
A galley tour gave us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the sparkling and efficient environment that produces every meal served onboard Wind Surf.

The ship has three galleys and our tour visited the largest of them, serving the AmphorA dining room.  It always amazes us how these cruise ship galleys can turn out so much food in so little space. Organization and efficiency are essential and we saw that in action as we shuffled through the network of sparkling stainless steel prep tables, ovens, grills, fridges, freezers and larger-than-home-size pots, pans, baking trays and mixers.

Members of Olven’s team of 34 chefs were already busy in one area, preparing salads for today¹s lunch.  Most of the chefs hail from Indonesia, India and the Philippines, which explains why we’ve seen a number of popular dishes from those countries featured in the buffet line at the Veranda restaurant.  Variety, they say, is the spice of life and there’s a satisfying amount of both variety and spice on Wind Surf menus.

Following the galley tour, Chef Olven performed a cooking demonstration in front of a packed house in the lounge.  He made it all look easy, of course, preparing and poaching a salmon filet on a bed of shallots, parsley and dill ­ adding a bit of his favorite Sierra de Malaga wine.

Wind Surf's spacious lounge is the center of most activities including lectures, cooking and other demonstrations, daily recaps and, of course, cocktail parties.
Wind Surf’s spacious lounge is the center of most activities including lectures, cooking and other demonstrations, daily recaps and, of course, cocktail parties.

Next on the day’s agenda was Guest Lecturer John Pennycate, a veteran British television journalist, author and historian who spent a long career as a producer and correspondent for BBC-TV.  John is onboard for the duration of our cruise, presenting a series of lectures on the fabled Russian dynasty of the Romanovs, a topic of great interest to many of us as we approach a two-day visit to St. Petersburg.

Today’s lecture, The Reign of Tsar Nicholas II to 1905, accompanied by some rare photos and film, focused on Nicholas’s Romanov forebearers, his marriage to Alexandra, his war with Japan, and the revolution of 1905, an event John noted was a harbinger of terrible things to come.  We’ll be on hand for John¹s lecture on Monday to find out what happened next in the continuing saga of the Romanovs.

I’m dealing with a health issue that has left me operating at about half-speed during this voyage, so I plopped into a deck chair for the rest of the day to read, and doze, and read some more.  You probably know how that goes.

The rest served me well and I’m reasonably ready to give it a go in Tallinn tomorrow.  I’m hoping for a good day as I check off #150 on my list of countries visited.

August 27, 2016

Photos by Dave Houser

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