Friday, April 30, 2010

Puerto Banus, Spain

Puerto Banus is a small port but very high end. The harbor was too small for the ship to dock so we anchored out and were shuttled in on a launch. However, the harbor was full of expensive yachts. The first car we walked by as we got off the launch was a Maserati followed by two Ferraris and two Bentleys, not a place for spending spare change. It was a pleasant way to get some exercise in the sun. The weather has been perfect all during our cruise with temperatures in the 70’s and bright sun. I brought a light coat along expecting a chill on the water but I’ve rarely used it.

The boat is an example of how to build a luxury yacht. It’s 439 ft long with a beam of 54 ft and draws 18.5 ft. The maximum number of passengers it can carry is 227 but only about 160 are on our cruise. With a crew of 106, there’s a good ratio of passengers to crew and it shows in the service. The interior is all done in varnished wood with carpeted floors.
The dining room can seat everyone in one sitting. The interior is polished wood and the tables are set with tablecloths and crystal. The entrance to the dining area is down a spiral staircase with a full view of the day’s cuisine. You have your own waiter that’s dedicated to no more than four tables, the service is excellent. Your selection is always served artistically as in the photo (sliced tuna).

For breakfast and lunch they serve a buffet with more food than you can possibly consume. There is a breakfast chef that will make a custom omelet for you and a lunch chef that will slice a special serving of the day in addition to all the other offerings. Since they have all nationalities on board, they have to plan for all cuisines. For example, the Germans like sliced cold cuts for breakfast and even slices of cold fish so that’s supplied with a large selection. There are always eight hot selections over a heating flame and under cover for both breakfast and lunch.

Dinner is a sit down affair with a full meal served by your waiter. The menu consists of eight courses with wine being extra (about 15 euros). Almost nobody has the full eight courses, it’s too much but if you feel brave, you can order them all. We top the meal off with coffee. You can sit anywhere and it’s fun to select a table and see who comes by. There are tables for two, four, six and eight, your choice. There is also a captain’s table but we haven’t been there yet.

The cabins are finished like fine furniture and the bath is lined with marble on the floor and walls.

At every stop there are tours you can take to the interior and we’ve taken a few but not every time we dock, we like to just relax some days and enjoy the warm sun and life on the ship.