Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Cannes to Paris Avalon Cruise September 2017 - Day Three

Cannes to Paris Avalon Cruise September 2017 - Day Three

September 18, 2017

Again, not many photos from today. Weather a bit grey and didn't seem to be much to take... 

Carlton International Hotel, Cannes
Up and showered and cleaned teeth and packed and out for breakfast for a somewhat chill 8.30am. Looked a bit stiff, five euro appearing the cheapest for coffee, juice, and croissant with butter and jam so had a quick espresso at the railway station (actually wanted the dejeuner express for E2 but she misheard me). I then checked the Monoprix wine prices on the way back to Atlantis (no croissants there but rolls and sandwiches got) and bought a baguette at the boulangerie across from the hotel and had it for breakfast with the remains of the pate. I also figured to save some of both bread and pate in case the Lenglui  arrived a bit hungry after the flight. Which would prove so. Coffee is an addiction. Feel like shit all day when you don't have one in the morning, and poop like a champion when you do. I spent the rest of the morning writing notes and dozing on the bed as Cannes woke up to its Monday morning. Seem to be sleeping a lot for some reason. Still it clears the brain and hopefully makes for readable prose.

Checked out of Atlantis for about 11.30am, and had a most pleasant chat with Jean Michel, the most affable owner and operator of the Atlantis. He proved most considered; asked if I needed anything i.e. bottle of water. I declined, having taken some from the tap upstairs in my disposable tucked in the backpack. I commented on a beautiful table arrangement of roses and JM shared that his wife bought them daily at the market. It was their stamp and signature, fresh flowers at the hotel every day for them and the guests to enjoy. A very nice touch. I shared that I was meeting the Lenglui at the next hotel and he insisted that I take one of the roses for her. A delightful touch and gesture, which ensured where I would stay should I return. I do hope I will.

Out of the hotel for a fifteen minute trundle with the case along the Rue d' Antibes, turn right along Rue des Serbes at the end of which I crossed the Croisettes for a slow amble along the promenade. It seemed to offer easier and smoother trundling for the Orange Monster wheels. Get to a pedestrian crossing and straight into the Carlton. The day was turning a bit cool so there were not many stretched out on the private beaches. Though I did see a couple of bivouacers on one beach still asleep and a couple of street sleepers en route. 

I always get a sense of WTF when I step into a bigass hotel, and the Carlton proved no different. Still find it hard to believe that a scratchy kid is staying at somewhere like this. Still hard to believe, but still a great feeling. 

The Carlton itself is brilliant. Old vintage glamour from a different era, wonderfully maintained and manicured and spanking service. Just thinking of all the Hollywood royalty who had walked these floors - amazing. 

At the door, my bag got taken and Mr Doorman asked if I was Cruise (Oui) and directed me to the Avalon desk where I met Jean Luc (to be our Cruise Director) and a pretty blonde assistant who took my details. I said that Lenglui was en route with all the documents, which Jean Luc checked and said Oui, the plane had landed and advised for me to check in. Oui. Which I did. I got told that the room was ready so up I went but not before Jean Luc said he would call me 15 minutes before Lenglui would be arriving. Perfect, I could park the bag, have a quick wash and be ready to greet.

Which almost happened. Having got diverted by the restaurant menu and heading up to the room, she was already at Jean Luc's desk. So happy to see her. Took her up to the room where we caught up with each other's adventures over the previous three weeks. And she happily snacked on the Pate and bread and water.

The distracting Carlton Restaurant menu
We chilled for most of the afternoon in the magnificent room, lounging on the large very comfy bed, enjoying the great space of the nicely cool room. The bathroom was big and white, with big taps and good towels, though was initially missing some bath robes which came about ten minutes after we arrived. And five minutes later, room service came to check the mini bar with some sort of scanner, which seemed very high tech. The reason would subsequently become clear when we got our pre-cruise briefing later that afternoon. 

We ultimately got around to getting dressed for a stroll ahead of our pre cruise meeting with Jean Luc and took a slow amble along Croisettes, and stopping at some of the shops en route. Rain was threatening so we ducked into a wine store where we bought a CdP for the cabin and Lenglui reserved a caviar serving set for daughter's upcoming birthday in Sicily. Lenglui also had a chocolate ice cream which she said was very good. I had a little lick to confirm. 

We zipped back to the hotel ahead of the threatening rain to retrieve our ship papers from our room and then into a large meeting room ahead of the, er, meeting. The other Cruisers tootled in in their ones and twos and the room quickly filled with people who all had the "look" - that indefinable quality and confident air that says "I cruise". It's a combo of the dress, the walk, the keen and sharp yet open look in The Eye that says "seasoned". I presume I must have it too. We all found seats and got instructed by Jean Luc as to transfer procedures for the morrow. We were assigned a time and one of three buses which would leave with our luggage at 15 minute intervals - this was due to the narrowness of road fronting the hotel and regulations against buses parking up for long periods and consequently blocking the road. Fair enough. Jean Luc was clearly an experienced cruise director, peppering the details with wit and humour. Main point of the day - do not open the mini bar in the room. They are electronically tagged and smart and would bill you if you so much as moved one of the contents. Even if you tried to replace anything with something bought from the minimarket you would still get billed. We had been warned. Minibar was totally off limits. Wish they had also told that the Nespresso capsules were chargeable - the four Euro for the one capsule was a bit of a shock. Bloody French.

Restaurant at the Carlton International Cannes
Jean Luc finished up and out came bottles of popping Prosecco all of which were soundly wolfed by the Cruisers. I was first up (we having strategically parked ourselves at the back and near the drinks table) though I did pass glasses to some ladies who were hovering in a somewhat unsure manner. I can do the proper thing on occasion. We got chatting to Rod and spouse (forgot the name) from Perth who shared their travel horror of trying to fly some airline from Florence to Cannes which got cancelled, and opting to get a bus instead which landed them alone in some strange carpark with no idea how to get to their AirBnB accommodation and nothing in the way of calling taxi to get them there. They were also massively delayed and seemingly unable to contact the person who was waiting to let them into the room. Resident strangers heard their story and got their pickup car to drive them to the address. Their man had gone, so they found a hotel where the lady concierge found a room for them at another hotel. The massive kindness of strangers… it always heartens and gives confidence that whatever happens to this human race of ours, showing kindness to all that live whilst we live is ultimately all that matters. 

The excellent Prawn Risotto at the Carlton International
I gave them a suggestion of the Mantel for their dinner and the address and general direction. They had also seen the Brun seafood the evening before. Lenglui and I opted to eat at the hotel ahead of an early night for her jetlag. We were originally tempted by a wonderful sounding T-bone steak for two but opted for something lighter and parked in the bar for a glass of Provence white and rose to go with a delightful prawn risotto which was all lovely succulent seafood juice, salted rice and fantastically fresh and sweetly crunchy prawns. Easily as good as the previous night. Supped up the juice with the baguette and butter. Magnificent. Some olives and mixed nuts were gratis and perfect as nibbles. Almonds had a pepper salt roast on them which was yum. Up to the room for TV and bath and sleep. Good night. 

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