Before the Cruise we stayed in a nice hotel in Barcelona, we searched Trip Advisor for the best locations/price. Any hotel on La's Rambles will be great and offered my son (13) and I (47), a great place to walk,people watch and eat. We purchased a double Decker bus ticket(On and off type for the entire day), from a vendor on La's Rambles. We had the best meal of our entire trip at a small restaurant on this strip (I wish I could remember the name, sorry).
Embarkation was very smooth, at most 15 minutes. I was fearful handing over our passports for the cruise line to hold but it truly was necessary due to the number of ports being visited (to my son's dismay France and Greece are not stamped on our passports).
We had an inside stateroom which was extremely clean,the cleanest I have ever had on a ship....I am a clean freak and have cruised several lines before.We had ordered water and juice as well as a surprise cake for my son-all of which were waiting for us.The room More
was mid ship and very quiet/little rocking or ship type movements were noted Our Attendant was very kind and courteous, provided anything we needed.
The food in the main dining room was good/not excellent.We only attended dinner once-opting for Chops or Giovanni's the other evenings (both were very good)< the best cruise dinner food we had was Azumi. The place I did not pre- reserve prior to our trip because I was not much of a sushi fan...It was wonderful...I had a filet/lobster sushi with champaign sauce that I absolutely loved. My son enjoyed the filet he cooked himself on a lava rock brought to the table...I can't say enough for the staff there and in all of the dining rooms.
The shows were better than any of the cruise lines I had been on- but we were so tired from the port intensive tours we didn't see all of them. They had an acrobatic team perform high above the main ship deck a couple of evenings which was exciting to watch.
The ports.Because this was a trip of a lifetime for my son and I, I purchased every intensive excursion from Royal Carribean pre cruise. As I investigated (Trip Advisor), via a few of the posts on Cruisecritic, I realized there were some options which would not only save us money, but keep our group small.In Italy only, we used Share a Tour (Trip advisor). It was fantatstic, much cheaper than the cruise line, only 6-8 people with a tourguide or "driver". One example was Pompei- our driver had set up a tour guide at the Pompei site which bypassed every line (even the royal carribean ship tours). Having done both the ship tours and the seperate tours I would definately use the "Share a Tour" again. They were fantastic and much less expensive.
Disembarkation was very smooth-it took us some time to get our bearings as there is no one to help you figure out where to go once off the ship- luckily there were signs to help in Venice and we were staying in St. Mark's square- which was easily accessed via water bus. Less
Grandeur of the Seas Cruises to the Western Mediterranean
We visited the Olympic village, Parthenon and other sites. tour guide was not happy to be there and one person broke their arm walking on the slippery marble. People will push past you on that climb to the Parthenon. I was amazed at the history I was looking at being in this place- but honestly, my son and I both were glad to leave.
This city is beautiful. La's Ram bas was a fun experience which gave us a good opportunity to people watch,and eat some of the best food of our trip. We took a double Decker bus tour (entire day ticket), which provided ear phones and a general tour of city highlights with stops if you wanted to visit that space. The bus ran the entire day and into the evening. Well worth the money of 27 euros each.
Used share a tour, for less than half the cruise line wanted to charge. The tour was magnificent. Please do yourself a favor and review this option for yourselves. I can't say enough good things about this.
This was our disembarkation port. Once your off the ship- make sure you know where your going. Investigate before you leave home. Luckily, we were staying at a hotel on St. Marc's Square and this was a stop of the water bus and marked on signs. Most of our new ship friends were lost as to how to get to their respective hotels. There are no taxis waiting just several different ramps which go to ticket offices...with long lines..confusing. Beautiful city, Doge's palace was incredible and the history amazing. Warning: you can get special tours online only for the palace, but you must do this months in advance. We wanted to tour the secret passage ways of the palace- but were not able to because of the advance ticket purchase required.