We booked a five day stay in Barcelona at the H10 Universitat Hotel. We had an inside room that was very small but the price reflected the worth of a place to just rest your head. It was clean and efficient and for 12 euros extra per room per day you can get an excellent breakfast in their restaraunt. The staff is wonderful and very accomodating.
It's location is excellent, being a short block from beautiful Plaza Catalunya which is the centre of the city. We were surprised at the cleanliness of the streets and numerous parks and the friendliness of the people. We went on an all day tour called "skip the lines" which gave us an overview of the sights and places of interest. We used the "hop on hop off" buses for the rest of our stay. I found Las Ramblas reflected much of the Catalan way of life and it was simply a lot of fun to walk down to the harbor. Anyone who finds this "cheesy" seems to be missing the point!
We boarded the Breeze on Nov 6 and embarking was one of the easiest and fastest we ever experienced. The Breeze was just beautiful and the wait for our trip worth it.
We were there mainly for the rest and relaxation and the shore tours offered by Carnival. There are cheaper ways to arrange these tours but we prefer the security and organization of Carnival tours.
We didn't use the dining rooms or pay for alternate dining. I had a cold when I went aboard, so I avoided crowds where possible. We did catch a few shows and were quite pleased with the quality of the entertainment and venue.
Most meals were taken at the Lido buffets, and we found the quality and selection excellent. The pizza served from the lido deck stern was made to order from a menu and was good and hot. Guys burgers were some of the best we ever tasted so don't miss them! I have to say my favorite breakfast was the made to order omelets.
We found the service on the ship to be top notch from the busboys to the service desk. Special thanks to the room steward for anticipating our every need.
Our stateroom (9319) was very comfortable and the balcony was more generous than anticipated. I spent a lot of time there reading and watching and listening to the waves go by.
Our first stop was Majorca and we chose the half day Soller and train ride which we enjoyed.
Our second stop was Malaga and we took the full day "Granada of the Moors" tour. It's about a 2 hour drive each way with a very nice restaurant lunch provided after the walking tour of the Alhambra. This was one of our favorite tours and you have to "see it to believe it". The only really difficult part is the cobble stone surfaces. There were a few stairs and minor uphill grades to walk, but even with Angina I didn't find it too difficult.
Our third stop was Grand Canaria and we took the all day tour "The best of Grand Canaria". Again it was a good choice as the scenery is spectacular, and the location of the provided restaurant lunch was unique.
The third and fourth stops we just winged it with some leisurely walking and shopping. Philipsburg on the island of St Marten provided some of the best bargains, so you may want to save your money ahead of time.
The two day run back to Miami was for more relaxing and packing up. The debarkation was held up by American Customs and we thought we would miss our flight out at 12pm. Thanks to some quick thinking of Carnival staff who put us in a van direct to the airport we made our flight.
Overall an excellent cruise with a few minor glitches. Please, don't sweat the small stuff and just enjoy the trip!