Left for Barcelona on Sunday, arrived on Monday at 3 PM which was a few hours late do to plane problem in LHR. Cab to Plaza Cataluña area hotel 29 euro. We stayed at the Pulitzer which is a few feet from the plaza. Great location for tours and local sites. We had room 214 which had a post in the middle. We let it go. Nice modern rooms, would stay again.
We had to get a power converter/adapter to charge our US products. There is no 110vac outlet in hotel. Staff was very helpful. There was a city tax when leaving and a 2% fee for charges in the bar.
Day one prearranged "All Barcelona Highlights Tour" . Included tour inside Sagrada Familia then on to Columbus Monument, World trade center, Olympic Ring, A stop at the Spanish Village built for the 1929 exhibition. Went back alone to tour the inside of "Casa Batlio", which is a Gaudi work. That was 4 blocks from the plaza. Beautiful place to see. Headset tour.
Tapa's dinner at Ciutat Condal, a few blocks from the plaza. Local place we went at 7-7:30 and were seated in minutes. Locals eat later and there was a line when we left. Good food, good wine, we over ordered food the first time but went back the next night. Would go again.
Day two prearranged "Montserrat Morning Day Trip + Royal Basilica"
The morning trip stays for the choir which sings at 1 PM. There is a online schedule for the choir. Long bus ride up the hill nice scenery and a tour of the grounds. Make sure you check out the glow in the dark Madonna's in the gift shop. Picked up the bus just around the corner at Julia Tours.
Did a little walking around the plaza, Rambles, a few stores and visited the market. Back to Ciutat for dinner. Must repeat, this hotel location is ideal.
Cab to the ship next morning 24 euro.
We were on Spirit before in a balcony cabin. This time we got a discount and upgraded to a suite which was pretty nice. Upon check in you are escorted to your cabin by the concierge. Then introduced to your butler. Suite allows you to have bfst in Cagneys. we did the sit down bfst and our concierge was there every morning. She escorted us to our NCL tour bus on those days and we had the front row seat. The butler was in charge of dinner reservations if needed. He also brought us a treat every evening. Canapés or sweets. There was a bottle of Champagne in the room also. For shows there was a special balcony seating area for suites. There are less than 2 dozen suites on the ship. We knew the layout of the ship and I spent some time listening to music in the atrium bar and we also visited the main lounge on deck 12 for late night music.
We went to windows for dinner on surf and turf night which was the night out of Barcelona. I requested turf and turf and got it. Funny thing is that the menu is the same one that they had on our cruise two years ago. DW wasn't impressed with the food, I expect less but it's OK for me. I liked the stroganoff, red snapper, spaghetti marinara. Didn't like the pork chop. Went to Bistro once and Cagney's once for a steak which was fine.
Cagney's was $30 and Bistro was $20. There was a fillet at Bistro so they were busy most nights for $10 less. Italian place was not busy, we went there one night, I liked it.
9 day trip we bought a 6 bottle wine package for 10% off. If you run out for some reason you can buy a second wine package any time. We didn't expect the champagne that was in our room or the bottle of wine DW won in a slot tournament, so we had more than enough. Beer comes in various sizes plus a bucket at 6 for 5 pricing. They have small beers and large ones. A 12 oz can of Heineken or a 16 oz draft. Cocktails offered you a double for an extra $3. Everything was priced in Dollars and all the casino was in Dollars.
If your playing in the casino you might get a free drink if you ask.
There is a corkage desk as you get on the ship. $15 if you bring wine aboard.
Pretty calm seas whole trip. there was some rough seas so they switched the two island stops which worked out OK. As you pull into Casablanca they warn you about 15 minutes of roughness and that's exactly what happened. All stops were docks.
Casablanca: Took the NCL tour ($49) to the Hassan Mosque. An amazing place. Then on to the mandatory shopping stop. Funny how they always stop at the "government store" or is it my cousins place?? Good trip. Our first time here so we had to do Casablanca. We only got to see the nice parts of town. Did see the Rick's Cafe sign.
Lanzarote: We pulled into Arrecife and we had prearranged a private cab tour of the North and South half of the island. I got the info through cruise critic and we booked it on line at Lanzarotetaxi com. This was an extensive tour that lasts about 6 to 7 hours but we did get to see everything. The driver pops in a disc and the trip is described in English. Fire mountain was fantastic as was the Jameos del Agua which is an underground lake in a grotto formed by the volcano at the North East end of the island. This was the highlight of the trip. Beautiful island white houses. Cost us 190 euro.
Santa Cruz: We did a do it yourself walking tour. You get off the boat and turn left. Walk about a half mile to Calle Castillo which is a pedestrian street similar to Las Rambles with it's stores and street performers. Found a cafe, tuned into their wi fi and had the ham and bread with some wine. The guy tried to add an additional item to our bill but my wife caught it. Went to see the African market which was OK, nothing special.
Malaga: Took the ships tour to Alhambra $150 pp. This was a full day trip inland and a two hour tour of the Sultans Palace, walled city ruins. The place was amazing. We had an English guide that was 6 ft 4 in. You could not get lost. Lots of walking but many beautiful sites. Glad we went. Had a stop for lunch and we found a local tavern.
Notes: Met a lot of nice people from the U.K., which is different than our usual American ship mates. Spent some time in the casino, got the $20 for $10 slot coupon NCL sells online. Laundry day was $28 for a bag. There are no mini suites as on some ships. No tender ports. Only one gypsy tried to sell me a flower. Two women we talked to had their purses picked.