Our flight from Boston to Barcelona got us in Spain by early morning. After dropping off our bags into the hotel, we grabbed a taxi back into downtown. All four of us were able to sleep on the flight over, so very little jet-lag was experienced.
We walked around Barcelona to start taking in the sights. We mainly ate the local offerings and bought the soccer jerseys of the winners of the 2010 World Cup. Haggling over prices was not too difficult.
The following day we grabbed the shuttle to the cruise. The sign-in process was uneventful and quick. We had all the papers ready, passports ready and followed the crowd.
The mini-suite, or cabin, was immaculate and large enough for the four of us. The view from the balcony was amazing. We walked around to familiarize ourselves with the layout.
The ship was much bigger than we imagined. The crew was very professional and helpful.
Our vacation was sun-kissed as we experienced mainly smooth sailing and sunny skies. The day at sea had slightly taller waves which we felt and a brief interlude of rain.
The food at the Garden Cafe was well-prepared and in abundance. My boy and I paid for sushi for 1 night (my daughter and wife didn't want to join us) - we ate until we were quite full. The sushi bar did not contain all varieties of fish but it had enough variety for me. The sushi was of good quality.
As a family we ate at 3 sit-in restaurants - The Grand Pacific, The Alizar and The Blue Lagoon. All had great service and food.
My wife and I paid extra for the spa usage. We both saw how crowded it can get in the whirlpools by the pools so paid to have a more private experience. This was well worth it - especially after the port excursions. After every excursion, my wife and I would eat a late lunch with the kids, drop off the kids at the Tree Tops and head over to the spa where we would take a tropical rain shower to take away the dust of the day then sit in a whirlpool that was overlooking the port and ocean and then lastly, lie down on a heated sauna bed that was overlooking the front of the ship.
The Tree Tops, or child-care center, was a wonderful experience for my kids. The crew were great with the kids. The kids made friends from all over the world.
We all went into the swimming pool - which to our surprise (but maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise) was salt water. Since our in-ground pool at home is fresh water, it was a shock to our mouths when we opened our mouths in the boat's pool. The pool can definitely get quite crowded. The water slide was not fast as we had to push ourselves all the way down to the pool.
The night-time entertainment was very enjoyable. Because of the nightly entertainment and the need to get up early for the excursions, sleep was no more than 5 to 7 hours a night.
We could not have asked for a better time on a cruise.
See separate port reviews for our take on the various excursions. We did all the excursions on our own - "freestyle" baby!!!