Well, we've been back from our two week Western Mediterranean cruise on the Grand Princess (our second cruise aboard the Grand) for two weeks now. I haven't had time to sit down and write a review as yet, but Sue is at work and there is nothing else to occupy my time (for a change!) so, here we go!
We arrived at the Mayflower Terminal at around 1220, having only travelled five miles from our overnight hotel, the Best Western Chilworth Manor which, by the way, was superb and comes highly recommended. Being on Baja Deck, our assigned check-in time under the new staggered boarding policy was 1330. However, the terminal was very quiet and there was no sign at all of the staggered boarding being adhered to. We were ushered straight to a check-in desk and were on in our cabin by 1300. We were just about to head down to the Piazza for a coffee when our luggage arrived. I cannot fault the embarkation process, it was so much better and quicker than our first cruise two years ago.
We were upgraded from a lower forward cabin to B739 which is on Baja deck, high aft. We should have refused this upgrade as the movement of the ship was more keenly felt up here. Also, we were above the aft thrusters which meant that whenever the ship was manouevring into port the whole cabin shook like we were experiencing an earthquake. This did not spoil our cruise, but we would never book a cabin in this position again.
Alghero - A charming little town, reached by tender from the ship. There's not a huge amount to do, but it is very pleasant to wander around the streets and then spend an hour or so at a cafe sipping a beer or two whilst watching the world go by.
Another tender port and another lovely place. Like Alghero, there is not a huge amount to do, but we had a good wander and enjoyed a drool at the huge yachts and the expensive cars. We decided to head back to the ship for around two for a late lunch.
Last time we were there, we went to La Sagrada Famila (an essential visit) but did not go in because of the massive queues. This time, however, I booked tickets in advance online which meant that we by-passed the queues and had plenty of time to gawp at the magnificence and sheer madness of the place. It is walkable from where the port buses drop you off (don't take the Princess shuttles -- they will cost 5 Euros per person each way. Instead look for the blue Port buses to the left as you leave the terminal building. They cost 7 Euros return for two) and will take you about an hour each way. By the time we got back to La Rambla, I was gagging for a beer and ended up paying 12 Euros for a litre which was a bit of a shock!
We 'did' the Rock on our last visit but I fancied exploring the WWII caves and hospital there. On enquiring at the Tourist Information, we discovered that this would cost us Â£36 for the two of us, and that did not include transport! So we had a wander around the town instead. It is rather civilised to sit in the warm sunshine and quaff a pint of English ale.