For about 10 years we sailed exclusively with Regent. Then, after a not-so-great experience on a trans-Atlantic crossing in 2012 we decided to try Oceania. We were so delighted with our first cruise on Riviera (in an Oceania Suite) that we booked the April 2015 crossing in the Owners Suite to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We are both in our 70’s and are from Switzerland.
The Owners Suite on Deck 8 is just wonderful. Spacious, beautifully funished and more than comfortable! The terrace is small however and would be better with less furniture so one could move about more easily. We loved this suite.
Bermuda is always wonderful - even in the rain. For the first time on this cruise we moored at the Dockyard - Heritage Wharf. We have spend many lovely summer holidays in Bermuda over the years and have been there three times prior to this visit on cruise ships which have docked in Hamilton. We prefer the Front Street dock in Hamilton but the larger ships cannot get in there. That said we found the facilties, shops etc at the Dockyard to be very good and getting over to Hamilton on the ferry is easy. We like to take the Bus 7 as well though - Hamilton to the Dockyard - because it runs along the South Shore beaches past the hotel where we always stayed. The views from the bus are lovely.
Funchal is a lovely little town - lots of small shops, cafés etc. We walked through the town to the covered market which is beautiful and a lot of fun besides - fish on the ground floor, fruit, veg and stunning flowers on the top. We then took the cable car to Monte and on to the Botanic Gardens. This is easy to do on one's own but it is important to know that the cable car drops you at the very top of the gardens and there is a very steep path going down to the main part of the gardens which is also very very uneven. This is not an ideal path for anyone who doesn't walk well on slopes. The Gardens themselves are well worth a visit and if the slope is an issue just take a taxi from the centre (or the port) to the main entrance which is at the bottom and where the slopes are far less steep.
I will be happy with my life if I never see Gibraltar again. The port is a long walk from the town (there were no taxis available when we got off the ship) and there is heavy traffic - mostly diesel with the consequent smell - along the road. It is simply not worth the walk. I do not like apes so I had no desire to go up to the Rock. The whole place is tacky in the extreme and should be returned to Spain so that they could spruce it up. Malaga and Cadiz are far more interesting as port cities and infinitely cleaner.
We stayed in the Gothic area and walked and walked around it. Barcelona is a beautiful city and is well worth several days or even a week if one has the time. On previous visits we have taken tours - Gaudi's Barcelona was fascinating and the other tour of the Gothic quarter remarkable which is why we stayed in that particular area. Our hotel - Hotel DO at the Plaça Reial - was perfect and the food there so good we ate there twice.