We had booked the cruise early and had a great cruise. The food was excellent and we did not have to go to the specialty restaurants. The Grand Pacific is the best and the service was extraordinary. Having read the reviews on cruise critic, we were prepared.
We stayed in Barcelona for the day and took a siteseeing bus which one can grab at the Christopher Columbus Station for 12 euros all day. They have a red, blue and green lines which go in different locations in Barcelona. They have free head sets in all languages. You are able to get off and on at your leisure. Had a great dinner at Tapa Tapa located in Barcelona Passeig de Gracia 44 www.angrup.com
The embarkment was a breeze. We were on the ship in less than 20 minutes and in our stateroom mini suite in an hour.
Keep in mind that the weather is cool in April. We really did not hit warm weather until on the way to Egypt. This was the only drawback.
The first port was Rome. We took the train which is a 5 minute walk from the port in Civitavecchia. The price of the ticket is 1.40 euro which is about $2.00 round trip and is good on all trains and buses. The cruise line wants $120.00 for the same trip. Took the train in Terrani station and three short tops we were on the Spanish steps. We went to a restaurant off the tourist route where the natives eat. It was excellent and called Ristorante La Tavernetta, Via Sistina #47 www.tavernetta.it. It is owned by Pepi and get the house wine. it has his picture on it. The food is excellent and price is appropriate. We took the train back to the port and made it in plenty of time. The train ride from port to Rome is one hour and longer by bus or car.
Our next port was Athens Greece. We went on a tour to the Arcopolis and it rained all day. Did not see much of Athens but the Arcopolis is worth the trip.
Next port was Izimir Turkey and we went on the ship tour to Blessed Mother and Emphasis. This was a good tour, however, the last stop is a carpet shop which they try to sell you a rug. There is no doubt that the tour guide gets a piece of the action and wished we could return mack to the pier in order to shop around the port.
The next stop was Alexandria, Egypt. There is a internet shop one block from the port but there is no sign and you have to know where it is. It took me and hour to find it and it was five minute walk from the pier. It was $1.00 for an hour. The ship was $60.00 an hour. Now seeing the pyramids is great but the hawkers bother you all the time asking for a dollar. The guide is working with the merchants and constantly trying to get you to buy jewelry and tee shirts. The tee shirts look OK but the jewelry one should be aware. The camel ride: You pay $10.00 for a short ride and the handler wants money to get you off. Tell him yes and get off and go. Cairo is a dirty City. They do not have garbage collection and you see nothing but garbage all over the place. Of course the final stop is a jewelry store. You are better off staying on the bus. Now we found this interesting. At the Pyramids and Camel ride. There were men with cameras and wearing NCL jackets who everyone thinks is NCL. While at the jewelry store people come up to you with pictures of yourselves at the Pyramids etc. You can purchase them for $5.00 and they are great. Found out later that they are not from NCL.
The next day we took a horse and buggy ride to see Alexandria for $20.00 per hour. You have to demand that they take you back or they try to get you to go for two hours.
Our last port was Malta which is pretty to pull into. We took a tour and it rained all day. However it was great.
All in all we thought this was our best cruise. NCL outdid itself and we would come back.
Great location and more than adequate closet space.