We flew in the day before and stayed at the Avenida Palace hotel which was a great central location just one block from Catalonia square. We got the bus to the square from the airport and just walked our bags to the hotel. They stored them for us as our room was not quite ready so we went off for lunch. When we got back they had upgraded us to a suite which was a great treat. The next day we stepped outside the hotel and realised the taxi station was right to the side of the hotel, so we took a cab to port.
Arrived at the ship by 11am expecting a long queue and wait to board, however we were inside and settled by 11.15am. We went to get a drink to start our holiday and were immediately informed that there would be a 10% charge on all drinks taken in any Spanish port plus any time sailing within a 5 miles area off the coast of Spain. We were last on this ship in Sept 2017 and there was no tax that time!
We ate breakfast a few times in Windows MDR, service was excellent but sometimes slow due to lack of staff - I think most guests ate in the buffet so perhaps staff were sent there. We bought the 3 speciality dining package so ate 2 times in Cagneys steakhouse and once in the Italian Trattioria. Both times in Cagneys the food was excellent, staff helpful, and the Italian was very good. We felt the food had improved in every area since our last trip when we felt everything was heavily salted. The Asian shogun has a small menu, but enough to choose and again food had improved since our visit a few months ago. We ate a few evenings in the Garden Room, the smaller MDR and were always seated in one area and were well looked after by the lovely Natalia. The buffet as usual was enormous with lots of lovely dishes, a different roast carvers every day - I would have liked to have seen proper roast potatoes, some fresh carrots, and possibly Yorkshire puddings and gravy on the roast beef days, as the veggies always seemed to be broccoli and cauliflower. The chef was standing by the offer fresh stir fry, so you could pick your own veggies for that. Also nice to see some curry dishes which were delicious and scones and jam, cream for cream teas on the afternoon.
We were given this balcony cabin following an upgrade on the ncl bidding system. It was very quiet even though it was located under the buffet - we were pleasantly surprised by this location. The door to the rear of the ship and the hot tub and bar were only a few cabins further along so this made it very easy to access the rear sundeck bar, etc. The cabin was kept lovely and clean, Roy always there with a cheerful smile, replacing fresh ice in the bucket each day. We had a mini fridge, complimentary tea, coffee etc for the machine. The cabin included two towelling robes, beach towels, plus many towels in the bathroom. Shampoo, shower soap, hand soap, plus bar of soap and body lotion were also provided. Also a hanging line above the shower to dry swimsuits etc. There were 4 plug sockets available, one was a GB three pin.