My DH has wanted to try a transatlantic. I was skeptical by the number of sea days (8) and that I would get bored. I loaded my Kindle up with lots of books in anticipation, and I did read 6 books on the 14 day cruise. But I was never ... Read More
My DH has wanted to try a transatlantic. I was skeptical by the number of sea days (8) and that I would get bored. I loaded my Kindle up with lots of books in anticipation, and I did read 6 books on the 14 day cruise. But I was never bored. My husband and I opted for a balcony cabin and an inside cabin in front as we brought along our 19 year old niece. It was great to have the balcony cabin, which was a VE category. The L inside cabin was also very roomy, with just a shower and the bathroom was quite large.
My last two cruises were on the Eurodam, and I think I prefer the furniture and decoration on the Eurodam over the Nieuw Amsterdam. The Nieuw Amsterdam has a lot of leather, which sometimes feels cold. But it was still wonderful, and what always makes a HAL cruise for me are the staff. Our cabin attendants, Bayu and Kama, were amazing. They did everything we asked with a smile and a kind word. They greeted us each morning and before we went to bed, and they kept our cabins spotless.
There were not many young people on our cruise and almost no children. Our niece mostly hung out with us. In the afternoons, she went to a quiet outdoor area on deck 10 to admire the view and listen to music on her IPOD.
The transatlantic cross was amazing. No storms and very little movement. I have felt worse rocking on Caribbean cruises. We did have to drop a sick passenger off in Bermuda, and the Captain and crew did a great job taking care of that. We had no rain until we reached Barcelona, except for a spot in Horta. Horta was cold and the excursion we took from the ship was disappointing. We mostly rode around on the bus for 4 hours as the guide passed out books and information on the island. Books on flowers, as there were no flowers blooming. At the Calderia, it was fogged in, and we were not that impressed with the Volcano area. I heard another passenger say they took a whale tour with a local company and saw 3 types of whales, so guess we picked the wrong tour that day.
Gibraltar, as usual, was an absolute delight. We opted to grab a van outside the cruise terminal and negotiated a private tour for four of us (us three and the receptionist from the spa.) We had a great time at the caves and watching the Barbary apes. But since we took the private tour, we didn't go up the cable car, and I was sad to have missed the group of apes that always hang out there. But luckily we found a group of them later in town at the Trafalgar Cemetery. I do want to remind everybody, please don't feed the Barbary apes. Remember the old saying, "Don't feed the bears." The same thing is happening in Gibraltar, that people are feeding the apes and they are fearless of humans. They have had some incidents in the town of local people being bitten, so please if you go, don't feed them.
The ports in Spain were nice. Motril is a bit of an industrial town, but we took a taxi to Salobrena and it was wonderful. A beautiful hillside town with white houses and narrow streets, and it reminded me a bit of Vejer de la Frontera. Alicante was more charming, but totally crazy as it was Good Friday. We went on the HOHO bus, but they had canceled most of the route due to the Procession, so we ended up walking back to the ship after lunch. Palma de Mallorca was absolutely beautiful. The Cathedral was so impressive and we enjoyed walking around, but it got very crowded in the afternoon. Our final port was Barcelona, where we disembarked on a cold Easter Sunday. We spent two days in the cold and rain there. I have been there 5 times in the last 6 years, and this was the worst weather, and of course everything was closed on both Easter Sunday and on Monday. I say of course as it seems like every year the whole town is closed. It will also be closed on May 1st. We did the HOHO bus here, so my husband could see the Gaudi buildings. Unfortunately there was nothing open to go inside and see, except for the La Seu Cathedral. Sagrada Famila was open as well, but the lines were forever long and we did not have tickets.
BB King Blues Show by the way was fabulous. I loved them! Read Less