We spent an extra day in Barcelona both before and after the cruise, it was well worth it. We took "Free Walking Tours" gothic area tour before the cruise and it was great. "Barcelona Day Tours" picked us and our ... Read More
We spent an extra day in Barcelona both before and after the cruise, it was well worth it. We took "Free Walking Tours" gothic area tour before the cruise and it was great. "Barcelona Day Tours" picked us and our luggage up after the cruise; we saw Park Guell, a Gaudi house and the outside of Sagrada Familia, then they dropped us off at the hotel. Another great tour. Our fav restaurant was Guell Tapas in the gothic quarter, great Paella. We stayed at Hotel Serhs Del Port which was inexpensive, clean with a wonderful staff. Unfortunately I used "Getaroom" to pay for the hotel, they didn't pay for the 2nd day, so I had to pay again. A week later and I still haven't gotten it fixed; Getaroom is difficult to reach and deal with, I won't make that mistake again!
Embarkation was normal, got there by 10;30 and onboard by 11:30. Had lunch at OSheehans, the first of many; they do a fine lunch and the staff there are very attentive. Luggage took awhile got it around 3 or 4, but we spent that time getting to know the ship.
We did Cirque Dreams and the meal, and it was fantastic, both show and meal were worth every penny. We ate at Moderno twice, It's my favorite and it's less crowded than the other restaurants, so we didn't have to make reservations, just showed up when hunger hit. Yummy! Also the waitress was super attentive. I found Taste, Manhatten and the buffet to be okay not great. I get that they are feeding 4,000 people, so my expectations were not high. Loved the buffet's pizza and liked the Eggs Benedict. Sorry, this girl hates bottled eggs.
I don't agree with peeps who say barservice was bad, I thought it was very good and occasionally great. The secret is taking 50 singles with you and handing 1 over each time you hand your card over for a drink. I'm here to have a good time and that includes a happy, smiling waitstaff too! It works like a charm! Spread the love!! My husband and I are serious music lovers, we found the Guitarist, Paulo, in Maltings Bar, to be a cut (or 3) above what you usually find on a cruise ship. He is actually skilled enough to take cover songs and make them his own. He also has a big songlist, never boring. Most nights we were spent from walking all day, so we grabbed dinner; then listened to Paulo for a few drinks, then crashed...and then did it again the next day.
I got NCL excursions for each port, it's my choice, yes I pay extra but I don't want to spend a second worrying about getting back to the boat; particularly Rome and Florence which are at least an hour inland, if not more! All the tours were great except Palma which after Rome and Florence is anticlimactic, plus I had enough at that point. The tour guides where all GREAT, and I mean that; knolwledgable, enthusiastic, careful and just made the tours so much better. I learned a lot in each city.
Pompeii with Guido was such a learning experience, his information was huge. Wear good footwear, the walking is rough and some is uphill, not a tour for the unfit or disabled. Rome with Lizabeta and Letizia, again wear your best walking shoes, lotsa walking. We saw Trevi fountain, the Forum, St Peters Basilica, and the Colleseum inside and out. An absolutely fabulous day. They give you a nice lunch too. Not much time to shop, which was fine by me. Then Florence with Sami, I loved it. He gave you time with The David, and the info he shared with you was just great, I felt like I came away with a better understanding than I had expected. It's another walking tour, you'll see all the expected sights plus he recommends an outdoor café which was wonderful and not expensive. I had eggplant parm and my husband had a mushroom lasagna (white) which was fabulous.
Next was Nice and EZE with Mimi. We took a bus from Cannes to Nice and she gave us an hour at the flower and spice market. I loved it and did some souviener shopping there; lavender, olive oil, soap and spices. Then a bus up the coast road to a old city, the views were spectacular. Not for peeps afraid of heights. A fair amout of walking and some up hill, but my favorite day. Then Palma, which is clean and full of pearl shops. The cathedral is fantastic and I learned a lot form the lecture, but I would have skipped it and stayed in the hot tub if I had it to do over.
It was a fabulous trip! Read Less