September 2015 - Allure of the Seas to Europe - Western Mediterranean
Delta SkyMiles Cruises, and Amani Richardson who books cruises for that company, helped us select a week-long cruise from Barcelona through the Western Mediterranean aboard RC's Allure of the Seas. It was great from the moment of arrival. RC checks baggage prior to boarding and the luggage magically appeared on our floor within hours, while we boarded and explored the ship. The trip was great and included Mallorca (where we took a guided bike ride tour enjoying history, and the city), Marseille/Cassis, France, where we took a guided bus tour, and enjoyed the history and the countryside; Cinque Terre in the Liguria Region of Italy, in which we also enjoyed a fantastic bus and walking tour lined up by RC, enjoying three of the CT towns on the the countryside, as it were (vineyards on the hills), the vibe of each of three of the towns, and ferry rides between them; Roma, Italy, which we explored on our own (having been there before) after a train ride into the city (which I would recommend doing only if you have already spent time in Rome); and finally we stopped in Naples, where we caught a fast ferry ride to the Isle of Capri, which once again we explored on our own, the atmosphere of the towns, the flavors and the countryside (I would recommend to anyone in shape. walking down the steps and ramps from the middle level of the Island, rather than taking the funicular ride or cab both ways - you will see another side of the island and beautiful gardens and homes built on the hills right up close). Of course, aboard the ship, we had great meals each evening with serves and staff who enjoyed their jobs and making their customers happy. We saw great shows, that included a Queen impersonator rock band, an ice show, the musical, Mamma Mia, and a beautiful song, dance and acrobatics show, called Blue Planet. We missed the diving show. Each of the performances were great. On either side of the cruise we spent a full day in Barcelona, Spain. We can recommend the Cotton House, a great newer hotel located at Gran Via de Corts, Catalenes, 670. It is affiliated with Marriot. We went to Guell Park created by the artis Gaudi, (a Must-see for anyone interested in contemporary art), a couple museums, including one in the Montjuic area, a low mountain or high hill location from which there are also great views of the port and part of the city. The first night we had in Barcelona, we enjoyed a drink and dinner at the Miramar Hotel in Montjuic, a great place for both and for wonderful views. Upon our return after the cruise, we found our way back to Montjuic, and walked around a bit, took in the national museum of Cataluna, some Spanish guitar music outside the museum, the views, and a walk by the 1992 Olympic Village, before we took a skyride (Teleferica) down from Montjuic near the Miramar Hotel to the area near an expansive beach called Barceloneta, where we walked on a boardwalk and enjoyed a nice inexpensive lunch with wine, some more walking and then returned to the hotel to rest, freshen up for dinner and the Flamenco show we went to that night at Tablao di Carmen, a fantastic show about a 15 minute cab ride away from our hotel.