Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cruise Day #5, On To Barcelona

Last night before bed the seas had picked up to a “moderate” level, defined as running between 4 to 7 feet in height. Yet, we felt little motion in our cabin. By this morning, the seas had returned to “slight” as we awoke to views of Spain on our port side.

As has been our custom, we started the morning at a leisurely pace with a continental breakfast and coffee on the balcony. In general, mornings aboard the ship are fairly low key with fewer scheduled activities and usually none of particular interest to us. Indeed, it seems that the morning events are generally tailored to the senior demographic (which dominates this cruise as we expected it would) and are less relevant – I have no desire to play bridge or learn to “run” a computer (as I’m a computer “marathoner” by profession). ;-)

Our afternoon activity surrounded the onboard art auction. I say surrounded because we spent two and a half hours at it (and they were still going when we left). The preview started at 1PM, and the auction followed at 2 o’clock. This was not well communicated in the Freestyle Daily. Thus, nearly everyone showed up promptly at 1 o’clock and more-or-less sat around for 30+ minutes after registering. The show mainly consisted of really expensive “modern masters” prints (Dali, Chagall, Miro, Picasso – none of which sold) and far less expensive decorative works (which sold well, usually to a single bidder). I realize that art is highly subjective, but we didn’t generally like what sold. Indeed, I think Libby summed it up best when she noted that “you could still smell the room service on some of the works.” That’s probably unkind… but like I said, art is subjective Libby did manage to win a “free work of art” (still and potentially to remain unclaimed) after impressing the auctioneer by consistently identifying artists and naming art terms. For the record, I knew the answers too… ;-) All in all, the auction was fun (albeit too long)!

We had a late lunch / early dinner at the Blue Lagoon (the ship’s 24 hour comfort food restaurant). I had read in reviews before our cruise that the food and/or service were below par in this venue. After having experienced it, I would say that I generally agree with this assessment. There were too few waiters given the number of patrons. They messed up Libby’s order, forgetting to deliver part of it and then did nothing to rectify the matter after this was pointed out. And, it wasn’t even worth hoping that one’s drink would be refilled. The food itself was fine in terms of taste. Also note, the portions are more “snack” than “meal” sized, which wasn’t a problem for us… just something to be aware of so that you may set your plans / expectations accordingly.

I just saw the pilot boat go by because we’re getting ready to dock in Barcelona. We plan on focusing on the Old City tonight, walking La Rambla and the Barri Gotic (following the walking iternaries found in Rick Steves’s Spain 2008). This is an important city to us, and we’re very excited to be here. So, this will probably be my only post prior to tomorrow evening’s summary of Barcelona. Adios for now!


Anonymous said...

Still reading the blog with interest and I'm picking up tips along the way so thanks! Barcelona is amazing, we love it and it's one of the reasons we picked this itinerary so we could overnight here! We hit a bad storm ouside Barcelona in waters that are referred to as the 'Bay of Lions'. Hopefully your sailing will go through the 'Bay of Pussycats'. It can be bad. Sailed around the Med MANY times and it's only happened once stroke of luck!!!

Library Mary said...

HI.....I've enjoyed reading the blog of your trip......you mentioned people out here reading your blog that might not be relatives....that's me. I read with interest because my daughter is working on the ship and I'm anxious to hear what life is like on the ship.
I get to talk to her or email from her regularly, but it's nice to hear someone else describe the trip and the ship! I'm especially looking forward to pictures.
If you email me privately, I will tell you where she works.


Paul said...

Yes, it's been basically as smooth as glass thus far. I'm hoping that continues, as I'm not sure how good either of our sea legs really are... :-)