The best of times, the worst of times....

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and Canary Islands
We've made it off the ship and to our Hotel in Barcelona. Now that the cruise is over, I thought I'd offer a bit of a recap..

The best spot to return for a holiday - Malta

The best spot to live - Monte Carlo of course, but when I wakeup from THAT dream, then reality would say Cinque Terre

Top 4 ports of call (sorry, couldn't shortlist it to 3) - Monte Carlo, Corfu, Genoa (for Cinque Terre), and Mykonos

The least favourite ports of call - Sicily and Crete

Best cabin deck on the ship - Caribe! Although the Dolphin deck is probably nicer, it has only mini suites, so they are that much more expensive .

In the dining room:

- Best Appetizer - watermelon and feta

- Best Salad - caesar! I had it every night I ate in the dining room. A real staple!

- Best Soup - creamy tomato

- Best Entree - lobster tail and king prawn

- Best Desert - Flourless Chocolate Cake although my Aussie friend LOVED the "Floating Islands"

Best Entertainment - Livewire - an irish couple who played guitar and violin and performed celtic music. I liked them so much I bought their cd!

Biggest Disappointment - the production shows by the Princess singers and dancers. Not nearly as good as other cruises. The International Crew Show, on the other hand, by the "not professional" members of the crew was actually a highlight . These are just regular crew members who work in various jobs on the ship who come together for this one night show. Catch it if you can!

Best surprise - how calm the water was. Most days you wouldn't even know you were moving.

Best moneymaking idea - sell "black market" hearing aid batteries to the old and pringles potato chips to everyone else!

Best excursion - Pompeii, Sorrento, and Positano

Best value for $ excursion - bike tour around Ancient Athens, 2 hours for 20 E

Best scenery - Cinque Terre, hands down! Although Monte Carlo is a close second, but sort of like comparing apples to oranges!

Favourite souvenirs - Mdina glass from Malta and hand embroidered pashmina from Istanbul

Best priced souvenirs - woven bookmarks from Kusadasi, Turkey at 3 for 1 E . Now you know what souvenir you'll all be getting!

Most overprices souvenirs - Monte Carlo

Best duty free - Either of the Turkey stops, but in Kusadasi Kier got a litre of Jameson for 14 E

Best priced duty free - wine in Malta for 4 E

Best kept secret - of course, the fact that you could bring liquor on board w/o suffering the embarrassment of the "gangway seizure" which has happened to us on previous cruises. Also, the breakfast buffet omelet station where you can have an omelet "made to order" with whatever ingredients you like. This was actually a busy spot in the mornings on our California Cruise, but on this cruise, I didn't see one person take advantage of it.

Best breakfast buffet item - sausage...I don't know what kind they are, pork or beef, but they are to...die...for!!

Best exercise options- the zumba and spin classes are good, I'm sure, although I've never done them because there is a fee for most of that stuff. I find walking the stairs regularly is a good start, but the best ever are the squats in the shower. You can't help but have perfect form because the shower is so small...and you have to do them every time you drop something. If you're like me...that's daily.

Biggest regret - not seeing the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and missing the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo.

Biggest example of ripping of the tourist - taxi from cruise ship to hotel in Barcelona...the meter read 9 E...the charge...25E...and now imagine in your best Seinfeld "soup nazi" accent..."NO TIP FOR YOU!!"
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