Day 1 - And we're off . .
(This post is Work In Progress as I pull all the information and pictures together)
Check-in at the cruise terminal in Barcelona was a breeze. No line in the suites check-in area at 11:15. As soon as we were checked in, they said embarkation was about to start and escorted us to the ship. Callum was first on board (couldn't hold him back), but what do you expect from the assistant to the assistant to the assistant concierge ;O). We were so early they hadn't started pouring the fizzy yet. We were in our couryard villa by 11:30, and talking with Juremar our butler and Josif the assistant courtyard butler.
A lovely lunch in Cagneys with a holiday starting bottle of wine, and off for a look around. One of the special offers this time around was to pre-order your wine from a short-list and get 20% discount as long as you order between 10 and 12 bottles, so we went for the 12. Prices were from about $28 upwards, averaging around the $35 - $40 mark. Callum got his soda card ($4 plus 15% per day) which for some reason they were offering the child rate for up to 13 (should have been under 13 for the child rate). We also bought him a teen passport (20 vouchers for virgin cocktails) for $30 plus 15%.
By this time the bubbly was flowing and the atrium was getting rather busy with lots of people joining the ship, so we retreated to the tranquillity of the courtyard again. Surprisingly it was still empty, so we had a good old time helping to empty some of the sparkling wine they had chilling. Ah holiday bliss. This was generally how the courtyard was for most of the cruise. At it's busiest it must have had about 8 people in it. You can have breakfast and lunch here, the same menu as Cagneys special lunch. It has a lap pool (where there is a water jet to swim against), a large hot tub, fitness room, saunas and a large sun deck on top. the roof of the courtyard area can be retracted when it is dry.
On the topic of wine, there was the usual bottle sparkling wine chilling in the cabin which comes with a suite, and an extra one for Platinum (basically for cruising too much). We had brought a couple of bottles of Cava with us also which nobody seemed to bother about in Barcelona. Our bar setup had also been sucessful, so we have our rum and gin already setup in the room (having brought the mixers on board from the local supermarket). Booze was not going to be an issue on this cruise ;)
Being a late sailing (7pm), there was lots of time to relax before the muster drill and sailing. Luggage arrived quickly at around 2pm and was quickly emptied into the wardrobes.
Dinner was at Paniolo's Mexican resturaunt. We made the mistake of having the Quesidillias to start which had tons of cheese it them, then soup, by teh time we had finished those we were quite full. Callum tried the lobster tacos which were very good, and the rest of us had the Ill Popo. I have to say I'm not so fond of this as I used to be. The beef used seems to be lower quality and much tougher than most other beef served on the ship. maybe it is just the way they cook it, but it is tasty. This is the first time we had eaten in the mexican since NCL introduced the cover charge for this and the Italian at $10 per person. they have changed the menu a little, mainly increasing the size of the starters, and they give you a small sampler size of Margertia, but that is all. Of the times we ate here, I would say it was slightly quieter than on previous ships before the cover charge, but never full. It also interestingly was never part of any half price early bird promotion for some reason.
A long day was rounded off with a nigthcap and sleep in the most comfortable bed ever . . . . .