Jump to content

Independence - 14th-28th July Med - Live(ish) Blog


hayley_bopp
 Share

Recommended Posts

9 hours ago, Ray said:

Was Really enjoying your blog until you mention the fact you went for coffee!!!!!

Shocked ! Even dissapointed ! ?

Us brits have a reputation for being hardened drinkers and your letting the side down ?

Joking apart, glad to see you are your other half are having a great time enjoy the rest of your cruise and stay off the coffee ?

 

???

 

Would it make you feel better if I told you they do several alcholic coffees? ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 4 - Gibraltar 

Today was our first port stop after 2 days sailing from Southampton. The weather during the first 2 days as you sail down past France and Portugal is often on the cold side but it has been glorious so far. The captain said he has never seen the Bay of Biscay, renowned for being choppy, so flat. 

We decided not to go to the gym today as we knew we'd be doing plenty of walking in Gibraltar and because the clocks had gone forward an hour overnight, we decided to lie in until 8am and then go for breakfast in the MDR buffet. It was quite busy with a queue at the door but we waited less than a minute before being taken to a table for 2. 

By the time we'd finished breakfast we were approaching Gibraltar so we went out on deck and after a slight technical issue (due to user error) I managed to periscope some of our arrival. 

We were scheduled to be cleared for disembarkation at 11:30 but we were early and were cleared by about 10:45. We'd planned it so that we'd go back to our cabin and collect our things once we'd heard the announcement to disembark thereby giving the queues a chance to die down. This strategy seemed to work well as we were able to walk straight off the ship  and through  the terminal without queuing at all. 

Once outside the terminal there was a long line for the shuttles into town (£4/€6pp return) and as it's only about a 15 minute walk we used Shanks' Pony to get us there. 

Having done a minivan tour of the rock and St. Michael's Cave during our previous visit, we'd decided to visit the  siege tunnels this time. A very helpful lady at the Tourist Info desk in the terminal had given us a map and marked the route to walk, along with where to get on and off the bus should we decide to do that, and told us where to get tickets. The walk up to the ticket office took about 45 minutes and involved climbing a LOT of steps; being built on the side of a big rock means that many of the streets in Gibraltar are VERY steep and some pedestrian footpaths are just steps (similar to San Francisco). Although it was hard work, it was nice to see all the quaint little houses and side-streets. 

The place to buy tickets was at the Moorish Castle. It cost £12/€14pp and that got you entrance to the castle, the siege museum (not really a museum, more of an informative display), the siege tunnels and  St Michael's Cave. Each of these is spread out along the roads in the nature reserve that makes uo the top of the rock and it probably took us a total of 30 mins more to walk up to the siege tunnels (we didn't go to St Michael's Cave) although there were places to stop and take in the view along the way and even an ice-cream van for some well-earned refreshment at one point. 

The tunnels themselves were very impressive, especially considering rhe fact that they were hand-carved during the 18th century. It took about an hour to see all of the tunnels and it was beautifully cool in there after the heat od the climb (equivalent to 98 floors of stairs accordingto my fitbit!). We felt it was excellent value and a great option for our time in this port. 

After making our way back down to the town, we headed to the main square, Casemates Square, for a drink and a snack before making our way back to the ship. 

As all aboard was at 4:30pm, the WJ was closed due to the staff getting it ready for dinner so we went to Sorrento's to grab a slice of pizza to keep us going until dinner time. There was a bit of a queue, although only about 6 or 7 people infront of us but one of the servers came along the queue with plates loaded up with either cheese or pepperoni slices so we grabbed one of those each. 

Then we headed out on deck for Sailaway. I tried to show some of the inside of the ship but I lost signal as I'm only using my phone's data. I've decided I'm going to invest in 1 or 2 days of Voom at some point as I'm enjoying Periscoping and want to be able to show inside the ship. 

After Sailaway, we  headed up to the Solarium for a dip in the pool to cool off. 

As we were tired following 3 late nights and 8 miles of walking in Gibraltar,  we decided to go to the WJ for dinner. I think we on my went once for dinner on our previous cruise but we were impressed. There was a great variety of food and it was a surprisingly calm environment (we were there at 7:30). I then got a chocolate martini from the champagne bar and took it into Playmakers (husband prefers IPAs) and we sat watching some Red Bull mountainbiking. Both feeling tired, we headed up to Cafe Promenade for me to grab a  hot chocolate (can you see a theme developing?!) and some cookies to take up to the cabin where I sat on the balcony reading tomorrow's cruise compass and watching dolphins leaping right out of the water!

Tomorrow is another sea day as we sail up the eastern coast of Spain towards the south of France. 

20180717_172521.jpg

20180717_113633.jpg

20180717_114739.jpg

20180717_115053.jpg

20180717_120055.jpg

20180717_131305.jpg

20180717_131415.jpg

20180717_133612.jpg

20180717_133957.jpg

20180717_151332.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 5 - Sea Day

Another sea day saw us uo early to headto the gym before enjoying an a la carte breakfast in the MDR along with a Mimosa (gotta do it at least once on holiday in my opinion). Then we carried on our shuffleboard tournament (I'm now trailing by 1 game ?) before going  to the suite life presentation as husband wanted to find out about the suite perks. None if it was news to me thanks to all of the great info on this site but husband would now like to try a suite ?

Lunch today was at Fish & Ships. Despite being able to get excellent fish & chips at home,  and it not being my favourite food, we'd decided to try it at some point on the cruise 'in the name of research' and today they had it for half price between 12:00-16:00. I had scampi, husband had fish & chips. It was pretty nice but I wouldn't be in a rush to have it again. 

We then went to the theatre to watch tge film 'The Darkest Hour' about Churchill's early days as Prime Minister during WW2. About 30muns into the film, an announcement came over the PA instructing the 'Mobilisation Unit' to go to deck 4/5 forward in 'full gear'. Not long after that, we felt the  ship turn sharply. When we came out of the theatre about 1.5hrs later, there was a helicopter hovering at the front of the ship and someone was winched onto it on a stretcher. The captain had actually tunred the ship right round and we could see the coast of Mallorca to the port side so I assume that's wherr the helicopter was from. I'm not sure what happened - at dinner, our waiter said someone was unconcious and not breathing but they'd had a report from the hospital to say they are gong to be ok which is a relief. 

After enjoying some music and a drink in Bolero's, it was thine to get ready for our second formal night. We went to Vintages for a glass of wine before dinner in the MDR. There was no free lobster- maybe this is just a Caribbean itinerary thing?

After dinner we had a couple of drinks whilst listening to Piano-oake in the Schooner bar with our tablemates. 

Tomorrow we'll be in Villefranche on the Cote d'Azur from where we'll be visiting Nice. 

20180718_163558.jpg

20180718_090511.jpg

20180718_194058.jpg

20180718_105843.jpg

20180718_194134.jpg

20180718_133145.jpg

20180718_134550.jpg

20180718_162125.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 6 - Nice

Today we're docked in the beautiful port of Villefranche-sur-Mer on the south of France's Cote d'Azur. From here it's possible to visit Nice, Monaco and Cannes; we'refreshing been to Monaco we're visiting Nice. 

After breakfast in the MDR buffet, we head to go to the theatre to meet our tour. We'd booked the 'introduction Nice' tour through RC. This simply involved a coach transfer to Nice with some commentary about the history etc on the way. I'm not sure ofthe exact price but our was about £40pp. It probably would've been cheaper to go by private  taxi as it's only about 30mins away from the ship, but the traffic can get pretty bad on this stretch of coastline so I felt happier being on RC's bus. In fact, when we visited Monaco previously, our tour was back late because of the traffic and we were back later than the advertised 'last tender' but our wasn't a problem for us as it was an RC tour. 

We had to wait in the theatre for about 5mins for a tender to become available, then we were on our way. The tender ride is only short - about 10 mins, but it's a nice chance to take in the views of the stunning scenery and super-yachts in the harbour. 

From the cruise terminal, there is a very short but steep walk up to the citadel where the coaches park - how they manoeuvre through the tiny lanes with cars parked either side I'll never know. Then we settled back to enjoy the views on the short drive to Nice. 

Our drop-off point was next to the Albert I park on the Promenade d'Anglais. This was right next to a little tourist train that does a 1hr tour of the city with pre-recorded commentary including taking you to the top of the 92m high Mont Boron for €10pp. There was a train about to leave so we hopped on for the tour. It was a good value option especially for the views over the city from the top of Mont Boron. 

After the tour, we had a wander around the old told and bought a couple of souvenirs and a bottle of wine to take home. We then had a very delicious (if expensive!) lunch as one of the pavement-side restaurants.

We then had a stroll through one of rhe parks before heading back to the promenade. We had 44mins left before having to get our return transfer but it was extremely hot - 34 degrees - and there was little shade to be had anywhere. We spotted a rickshaw that did tours for €15 pp for 30 mins so we jumped on as it was a good way to get out of the sun, generate a refreshing breeze and see a bit more of the city. It was such good fun, if a little hairy, as the driver took us down really narrow streets chock full of pedestrians. In hindsight,  we'd have preferred to have done a longer rickshaw tour rather than the train tour but both were good experiences. 

The driver dropped us off at our bus stop right on time for our return transfer. After a short drive, we were back at the cruise terminal where we were greeted by RC staff had out cold towels and complimentary ice-cold water and flavoured water.  We only waited for a few minutes for a tender and then we were back on board. We grabbed a frozen mocha each to cool down and headed up to our cabin for husband to check his eyelids for holes whilst I sat on the balcony watching some of the super-yachts sail out. 

Sailaway took us past the St Jean Cap Ferat peninsula which is the 2nd most expensive residential area in the world after Monaco. As we sailed past, we saw The Grand Hotel (the big ehite building on the cliff in the photo) where a room will cost on average a mere €2090 per night!

As we headed back out into the Med., we could see the Seabourn Encore and a Viking (possibly the Orion) in the distance sailing away from Monaco. 

We then got changed before heading down to Bolero's for a pre-dinner drink. Dinner tonight was in the MDR where I had the Lasagne which was DELICIOUS! Then we had a stroll round the promenade deck before heading to rhe Schooner bar for a nightcap and a sing-a-long. 

Tomorrow we'll be in Civitivechia where we plan to stay onboard as we're not visiting Rome. Apparently there'll be several other ships in port with us too so I'm hoping to get a good look at them. 

 

20180719_145645.jpg

20180719_155627.jpg

20180719_182655.jpg

20180719_120326.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 7 - Civitivechia 

Today we were in Civitivechia which is the port for Rome. We've heard that to do Rome in a day is pretty frantic as it's at least a 1hr 15min drive from the port, extremely hot, and very crowded in summer. As we're from England it's relatively easy for us to visit for a weekend so we plan to do that at some point. So we decided not to do an excursion this time around and instead enjoy the ship. 

We had a lie-in until 8 before going for breakfast in the WJ. It was pretty quiet and I enjoyed some nice pancakes. 

We have explored Civitivechia a bit on our previous visit prior to doing a wine tasting excursion and it's a nice little town with a fort, a small beach area and some quaint streets and buildings. 

We had 5 other cruise ships in port with us today: Disney Magic, Celebrity Reflection, TUI Mein Schieff 6, MSC Fantasia and Costa Didema. So we decided to get off and go for a stroll through the port to stretch our legs and look at the ships and super-yachts. 

We were off the ship for about 1.5hrs between 9:45 and it was already very hot. Once back on board, we grabbed an iced latte and a snack from Cafe Promenade then went up to the back of the ship to try the water slides. They were really good fun although I preferred the yellow one as the blue one had lines on sections of the tubes that made my eyes go funny. Top tip for a fast slide: arch your back and dig your heals and shoulders into the slide. 

We then went to the Solarium to relax before lunch in the WJ. More relaxtion followed before the day's shuffleboard match- I'm disappointed to report that I'm now trailing by 3 games! I need to have a word with myself!

As we've got an early start tomorrow for our trip to Florence, we decided we didn't want to do late dining in the MDR so we took advantage of an offer we spotted in the cruise compass for 30% off at Giovanni's Table. It was fantastic! I had the octopus to start while my husband had the belly pork then we both had the fillet mignon - the barolo sauce was to die for! The desserts came on a trolley and the waiter, having picked up in the fact that I love food, let me sampleall of them ?

After dinner, we did some window shopping on the Royal Promenade and tried on some Rolexs - it's my husband's dream to own one but I don't think we'll be buying one on this cruise! 

Then it was off to bed ready for Florence in the morning. 
 

20180720_100823.jpg

20180720_094417.jpg

20180720_094435.jpg

20180720_143825.jpg

20180720_143832.jpg

20180720_144327.jpg

20180720_101010.jpg

20180720_101843.jpg

20180720_144359.jpg

20180720_144419.jpg

20180720_144836.jpg

20180720_104709.jpg

20180720_144855.jpg

20180720_195257.jpg

20180720_105113.jpg

20180720_195307.jpg

20180720_200355.jpg

20180720_201858.jpg

20180720_143930.jpg

20180720_144046.jpg

20180720_204046.jpg

20180720_144114.jpg

20180720_101826.jpg

20180720_101657.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 8 - Livorno/Florence

We had an early start this morning with a 7:45 meeting time for our trip to Florence. As Florence is about 1.5hrs drive from the port and often has bad traffic, we'd again booked a transfer with RC. I booked it a while ago so can't remember the exact price but it was in the region of £45-£50pp. This included a tour guide on the coach (Trudy who was extremely informative and good fun), a stop at a leather factory enroute to Florence and a guided walk from the coach drop-off point into the centre of Florence and then 4hrs free time for sightseeing. 

Florence is a beautiful old town with some incredible architecture. Well worth a look if you're ever in the area. We saw the tomb of Michelangelo, the Ponte Veccio and several other historic sites. We got quite lucky with the weather as it was hot but with partial cloud cover so it made the temperature bearable. 

In the afternoon we returned to the ship and had a turkey kummelweck sandwuch from Sorrento's which was delicious. Then we played some shuffleboard (the less said about that the better), before going for a dip in the Solarium pool to cool off. The bars were pretty busy before dinner so we got drinks from Bolero's and took them out on to the Promenade Deck to watch the sun beginning to set. Dinner was in the main dining room where we were treated to a rendition of 'O Sole Mio' by the waiters. 

As we came out of the dining room,  I heard someone saying something about lightning so we went out on deck and sure enough were treated to a natural light show out at sea. We then headed to the Schooner bar where Piano-oke continued - it appears the piano player has some kind of throat problem and has been told to avoid singing. 

Tomorrow we have another port day in Toulon in the south of France. 
 

20180721_105751.jpg

20180721_113604.jpg

20180721_115224.jpg

20180721_122202.jpg

20180721_122514.jpg

20180721_130353.jpg

20180721_130950.jpg

20180721_131509.jpg

20180721_201709.jpg

20180721_202504.jpg

Screenshot_20180722-100339_Video Player.jpg

VideoCapture_20180722-121954.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, your cruise looks amazing and thank you for sharing your blog.

My wife and I are on a 6 day cruise on the IOS on 5th Aug and are really looking forward to it. I had a few questions which I hope you can answer.

1. How much is voom internet on-board per day? There is a pre booking offer of £19 per day for 2 devices. Trying to decide which is cheaper option.

2. We are thinking of pre booking 3 day dining package @ £57 each. Would you consider this as worth it.

Finally, when do they release times of Grease show and is it something you need to book on first day?

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 9 - Toulon

Back to the south of France today for a visit to Toulon. As it is a Sunday,  we were told that there wouldn't be much going on in port and lots of people seemed to stay on board because of this.   This is a large naval port for the French and there were several naval ships in that my husband, who used to be in the Royal Navy, found interesting so we decided to get off and have a look around. 

The ship actually docks across the bay from Toulon in a little town called La Seyne-sur-Mer. From here,  it's about a 20min taxi or water taxi ride into Toulon. There was the option of getting a local water taxi for €3.90pp each way or RC were offering a direct water shuttle from the ship for $18pp return. Although this was double the price ofthe local option,  it was far more convenient as the local option was 15-20min walk from the ship and as we didn't have much time in port, we went with the RC option. 

The water taxi took us right past all the naval ships and dropped us off in rhe middle of Toulon's marina where there were several waterfront bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. There was a tourist landtrain there which cost €7pp but we decided to just have a wander around. 

We soon came across a bustling vegetable markets with more varieties of tomatoes (amongst othe things) than I ever knew existed. I bought some different herb combinations ready to pep up my post-cruise diet of grilled chicken and fish! I also tried the local street food dish made of chickpea flour and olive oil. Unsurprisingly, it tasted mainly of chickpeas. 

We carried on exploring the town and taking in the beautiful architecture f9r a little while before heading back to the marina for a drink before getting the water taxi back. The afternoon ws spent just relaxing before dinner in the MDR. This evening's show was a hypnotist which we went to see as we're interested in the psychology of it. I was quite surprised that the theatre was absolutely packed and there were quitea few people in the later show who'd already seen the earlier show. 

After that it was time for bed ready for Barcelona tomorrow. 

20180722_100651.jpg

20180722_101429.jpg

20180722_102928.jpg

20180722_103332.jpg

20180722_104726.jpg

20180722_105918.jpg

20180722_110700.jpg

20180722_110826.jpg

20180722_112646.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Runge100 said:

Hi, your cruise looks amazing and thank you for sharing your blog.

My wife and I are on a 6 day cruise on the IOS on 5th Aug and are really looking forward to it. I had a few questions which I hope you can answer.

1. How much is voom internet on-board per day? There is a pre booking offer of £19 per day for 2 devices. Trying to decide which is cheaper option.

2. We are thinking of pre booking 3 day dining package @ £57 each. Would you consider this as worth it.

Finally, when do they release times of Grease show and is it something you need to book on first day?

Thanks

Thanks. 

1. We've only bought on be day's Voom which is $27 for 1 device - definitely cheaper to book beforehand. 

2. The specialty restaurants are: Chops, Giovanni's Table, Izumi Hibachi (and Johnny Rockets but that's not worth doing as part of a dining package). We've only been to Giovanni's Table. We're self-confessed foodies and felt it was well worth paying extra for. That said, I  dont think specialty dining is a necessity as the food in the MDR has been superb. 

I hope you enjoy your cruise. 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Runge100 said:

 

Finally, when do they release times of Grease show and is it something you need to book on first day?

Thanks

Sorry - just realised I'd forgotten to answer thus question:

Grease is just announced in the Cruise Compass - you can't pre-book tickets. Ours has just been announced with 2 showings today (Day 11) at 5:45 and 8:45 and another showing on Day 14 at 2pm. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

Day 9 - Toulon

We soon came across a bustling vegetable markets with more varieties of tomatoes (amongst othe things) than I ever knew existed. I bought some different herb combinations ready to pep up my post-cruise diet of grilled chicken and fish! 

20180722_102928.jpg

20180722_103332.jpg

 

 

 

Those tomatoes! I would have bought one of each, found a spot in the sun and happily lunched on them! Yum!

And that spice stand - a chance to puzzle out the ingredients using my very basic French, and yes, I'd want all of them too! 

Jealous. Very jealous!

So glad you're having such a great time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

Thanks. 

1. We've only bought on be day's Voom which is $27 for 1 device - definitely cheaper to book beforehand. 

2. The specialty restaurants are: Chops, Giovanni's Table, Izumi Hibachi (and Johnny Rockets but that's not worth doing as part of a dining package). We've only been to Giovanni's Table. We're self-confessed foodies and felt it was well worth paying extra for. That said, I  dont think specialty dining is a necessity as the food in the MDR has been superb. 

I hope you enjoy your cruise. 

 

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply.  Thats good information on the wifi. I think I will prebook one device.

Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 10 - Barcelona

Barcelona today. I've been to Barcelona twice previously, although not for about 12 years. Both times I loved it and have wanted to go back as there's so much to see and do. 

Arrival was early with us cleared to leave the ship at 7:30. We didn't leave straightaway. We got up at 7:30, went for breakfast in the WJ and got off just after 8:30. 

There was a shuttle bus from the port to the World Trade Centre for €5 which we thought was good value as it was quite a walk (about 20mins) with absolutely no shade and despite the early hour, it was already quite hot. 

As soon as we got off the shuttle bus,  we saw a guy doing rickshaw tours so we went for one of those it was €7pp per 15mins, with discounts for tours of 1.5hrs or longer and the tours are completely customisable. We told him we wanted to see the Gothic Quarter and the Olympic Port and he suggested a couple of other sites we hadn't seen before which we could do in an hour. The tour was fantastic and a really great way to see the city with stops for photos. 

He dropped us off at the bottom of La Rambla which we strolled up for a little while before navigating our way through the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter to the Picasso Museum. Entrance was €12pp for just the main collection,  €14pp including the temporary exhibition or €5pp for just the temporary exhibition. We went for just the main collection as husband is not the biggest fan of artworks. I really enjoyed it and my husband quite enjoyed it as well I think (well, he didn't moan about it anyway).

We were getting hungry after this so we went to Plaza Real for some tapas at one of the restaurants lining the square. The restaurant we went to was called Ocana. It was realky quirky,  the tapas were delicious and we thought it was good value as a large beer, a small beer and 3 plates of tapas cost €21.90. 

We then headed back down to Port Vell for an ice-cream before catching the shuttle bus back to the ship. When we arrived at the bus stop, there was a really big queue. However, the buses came quickly with us getting on  the third bus after waiting for less than 10 minutes. 

I'd been looking forward to Barcelona as I'd enjoyed it so much on my previous visits but I had wondered if it wouldn't be as good third time around or with only having a few hours in port (all aboard was at 15:30) but I'm pleased to report that I still love it - it is such a vibrant place with fantastic architecture and sculptures and so many different areas to explore. Both husband and I have said that we want to return for another longer visit soon. 

Once back on board, husband went for a nap whilst I went up to the Solarium to cool off - via trying a roast beef kummelweck roll from Sorrento's; all I can say is, I didn't understand before why Matt goes on about them so much - but now I do! They're delicious!

Tonight's entertainment included an 80s dance party before dinner in the MDR and a silent disco on the Royal Promenade after dinner. We had a quick look and people seemed to be having fun but it was very popular and there was a really big queue for the headphones so we just went up to the Viking Crown lounge for a drink before bed. 

Tomorrow is another sea day as we make our way to Lisbon. 
 

20180723_092909.jpg

20180723_093031.jpg

20180723_092408.jpg

20180723_093744.jpg

20180723_093831.jpg

20180723_095029.jpg

20180723_100720.jpg

20180723_101017.jpg

20180723_100944.jpg

20180723_104945.jpg

20180723_101754.jpg

20180723_104936.jpg

20180723_113623.jpg

20180723_115216.jpg

20180723_120801.jpg

20180723_121908.jpg

20180723_122506.jpg

20180723_122703.jpg

20180723_124909.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 11 - Sea Day

Today was a well-earned sea day after 5 port days in a row as we head to Lisbon.

We had a bit of a lie-in before breakfast in  the a la carte MDR. Following breakfast we had our shuffleboard match where I'm pleased to say I finally won the day!

At 11:30, we went to the casino to learn to play craps and roulette. We haven't had a go at them yet but we might before the end of the cruise. 

After this we did some filming around the inside of the ship before heading to the MDR for a tutti salad for lunch - delicious as always. 

Then we went to the theatre for the Captain's Corner Q&A session. It was the first time we've been to one of these events but we found it entertaining and informative. 

Some periscoping around the inside of the ship followed and then I got a coconut mojito from Bolero's while I caught up on my blog posts. 

Then it was time to get ready for Chef's table which I'd booked ages ago as a surprise for my husband as a 'thank you' for paying for the cruise. 

We had to meet the host and the rest of our party in the champagne bar at 6pm where we had a glass of champagne  before heading into the MDR and onto the 'private' balcony. The table was laid beautifully and our host,  Enrique, was extremely entertaining as he guided us through each of the coursrs and wine pairings. I'd read good reviews of Chef's Table but I must admit to wondering just how good the food could be. I'm pleased to report that I was blown away by the quality and flavours of the food and tbe wine pairings. I was that blown away bybthe dessert, I forgot to take a picture before tucking in to it! It really was a fantastic night and a great way to meet some new people. 

We had thought that we might go to the casino to try our new gaming skills after the meal but we were that full and tired we just waddled back to our cabin to get some sleep before our day in Lisbon tomorrow.

20180724_123340.jpg

20180724_172232.jpg

20180724_172240.jpg

20180724_173106.jpg

20180724_173152.jpg

20180724_174957.jpg

20180724_175332.jpg

20180724_181914.jpg

20180724_184614.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 12 - Lisbon

Today saw us visit the port of Lisbon. When we visited on our NoS cruise in 2016, it was our favourite port so we've been looking forward to going back. 

We'd really enjoyed taking a tuk-tuk tour that we found on the street on our previous visit so this time we pre-booked a tour with a food focus from Eco Tuk Tours. It consisted of a 3hr tour with stops to try different local specialities including fresh sardines, vino verde, cheese & jelly, cured ham, bread, ginger liquor and pasteis de nata. It cost €49pp +€20 to pick us up from the cruise terminal with a minimum of 4 people. We'd planned to go just the 2 of us and absorb the extra cost but we've gotten on so well with our tablemates that we invited them to join us. They're not particularly foodies but they enjoyed the day. It was a really great tour which was made even better by our fabulous guide Nadia who was extremely informative and entertaining and took us to some extra sightseeing spots that weren't included in the food tour. This included a church that had been detroyed several times by earthquake, flood and fire whixh they decided only to partially restore after the last fire so inside the walls are all still charred. We also passed a traditional laundry in the old town so she took us in so we could take pictures. 

At the end of the tour,  Nadia offered to drop us back at the ship or somewhere else in town. We asked her for a recommendation for somewhere to have a drink so she dropped us at a rooftop bar with great views across the city. 

We then headed back towards the port via the shopping district and stopped off for another drink in the old town before getting back on board. 

We loved Lisbon just as much second time around and it's another place we'd like to go back to for a longer visit. 

Once back on board, we refuelled at Sorrento's before periscoping sailaway from the helicopter pad. Sailaway/into this port is impressive as you go under the 25th April suspension bridge which looks like a smaller version of the Golden Gate Bridge in SF. 

We then relaxed before getting ready for dinner in the MDR which was excellent as always. After dinner we went to watch a comedian in the main theatre. His 'one liner' gags are not really my thing but he was ok. We were all exhausted by this point so we went to bed ready for our final port day in Vigo tomorrow. 

20180725_082325.jpg

20180725_115006.jpg

20180725_115605.jpg

20180725_115940.jpg

20180725_115956.jpg

20180725_121251.jpg

20180725_121317.jpg

20180725_121400.jpg

20180725_122404.jpg

20180725_123801.jpg

20180725_123941.jpg

20180725_124105.jpg

20180725_125043.jpg

20180725_125455.jpg

20180725_125503.jpg

20180725_130737.jpg

20180725_130857.jpg

20180725_131201.jpg

20180725_135122.jpg

20180725_140230.jpg

20180725_201853.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 13 - Vigo

Today was our final port day and we were in the Spanish city of Vigo. We didn't have any plans other than to have a walk around. 

There is a fort that you can walk uo to so we headed up through the old town to reach it. Being a fort, it is located at the top of a steep hill. Luckily for us, there were escalators to take us up part of it - Gibraltar could learn something from Vigo! 

The climb was worth it though for stunning views across the Vigo estuary and the fort is set in pretty landscaped gardens. There is also a nice memorial, consisting of a series of old anchors,  to the ships that were lost during a war on the 18th century. 

After visiting the fort we took a stroll through the town back to the port area. I was really sure what to expect from Vigo but it was a larger city than I thought it would be and had an interesting mix of old and new architecture. There was also plenty of shopping to be had if you're that way inclined. 

We were back onboard early- around 12pm - and went for a bite to eat inbthe WJ before heading to the Solarium to relax and cool off. We stayed there until sailaway which we watched from the cantilever hot tub. This was another scenic sailaway as we sailed out of the estuary with mountains on both sides. 

We then went to Studio B to watch the Ive Show 'Freeze Frame'. It was another great show although 4 out of the 8 performers fell with 3 of them falling twice. Luckily no one was hurt and they carried out to supportive cheers and applause from the crowd. 

There was a Queen tribute band on tonight called The Bohemians. We didn't fancy it as well as going to watch Freeze Frame. As we were having a pre-dinner drink in Vintages, the cruise director made an announcement apologising for having to cut the first performance short and cancelling the second performance as the lead singer's voice had gone partway through the show. He was extremely apologetic and announced that a film would be shown in the theatre instead of the second performance. We thought that this was completely reasonable as it's one of those situations that can't be avoided but the cruise director was so apologetic it made us wonder if people had complained about the first show being cut short. 

Dinner in the MDR followed and was our final formal night with lobster on the menu and the chefs parading through the dining room. Apparently we've broken the ship's record for the amount of pizza consumed with 27 thousand slices under our belts - I guess we know where the Brits stand on the Sorrento's debate!

Finally we grabbed a drink from the Champagne Bar and watched the Britannia Rocks show on the Royal Promenade which was fun. 

Tomorrow is our last sea day as we sail back to Southampton. 

20180726_104950.jpg

20180726_105002.jpg

20180726_110249.jpg

20180726_110930.jpg

20180726_111815.jpg

20180726_112055.jpg

20180726_112322.jpg

20180726_112342.jpg

20180726_113012.jpg

20180726_113131.jpg

20180726_112642.jpg

20180726_113243.jpg

20180726_113305.jpg

20180726_115809.jpg

20180726_120250.jpg

20180726_131508.jpg

20180726_183315.jpg

20180726_203735.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for taking the time to live blog!  We're in the planning stages of our first European cruise, so I've been following along & taking notes.  Our cruise won't be until 2020, so i have a lot of time to plan, ask questions and pic that perfect itinerary.  Now I just need Royal to plan one with all the right stops.  ? Looking forward to reading the rest! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...