Monday, May 16, 2016

Day 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 (day 1 - 5 of cruise no 2) - Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Napoli - with sea days.

After visiting Worm in beautiful Sitges, the rest of our Europe-ports were filled with traffic chaos and aggressive Italianos trying kill each other with sigarettes or cars. We are ruining our world with cars!

Day after Barcelona we were at sea, relaxing! I need to take my camera and walk around, take some pictures!

Next port of call, Civitavecchia, (Rome), Italy.  We have been here several times before, both as a port of call on a cruise, and started/ended our cruises here. This time, because Ovation is such a big ship, we docked in the industrial part of the port, instead of where we usually dock, so we had to do shuttle bus in to the city. The traffic was even worse than the last time we were here. Cars all over, also in the narrow streets. We found a small local place to have lunch and a couple of glasses of chianti before we did "to days Farmacia shopping".  I forgot to take any pictures! Back on the ship, some relaxing hours, and in the evening we had dinner in  the "American Icon" - not impressed, but we did not go hungry.

Day after Civitavecchia was Napoli, another car-filled city. One aggressive Italiano actually almost hit me - and I was on the sidewalk! I regret we did not take a tour to either Capri or Sorrento (been there, done that). We could have stayed on the ship too, but then, we have so many sea days ahead of us, so we really need to feel Terra Firma under our feet!!  We found a nice hole in the wall for lunch, I ordered a Anti Pasti... they served 8 - eight - dishes... and not small! And then we had a pasta-frutti de mare - awesome!!!  And house wine.. 1 bottle 3 Euro. I can live with that!

Back on the ship, relaxing, no dinner tonight, after the big lunch in Napoli! But a lot of fun in the Casino with "V" from Perth, Australia! We lost all our money, but we had so much fun!! 
Ovation of the Seas, docked in Napoli.

Cars cars (these were parked, but...

Shopping mall... mmany of the stores were closed down... no cars!!!

Hobby Bar - had a glass of Chianti here...

Towel of the day...

After Napoli we have a day at sea before we have our last European port of call, another car filled city, Pireus/Athens, Greece!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Day 8 - Barcelona (after day 7 at sea).

The last day of the first of 5 cruises ended in Barcelona. We went to the beautiful city of Sitges, 30 minutes by taxi south of Barcelona, to visit  our good friend Worm!

Wifi and Chianti!
Yes I want this at home!
and this...
but not this....
beautiful streets...

Don't know the symbolism, but I liked this!
Norwegian newspaper...

beautiful beaches and norwegian friends visiting... 

beautiful artwork!

narrow streets...

and Worm with his lobster....

Monday, May 9, 2016

Day 6 - Gibraltar (after day 5 at sea)

Gibraltar after a cool day at sea. Pouring rain. Raining cats and dogs. Soaking wet feet before even getting out of the port (should have done my flipflops!!!) ... Did not take to many pictures, because of the rain, I did not want to ruin my phone or my camera. I was tempted to just go back to my cabin and join these two guys..

I am not a big fan of Gibraltar, we have been 3-4 times before.  And when the weather is so terrible....

The main street is lined with tax-free stores, and of course, shopping-crazy people. This time the ship is filled with Brits (they are a fun bunch though, party party party, great fun to cruise with them), and they want to bring their liquor and sigarettes home. We are not really in to that.

But we feel we have to go in to the town, just to have been there... and we always have lunch when we are in port. So we walked the Main Street, up to the first cozy looking plaze, and ended at Horseshoe bar, got a nice table, and sat there for hours, having a great lunch (me spinach quiche, he did the vegetarian breakfast, everything really good). Even their house red wine was good, so we forgot about the lousy weather and had a good time. My jacket dried, and my boots as well!

We have been to the Rock, we have seen the monkeys, been there done that. Did not buy a t-shirt. This is how the Rock looked like today...
The Rock in the rain....
Back on the ship I had my after noon nap, then to Schooner bar to see some people - and for dinner tonight we did Jamie's italian. Food was good, but not at all worth the 30 USD per person we had to pay. Too expensive, Royal! We don't mind paying, but let it be worth it! If I had had only the Penne Carbonara I had planned, I would have been really disappointed. The Carbonara was excellent, but not worth 30 USD. I had dessert of course, Tira Misu, delish! - but still 30 USD is way up there. Service was not too good either.  We'll give them another chance, as we don't have a choice... 46 days to go... so...  this is Per's cheese cake, he ate it all...

Later, after doing some bars and checking out the show, we went back to the stateroom, we had received an apology from the restaurant manager in the American Icon restaurant, they serve American food, baked potato - no sour cream??!!? Not good enough Royal! but with apologizes like this.... I can live without sour cream...

Chocolate covered strawberries...
Some chatting with good friends and family on each side of the Atlantic, thank you Internet for making me able to stay in touch with the important people in my life!!. Tomorrow day at sea, hope the weather soon gets better... rain is ok at home, not when your only escape is a small stateroom....  

Darwin my new best friend will leave us tomorrow in Barcelona, he is re-stationed to the suites, as he is so good. I knew it! He is to good to be real. He promised to tell our new person how we like things, that I like my Ice bucket refilled every afternoon, not to tuck the covers under the mattress, he washes our private thermo coffee mugs... and a lot more. He is awesome. And I love his creative towel animals.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Day 4 - Vigo, Spain

This must be the 4th or 5th time we are in Vigo. We had sort of decided to not go ashore, because the last time we were here, the city was so noisy, dirty, filled with beggars, umbrella- and handbag-vendors, and because of the recession, lots of empty stores in the main streets. Depressing!

Ovation of the Seas - docked smack in the middle of the city!
I am glad we redecided, even though the weather was bad. The temperature was nice, but it rained all day. I had brought my umbrella so I was sort of fine.

The emigrant (a tribute to the emigrants that left for America) and me... me to the right -
 I brought my Munch umbrella.

These guys knew exactly what people needed today!

We walked around, did some planned shopping (toothpaste) then I found this cute store, and I had to buy a couple of these cushions. 

These two guys are going with me home, Mr Sunglass and the Kisser...
I love them both! (The winebottle just to show the size)
Well, we found this little hole in the wall, where the locals had their refreshments. We were the only tourists in there, I did not want to take any pictures.
They had some really good house wine, and some green olives and salty peanuts. Very nice and friendly.  The name of the place was of course "Serveseria", and they have free beer tomorrow:


We had lunch also with the locals, another hole in the wall! No pictures there either.

It was nice to get back on board, as I was cold and wet after walking in the rain and wind. I had a nice warm shower and a nap. The bed in our cabin is just awesome. And our stateroom attendant Darwin has become my new best friend. I want to take him home. Everything is perfect. Except for the weather.

No dinner tonight  after the big lunch in Vigo was  We just grabbed a sandwich in the Promenade cafe. All good.

Towel of the day: the shy little pig...

Friday, May 6, 2016

Day 3 - Gijon, Spain

A good night's sleep, and we were ready to go to Gijon. Wikipedia has this article on the city, the largest city and municipality in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain.

I am not sure if we had to "park" way out in the boonies because of size, but ...

Ovation of the Seas - in Gijon, Spain

We could choose from a bussride (5 Euros) or a taxi (18 Euros) - the line for the bus was terrible, guess what we did. Yes. the taxi. We have never seen this city on any itinerary, so we don't think they were prepared for this big crowd.

The city it self was big enough to absorb the ships passengers, we did not feel like we were wading in cruisers as we do in other ports. We did the planned shopping (memorycards for my camera), and walked around until we found a little local "cideria", where we had lunch. Only locals, and us! It was a great experience, even though I could not use their wifi. I have a great dataplan on my phone, so I survived. (yes, I am addicted).

There were also horrendous lines to get back on the ship. We had to go through a security screening (the important thing is to see if we are trying to smuggle alcohol on board), and I think lots of people had bought alcohol, (they confiscate it, and you get it back on the last night of your cruise). Oh well, we know this - the problem with bigger ships. Use it as an opportunity to get to know other people! We had fun, and the time we spent did not feel too bad.

We did the "Chic" restaurant for dinner, I had a delicious rack of lamb, Per had the snapper.  We had a great time, people from Adelaide, Australia at the table next to us, Mark and Kay, we will meet them again for sure, they were fun and friendly, and had champagne with their dinner. We like that kind of people!

Tomorrow is Vigo, we have been there several times before. Weather forecast is bad, so we'll probably just walk off  to have lunch, and then back to the ship. We have  not really explored the ship yet.

Pictures later, the net is too slow.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Day 2 - at sea

Seadays are my favorite on cruises. At least on longer cruises. This cruise will be so long, we will enjoy both the ports and the seadays. Especially the ports we have never seen before.

Today we had a nice lunch in the Solarium Bistro, more relaxed than the big buffet, and I want to see the sea. (only negative is you have to eat with people in their bathrobes.. that feels a bit)... The other restaurants are on deck 4 and 5, and have limited view. We'll for sure get to try them out, we have 50 more days to go!

After lunch we enjoyed the balcony and cabin. I got some sleep (much needed) and we both got to read. I brought on board 2 bottles and some "single-bags" with wine, and Royal gives us some during our cruise. I am sure we'll have enough... they even gave us nice wine glasses! Thank you Royal!

Ovation of the Seas is the newest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. They have done a lot of improvements from the other ships we have been on (we have never cruised this class - Quantum class) before. There is no main dining room, but several different restaurants. To book time for dinner - I have an app on my phone.. We can also book excursions and shows on that same app. Really cool. And if you don't have a smartphone, they have provided "iPads" (I don't know what they are) around the ship for people to use to book their stuff. It is really neat!  We had dinner in "Silk" - tonight, Asian food. Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian food. Everything was delicious! Our server was a  Chinese guy, and Per got to practice his Chinese. The server loved it, and gave us really personal and good service. We will for sure go here more often!

Since we are "Diamond plus" (because we have more than 175 nights on Royal-ships - we have more than 250 cruisepoints now I think) we can go to this lounge every evening for snacks and free drinks. Problem is - on this ship there is no bar in that lounge, and we like to meet people.  Only tables with chairs. Disapponted Royal! Put back the bar in the Diamond Lounge! Ask your guests, also many single travellers, they like to sit at the bar, easier to meet people! Not good Royal!

Towel animal from Darwin:

Well - tomorrow is Gijon, Spain. A new port for us, never been there!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Day 1 - Southampton -On board!

After a delicious breakfast at the Grand Harbor hotel, and nice chat with good friends, we walked from the hotel to the ship. The huge  Panda was Greetings us from high up there. Her little cub is also there, we will go up and say hi later!

The check in process took us only 30 minutes. This including extra security, (we are going to some odd places) and visa check. Very good Royal Carbbean! We have not access to our steteroom yet, but the  North  Star Bar is a fun and nice place to be. It is a beautiful day in Southampton and lots of fun English people on  board.

 Lets go!! I am ready!