Who would ever imagine that an 11 day cruise with a balcony would be less expensive than a 5 day cruise without one? But it’s true! And so, I flew to Barcelona two weeks ago. Angie met me there and we set sail on the MSC Divina.
I’d never visited Barcelona before and had a great time wandering La Rambla at Christmas:
This marked our third cruise together, and some things never change:
Our first full day on board was spent at sea and I did not feel well at all. It was probably for the best since it kept me halfway sober the next night: New Year’s Eve. We sailed into Funchal, Portugal just in time for what the Guinness Book declares the World’s Largest Firework Display:
We took a self guided tour the next day and enjoyed exploring the island of Madeira, including a visit to the town of Câmara De Lobos where I had limpets for lunch, without knowing exactly what I ordered. Turns out they are sea snails and I loved them.
I spent some quality time on deck while the ship left port:
The next day we toured the island of Tenerife, Spain:
That tiny speck in the water at the lower left is a woman surfing.
And after another relaxing day at sea, we arrived in Casablanca, Morocco where we hired a taxi cab tour guide. (The process was stressful – there is so much competition the police literally separate the drivers from the tourists at the gate of the port!) Our guide drove us to a few stops including the Grand Mosquée Hassan II. We missed out on touring the interior, but it was impressive enough from outside:
Next, we found our way to Rick’s Cafe (sure, it’s not the actual site where Casablanca was filmed, but lunch was delicious and the whole experience was great!)
We bought a lot of things from the gift nook, including a book about the development of the building and its furnishings – I’m anxious to read it and learn the whole story.
After lunch we shopped at both the old and new Medinas:
The next afternoon we arrived in Malaga, Spain where we shopped, ate lunch, and sadly – we left just before their Feast of the Kings Festival kicked off.
We hated leaving while preparations for what promised to be a great parade were underway!
After another day at sea (or as we dubbed it: “A day off”) we spent a few whirlwind hours in Rome, Italy. We crammed as much as possible into short day!
Saint Peter’s Square
Piazza del Popolo
Window shopping near the Spanish Steps
Quick visit to the Trevi Fountain
A Colosseum drive-by (photo snapped from the backseat of a taxi)
We returned to Saint Peter’s to meet our ride back to the ship.
The next day we wandered the winding streets of Genoa, Italy:
Piazza de Ferrari
Our lack of Italian skills and the quirky menu made ordering lunch difficult, but it was particularly tasty!
Church of Saint Matthew
We packed our bags while we left Genoa’s port.
We disembarked, checked into our hotel, napped, and were ready to tour Barcelona the next day.
Parc de la Ciutadella
We ran into some of our table mates from the cruise while we biked through the park.
Circling the exterior of the Sagrada Família was enough to make me plan a return to Barcelona.
I’m so glad Angie suggested topping off our day with a visit to Gaudi’s Casa Batlló!
Touring spectacular architecture while listening to Dali’s opinions of the building on the audio guide is something I’ll never forget.
Equally as fantastic as touring sights in so many wonderful cities was spending quality time with Angie. It’s impossible to fit all of the wacky things we shared during our trip into this post (After all, thanks to our package, we did our very best to try one of every item offered on the ship’s drink menu…) We each won a trivia contest, danced at Grease night in the ship’s Galaxy Lounge, met fascinating new friends from Argentina, gambled the hours away at electronic roulette (and won!), and so much more…
Here’s a kiss we blew to Big D. I think this photo captures the essence of our time together – Fun!
Tons of other photos from our cruise are posted on Flickr. Ahoy!