We had three sea days at the beginning of the cruise before reaching our first port. I love sea days, the weather wasn’t too great on the first two but it’s got steadily warmer and brighter by the day. Our first port was Valencia and today we have enjoyed Barcelona.
During our time in Valencia we literally just went ashore to stretch our legs. I have been there several times and to be honest once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, but it was nice to be on land for a little while and a great chance to grab some sweets for my Godson.
Barcelona was an eye opener for me! I have visited this port several times but usually just stuck with Las Ramblas on every visit. This time I decided I wanted to do something else. I was so fed up with the same thing so I contemplated a visit to Montserrat but then decided I instead would do the typical tourist thing and try the hop-on hop-off city sightseeing bus. I am so glad I did! I’ve said many times that I never really warmed to Barcelona but those few hours have ignited a new appreciation inside of me for this city. I actually can’t wait to come back and explore more. I opted for the tour that went around the west of the city taking in sights like the Olympic Stadium, Camp Nou, Jardins De Miramar (which had the most incredible views) and the Gothic Cathedral, just to name a small few. It was definitely worth it and although I didn’t quite have time to switch to the east tour it gives me something to look forward too, if I ever do come back.
So what else has been happening? Well, I am once again in love with the Beach House of an evening. The chicken sizzler is so good I’ve already had it twice in 4 days (Please lord let me STOP) and I was quietly pleased to see that they once again add courgette (zucchini) to this yummy dish! They took it out for a while and for me it just wasn’t the same but its back and last night I made full use of it with a request for extra! To start I went with the coconut encrusted tiger prawns. Prawns were always on the menu but they have changed them from a basic garlic to the above. They were incredible! If you like prawns and don’t mind the £4.95 extra charge then you must try them! In fact there have been a few changes to the Beach House menu. Things like the fish & chips and bacon cheeseburger are gone, in place of these you can find a lamb wrap and plaice burger along with one or two other new additions. Same goes for the starters with the addition of nachos.
We had a funny smell in our bathroom for a day or two, it didn’t clear so we informed reception and within hours it was resolved and we had a sparkly new crisp white shower curtain too! I was quite impressed with the speed of which it was addressed and the fact they went a step further with the curtain. So far I can’t complain about any of the service on board. Everyone has been very friendly and attentive. There is one young man in particular working on the Terrace Bar who is an absolute ray of sunshine!
Totally going off track but I had to share this with my fellow animal lovers. There is a crew member on board whom I have nicknamed “Double P” this stands for “Pigeon Punisher”. This guy does not like the company of our feathered friends and spent two days trying to chase the same pigeon from the ship. He waved towels at it, glasses and whatever else he could get his hands on. The pigeon however was smarter than he gave it credit for and got its own back by deciding to use his impeccably clean bar as a toilet. The score so far stands at Pigeon 1 – Double P 0 – What a good birdy! 😉
I will check in with you all again soon with another update and more info on the ship’s refurbishment. Until then we wave goodbye to Barcelona and Holland America Line’s, Nieuw Amsterdam, who joined us in port today.
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..say hi to him from me! Enjoy the rest of the cruise 🙂
He mentioned you to me last night! Small world! 😉
He is a great waiter!! In fact they are all very good on P & O!! Normally do first sitting but going to try freedom this year….see if the flexibility is better or not?
I prefer Freedom dining to be honest, we have been told twice a table for two would be roughly 35 minutes wait then literally got one deck away from the restaurant and the buzzer has gone off. I’ll never go back to Club Dining now, I say give Freedom a try 🙂
The chicken sizzler looks as good as I remember it! Service is always good and staff are excellent…don’t suppose you have met Domnick or Bernard onboard!! They are waiters who were on Oriana last year but on Ventura now!
Is Domnick quite young? There is a Domnick whom I know from Oriana too.
Hey…it will be him!! He has been on Oriana a lot :-)…big smiley face and not very tall…enjoying following your travels and picking up some good tips for future cruising!