Exotic ports of call is our desire. We did the East & West Medit., Southern, West, & East Caribb, Panama, Amazon, Rio, Mexican Riviera. This is a great new destination; seeing the Straights of Gibraltar, the Canary Islands' diversity from moonscape of Lanzorate, the lush gardens of Tenerife, camel rides to wine tasting... it all works. Flight arranged separately was Newark NJ EWR to Barcelona BCN arriving with time to shop before boarding ship. Crazy, but we took a 2€ (Euro) bus to center of town and shopped our way down towards the port (all downhill), then took a taxi for 8€ to ship. Loaded the cabin fridge with wine and liquor and we were good to go. RCCL is less stringent arriving and boarding, then on all liquor is taken and held at each port till end of cruise. Inside Cabin had too large of a Queen bed, in a small cabin, so it does not work too well. Mirrors are hung backward, light switches behind doors... We were afraid the overdue refurbish would be a problem, but everything was working and attractive. Early seating table of 8 and everyone melded well. Waiter Rod from Chile was excellent, and soon had our preferences recognized and gave excellent suggestions based on that. Head waiter was insipid, he got small tip. We prefer the Radiance class size of ship. Otherwise the crew of this ship was great! Ask where to find... or how do I..., and they immediately helped. They did not just tell you how or where, they took the time to show you.
While dinners were all excellent or close to, they did not have a lobster dinner night. The Windjammer open eating was a bit too crowded for our tastes, but others seamed unaffected. The itinerary was new to the crew, and adapting was a bit off. Scheduled presentations were changed at last moment, and the rescheduled items were then changed again. "Travel through the Straights of Gibraltar will be at 6 am", says the Captain Frank, but even that was wrong, try off by 2.5 hours! On the 8th day the dining staff said they had only done seven day cruises for the longest time, and they liked having guests stay around longer. Tours were not well understood by the staff, so our combination Malaga and Medillo was renamed to delete Medillo, but the tour did go there. Lesson: When you pick a cruise that is new to the staff, and is a change of pace for them, it throws them off a little. Onboard entertainment has never been a high point for us. We attended four and stayed the whole time for only one show. The movie theater was in Spanish for after dinner shows. Ice Skating with the rocking ship underneath is a fun experience. I was happy the seas were fairly calm, but the ship was allowed to rock pretty hard anyway.
The sites in the Canary islands were fantastic, don't miss this trip. We have never been to the volcanic Hawaiian Islands, but the Canary Islands have such diversity of landscape. Temperatures were running cool during this 17 - 27 November cruise. We could have been luckier, only two days found the ladies comfortably tanning. The Solarium is not fully enclosed. To be at the burial cask of Vasco De Gama in a magnificent church of Jeronamo for the famous Portugese explorers was an added touch. Avoid city tours, unless they specifically list the sites and state you will get to go into them. Our tour of Lisbon City was a waste, all long distance sightseeing. We had been to Barcelona, so we were disappointed not to have time to see more. Our flight out at 10 am demanded our rushing from the ship at 7:15, only to find the Continental flight delayed over 3 hours. So we sat in the airport and used airline lunch vouchers and phone vouchers to call the states. Continental is giving all a $100 voucher towards next flight. Cost of 10 day cruise $900 pp inside; booked on last cruise=$200 credit Cost of R/T air EWR to BCN $550 pp, Tips $100 pp, Tours $170 pp Cruise was a bargain, and service and food was top notch. Comments to RCCL, dump Johnny Rockets and install only SeaView Cafes. Yes, the internet was slow, but the front desk made corrections if you specified the time lost.