I was in Barcelona once before in 1964, but I did not get to see anything of the city as I just transferred from the airport to the train station at O-Dark 30 in the morning.
When we arrived in Barcelona, our side of the plane were looking out our windows at the water of the Med. The other side was looking at the city.
When we got off the plane, we went to get our bags. Apparently in Barcelona, each little segment of the airport has its own baggage area. So since we got off in B terminal, our bags would be at B baggage claim. They had a little sign over the belts which said which flights bags would be on that belt
waiting for luggage
There were little children lying on and riding the belts, and no one said anything to them. My grandson did not recognize his bag because it was upsidedown, so it had to come around twice. My bag when it came had all the zippers partly unzipped. As far as I know though, everything is there.
I had bought the Tuistico Bus tickets on line (I got them on a website that had the price in £, but it came out as $80.00 for two adult tickets on my credit card), and I thought it would be a good idea to pick them up at the airport, so we did, and the girl there marked on the map where our hotel was. I also had printed out where the hotel was, and the information was in my computer bag. The information people said - oh take the airport bus in to Plaza Catalina - it is just a short walk to your hotel. So I started to get in line for tickets, but I was just too tired and sore and couldn't stand there and wait for the other people to futz around with the machine. So we walked up to get a taxi. My grandson put the computer bag in the trunk of the cab. When he asked me whether he should do this I started to say No and then it was already in there and the lid shut.
traffic on the way to the hotel
Now the taxi driver who speaks no English wants to know where we are going. I say the Reding Hotel. He says there are four Redings. What is the address. Well, I don't remember exactly off the top of my head. So he gets out his maps and looks (while driving of course). He didn't appear to ever find it. I said it was near the Plaza Catalonia, and eventually he got us there.
The hotel web page said 25 € and the information person in the airport said 27 €, but actually it was 20.10 € and he said to skip the 0.10€. I'm not sure how he got 20 € because the meter said it was 14 €, but he added 6 € to it. I think there is a surcharge for the airport and for the luggage.
The Hotel Reding has a big glass door which you have to be buzzed in by the desk person. We checked in and I paid for the first night (134 €). She explained that the breakfast was not included and the buffet would be 13€ each. But I thought that was a lot for breakfast, and anyway they are not open on Sunday when we leave.
We are in room 301 which looks out on the street. We got in the elevator and I was leaning against the wall when the door opened behind me - we get out a different door than we got in at the lobby. Our room has twin beds,
Painting on the wall of the hotel room
Window and TV
a nice TV (BBC and CNN in English), an honor bar, and a light system that you have to put your room key in it to have light.
Me reflected in the bathroom mirror
The bathroom has one of those glass door showers, a toilet and a bidet.
Bathtub and toilets
Sink in hotel
I got out my European plugs, and the power strip and my grandson plugged in all his electronic gear to recharge, and I plugged the computer in on the plug that I got from the NCL Pearl and forgot to return. The one problem with this hotel is that there is basically no information in our room about the hotel. There's no list of numbers to call (desk, room service etc). There's no instructions about how to use the safe. We couldn't figure out how to use it (where was the key - it had an old fashioned keyhole in it and I kept forgetting to ask the girls at the desk). The safe appears to be locked - neither of us could pull it open. There's no list of times that things are open - like when could we get room service and what could we order from it. And the desk girls don't really know either because they are new. We have now found that, the restaurant is closed Saturday and Sunday. The breakfast buffet and the cafeteria is closed Sunday. The breakfast buffet was open this morning (Saturday). They say that the coffee shop is open tomorrow morning for breakfast, but they also said the cafeteria was open this evening and it wasn't.
I tried again to get the computer to boot, and eventually was successful when I went back to the last known successful boot, my grandson watched a pool match which seemed to be broadcast in German. I was relieved that the computer would work, but still I don't know exactly what the problem was, particularly since the desk clerk lady said I would have a hard time getting it fixed on Friday afternoon - I could forget getting anything done on Saturday.
Grandson on bed
I transferred all the new photos and the stuff I really need to have to the thumb drive. I wanted to call the desk with a question but could not find out how to do it, so I sent my grandson down to ask and also to ask how to log into the hotel system. She sent him back with the password, but she gave him a card with the hotel's phone number on it and that's not what I meant at all. I wanted to know how to phone her from the room phone.
room key to make the outlets work
I left the computer on standby to charge, so we left one of the room keys in the room so that the outlets would still work. I had decided that as jet lagged as we were, and with me being really tired and sore, it would be better to do one loop of the bus right away.
I think the desk clerk was miffed that we didn't buy the tickets from her. and all she said was that it would be up at the Plaza Catalonia. We then discussed the different Spanish accents, because she says Platha instead of Plaza. My grandson said it wasn't that cold and that we wouldn't need our coats. We walked up to a square,
Placa de la Universitat
but it wasn't the right square It was Placa de la Universitat. I didn't know exactly what the buses looked like except they were a double decker with an open top.
We watched some kids skateboarding in the square (who my grandson said were pickpockets), and then saw one of the buses and walked up to it, but it was a different company.
the other bus tour company's bus
Eventually after walking around quite a bit, we found and boarded the blue line bus and went up to the top deck. My grandson was WRONG about the temperature - was quite cool and windy up there.We got on a blue route bus at Placa de Catalunya.
This is the report on that route: We went up the Passeig de Gràcia which links to the old village of Gràcia (hence its name). This is where the block called the Illa de la Discordia (Island of Discord), because it is a single block along the Passeig de Gracia containing four Modernista buildings by four different architects that were built between 1900 and 1910.
Stop » Casa Batlló - Fundació Antoni Tàpies
The most notable one is Gaudí’s Casa Batlló (which has the dragon on the roof top of it), built between 1904 and 1906. In addition to Casa Batllo,
Gaudí’s Casa Batlló
Gaudi St. George and Dragon house
dragon's back and sword (cross)
there are Casa Lleo i Morera
Casa Lleo Morera
The Casa Lleo i Morera has a very ornate tower which makes it stand out. Another building there is Casa Amatller. Casa Amatller was built between 1898-1900 The Architect was Puig i Cadafalch. It is right next to Casa Batllo and inside is the Institut d´Art Amatller.
On the Passeig de Gràcia there are benches and street lamps that line both sides of the avenue.
Stop » Passeig de Gràcia - La Pedrera
Next notable building was the Casa Milà, popularly known as “La Pedrera” (the Catalan word for stone quarry), another building by Gaudí which was constructed between 1906 and 1910.
"Casa Mila" by Gaudi
"Casa Mila" by Gaudi
From here we turned and went up the Diagonal
Stop » Francesc Macià - Diagonal
This square, which is named after the former president of the Catalan government, Francesc Macià, is one of the city’s a shopping and business areas. The Turó Park, is near this square. A statue of Pau Casals, the world’s best-known Catalan musician, stands at the entrance. The avenue which links the Diagonal to the park is named after him. I think this is where we saw a sort of Washington Monument type object which I can't find anything about.
We went down Av. Josep Tarradellos to
Stop » Estació de Sants which is a railway station.
Just south of the Estació Sants is a park which was established in 1985 on the site of Vapor Nou, a former textile factory. The local name for the factory was L'Espanya Industrial. This area was under construction when we were there. The modern design is by the Bask architect Luis Pena Ganchegui. This park includes a grand entryway of oversized white steps and fountains (which we did not see as it was still too cold) which lead down from street level to a large area of ponds, waterways, lawn, play areas, and modern sculptures.
which is used as a slide. We did a sort of wifferdill (a circle) here and went to
Construction around towers
Nine large light towers (Watchtowers or lighthouses) are at the top of the steps. Housing projects surround this park.
The most prominent sculpture is 'The Dragon Without Saint George' by Andrés Nagel. The large structure in cast iron depicts a slain dragon coming out of the lake with outstretched wings and lowered head and tail. The sculpture also functions as a slide for children. We particularly took pictures of the lighthouse-style towers and the massive sculpture
Large metal sculpture with a slide
Stop » Creu Coberta which connects the Plaça d’Espanya with the Carrer de Sants, and saw the Mercad d'Hostafrancs - a big marketplace.
This became an industrial suburb during the 19th century and was annexed to the city in 1897. It was the site of the city’s first textile mills: one of them, the Vapor Vell, is now a major public library. Next we drove by
» Plaça d'Espanya
This plaza, with the central monumental fountain by Josep Maria Jujol -the multitalented architect and associate of Gaudí- marks the gateway to the great park of Montjuïc, the setting for the 1929 International Exhibition and the 1992 Olympic Games.
Fira de Barcelona
Stop » Caixa Forum - Pavelló Van Der Rohe
Caixa Forum, the Social and Cultural Centre of “la Caixa” Foundation, is housed in a former textile mill built in 1911 and designed by the modernista architect Puig i Cadafalch. It now has an exhibition of the contemporary art collection.
The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion was the German national pavilion designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition.
Stop » Poble Espanyol
The 1929 International Exhibition gave this area the Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village) If you get off here, you can walk through the streets and squares of a real village, with different architectural styles. It is also home to over 40 craft workshops where you can see artisans at work and buy what they have made.
You can walk through the Sculpture Garden, and visit the Fundació Fran Daurel with its collection of contemporary artworks by Picasso, Miró, Tàpies and Barceló. There is also wide range of shops and restaurants.
Blue Route stop
Stop » MNAC (aka Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya)
We took a lot of pictures of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya which is one of Catalonia’s foremost museums. It looks old, but isn't. Near the MNAC is the Museu Etnològic which I think was mostly on the Catalonia culture
After we went up and back to the MNAC it was time to visit
Stop » Anella Olímpica
The main site of the 1992 Olympic Games . Montjuïc’s Olympic Ring was the main stadium of the 1992 summer Olympic Games.
The Olympic Stadium, the Palau Sant Jordi, the telecommunications tower, the Sports University, and the Picornell swimming pools, are the major facilities in the Olympic Ring. Close to the Stadium is the Olympic and Sports Museum; and on the other side are the city’s botanical garden
Sant Jordi statue
Calatrava Tower at Olympic Ring
Stop » Fundació Joan Miró
The Fundació Joan Miró and the Centre for Contemporary Arts Studies opened to the public in 1975. Here is the permanent collection by this world-renowned Catalan artist The white building itself was designed by Miró's great friend, the architect Josep Lluís Sert,
Stop » Funicular de Montjuïc
I really wanted to ride this because it promised a bird's-eye view of the city and harbour It travels up to the castle on the top of the hill. But we didn't have time
A halfway stop provides access to the viewing area known as the “Mirador del Alcalde”, an attractive landscaped terrace which boasts harbour views. This stop is also near the Montjuïc swimming pools where you can go for a swim in summer. Then we drove down the side of the mountain through gardens
Stop » Miramar – Jardins Costa i Llobera
..which showcase all kinds of botanical species.
The garden by this stop is named after the Majorcan poet Costa i Llobera and features an extensive collection of palm trees, cacti and other species from subtropical climates. This south-east-facing side of the hill, which overlooks the sea, provides them with the ideal habitat. Now we have gotten down to the waterfront
Torre de Jaume I
Torre de Jaume I
Stop » World Trade Center
The "World Trade Center" is composed of four buildings, one is a luxury hotel, which was built by the team of architects who built the famous pyramid of the Louvre in Paris. In addition to offices and an auditorium and other business services, there is also a shopping center and several restaurants.
Top of tower
The steel tower that rises in the center of the pier is the station of the aerial tramway. Between the ferry terminals stands a big tubular sculpture that suggest waves on the sea, work of the artist Andreu Alfaro from Valencia.
Waves waterfront sculpture
Stop » Colom – Museu Marítim
We have lots of photos of Columbus. From this stop, you can take a stroll up La Rambla. Or you can go up in the monument itself, or you can visit the Museu Marítim or go for a harbour ride
Columbus - facing the wrong way
Stop » Port Vell
Port Vell, is the old part of Barcelona harbour and a major leisure and shopping complex, the Maremagnum.
We got off at this stop the next day, and had lunch there. and went to L’Aquàrium
Torre del Reloj
There is a lighthouse at the harbor -Torre del Reloj- whichwas built in 1772. It has been inactive since about 1860. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square pyramidal masonry clock tower; the top of the tower formerly carried a lantern and gallery instead of the clock faces seen today. Lights were provided in Barcelona as early as 1697. This is the only survivor of a rather large number of harbor lights built and removed at various times as the port developed. Located at the Moll des Pescadors on the downtown Barcelona waterfront. The tower is closed. I photographed it from the Bus Turistic at dusk in the spring without knowing that it was in the picture.
Stop » Museu d'Història de Catalunya
A section of the Palau de Mar, the brick building formerly used as the general warehouses of the harbour, is now home to the Museu d’Història de Catalunya (Museum of the History of Catalonia).
Stop » Port Olímpic
The 1992 Olympic Games led to the construction of the Port Olímpic. The new marina was used for the sailing competitions, and the blocks of flats which housed the athletes and other competitors are located nearby. The marina has over 700 berths .There are reclaimed beaches suitable for swimming and public use (except it was March when we were there and too cold for swimming).
The Casino de Barcelona is located on the ground floor of one of the towers flanking the entrance to the Port Olímpic
Joan Miro statue
Torres Agbar building
‘Bicing’ offers residents with a subscription access to bikes at various stations across the city. This is not available for tourists,
We did the whole blue loop on the top aside from the last two stops when I said we should go downstairs - my teeth were chattering and besides if we weren't downstairs I wouldn't be able to get down the steps in time to get off.
When we got off the bus, I was completely disoriented about how to get back to the hotel, but my grandson thought he knew how we came. And he did. He walked ahead of me a couple of paces and then would stop and wait for me to catch up.
My grandson walking ahead of me to the hotel
We had seen some kids with backpacks running around the "Platha" that he thought they might have been thieves. So I clutched my little fanny pack close although it didn't really have much in it.
The problem with backtracking was we hadn't gone the most efficient way. Eventually we got to a place where I recognized the hotel, and we cut off about three blocks that we walked before. We were too tired to go out to eat,
cafeteria downstairs which closed at 4 pm
so my grandson ate the peanut butter sandwiches that his mother packed for him in case he couldn't find anything to eat (He and his mom are both sort of picky eaters)
My grandson took 72 pictures today. I had a total of 172, but that counts from waking up this morning on the plane and going through two airports.
I went to bed this morning after writing the last two emails at about 2 am.
29 March - Turistica Bus - Red and Green Route
My grandson got up this morning around 8:30 and took a shower. He (like his cousin before him) complained that there wasn't much pressure to the water, but he didn't know that he could turn the shower head to have more. Eventually I got a shower and got dressed and we headed out about 10:30. Since he said he usually just had toast for breakfast, we went to the coffee shop. I got pineapple juice and he got OJ (1.6 € each), and we each had a croissant (1.5 € each) and I also had green tea. This only cost 11.55 €, and the buffet breakfast would have been 13 € each, and the juices in the mini-bar are 2.2 € each.
We left the hotel about 10:50, suitably attired for sitting on the top of a double decker bus. I had on my pink coat, and my grandson had on two tee shirts and a sweat shirt with a hood. He had his camera in his front pants pocket. I had a small fanny pack with a change purse, and my passport case around my neck, and of course my camera.
We walked up to Plaza Catalonia by a shorter route. But the lines for the buses were EXTREMELY long, and I got impatient. So I walked across to the taxi line and got in a cab. My grandson was still in line and wasn't paying attention to what I was going to do, and I had to get out and go back to get him. But we got a cab to the Sagrada Familia church by Gaudia
from the cab
and got there about 11:20. We started to walk around it, as we had landed at the group entrance to find the family entrance.
Gaudi's Sagrada Família
I got really hot, and took the liner out of my coat while my grandson walked around to find where the red route bus stop was and the individual entrance. I couldn't find a way to stow the liner, so he put it on under his sweat shirt.
grandson taking photos
While the church is fantastic and I'm glad I saw it, it is, of course, still under construction. I found the facade color to be kind of grimy - like Baltimore was before they sandblasted years of soot and pollution from the building facades and brought them back to normal. Next time I will pay and go inside.
There was a line to get into the church, and ALSO a line to get on the buses. I asked my grandson if he wanted to have lunch, or go in the church or get back on the bus, and he said he didn't care, so since my back was really hurting me, I decided that we'd just had breakfast and we could have lunch later, and we got in line for the bus.
Note: If he says he doesn't care, I take him at his word and decide.
As I said the buses were quite crowded and the first one we got on had no seats on the open top deck. So we rode on the first level for one stop, and then went up to the top.
Sun dial only it was cloudy
Passeig de la Reina Elisenoa de Montcada
Another Barcelona Bus Turistic bus
Pedralbes monastery cross
Facultat de Fisica
Trolley in center
We rode all the way around to the Av. Diagonal transfer point for the blue bus and got off. We missed two short sections of the red route where the blue route did not parallel it.
We got on a blue bus. We sat downstairs,
Downstairs on the bus
Blue Route (bottom part)
because we'd been up in the outside on the previous day.
We rode the blue bus down to the water front area
going through a tunnel in the Bus Turistic - top deck
and my grandson asked where the aquarium was. I said it was probably at the next stop, did he want to go. He said no not really. I said if his dad was with us, he would want to go. So he changed his mind about going and we got off at the Port Vell stop. It was now about 2:20.
As we were walking around trying to find the aquarium, I again asked if he was hungry and he allowed as how he could probably eat lunch.
Sign out front
So we went into the El Chipiron which was there on the waterfront.
Octopus on display
Inside the restaurant
He ordered a pizza margarita
and a coke (which was actually a pepsi), and I had a gazpacho (cold vegetable soup from the Med region) from the tapas part of the menu and tea.
The gazpacho came in a big round glass, so I ate the croutons off the top with a spoon and then drank it. My grandson said the pizza was only warm but the plate it was on was really hot. He also thought the pizza was good. It was a thin cheese pizza. Then I wanted some ice cream and my grandson wanted plain vanilla, but I wanted the caramel nut, so I asked for one scoop of each. But the waiter didn't convey those instructions to who-ever did the dishing up, so we got both scoops the same. We both ate it anyway. The bill came to 27.9€.
Before we left I asked to use the bathroom. The men's had a little figure of a boy peeing in the toilet (standing up)
Men's room sign
Ladies room sign
and the women's had a figure of a little girl sitting. I took pictures.
Now we tried again to find the aquarium. I found that there was a discount for the aquarium in the coupon book we'd gotten with our bus ticket, but my grandson had forgotten his. As we were in line, he pointed out that I could have a reduced price ticket (as an old person although he didn't say that), and so I gave them the coupon and said one adult and one elder, and they gave us the one euro discount on both tickets. We paid 26 € instead of 28 €.
Photo of us
We spent from 3:30 to about 4:35 in the aquarium. This was a nice little aquarium, which has 35 tanks, 11,000 animals and 450 different species, an underwater tunnel 80 metres long, and an Oceanarium, the only one in Europe. We spent about a hour here. The low light made it difficult to take pictures, especially if the fish swam fast, and also there was reflections off the lighted informational signs.
Crab with a sponge on his back
Shark and sting ray
Nautillus reflected in the surfaces around him
There was a shark tunnel
Grandson in shark tunnel
and they took pictures of people coming off the end of the moving walkway, but they were terrible of me, and my grandson had his back to the camera each time. I took a picture of the booth
photo of photo booth
and the girl said that was forbidden and would be 9 €s. I didn't pay it. My photo was really no good so she didn't lose anything..
He did buy the picture that they took of us at the entrance standing in sharks jaws. That was 7€s. He also bought a couple of things for his friends.
Then we got back on the blue bus (sitting on the first floor again) and got off at the green transfer point. There we met a couple more people that are going on the ship with us.
Smokestack or tower
Sculptures in waterfront park
Facultat de Nautica
The green route is really short, and we transferred back to the blue bus without doing the complete green route, but there was only the short section between the two transfer points that we missed. Some of the buses stop running at 1900 and some stop at 2000, and I didn't want to be out somewhere when they stopped. I think we've done the whole blue route, and some of it twice.
back on the blue route to go back to the hotel
After six o'clock
We got back off at Plaza Catalonia.
walking back to the hotel
Woman's Secret store
and my grandson found an even shorter route to get back to the hotel, and we were back by 6:20. In spite of the Do Not Disturb sign, they had made up our room and left us another two candies.
I had been wrestling in my mind with how to download my grandson's picture because I can't seem to make the software that came with his camera work. I had decided to try Picasa (a free to download photographic program), and indeed that worked. He took 190 pictures on the two days in Barcelona - he didn't start to take pictures until we did the bus tour. At the end of today, I have 310 photos. So after I downloaded both my pictures and his pictures to the computer and copied them to the thumb drive, we set out about 8:30 to try to find dinner.
The receptionist who was wrong about the cafeteria being open gave us a card for a tapas place just a couple of blocks away which she said all their clients liked, so we walked up to where we thought this would be, and couldn't find it.
going out to dinner
And due to her warning about walking around with a camera, I didn't want to wander too far. So instead we went to another place called D'Or.
Inside tapas restaurant
I got another pineapple juice, and ordered from the tapas menu
Spanish omelet (truita patata)
The Spanish omelet was a kind of pie made of egg and potato and onion, of which I got a wedge.
The gambia were called crawfish on the English menu and were about 7 large shrimp in the shell. They came with the whole head and were warm and kind of greasy and very hard to peel. My grandson ate 3 of them and I ate 4. My grandson had a coke, a cheeseburger and
Fries (patates fregides
The cheeseburger was a McDonalds size cheeseburger and the fries came on a separate plate. The coke was a 330 ml can, and they gave him as usual two HUGE ice cubes. The whole thing was 18.38 €s which is less than lunch.
Hotel Reding at night
There is a notice in the elevator that they start daylight savings here tonight.
We went to bed after we got back to the hotel, or at least my grandson got into his pajamas and played with his video game.
The TV in the hotel has a sports channel which seems to have the narrative in German even though the players may be speaking English. He has been watching some kind of billiards match and trying to figure out the rules.
My grandson had asked what dock the ship would be at, and I didn't know for sure, but I found google.earth and we could see some of the port on it - we spent some time looking at it because someone said that there was an inner and an outer port and only the smaller ships could get under the bridge.
I wrote up the trip and did some downloading of email and edited some photos, but decided that I'd better try to get some sleep. I looked at the computer time and it said 3 am., and I was horrified, but I think the computer automatically changed to daylight savings.
I was really freaked about not having the NCL form filled out for taking a minor on their ship - I had a notarized authorization for me to travel with him from his parents (which no one during the entire trip ever asked for), but this was a specific NCL form which I found when I couldn't print out his embarkation documents. So I had a hard time getting to sleep, and was playing scenes over and over in my mind where I was sitting at the dock crying and they were not going to let him board.
I know - too much imagination.
Breakfast 30 March 2008 and Boarding
We woke up about 9 and packed. When we were done, we went down to see about breakfast, but discover for the first time that is no food in the hotel after 4 pm Saturday. The coffee shop is a smoking area, and the doors are open, but no one is there to serve food.
So we walked across the street to the Hotel Gravina for breakfast.
Breakfast on Sunday
My grandson said he usually didn't have anything but toast for breakfast, so I ordered toast and butter, he had OJ
and I had apple juice and tea. I thought the tea would calm my stomach a bit. I paid with a credit card, a total of 11.6€s which was more expensive than yesterday but not a big bill. Incidentally I left my cane at breakfast and the female security guard at the Gravois brought it across to me.
Looking from the bar out to the street
As I was getting ready to leave, I found a list on the table of when the various restaurants were open which I am sure was not there before because it was on top of a map that was a duplicate of another one that I was leaving there, and there was nothing on top of that map when we left to get breakfast. That list said there was no food served on Sunday after the cafeteria closed at 4 pm on Saturday.
I asked the receptionist to call me a cab for 11:30, and we brought our luggage down to check out. They gave us the bill in €s or pesetas, and I asked why. The receptionist said the €s came in after the billing software was in place for pesetas. She said she could do €s in her head but just for small amounts - larger amounts she had to use pesatas.
The cab came and already had 5 €s on the meter. I asked, but he didn't really give me much idea - I have a feeling it was a call charge. I asked the receptionist what the numbers beside the taxi sign meant (1 or 2) and she said (which my grandson had noticed) that 2 was more expensive and was for at night. The cab from the airport had a 2 on it.
Two on a taxi for higher weekend fare
Didn't ask about what the "P" was for that he also saw.
The cab took us down some narrow streets that looked like they were just for pedestrians.
And we went past the Ramblas which we had missed before.
Taxis crossing the bridge to the cruise ship port
Anyway, we found the ship (it was visible from the shore - I could see the NCL on the smokestack and there was also a dark hulled ship behind it)
and gave our bags to the porters, and walked in to the terminal at just about noon. There was a station outside for people to put their room numbers on their luggage if they didn't have baggage tags, but we didn't need that of course.
The lady that was steering us to the various stations asked if I wanted a wheelchair, and after a few seconds I agreed that I did. They took us right to the head of the line and checked us in - didn't even ask for any authorization of any kind. All my fears in vain.
While we were waiting for the computer system to operate, I talked to the wheel chair pusher person who was ships personnel. He was anxious to get to some of the ports where he had never been - it was a first time for him. The ship has been in Hawaii prior to this
He wheeled me onto the ship (we did get our photo taken by the photographer which Bob and I do not usually do),
and to the room, although the signs said that the rooms weren't ready quite yet. It is a HUGE room, because it is a handicapped/wheelchair accessible room (which I didn't ask for)
There were two beds, each with a little bedside table,
a dresser with a stool (but no drawers) a closet which had a hanging rod which could be pulled down to wheelchair height, and also shelves, shelves next to the closet,
couch which could make into another bed, a table with three chairs, and a TV stand which had the TV on top and also three drawers, the mini-bar and the safe in the base. The bathroom, in addition to the sit-down shower had a mirror that could be tilted for a wheelchair person, but not much in the way of shelf space. My grandson had to put his toilet kit out on one of the shelves in the room
We went up and I signed him into the teen club about 1 pm, and he stopped there and played one of the video games. I also bought him a 20 drink teen card for $30.00
Bar on the ship
and I made a reservation for the Taco Bar/Tex Mex restaurant for about 6:30.
We had a late lunch in the Grand Pacific restaurant on the stern which was called the Summer Palace on the Pearl.
We watched them wash the windows while we ate. I had chilled banana soup and an American club sandwich,
and my grandson had BBQ Pork Ribs, which he said were good. They came with what they called ranch fries, and he said those were good too.
We both had ice cream for dessert - I had mine with caramel sauce.
After that my grandson said he wanted to shoot some hoops, and I wanted to take some pictures, so we went up on the top deck.
Dogs inspecting the luggage
We heard barking and I thought maybe it was a seal, so we went to the side and looked down. It was a big black shepard, that was tied up. He was barking at the other dogs which someone commented were drug sniffing dogs.
He fooled around with the basketball and also the soccer ball for a bit while I walked around and took pictures.
Aid to Navigation
I also signed in at the internet cafe.
They had the boat drill in the various restaurants and not out on deck like they did on Grandeur of the Seas and the NCL Crown. We were at a table with someone who had flown in that day, and the guy kept going to sleep. We met the people with the 14 yo girl there - she's from the Gainesville area, but her grandmother said she was a Seminole fan. My grandson was too shy to talk to her - unlike his cousin the year before.
We had dinner at the Tex-mex place and they seated us, but didn't wait on us very quickly. My other grandson saw this picture and asked me "Grandma what did you do to him?" But I hadn't done anything.
Waiting for dinner
My grandson had ribs again.
I had the cheese quesadillas,
and the black bean soup (which I swear had meat in it kind of like pulled pork and was way too spicy for me to eat),
Black bean soup
and a roadhouse beef burrito.
We left the dock at about 7:15, and I told my grandson he could go watch. Then I got up and left too without waiting for dessert. The ship went forward to the turning basin and then spun around and went out of the harbor forwards. I sat out on the deck (which was pretty cold) until about 8:15 and took photos.
People on a higher deck
Bow of the ship
Leaving port - last light
I emailed the family right after we got on the ship, and since then have found a couple of glitches about email. We are supposed to have a LAN cable availability in the stateroom. But apparently this particular stateroom does not have this ability at the moment, and the people on the ship do not know how to fix it.
They said it would have to be done from corporate and we'd have to wait until Monday for that. In the meantime, I can sometimes get a wireless connection here in the stateroom for long enough to receive email, but it is dropped quite readily, and then I can't sign off. Oh well. By Monday late, the LAN connection was fixed.
When I got back to the cabin and wanted to go to bed, I couldn't find my nightgown, so when the cabin steward came to deliver the Freestyle for today [I don't know how it is spelled, but his name is pronounced Why Me] found it where it had gone down under the bed.
I edited my grandson's pictures for a little while (he has some really good ones), and then couldn't stay awake anymore and he was already asleep.
March 31, 2008 Sea Day
I woke up about 2 and the ship was bouncing around, so I hunted around and looked at the bow cam, but of course couldn't see anything. So I left the bow cam on and turned off the bathroom light and went back to sleep. Two things we are missing - a night light (but that's minor - we can always leave a bathroom light or something on and in this room the glow of the thermostat is enough for me to see where the bathroom is) and my grandson doesn't have a watch.
I woke up again this morning at about 9:15 and realized that I wasn't going to be able to get to breakfast in the main dining room unless I left right away. My grandson had said he didn't think he'd get up for breakfast and he was still sleeping. I decided I wasn't really hungry so started to write an email. Then I discovered that the Cruise Critics meeting was at 10:30 and it was already 10:20, so I shut the computer down and threw on a dress and went to it.
When I came back, my grandson was still asleep, so I waited until about noon and then woke him. I got a shower and so did he. The controls in the shower are - the red side (right) controls the temperature and the green side controls the water flow. It isn't that you have to adjust how much cold to how much hot. Which is good.
I went to lunch, and my grandson went out too and I had him set the room notice to make up the cabin, but by the time I got back it wasn't made up yet. They came to do it while we were there. I took my grandson up to the internet cafe and showed him how to sign on so he could send an email, because his mother asked if he would send her an email. But it turned out that he did not do it.
I went to lunch by myself and sat with another couple in the aft dining room. I had pineapple-vanilla bean soup which was good,
Meatloaf for lunch
meatloaf which was way too spicy, and I couldn't eat much of it, and then
(cooking light-292 calories) with cranberries and raisins (it was a kind of pie) for dessert.
My grandson told me that one of the elevators was not working, and he was correct. I saw someone on top of the elevator in the shaft, and then while the door was open, the workman called the guy vacuuming the floor to come block the shaft so no one would fall down. They all seem to be fine now.
Guarding the open elevator shaft
Tonight is dress up night. We dressed nicely (and I did see them turn away a very fat man in shorts and sandals),
and went up and had dinner on lobster night in the main dining room. They said they would seat us for sharing but put us at a table for 2. Service was very slow. The lobster was not written on the main menu but was an insert, and my menu didn't have one.
Ceiling left over from when this was a Hawaiian based ship
My grandson does not order soup or anything before dinner, so he eats the whole bread basket full of bread while he is waiting for me to finish my soup, which in this case was
chilled carrot and Orange soup
which was VERY orange, but good
We both had the lobster.
. The lobster came with broccoli, green mashed potatoes, tomatoes and asparagus. He let me eat his asparagus. He said the potatoes tasted funny. They gave us a little sauce boat of melted butter for the lobster, but I think they were a trifle overcooked and mushy as they were EXTREMELY difficult to remove from their shells.
Formal night lobster
My grandson said he wasn't allowed to have lobster at home.
(!) His parents later disputed that - he wasn't allowed to order something that expensive when they are out at a fancy restaurant, but he could have it when his dad cooked them at home. (His dad free dives for them during the mini season.) I had
which had a chocolate pudding bottom, and he had vanilla ice cream as usual.
Tomorrow we get to the port for Rome.