At Sea – en route from Barcelona to Malaga

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 26 ~ Day #169
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16900
$102.34
$14902.15
$88.18
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15551
6378.9
7662
168
29759.9

Current Location: At Sea Onboard the Celebrity Century

Today’s Total Expenses: $102.34 (cruise cost includes transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment)

Miles Traveled Today:
At sea all day, will record mileage at next port.

Lazy Day at Sea

After our full schedule in Dénia and Barcelona, it was nice to have a day just to relax. It was also a good thing to give my remaining footwear a break. It had been a long walk just getting to the cruise ship yesterday. And, on top of that, we spent time walking around downtown Barcelona as well.

On Board Activities

There always seemed to be some on board activities planned and we joined in with a couple of things.

I like trivia games. Geoff usually just plays along and is not as interested as I am, but he usually ends up winning anyway – darn him!

One of the activities today was Gender Wars – a Trivial Pursuit game pitting the men against the women.

I can’t actually remember the outcome, so I guess that means the women lost. 🙁

Later in the day there was more trivia in Hemisphere lounge. Not Trivial Pursuit, just answering trivia questions. People formed teams and won little trinkets as prizes. We never got enough answers to even challenge the winners.

Meet the Captain

Tonight was the traditional “meet the Captain” night. That made it our first formal night and everyone looked terrific!

TransAtlantic Cruise – Boarding Day

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 25 ~ Day #168
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16800
$114.51
$14799.81
$88.09
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15551
6378.9
7662
168
29759.9

Current Location: Celebrity Century, Barcelona, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $114.51

Transportation: $3.91 (€2.80 – subway to cruise port)

Cruise: $102.34 (transportation, accommodation, food & entertainment)

Food: $8.26 (€2.98 – tuna sub in Barcelona for lunch & €2.94 – Sangria to take on ship)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Hotel to Cruise Port

After checking with a few people at the front desk at our hotel in Barcelona, we determined, I think, that we can take the subway (which is just a couple of blocks from our hotel) to the cruise port.

So, that’s exactly what we did.

With a little help from a local person at the subway station, we found which way we needed to go and what station we needed to get off at.

We figured we had it all covered. Well – almost.

So, Where’s the Ship?

We got off the subway and began to look around to see if we could determine where we should go.

We could see the ocean – that’s a plus – but the port is pretty big and we didn’t want to charge off in the wrong direction.

We followed some people who seemed to know where they were going and were heading towards the port. Also, we could see shuttle busses for the MSC cruise line – the cruise line that we had taken for the Greek Island cruise.

Getting lots of exercise with our loaded backpacks, we walked, and walked, and walked – finally stopping at a hotel and asking the concierge where we would find that Celebrity Cruise Line check-in.

He pulled out a map of the port and showed us which way to go. It didn’t look very far so we headed off.

After what seemed like quite a long walk, we stopped at a ferry office and asked again about Celebrity.

In very broken English a gentleman said we were headed in the right direction but it was probably about 3 or 4 kilometers more. YIKES!

He suggested we catch the local port bus and pointed it out to us. But in our infinite wisdom we were sure it couldn’t be that much farther.

We should have listened.

But, we didn’t, so we continued walking and getting all kinds of exercise. Fortunately, it was a pleasant day for a walk.

We finally got to the bridge that would take us to where Celebrity was supposed to dock. That’s right, we had to walk over a rather large bridge – meaning uphill the first half of the way.

But, we did it and got to where the Celebrity Century was SUPPOSED to be.

But, they were taking bags and checking people in and we were assured we were at the right place.

We gladly gave them our backpacks and headed into the terminal to check in.

The reason the ship wasn’t at the dock was because it was late. It wouldn’t be there until at least 4:00pm (the time we were supposed to leave).

Celebrity Cruise LInes Understands Customer Service

After checking in, by way of apology because the ship was late, they told us that they would give each passenger a $25 onboard credit.

In addition to that, they had shuttle busses taking those who wanted to go into downtown Barcelona. The busses would be running until 4:00pm.

As it was only about noon, we decided to take advantage of the shuttle bus as we had not explored the downtown area.

We walked around a bit (like we needed more walking – but it was much easier without our backpacks) and stopped into a sub shop to have a tuna sub for lunch.

We also picked up a couple of bottles of Sangria to take on the ship with us. Celebrity actually allows passengers to bring a couple of bottles of wine or liquor onboard at the start of the cruise – very unusual for any cruise line.

Waiting to Board

If you’ve ever been on a cruise you know that the board process can be – well – slow and boring.

When you check in you get a boarding group number and you have to wait until that is called to be able to board.

Because we were, for all intents and purposes, in the “cheap seats”, we were among the last to board. We just had to sit around waiting for them to call our number.

When we were finally called the boarding process was fairly smooth and we were greeted by several officers and a terrific cruise director (more about her later), in addition to a welcoming glass of champagne.

Thanks for the Upgrade

One thing everyone should know about booking a cruise is – don’t pick a specific stateroom, just pick a guaranteed category. If you do that you’re much more likely to get an automatic upgrade.

That’s exactly what happened to us.

We picked the cheapest category. We should have been in the bowels of the ship – but we ended up on the Penthouse deck! Now, it was still an inside cabin. You’ll never get an upgrade from an inside to an outside cabin, but it was still great to get the upgrade that we did.

The stateroom was very roomy and comfortable.

Dinner the First Night

We had selected late seating because the early seating just seemed way to early for us.

We were at a table for eight and we were the only ones there. We were hoping that the rest of the guests were just too tired for the late seating.

We had a wonderful first dinner, even though it was kind of lonely. I had Coq Au Vin and Geoff had a Braised Lamb Shank that I swear could have fed two or three people.

Exploring Barcelona

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 24 ~ Day #167
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16700
$109.61
$14685.30
$87.94
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15551
6378.9
7662
168
29759.9

Current Location: NH Forum Hotel, Barcelona, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $109.61

Accommodation: $73.24
Food: $36.37 (€19.70 lunch buffet + €6.35 groceries)

Miles Traveled Today:
Zero

Barcelona & Gaudi

Barcelona is synonymous with Gaudi and we were not going to miss the opportunity to see his most famous, and still under construction, work.

La Sagrada Familia

After getting some idea of the distance that La Sagrada Familia was from our hotel, we made the decision to walk to this famous landmark.

Walking, as we have said before, is our favorite method of exploring a new place. We find we get a better feel for things that way rather than only being a spectator from a bus, train or taxi.

It’s fairly apparent that we do a lot of walking given the footwear I’ve been through on this trip. My walking shoes gave out in Croatia and now my very comfy leather sandals are starting to come apart. It’s a good thing we’ll be getting on the ship for our transAtlantic cruise tomorrow.

It didn’t take us as long as expected to get to La Sagrada Familia. It surprised us, though, that the city Barcelona encroached on this cathedral on all sides. It is on a plot of land just large enough to contain it, and no more.

We had expected it to be on a much larger piece of land given it notoriety and importance.

Nonetheless it was fascinating and impressive and we were once again lamenting our lack of a camera.

Lunch in the Shadow of Gaudi

Our tummies were reminding us that it was definitely time for lunch but we weren’t quite ready to leave.

We don’t often eat out but we couldn’t resist the chance to dine with a view of La Sagrada.

So, we splurged a little and treated ourselves to a leisurely lunch overlooking Gaudi’s masterpiece.

Another Gaudi Building – Casa Milà

We had a map of Barcelona with us and took a different route back to our hotel which took us past an apartment building that had been designed by Gauda – Casa Milà.

We didn’t get a chance to see Park Guell which was also designed by Gaudi, on this trip.’

However, we hope to return to Barcelona some day. It’s a beautiful city and we definitely enjoyed our short stay here.

Off To Barcelona

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 23 ~ Day #166
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16600
$171.70
$14575.69
$87.81
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15263+288=15551
6378.9
7662
168
29759.9

Current Location: NH Forum Hotel, Barcelona, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $171.70

Transportation: $98.46 (€67.72 bus to Barcelona + €2.80 bus to hotel)
Accommodation: $73.24

Miles Traveled Today:
Road Miles: 288 (Dénia to Barcelona)

Taking the Bus from Dénia to Barcelona

There was more than one choice of bus going from Dénia to Barcelona, but only one going during the day.

It turned out that that one was also the shortest (time wise) to get to Barcelona. The ones that went overnight took as long as 14 hours. Yikes!

However, we wanted this to be a sightseeing experience as much as we wanted it to be a mode of transportation, so we took the bus leaving at 10:00am and arriving in Barcelona at 6:00pm.

That’s right – it was an eight hour bus trip.

However, surprisingly enough, it simply didn’t seem like it took that long.

In several places we were able to see the coastline and there were several stops along the way. At some of them we had a half-hour to 45-minute break to get out and stretch our legs or get something to eat.

We had packed a lunch before leaving the unit that morning to take with us on the trip so we had water, sandwiches and grapes. Plenty of food for the trip.

We didn’t want to be forced into buying overpriced food and bus stations along the way.

We Go Where? And Do What?

It seems that when people give directions for things that are second nature to them some important details seem to get left out.

At the information booth at the Barcelona Nord Bus Station, we spoke with a woman whose English was impeccable and asked where we would find the bus we needed.

Geoff had already printed out directions from the Barcelona Bus System’s website, so we knew which bus we needed to take.

Her directions seemed simply enough – go upstairs, out the door and across the street. And, that’s exactly what we did.

However, all we saw were taxis and absolutely nothing that resembled a bus stop – not to us, anyway.

We walked up and down the street the main bus station was on but were still confused.

We stopped to talk to a motorcyclist, who spoke no English, to see if he could help. Just as we were getting across the concept that we were looking for Bus 54, he pointed at a bus (Bus 54) that was coming down the street.

I pretty jumped into the middle of the street and indicated that we wanted to get on.

The startled bus driver pointed to a bus stop just around the corner and we hustled over there and got on the bus.

Geoff explained, or tried to, where we were going. The bus driver seemed to indicate that the street we were looking for was 16 stops along the line. The instructions Geoff had said it was 15 stops. So, we didn’t know if he was counting the stop we were getting on at or not and it was just too complicated for people who didn’t speak the same language to get that figured out.

Finding Our Hotel

We counted the stops, got off at the 15th stop (not counting the one where we got on) and found we were at the right street.

The instructions we had was that it was about a 10 minute walk from the bus station to the hotel.

Now, remember, we’ve both got rather heavy backpacks on and are carrying some luggage as well and we’re very, very tired. But, what do you do?

So, we headed off in the direction that we were pretty sure was right and just a few steps along – there was our hotel! Yay!

The gentleman that checked us in spoke perfect English and we happily dropped our backpacks in the room and relaxed for a while.

We still had some sandwiches and water left over from our trip and that became supper.

We did a quick walk around the area we were in and then just settled in for the night.

The room was fairly basic but also fairly new and very comfortable.

Our bed, however, was two singles pushed together – and made up separately. The beds were also on wheels so you had to make sure you didn’t roll over onto the crack between the beds because if you did the beds would roll apart and you could possibly end up on the floor.

Hey – it almost happened to me!

Last Day in Dénia

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Oct 22 ~ Day #165
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$16500
$33.73
$14403.99
$87.30
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
15263
6378.9
7662
168
29471.9

Current Location: Ogisaka Gardens, Dénia, Alicante, Spain

Today’s Total Expenses: $33.73

Accommodation: $28.14

Entertainment: $5.59 (€4.00 – Dénia Castle)

Our Last Day in Dénia

Sometimes we’re just not sure where the time goes, but this was our last day in Dénia and so we decided to visit the Dénia Castle.

We had planned to visit it earlier in our stay but just never got to it. So, today, we made it our top priority.

It was an easy walk from our hotel and we arrived there mid-morning.

It is an impressive structure and we spent lots of time walking around the ruins and up on the walls and ramparts. It has a pretty impressive view over the ocean and the whole town of Dénia. The archaeological museum that was housed in part of the castle, was small but informative.

Time To Pack – Again

The rest of the day was spent just relaxing and then packing for our trip to Barcelona tomorrow.