As many of you guessed from my previous post, I did, in fact, go to Barcelona. But I didn't spend all my time in Barcelona.
My father, who is a travel agent, got invited on a 2-day trip to check out the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Voyager of the seas, and he took me along with him.
I had never been on a cruise ship before, and I must admit that I was impressed. First of all, that thing is huge! With more than 1000 feet in length, weighing in at 138,000 tonnes, and with a passenger capacity of more than 3000, it's really like a floating city.
There is enough entertainment to keep you busy at all hours of the day (and night!).
The first day, we tried to explore as much of the ship as we possibly could. It has 15 decks! There are countless bars and restaurants (including a Johnny Rocket's and a Ben and Jerry's!), shops where you can find everything from souvenirs to clothes, from perfume to jewellery, a libary, a casino, a theater which seats 1,350 people (it's called La Scala, just like the famous theater in Italy, which it was inspired from), an ice rink (yep, an ice rink!!), a mini-golf course, a rock-climbing wall, a gym/spa, and a basketball court among others!
The pool deck
The rock-climbing wall
We set sail at around 10:30 that first night, and about an hour later, we were delighted with a fabulous 15-minutes fireworks show. Before that, we had attended an ice-skating show, which was excellent.
The ice skating rink
The next day, we had the morning and afternoon free, so we were able to explore more of the ship, especially the few suites that were available for us to visit. The Royal Suite was absolutely magnificent, with a grand piano, a bar, a flat-screen TV, and a hot tub on the balcony. No one would ever want to leave that room! Our room was much, much smaller of course, and the bathroom was so tiny, I was just happy to be able to fit in the shower!
The grand piano in the Royal Suite
On our second evening, we were invited to a formal dinner at the main dining room, after which we attended a Broadway-type show at the La Scala theater. The performers were excellent.
The La Scala theater
On both evenings, there was a small parade right before midnight, with staff performing all along the Royal Promenade, the ship's main deck. Then, we had the choice of going to one of the many bars and clubs on the ship, which offered various forms of entertainment (Jazz music, merengue competition, Karaoke performances, sports bar, champagne bar, etc.).
We docked in Barcelona early on the 3rd morning, and dis-embarked after a quick breakfast.
The staff was very professional, smiling and helpful. And although it may sound like a dream job, I'm sure their work conditions are not the easiest. They spend 6 months on the ship then get 2 months off. They work long hours and often have to work in more than one venue. And although I did not see their rooms, I'm pretty sure they're extremely small.
All in all, it was a very well-organised trip and a once in a lifetime experience. Before heading back to Dubai, we spent a day in Barcelona, which I will write about in the next post. Now, I need to try to catch up on some much-needed sleep!