One night pre-cruise in Barcelona
In Barcelona we arrived at the brandnew Terminal 1. Excellent signposts.
Very spacios compared to the old Terminal 2.
And free of charge baggage carts.
You do not need to check anymore in which part of the airport you need to collect your bags.
And more information then before.
To avoid that a burglar can steal your bags from the cart you can fix them with the rubber tape with the cart itself.
Do other cruisers also have so much with them for seven nights plus one night pre-cruise???
New at Terminal 1 are the different levels for the different means of transport.
To get a taxi we need to get down.
Very well loacated you can use the ATMs before you reach the taxis.
You can have all your bags on the cart with you to the taxi level.
For those who still need orientation you find additional signs to find the right level.
But withdrawing money was not necessary as credit cards were also accepted.
After few minutes we remarked that one bag was left on th baggage cart. Our driver José was great and drove us back asap. He does not speak any English but arranged everything for me. After few minutes I had my bag back and I honour his assistance with a pre-booking for our debarkation in Barcelona the next weekend.
Due the delay at the airport we missed the NORWEGIAN JADE just for minutes.
What a pity.
But we got REGATTA as a good replacement. The sister of OCEAN PRINCESS which we booked for next year.
And in the shipyard there is DISCOVERY.
We booked on Hotwire the Hesperia del Port Hotel. It was funny: the first time we sailed NORWEGIAN GEM our taxi driver took us by mistake to this place. It's not a real bargain like we had in London and Madrid.
The room is very functional. Centrally located. Close to the port. Very good connected by metro and by other "traffic" (We call in German the S ... X-word incl. the part traffic). Nice, friendly and helpul staff but no hotel I would like to explain my "fictive" child that it was "produced" there... In the bathroom your are missing a certain kind of German perfectionism.
But we are lucky with our room in the 7th floor: you see the castel and you have free massage in your bed any time a subway is passing under the street.
Around 8 pm we walked over La Rambla... but it's still quite.
My prebooked-tickets on Telentrada for Casa Batllo I can get on every ATM of Caixa Catalunya.
So I can avoid the queue the next morning as I have an original ticket in my hand.
Also in the streets of the Gothic Quarter there was not very busy.
On La Boqueria was very busy as it supposed to close very soon.
One section of La Rambla is dedicated to the flower dealers and another to animal dealers.
It's easy to identify the beauties as they are well illuminated.
On Placa Catalunya business as usual.
It's always very nice there in the evening.
With the airport bus you need to pay attention to get right one as the two terminals are served by two different lines. Bus A1 for Terminal 1 is now 5.00 EUR a little more expensive.
We had our appointment with other cruisecritic.com-members at 9 pm at Casa Alfonso.
Here you know immediately that you are at the right place.
We got a private room for us.
Very authentically furbished.
We ordered Tapas. They are yummy, good AND affordable. Only if you need seperate checks you better should write down your orders because it would ease your life when you get the calculator and the total check to allocate all foods.
One of the cruisemates must test the pig's ear. I tried one - but it's not mine.
We had a very nice international round from Utah (distrat = Diane), California (20th = Vicki and David), Hawaii (islandfever 15 = Kani'o and Kevin), Quebec (robcruz = Robert und Judy) and Germany (HeinBloed = Tien, Bruno and Tenny). It was so nice that we got back to our hotel after midnight. I should have the coffee as I was unable to sleep the entire night.
I could not sleep all the night - maybe I was excited but especially because of the last night's coffee.
Around 6 am I went to the port. In front of the hotel there is a circulation like in Hamburg's famous Red-Light- and Amusement-District Reeperbahn. I explained the driver that he should get me off on the Bridge of Mol Adossat.
Because this question always came from time to time: Yes - at 6 am there are enough taxis in front of the terminal.
As well as for VOYAGER OF THE SEAS which is the same time in port.
But after NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS there is no wish currently to go with her. See http://heinbloed-minis.blogspot.com/2009/05/tag-1-auf-der-navigator-of-seas-in_8669.html (Sorry only in German available). I wanted to go to Miramar. But my batteries ran out. So the driver dropped me off at my hotel but was not allowed to wait for me. Taxis with even registration number are not allowed to offer service on odd days on weekends. Good to know that only 50% of the taxis are available on weekends for the worst case that there are more ships in port but this two only.
After the great meal last night we did not want any breakfast. We left our bags in the hotel. On the way to the subway I was attacked by a whatever "creature". Before he can get his hands on my wallet I shouted out loudly and he disappeared.
We had a T-10 Ticket which is currently (2009) available for 7.70 EUR for all rides with all means of transport within Zone 1 (incl. airport) in Barcelona. Single tickets do not permit transfers. More than one person can use the ticket for the same journey. One must stay at the gate and let all others going through the ticket check.
At this time of the day we had the subway just for us alone.
Few minutes before 9.00 am we arrived at Sagrada Familia.
In the upper level you find the information that construction started one hundered year ago but nobody knows when they ever will complete the construction.
Christmas is coming soon.
You need plenty of time to see all details.
Currently I have Sagrada Familia just for me... The cashier boothes have not opened yet. Opposite the first buses arrived.
We prebooked our tickets by Telentrada again. So we can go directly to this information booth and do not need to queue up and can pass through a side-entrance.
All without tickets need to queue up here and here you can also get an audio-guide.
For another 2.50 EUR which you need to pay to the lift operator you can get upwards in one of the towers. But each ride can only accomodate 6 persons,
so queuing lines are well prepared.
Who wants to wait 120 minutes... We wait this morning just around 8 minutes.
And you should know that this access to the tower is limited per day.
While we were waiting there was behind a moveable seperation wall a service.
Once I arrived above I found out that this was nothing for me. Nice view.
But very narrow.
I waited near the elevator while Bruno and my sister do more climbings.
But I am unable to look downwards.
So I missed this view.
Somehow for someone who has no problem with narrow and height: beautiful.
I was more than happy to get grounded and enjoyed the windows.
Vending machines appear to me very strange in a church.
But if you stay longer you need some beverages to discover all details.
There are smaller exhibions inside like the shapes of Gaudi.
This time the round took us very close to the faces of the building.
More and more groups arrived.
In the basement there is a museum which has an audio-video-show. 50 minutes past the hour there is the English show. Maybe it makes sense to interrupt the tour and watch the show. You will see a lot of details you might not discover yourself.
We were in the first show at 09.50 am... Who speaks Catalan: all shows are subtitled.
In the museum you find also interesting information on other buildings of Gaudi like Casa Batllo, which is next on our schedule. By the way it's an UNESCO World Culture Heritage like Sagrada Familia.
We took the subway to Passeig de Gracia. One in the forum recommended to do transfers there.
If you need a transfer between the commuter trains and subway route 3 it's o.k. - It's o.k. as well if you need a transfer between subway routes 2 and 4. But with a lot of baggage you better do not transfer here.
Beside many stairs
there are endless passages to walk.
To Casa Batllo you need to exit Conseill de Cent.
But there are more Gaudi-Buildings to see.
An audio-guide is included in the admission fee. But I hate them.
I think the city planners should have avoid this.
And if you arrive on the roof you can feel like in the movie "Auberge Espanol"
The courts are very exciting as well.
And we are totally lucky with the weather.
Calm Sunday traffic on Passeig de Gracia.
When we were back downstairs we were happy that we prebooked our tickets and were able to get in immediately.
There was a lot to discover.
Sometimes cruisers asked fo the difference of Ho-Ho-Buscompanies. Beside the routes. This one has a moveable roof...
... and this here not... what might be interesting if the weather is not as good as today.
At a taxi stand we grabbed a SEAT ALTEA XL because we have more baggage to collect at the hotel. We should take the first taxi. But I was able to explain the situation with my few words Spanish.
On the way we see the passengers of VOYAGER OF THE SEAS.
We went via the Columbus Column as it is close to our hotel.
But now I see what I never saw the other Ho-Ho-Bus around. They stop at the other side of the square. And anyone arriving by portbus does not see it.
See you at the cruise terminal.
Around 1 pm we arrived at Cruise Terminal A. We should be on Terminal B but there is VOYAGER OF THE SEAS. The baggage acceptance is running well.
Security screening only takes few minutes so that we are queickly at the counter.
Our dedicated counter was occupied so Special Assitance took over our check-in.
I am quite happy that I am Latitudes Gold now to avoid the queue.
Someone escorted us between the shops and...
took us to a lounge...
where our concierge Ryan waited for us to hand over the cruise cards.
As we want to have anyhow lunch soon we did not take any snacks.
He kept all information we need for our first day on board.
The very first time we have a platinum cruise card.
Our butler Aries came to escort us.
He escorted us through the next shops.
Er führt uns weiter zwischen Geschäften durch.
Da wir aber eh nichts brauchen, ist es nicht weiter schlimm.
As we do not need anything it was fine with us.
When Aries explained the photographers that we do not want pictures there were no further discussions.
The signpost is somehow irritating because 6.30 pm is only for those guests doing two consequetive cruises. All others must be back by 5.00 pm for muster drill.
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