Last year I cruised part of the Mediterranean on The Serenade of the Seas. This year I went back for more doing a 7 night Western Mediterranean Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Legend of The Seas with friends Laura and Caitlin. Our original plans were to do Sail Croatia but we decided a less boozy cruise visiting more countries was more our style.
We left London at redic o’clock and flew to Rome and got on the cruise ship at the cruise terminal at Civitavecchia. I’ve visited Rome a number of times now but it is still one of my favourite cities in the world. If you’re on a cruise ship departing from here certainly be aware you are taken straight from the airport to the cruise terminal so should book some time at either end of the cruise to see the city.
The Legend of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean’s Vision Class cruise ships and seemed slightly less luxurious than the Serenade of the Seas, which is a Radiance Class ship. I missed the late night restaurant Sea Breeze Cafe, the half sports court and full theatre (the theatre on The Legend of the Seas had more of a lounge feel). They did make full use of the Centrium on this ship though and the aerial displays were a highlight of the onboard entertainment.
Our first stop was Genoa in Italy, home of the largest aquarium in Europe which at 23 Euros for an adult is pretty expensive to visit. As well as the standard fish, dolphins and manatees there was a tank which contained the cast of Finding Nemo!
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the city looking at points of interest – the standard palace, cathedral and square seen in most European cities. As well as the old gate to the city. It was a good first stop – a good walkable city from the port and easily able to be seen in a day.
The next day we woke up in Marseille, France. Rather than paying $10US each for the return transfer bus to town offered by the cruise company, we paid 25 for the three of us for a taxi all the way up to the cathedral to enjoy the below view.
We walked down to the old port where we soaked up the atmosphere while drinking local wine, before browsing the markets and getting a taxi back to ship. This taxi driver had no English so I was very thankful for my (rather limited) French language skills.
From the bus we saw and got an audio tour of the Olympic villages, stadium and aquatic centre, the football stadium, gothic buildings, parks, museums, main streets and more. We also walked through Plaça de Catalunya when we needed to change buses.Next up we had the highlight of the trip – Barcelona, Spain. We went on Bus Turistic’s hop on hop off bus which as 24 Euros per person with a discount voucher Caitlin and Laura had from using the service in Madrid. A saving of 2 Euros each.
I loved Barcelona – it seemed like a very livable city (aside from the fact I learnt French and not Spanish!) with parks, beaches, beautiful buildings and the Olympic Stadium.
Our second to last stop was Palma De Mallorca where again we caught a taxi from the port up to a castle at the top of a hill for a vantage point. The taxi was 12 Euros and we then walked down the hill and across town to see the La Seu Cathedral.
When we were ready to collapse from too much walking we ordered Sangria, pretty much sold on the novelty straw thing the restaurant we walked past had going on.
Finally our cruise ship reached Valencia. At this point the weather had packed in slightly we were sick of castles and cathedrals so we spent the day shopping in outlet stores, eating Paella and drinking Sangria. It was still a nice city to visit though and I wish I’d had another day to explore it properly.
The local bus cost only 1.5 Euros each way into town compared to the $12 US the cruise company was charging for a return transfer.I really wanted to eat churro’s but could not find them anywhere. Later a fellow cruise passenger told us they had discovered they are only sold during winter.
Leaving the cruise pretty much sucked. Give me 24/7 free wifi and an unlimited source of cash and I’d be happy to live on a cruise ship going from port to port for the foreseeable future.
Cruising is an incredibly easy way to travel – the food is AMAZING (four course dinners every night and pretty much 24 hour food availability), you are kept as entertained as you want to be and every morning you wake up in a hotel room with a new city to explore without feeling the travel.