Cruising with Royal Caribbean
Have you ever been on a cruise? As part of our European trip, we booked a Western Mediterranean Cruise with Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas.
A couple of months ago I was thinking about backpacking through Europe. But I got turned off by the idea of staying in hostels and traveling for weeks with all my stuff. Booking hotels in various cities was expensive, and that's when I thought about the cruise.
I chose Royal Caribbean's 7-Night Western Mediterranean cruise because it made stops in the same cities I wanted to visit.
The cruise docked out of Barcelona, Spain (which is another reason I chose the cruise). I've always wanted to go to Barcelona! Round trip flights for two adults were super expensive on the major airlines. So I contacted Expedia (this is not an ad!); they helped me book flights to Barcelona and two additional flights to Portugal and Paris after the cruise. I'd get into my Expedia experience on the next blog post.
Back to the cruise!
We arrived to Barcelona on a Saturday morning and did some sightseeing.
We boarded Allure of the Seas on Sunday afternoon and immediately made ourselves at home. I purchased the week-long unlimited WiFi Plan for about $104. I found it a little expensive, but necessary. I was able to make phone calls home with the Magic Jack app and keep up with all of you via social media.
As a pizza lover, the first thing I noticed in the ship was the Sorrento's pizzera on the main deck.
They offered a diverse selection of complimentary pizza and pasta all day until 3 a.m. Like most cruises, beverages had a fee.
Shortly after our bags arrived in the stateroom, we changed into our swimwear and walked around the ship.
Mercedes of Be Chic Mag on Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
To save some cash for excursions and shopping, we decided to book an interior stateroom which was less expensive than a room with a window.
The room was a bit small so I did something I never do when traveling: unpack all of my clothes and put the suitcases away.
There was plenty of room in the closet for both of us. We placed our items in the "drawers" and hangers.
I tend to be more on the messy side so this helped us keep the room neater.
DAY 2: Palma de Mallorca
On the second day the ship docked in Palma de Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands in Spain. (About a 3-hour ferry ride from Ibiza).
The ship offered plenty of excursion options for the city of Mallorca, but the husband and I decided a day at the beach was the best way to go. And it was!
Day 3: Marseille, France
On the third day we got lazy and decided to sleep in and spend the day on the ship so we pretty much missed most of Marseille. And that's OK.
We spent our day by the pool and walked around the ship which has seven "neighborhoods," 18 decks and is 1,187 ft long! Check out the virtual tour here.
The "Central Park" neighborhood has fine restaurants, shops and beautiful gardens. It was the place to go if you wanted to take a walk.
Allure of the Seas even has its own "boardwalk" with an arcade, Johnny Rockets, and an Aqua Theater.
Boardwalk on Allure of the Seas
We discovered plenty of activities for families and teenagers such as zip lining, miniature golf, basketball, and surfing. The teens even had their own nightclub and pool parties.
Activities on Royal Caribbean
Miniature Golf on the Cruise
Swimming on Allure of the Seas Cruise
DAY 4: Pisa, Italy
Instead of booking an excursion with the cruise, we decided to do Pisa and Florence on our own.
The ship provided a free shuttle to La Spezia. From there we walked 10-minutes to the train station and bought tickets for a train ride to Pisa, which was about an hour from La Spezia.
I R E A L L Y wanted to also visit Florence. So upon arriving to Pisa, we decided to buy our train tickets to Florence before leaving the station in order to save time later.
We didn't have enough time to visit Florence as it was an hour away from Pisa (making it two hours from La Spezia) and we had to be back on the ship by 8:00 p.m. I was disappointed, and I drove my husband a little crazy. But we decided to just enjoy the rest of the day in Pisa. We walked around and ate at this wonderful mom-and-pop pizzeria.
Mercedes of Be Chic Mag in Pisa, Italy
Day 5: Rome, Italy
The following day we joined the cruise for a full-day excursion around Rome. We started in the Colosseum, then the Roman Forum, and Vatican City. (Photos to come in an upcoming post).
Day 6: Naples, Italy
We woke up early for a 9:00 a.m. excursion to the Pompeii Ruins.
We arrived back to the cruise ship around 1:00 p.m. and then had lunch with a limoncello in Naples.
There was also talk of visiting Capri, but we didn't do it.
Day 7: Sailed back to Barcelona
When we arrived to Barcelona on Sunday, we sent our suitcases to the airport thanks to a luggage valet company. So we had about six hours before our flight to Portugal. With our free time we took the Metro and the FGC train to Montserrat for a mild hike.
I'll share photos of each city we visited throughout the week.
If you're looking to visit multiple countries or cities within a short amount of time and save money, I definitely recommend a cruise. Tip: Browse through the excursion catalog a month or so before your cruise to reserve your spot. The best excursions get sold out fast.
Here's the link to the itinerary on Royal Caribbean.