Crystal Serenity 08 November 2013 to 15 November 2013
Departing: Barcelona 09 Nov
Arriving: Lisbon 14 Nov
There is so much to say about this cruise that I have decided to break it down into daily sections. So in short you are coming on a 7-day cruise with me!
It was kind of nice to join the ship in Barcelona while it was over-nighting for a next day departure. It meant that there was no rush to get to the ship on time and consequently no large queues to join in or shuffle with as I made my way on board.
My flight into Barcelona arrived at 1830 and by 1945 I was on board and in my cabin. Crystal Serenity is an all outside cabin ship so no potential fear of claustrophobia for me! However I couldn’t stay long because I had to make a return journey to the airport to meet with some of my travelling companions. More about that in a moment!
The thing about any cruise is always going to be the first impression you get when you step aboard. The way the staff greets you and smiles at you, making you feel instantly at home. The first sight of the lobby or atrium and the sound of a piano playing softly in a cosy bar you have yet to find. All of these senses hit you with a rush and it’s in that moment you know whether you will have a good time on board. Those sensations got it right in the first few seconds and I was instantly at ease as I settled in. I had about an hour to spare before I set off back to the airport and let me tell you that in that time I was already on chatting terms with two of Serenity’s guests. We became instant friends as I shared a glass of wine with them.
The name of the airport at Barcelona is “El Prat” This is interesting because little did I know I was going to become chief of the “Prats” less than half an hour later. Originally when I arrived at the airport I simply boarded the A2 coach to the city and took a taxi to the ship. The cost was €6 for the bus and €15 for the taxi. This time having gotten my bearings I was not going to get either the air-coach or a taxi I was going to take the Metro and a local bus back to the airport. The Metro in Barcelona is really easy to use so no problem there. The local bus however was a different matter. I am a smart person so when I see a bus coming with the destination clearly marked as “El Prat” on the front I hop on. After half an hour though there is no sign of the airport. In broken Spanish I ask if the bus goes to the airport only to get a series of vigorous head shakes. It turns out I am on a bus to a residential district called ”El Prat” and am a good five kilometres from the airport.
I call my friends to tell them I am on the way and invent some excuse about a slow running bus! I am now off the bus and have no idea where I am. A kind person tells me that an airport bound bus will be along in ten minutes. Panic over. The bus arrives and I step on with my five euro note in my hand to pay for a two euro fare. The driver looks at me and says he has no change. I look at him and I say keep the five I need to get to the airport. He looks at me and says “No way!” and tells me to get off the bus. I look down the bus and it is empty. He drives away without me. Panic back on. That was the last bus to the airport.
Suffice it to say I did eventually get to the airport by using a clever series of walking towards a busy intersection and spotting a bus with the words “Aeroport” on the front. The journey there only took three hours to complete and it was me who felt like “El Prat” and not the airport.
Back on the ship I felt at peace again and with all of the eating establishments on board now shut down all I can say at this point is thank goodness for Serenity’s room service. The tuna melt and beer tasted awesome.
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