The "Fufu family" is back from what was a whirlwind of a vacation with a slimmer wallet, heftier midsections and lots of memories with a few pictures and comments to share. I invite you to take a little trip with me to the Mediterranean region of Europe and sail the seas!
We arrived in Barcelona, Spain for a couple of days before our cruise began...and met up with our younger daughter who had been studying abroad in Greece and Spain.
Mr. Fufu and our girls. It was a bit cool and rainy in Barcelona and the airlines lost our luggage (BOTH WAYS~still don't have our bags at home yet!!!) ...so we had to go shopping for a few things to tide us over. I about fell over when I cashed in $350 U.S. dollars and only received around $175 Euro....the exchange rate is just ridiculously AWFUL these days!
Although I have done quite a bit of traveling in Europe over the years, I had not been to Barcelona before and was really impressed with the beauty and timeless elegance of this classy city. It reminds me a lot of my favorite city Paris (of course:-), which on this trip we didn't have time to visit. Beautiful architecture, including some amazing work by the Catalon born Antoni Gaudi. What was he smoking in his pipe I wonder???
We were on the NCL Gem...an amazing boat that is new and so appropriately named. We had been on a Royal Caribbean cruise a couple of years ago on one of their behemoth ships...which was gorgeous, but this was nicer with less peeps and better service. We splurged and went for the highest deck, which had just ten suites I believe, and incredible amenities. It could spoil a simple family to be treated so well, but this trip is one that we don't plan on doing again anytime soon.....so we decided to go for the luxe. We were surprised to find Reba McEntire staying on our floor....taking a trip with her entire extended Southern family who loved to have a hootin' good ol' time!
This is the private pool area for the deck that we were on......nice and quiet most of the time. We were so busy that we didn't get to use it much unfortunately.
This suite had two bedrooms, two baths a large sitting area, large panoramic windows and a good sized balcony...all very new,modern and well designed. The master bedroom and bathroom made it a relaxing place to come back to every night and chill out after a long day of taking in the sights.
Every afternoon our, ahem... "butler" had a nice snack waiting for us in our suite. Ahhhh....one could get used to this life with no problem and I wish that I could have taken him home with me~lol!
NCL has what they call "Freestyle Cruising" which means that you are not obligated to sign up for a dinner seating each night and can eat in your restaurant of choice at any time. Brilliant idea I say, and the food, settings and service were impeccable!
My familia up on the "private" top deck for our floor....chillzin' on the first day of the cruise, which was spent at sea. We were sooooo grateful that the weather was fabulous on the remainder of our trip after the cold and rain in Barcelona!
First stop was the island chain of Malta, which is full of meandering narrow cobblestone streets, ornate Renaissance buildings of which most are hundreds of years old. Street markets are vibrant and full of life, and everyone here spoke English....as in it's centuries of history it was a British colony from 1814 onward~gaining independence in just 1964.
From here on out it was FULL SPEED AHEAD with the sightseeing. I will post more pics in another blogpost in the next day or two of our adventures in Italy, France and Monaco. Today is catch~up day around here....so will see you later!