All aboard at Barcelona – Day 1 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise

Today is the start of our week’s Mediterranean cruise with MSC Cruises and I’m hoping to be posting regular updates from the ship as we go. What a joy it was to step off the plane in Barcelona in warm sunshine, which put me in the holiday mood and gave a taste of the Mediterranean spirit of MSC Cruises. We took the airport bus to Placa de Catalunya, the pulsating heart of Barcelona and found a Luggage Store nearby to leave our cases.

Arriving in Barcelona at Placa de Catalunya Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Arriving in Barcelona at Placa de Catalunya – showing off my new Knomo case

My plans of visiting Sacrada Familia, Gaudi’s visionary cathedral that is still under construction, or perhaps Casa Mila, his curvaceous apartment building, had to be put aside, since we were both feeling weary and hungry after our early start from Bristol. Instead we dived into a side street local’s café and had a large slice of tortilla and a few other tapas. By the time we’d recovered our energy there was too little time to do any serious sightseeing so instead we wandered down the shopping boulevard of Aveinguda Portal de l’Angel and got distracted by shopping opportunities in El Corte Ingles and some excellent street musicians. We barely made it as far as the cathedral and Gothic quarter before it was time to turn back, collect our luggage and take a taxi to the port to board MSC Splendida.

First view of MSC Splendida Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

First view of MSC Splendida

As the taxi dropped us off, the cruise ship towered over us like an apartment block, stretching into the distance. We boarded through the elegant central atrium, and I was taken by the sparkly staircase studded with jewels. This is certainly a pretty ship, with plenty of glitz thrown in, but in a good way.

The atrium on board MSC Splendida Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The atrium on board MSC Splendida

We found our stateroom on the 13th floor, with a balcony on which Guy sat and relaxed while I unpacked and took some photos. The stateroom is furnished in a scheme of brown, mustard and black, quite masculine and modern Italian style. We have a seating area and desk next to the glass doors, a fridge with mini bar and a flat screen TV. We kept hearing announcements outside but somehow they were not audible inside the stateroom, so we missed the safety briefing with our life jackets.

Stateroom on MSC Splendida Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Stateroom on MSC Splendida

I hope you enjoy the video below of our Stateroom 13140 on MSC Splendida from our MSC Cruise

If you can’t see the video above about our MSC Cruise view it on my blog here or on YouTube here

Download the MSC Splendida Stateroom tour Video
Subscribe to all my videos in I-tunes
If you enjoyed this video, check out the others in my Video archive

If you enjoyed this video, check out the others in my Video archive Once we’d settled in, we decided to have a wander around the ship, which was already full of other guests, since on this Mediterranean route, it’s possible to embark at either Genoa or Barcelona. There seem to be a lot of family groups and guests in their 30s and 40s, which means that the atmosphere is pretty lively. As the MSC Splendida sailed out of Barcelona we were up on the pool deck, enjoying the evening sun with a cappuccino and then returned to the stateroom to get ready for dinner.

Heather aboard the MSC Splendida Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather aboard the MSC Splendida

We were invited for a cocktail at a reception for honeymooners and returning guests, before going into dinner in the Villa Verde restaurant for the second sitting at 9.30pm. We were seated at a table of six, with a German couple and a Norwegian couple who fortunately spoke English, so we had some pleasant conversation. I was struck by the varied mix of nationalities, with Spanish, French and Italians as you’d expect, but quite a few Japanese and very few Brits. Every announcement on board is made in four or more different languages, to allow for this. Tomorrow we arrive at our first port of call in Marseille and plan to have a day wandering at our own pace to explore the city. Stay tuned for more articles here on the blog and follow the journey through the photos I’ll be posting on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ accounts using the hashtag #MSCBlogCruise.

Other articles in my Mediterranean Cruise series

Join me on a week’s Mediterranean Cruise with MSC Cruise Bonjour Marseille – Day 2 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise Palazzo and Gelato in Genoa – Day 3 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise Naples and an excursion to Pompeii – Day 4 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise Messina and an excursion to Taormina – Day 5 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise Tunis and Carthage – Day 6 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise A day at sea and back to Barcelona – Day 7 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise MSCCruiseslogo Thanks to MSC cruises who are hosting Guy and Heather’s Mediterranean cruise. Heather and Guy will be travelling on MSC Splendida from Barcelona on a 1 week cruise calling at Genoa, Marseille, Naples, Messina, Tunis. Prices for a similar cruise start at around £700 per person. For more information, visit the MSC Cruises website or follow them on Twitter @MSC_Cruises_UK or on the MSC Facebook page. This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Join me on a week’s Mediterranean cruise with MSC cruises

Cruising can be dangerously addictive and the sunshine of the Mediterranean is calling me. This weekend Guy and I will be off for a week cruising around the Med with MSC Cruises, calling at some rather exciting places that are quite new to me.

Sailing the Med on MSC Splendida

Sailing the Med on MSC Splendida

We fly to join MSC Splendida at Barcelona, with perhaps just enough time to try some tapas in the old quarter. After that I’m thinking Bouillabaisse in Marseille, Gelato in Genoa or an authentic Margharita pizza in Naples. Or how about Lemon granita in Sicily or Tagine in Tunis? Or just as likely I’ll be feasting on some culture and street-life, ancient churches, crumbling palazzos, and Roman ruins in Pompeii and Taormina.

We'll be visiting Genoa on our MSC Cruise

We’ll be visiting Genoa on our MSC Cruise

I gather the MSC Splendida lives up to her name too. She’s modern and stylish with European flair to blow away those myths that cruises are just for the retired – why should they have all the fun? We’re looking forward to a cosmopolitan, European crowd and I’m expecting a few family groups on board, as it’s half term and kids sail free in their parents’ cabin with MSC.

A little fun or relaxation around the pool on MSC Splendida

A little fun or relaxation around the pool on MSC Splendida?

Still, on a ship big enough to accommodate over 3200 guests, there should be something for everyone, and when the splashing around the four pools gets to much, we’ll find a quiet corner in one of the lounges or retreat to our balcony cabin.

Stylish decor in the balcony cabin on MSC Splendida

Stylish decor in the balcony cabin on MSC Splendida

We’re counting on being well looked after by the crew, eating some delicious Mediterannean food and reliving our holiday in Texas with some Tex Mex in the Santa Fe speciality restaurant – hoping they serve those delicious fish tacos I enjoyed in Austin. I already have a Balinese massage planned on the sea day to sooth away the aches from all the sightseeing.

Planning relaxation time in the spa with a Balinese massage

Planning relaxation time in the spa with a Balinese massage

What should we not miss Marseille and Genoa? Any tips for Pompei, Taormina and Carthage where I’ll be brushing up on my Roman history? What souvenirs should I look out for in the souk in Tunis? And if you’ve sailed on MSC Splendida or with MSC cruises, do pass on any tips to help us make the most of our week’s cruise.

Mediterranean cuisine on board MSC Splendida

Mediterranean cuisine on board MSC Splendida

I do hope you’ll join me in a virtual voyage on MSC Splendida over the week from Friday 23 May to Friday 28 May when I’ll be posting photos on all my social media channels as well as some diary updates here on the blog. Follow along with the hashtag #MSCBlogTrip and be sure to let me know any tips for the places I’ll be visiting.

In the meantime, more articles to get you in the mood for my MSC cruise

Review of MSC Splendida from Ladies What
Review of MSC Splendida on Travel with a Mate
Review of MSC Splendida from Selena the Places
Visiting Genoa from Selena the Places
MSC cruises insider tips and advice – interview with Executive Director Giles Hawke

Articles from our MSC Mediterranean Cruise

All aboard at Barcelona – Day 1 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise
Bonjour Marseille – Day 2 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise
Palazzo and Gelato in Genoa – Day 3 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise
Naples and an excursion to Pompeii – Day 4 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise
Messina and an excursion to Taormina – Day 5 of my MSC Mediterranean Cruise

MSCCruiseslogo Thanks to MSC cruises who will be hosting my Mediterranean cruise. Heather and Guy will be travelling on MSC Splendida from Barcelona on a 1 week cruise calling at Genoa, Marseille, Naples, Messina, Tunis. Prices for a similar cruise start at around £700 per person. For more information, visit the MSC Cruises website or follow them on Twitter @MSC_Cruises_UK or on the MSC Facebook page.

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Six top beach bars in Barcelona

Ah, summer in Barcelona. Sightseeing at the Sagrada Familia, strolls along Las Ramblas, and beach, beach, beach. There’s no better way to relax after a long day of discovering the Catalan capital than by kicking back with a cool cocktail and some traditional Spanish tapas at one of the many beach bars in Barcelona. These popular hangouts, which can be found all along the seven main Barcelona beaches, come in many different shapes and sizes, from the popular “chiringuitos” to the biggest clubs and pubs lining the shore. Here you can dig into a delectable meal, enjoy a cheeky drink or two or simply chill out with the magical Mediterranean as your backdrop!

El Xiringuito de Escribà Beach bar at Barcelona Photo: http://xiringuitoescriba.com/

El Xiringuito de Escribà Beach bar at Barcelona

Chiringuitos

The chiringuitos of Barcelona are a favorite among visitors and locals alike during the warm summer months.  Best described as open shacks built on the sand where patrons can unwind during the day and party at night, they make for a great place to relax from dusk ‘til dawn.  These cool beach bars offer a wide variety of drinks and snacks, ranging from authentic tapas to some of the best seafood in the city. With some chiringuitos hosting live DJ sets, you can even enjoy a memorable beach party or catch some summer sports on the big screen TVs!

Whether you’re renting one of the many beach apartments in Barcelona and are looking to frequent these summer hotspots daily, or you’re just in search of a place to shake off the heat, head to one of these top chiringuitos or beach bars in Barcelona:

El Xiringuito de Escribà

El Xiringuito de Escribà, located on the beautiful Bogatell Beach, offers a delicious take on typical Mediterranean cuisine as well as some fresh seafood dishes. This bar-restaurant has a menu of cool cocktails to enjoy with your meal and is situated on one of the trendiest beaches in Barcelona. Be sure to save some room for dessert, as this venue is renowned for satisfying that sweet tooth!

Where to find it: Avinguda del Litoral, 42.  Metro L4-Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica Website: Xiringuitoescriba.com

IceBarcelona in Barcelona Photo: http://www.icebcn.com/

IceBarcelona in Barcelona

Icebarcelona

In search of a truly unique night out? If so, look no further than Icebarcelona! This ice bar is situated just steps from the beach, making it one of the top spots to cool down on a hot summer night. No need to bring a jacket, for as soon as you walk in, you’ll be handed a cozy winter coat and gloves. Don’t miss your chance to take a seat on one of the Park Güell-style benches while you enjoy your drinks that come served in frozen ice glasses. This one’s a great place to “chill” out!

Where to find it: C/ Ramón Trias Fargas, 2. Metro L4 -Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica Website: www.icebcn.com

Shoko in Barcelona Photo: http://www.shoko.biz/

Shoko in Barcelona

Shôko

Shôko, one of Barcelona’s best known nightclubs, is situated right on the beachfront, a location that allows for beautiful seaside views as you sip on your drink of choice. The unique décor adds an extra special touch, and with dishes ranging from European to Asian, you can’t go wrong with dinner and drinks at this chic locale. Don’t miss the amazing theme parties at Shôko, a club that is a regular host to all-star international DJs like Felix de Housecat and Sammy Jo from the Scissor Sisters.

Where to find it: Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 36. Metro L4 -Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica Website: www.shoko.biz

Princesa 23 Beach Bar in Barcelona Photo: http://www.princesa23.es/

Princesa 23 Beach Bar in Barcelona

Princesa 23

In the middle of the Barceloneta Beach promenade, you will find Princesa 23. The location of this chiringuito right on the sand makes it one of the most frequented in town. This place serves refreshing cocktails at reasonable prices and we recommend you stop by after 7pm to grab a discounted mojito or caipirinha as you watch the sun go down.

Where to find it: Barceloneta Beach. Metro L4 -Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica Website: www.princesa23.es

El Boo Beach Club

If you’re looking for a place with a more local atmosphere, then head to El Boo, one of the coolest beach clubs in Barcelona. A favorite among Barcelona residents, you can find this chiringuito situated on a small pier between the Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella beaches, making it a perfect place to relax by the Med.We recommend reserving one of their seaside hammocks or VIP beds so you can catch some rays in style.

Where to find it: Espigó de Bac de Roda, 1. Metro L4 – Poblenou Website: www.elboo.es

El Boo in Barcelona Photo www.elboo.es

El Boo in Barcelona

Mochima Bars

The Mochima Bars are a great place to enjoy a few drinks, morning, noon and night. This chain of chiringuitos can be found on both the Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella beaches and both happening huts are bit hits with the local crowd. Dig into the variety of Mexican-style snacks on offer, sit back with a refreshing “bebida” and if you are looking for a memorable Sunday night out during summer, head here for one of their free beach parties with live DJs!

Where to find them: Take Metro L4 to Poblenou and head along the beaches

So, whether it’s a relaxing afternoon under the Spanish sun you’re after or a full-on fiesta at one of the liveliest spots in town this summer, there will definitely be a beach bar in Barcelona for you!

This article is brought to you by Apartment Barcelona, a short and long term apartment rental agency with over 200 beach apartments in Barcelona.

For things to enjoy in Barcelona

Montjuïc in Barcelona – the hill that has it all
Where to find truly great tapas in Barcelona
Barcelona: Portal to the Fantasy World of Gaudi

Photo Credits: El Xiringuito de Escribà by Xiringuitoescriba.com, Icebarcelona by www.icebcn.com, Shôko by www.shoko.biz, Princesa 23 by www.princesa23.es, El Boo by www.elboo.es

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

Next Page »