Well, on Friday we put our names down on the Celebrity cruise on the Summit from Barcelona to San Juan. The 14 day cruise includes stops in the Canary Islands, Maderia and St.Maartaan. It should be a fantastic cruise. I have heard wonderful things about the seasoned cruisers that choose the transatlantic cruises, so I am very much looking forward to meeting people on the cruise.
We have requested the Family Veranda cabin on the Summit, but right now it is only available as a guarantee. That means that we could be “upgraded” to a Sky Suite, Celebrity Suite or Penthouse suite, but those classes of suite either don’t hold 4 people or are most likely sold out. We are hoping that our travel agent can get us locked into a room now since we are 4 passengers. We are pretty much guaranteed a family veranda with a large aft balcony, sliding divider door, and 271 sq ft room and 224 sq ft balcony. However, the idea of not being locked into a particular room makes us a bit apprehensive. We really hoping that our Travel Agent will be able to work some magic and get us an assigned room.
Now, our next thing to do is figure out when to fly into Barcelona and where to stay. Hotels in Barcelona are extremely expensive and most of them do not have quadruple rooms (sleep four). That means that we will be paying about triple what we would pay for a comparable room in the USA. For example, I can get a room for 4 in Anaheim for the dance competition at the Motel 6 for under $70 a night. A comparable room in Barcelona would have to be two connecting rooms for around $210 a night. Consequently, I have been searching alternative accommodations. I went to vrbo.com, where they have apartments for rent. Some of these rentals are a bit off the beaten path, but still near attractions. They run about $160 a night for four, but include a full kitchen and a bit more privacy than a hotel. The only drawback is that some require a three night stay.
We also have to book our flights. If we use Cruise Air through the cruise line, the cost is around $1100 from Tucson. If we book independently, we are looking at prices closer to $750. We will probably go that way since we not only have control of which flights we take, but also the day we travel.
That brings us to our last dilemma, when to fly into Barcelona. The cruise leave on November 29th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That means that we can fly in any time during the previous week without increasing the amount of school the kids miss. I am leaning towards flying in on Tuesday, arriving Wednesday and spending three days in Barcelona in a “Flat”. Steve is not sure he wants to take the extra day of vacation since he usually takes 3 weeks of vacation around Christmas. That would mean flying on Thanksgiving (Thursday) and would only mean one day in Barcelona. After purchasing a great guide book on Barcelona, I am leaning towards the longer stay, as I truly believe that Barcelona is one of the great cities of the world and worth a three day stay.
More as the trip plans develop…