The MSC Splendida

Friday, July 25, 2014, 13:25 Barcelona

We are aboard! As is typical, we arrived at the port early. Boarding time was posted as 14:00, but we usually just sort of nicely ignore that and show up early. Either one of two things happens. We either are able to get on the ship early, which happens most often, or we are some of the first in line. Anytime you are in a hot or humid climate, say here or New Orleans, either of these choices is a most wonderful choice. Having stood outside the New Orleans port terminal in 105 degree heat, we have since never done that again!

We arrived today at the port at around 11:45. We took a cab from the Rambla. It cost us only 14,50 and I tipped the guy since he got us here in about 15 minutes with traffic. We were in Embarkation Group 1, which of course was no surprise to me! I joked to Sweetie that that was simply confirmation that he is #1!

We sat for about three minutes before they called our group. We opted for the Allegrissimo drinks package because it not only includes sodas and bottled water but also includes ice cream, cocktails, beer and wine. All for 340 Euros for both of us for 8 days.

We had our obligatory photo taken and then we were on the gangway. The ship is gorgeous. We have never sailed on MSC before now, and this ship is only 5 years old. There are mostly European people aboard so far, as I have not seen (or more importantly, heard) another American voice yet. It’s still early, I know.

The ship’s staff are well-dressed and polite. Most speak a variety of languages, including some broken English and some really good English.

We saw two jellyfish from the 12th floor deck. They were huge, or at least I thought so. Dinner plate size, I would guess, based on the view from the binoculars.

I didn’t burn yesterday on our beach excursion, which is good. Using my “every thirty minute rule” seems to work quite well. Apply sunscreen every thirty minutes and you have less chance if getting burned. Ruby would be proud.

Much like our trip to Tahiti last year, the voices, for the most part, drown in the background. It is slightly different in that in Tahiti it was almost exclusively French. Here it is a wide variety – French, Irish and The Queen’s English, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. A few other are mixed in as well.

So far, we have seen no one we know for more than three days. Such liberation! The overhead speakers are playing Drift Away. American music, Spanish city, a boat registered in Panama, a good red wine (yes I have my Benadryl, Lisa), and the opportunity to learn about several other cultures. It honestly does not get much better than this.

Tonight, we set sail for France. A long-time dream of mine since I was a sophomore in high school French class, nearly 27 years ago. I can hardly believe that dream is about to come true. I can hardly believe my life has become what it is. This reality is so amazing I could not ask for more.

I. Have. Been. To. Europe.

Finally.

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