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Cruise Report – Barcelona & Malta

May 27, 2008

If you don’t already know, Amy and I took a cruise for our 15th anniversary. Instead of trying to fit all of our stories and photos into one huge post, I thought I would split it up into several posts to shorten it a bit. I planned on doing this last week, but our schedule was crazy and we are just now getting into our normal routine. I should have a flickr account set up by the end of this series of posts for all of the photos.

We did a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ brand new ship the Norwegian Gem. Those of you who have been on a cruise know it is an engineering marvel. The ship is huge and there is so much to do. The ship has a capacity of 3000 passengers, but our cruise only had 2400. One of our waitresses told me that it had a crew of 1200!

As you know, international travel can be hard on your schedule. We left OKC at 8:00 am Saturday morning, which meant we were up at 5:30 am. After our connecting flights, we flew from Newark, NJ to Barcelona, Spain leaving Newark at 7:00 Saturday evening. It was an 8 hour flight which arrived in Barcelona at 9:00 am. Problem was when we arrived it was 2:00 am our time.  We had flown all day and night and skipped our normal sleeping hours! And it was time to start another day. The cruise lines probably know this is common and therefore had nothing on the itinerary for the first day. We were scheduled to be at sea the entire first day (Sunday).

I was really stressed about what we were going to do with our luggage when we arrived. They had told me that we couldn’t board the ship until noon, and I didn’t want to haul our luggage around the streets of Barcelona all day. All of that worry was unnecessary though because they allowed us to go right to the ship that morning and drop off our luggage. We spent most of the day walking around Barcelona (half asleep) looking at as many sites as we could.

We boarded the ship later that afternoon and crashed for several hours. Since the entire next day was at sea, we just hung out on the boat checking everything out and relaxing. We went to a show on Sunday night and the MC said that we needed to make sure and get up early enough to catch sailing into the port of Valetta in Malta. He said he had sailed all over the world and it was one of the top 10 ports he had ever been to. We were exhausted, and weren’t looking forward to getting up at 6:30 to catch it, but we did.

I didn’t really hear my alarm, so I jumped out of bed when I woke up and opened up our curtain to the balcony and the ship was slowly making its way through the gate into the port of Valetta. WOW! I yelled at Amy to come out onto the balcony as it was truly amazing! It was like sailing back into time. All of the ancient structures are still in place lining both sides of the port. Malta is a small island southeast of Sicily. You may remember from the Bible (Acts 27) that Paul was shipwrecked there.

We took a short bus ride into the heart of the city and just walked around looking at as many sites as we could. We mainly just walked the streets of the city, but we did go into one cathedral. It is St. John’s Cathedral dating to 1577. It was the first church of many that we visited on the weeklong trip. It is amazing to walk into these churches that have been around for centuries. Most of these churches consist of the main sanctuary, with side “chapels” down both sides.

After a long day of walking, up and down the streets of Malta, we headed back to the ship for some relaxation. We sailed past Sicily that night and woke up in Naples the next morning.

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