Hola beautiful people! For the last 2 weeks I have been on an amazing adventure with Royal Caribbean in the Mediterranean. The locations which I was lucky to visit were: Gibraltar, Cartagena, Barcelona, Mallorca, Malaga, Valencia, Cadiz and Lisbon. One of my previous articles was all about my preparation of this trip and the key essentials that I was packing. This article consists of imagery of my trip taken by my photographer Victor Kovachev and images which I took myself on my phone using VSCO.
This ship is absolutely huge! This was my first time cruising and when I first saw the ship I was stunned about its size and beauty. I was lucky that my suite was on deck 9 so I had an amazing view throughout the whole trip from a good height. I spent very little time in my suite as I was too busy enjoying all the leisure and activities on the ship. The staff were really great and I created a strong bond with them all. The hospitality I received was outstanding, they are all very welcoming and friendly from start to finish. I made great friends with many of the employees and guests who I most definitely will be staying in touch with.
Would I cruise again? Yes, most definitely! There are many benefits to a holiday on a ship and a holiday on land. On a ship everything is there and you can never be bored as there is always something to do and something going on. I would describe this ship as a town because just like any town there are many restaurants, bars, shops, clubs, sporting and leisure activities and so on.
Here are some fun facts about the Independence of The Sea ship:
– The ship is 339 metres long
– Accommodates 4,375 guests
– A full size basketball court
– 5 onboard clubs
– 15 decks
– Ice skating rink
– 6 whirlpools
– 21.6 knots cruising speed
First stop, Gibraltar which I describe as a hotter London. When I first got off the ship and stepped on to the land of Gibraltar there was a very British feeling, apart from the weather and scent of course. I was walking around exploring with Victor and came across Ocean Village which is a mixed use marina resort that’s pretty close to the port. Ocean Village consists of shops, restaurants, bars and casinos. A great place to spend a whole day in Gibraltar.
Next stop, Cartagena. Once seeing this beautiful city from my balcony I really felt the Spanish vibe. The sun was beaming early in the morning and the noise of the morning commuters. Just a few days before I was in London and the weather was not so great, suddenly then being in 30 degrees heat was amazing! I spent most of my time in Cartagena shopping and eating.
Stop number 3 was Barcelona! A city I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time so I was really grateful for this opportunity. It was the national day in Spain and the streets were very busy. I’ve never seen streets anywhere this busy before, not even here in London. It took me 5 minutes to walk 80 metres. My plans for Barcelona were arranged by Driftwood Journals, however due to the national day in Barcelona I was unable to carry out the recommendations. Although, I’d highly recommend for all of you readers to carry out their hot tips!
Mallorca, my 4th stop of the trip. For this city I had a beach transfer excursion organised by the kind team of Royal Caribbean. Palma Nova was the beach where myself and others were taken on a coach. This beach is stunning with a crystal blue sea. I am not a fan of sunbathing so instead me and Victor went to the local shops opposite the beach and bought a frisbee and played with that for many hours. As time went on, the beach started to get busier and busier which created a great atmosphere where people were playing beach volleyball, jet skiing, riding the banana boat and so on.
Stop number 5 was Valencia, the morning started off pretty grey but then the clouds were clearing and the sun started to come out. Royal Caribbean had also organised an excursion in this location for us where I went bike riding through the city with a tour guide who was really helpful. Biking through this city was an amazing and an unforgettable experience. My highlight of this bike trip was riding through the old Formula 1 grand prix circuit.
Before my trip with Royal Caribbean I had never been to a musical, on night 7 I had the honour to watch GREASE! This show was one of my highlights throughout my experience on this ship. Each and every member of the cast was perfect, they are all so talented. At the end of the show I had the pleasure of meeting the cast and stood in the middle of the stage with the cool kids. We ended the night by having an amazing speciality dinner at Chops Grille – the food was mouth-watering. Every morning, afternoon and evening there was a large buffet consisting of a wide variety of cuisines available from Indian to Chinese to Italian and so on.
Malaga, stop 6. Wow I love this city, it is magnificent! I didn’t have anything planned in advance for this city as I wanted to explore it myself with my photographer Victor. We decided to get a taxi from the rank outside the port to the city centre where all the shops are. Although the centre is beautiful it wasn’t really a chance to create a creative photo. So we carried on walking and as we were crossing a road I glanced to the right and saw this ancient castle. Immediately we took a diversion and headed straight towards this spectacular building which was very high! Climbing to get to the top took us at least 40 minutes in 35 degrees heat (with many stops in the shade of course). Eventually, when reaching the top everything was worth it. The photo below speaks for itself of what amazing views we had.
My trip was almost coming to an end and my second to last location was Cadiz, an ancient port city in southwest Spain. Cadiz was very hot! Probably hotter than the previous day in Malaga. After reading Road Less Forked’s article on ‘What To Do In Seville in a Day’ I was excited that we had an itinerary planned in Seville which is about a 50-60 minute drive from Cadiz. However, I had made many friends from the ship so decided to stay local and explore this ancient city with them.
So we left sunny Spain and headed to sunny Portugal where my last stop was the capital Lisbon. My time in Lisbon was organised by Salt of Portugal who had written up an article for me on how to spend 10 hours in Lisbon. Once we got off the ship the streets were hectic as it was rush hour, there were crowds of people and cars. So we took a taxi to our first stop off point which was Pasteis de Belem. From a distance the taxi driver pointed out the restaurant and the queue was very long outside. Immediately I said to Victor…”this place must be good if there’s 30 to 40 people queuing up outside.” We ordered these custard tarts which was recommended to us by Salt of Portugal, I must admit they were amazing! No wonder every person who was near our table was eating exactly what we were eating.
Our next stop was the Jerónimos Monastery which is a monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome near the Tagus river in the parish of Belém. The building is very large and is the length of a long street, the architecture is spectacular and remind me very much of the designs you see in India.
Lunch time, and as recommended by Salt of Portugal we visited TimeOut Market which opened in 2014 and now receives two million visitors a year, astonishing! There was such a wide variety of food it was pretty hard to choose what to eat. Eventually I chose to eat burger and fries from one of the stalls.
This trip with Royal Caribbean has been absolutely amazing! I will never ever forget this trip and I am so grateful to have collaborated with an amazing brand. I fall in love with people and places very easily, I met some amazing people on this trip who I look forward to seeing again.