Day 3 - Barcelona Embarkation
Our day began with a wonderful room service breakfast. It was very delicious and beautifully presented. We ordered coffee and croissants with Iberico ham and manchego cheese. The other delight was the breakfast was only 8 euro each and Chris did not need to scour the area for coffee, so his first morning was off to a great start.
Before going to board the MSC Grandiosa, we visited the Sagrada Familia. We had pre-purchased the tickets for a 9:15 self guided tour. Chris and I had visited this gorgeous Church on a previous visit and wanted our friends to experience it as well. The lines were not long for Saturday morning and it was way less crowded than it was during our summertime visit years ago. We used our phones and AirPods to listen to the tour which was approximately 45 minutes. Chris and I both learned more from this audio tour and enjoyed this visit just as much as our first trip. Joe and Ammie were very glad we made the reservation and scheduled it before embarkation. We decided to get some exercise and walk back to our hotel on Las Ramblas. It was a very enjoyable morning and the timing was perfect to check out of the hotel and get a taxi to the pier.
The four of us were pretty excited to board the MSC Grandiosa as this would be the first time for all of us trying MSC. The addition of having a Yacht Club suite was even more exciting for us so we arrived around 11:10 to the pier. The first perk of the Yacht Club was quickly ascertained. A very long line had formed in order to drop luggage off but we knew to look for a Yacht Club tent outside. There was no line at all for the drop off area for us! They checked all our documents and tagged our bags. We were then escorted through security and the terminal to the Yacht Club lounge. Drinks were offered to us as we finished the check-in process while seated on plush couches. We received our key cards and Yacht Club RFID bracelets which can unlock your door, alert all staff that you are Yacht Club, can be scanned for purchases, and let you access the priority elevator. As soon as this was complete, a butler escorted us to the ship. He whisked us up to the Top Sail Lounge which is a part of the Yacht Club complex. A tray of drinks awaited us and we started our cruise with a toast of Prosecco. I looked at my watch and it was 11:30. This was the most seamless embarkation ever, including my luxury cruises. Bravo MSC!
We ordered another cocktail before lunch as we soaked up the luxury of the Yacht Club thus far. A butler told us our cabins were ready so we decided to check out our homes for the week before lunch. The cabins did not disappoint us. We had a bottle of Moët from the Staff Captain in celebration of our 25th anniversary on ice as well as some sweet treats. The forward facing balcony is roomy enough for us to enjoy together for a sail away.
After dropping off our bags, we went to the Yacht Club Restaurant for lunch. It was a delightfully relaxing lunch. I had an asparagus panna cotta for my starter and Chris had the hamachi. Joe and Ammie both chose the Caesar salad. For lunch, the beef tournedos was a popular choice for the table but I tried the vegetable pakora. Dessert was a trio of Italian delights which were the perfect size samples and very tasty. The service was very good and our wine glasses were often refilled. Everyone enjoyed our first meal on board.
A ship’s tour was our post lunch activity. We explored almost every public area to see what the Grandiosa had to offer. The public spaces are very nice. The pool areas seem a very nice size for a ship this large. The lounges looked inviting as did the specialty dining. We located the spa where we have access to the thermal suite though Yacht Club. The casino seemed small compared to NCL. The stores aboard look large but we would have to explore them later as they are not open in port.
When our tour was complete, we returned to find our suitcases had arrived at our cabins. Both sets of couples completely unpacked in the 20 minutes we had before our safety drill at 4 pm. We are professional cruisers!! It was a very easy drill with a mandatory video and quick check in at the muster station.
For sail away, we returned to Top Sail lounge and brought our bottle of champagne to enjoy. We watched Barcelona disappear from view and sipped some fine bubbly. The cruise was off to an amazing start.
We dressed for dinner and met at the Grandiosa Lounge to try a venue outside of the Yacht Club. It was very busy but had some nice live music. I met a friendly woman from Columbia and we did our best to communicate as my Spanish is very rusty. Even with our language barrier, we shared quite a few laughs together.
Our dinner was at Hola! Tapas. We had pre-purchased a dining plan and decided to try it out since we just left Spain. I had seen some mediocre reviews of this restaurant so I was slightly apprehensive. The package allows a limited choice of items but it was a nice variety and substitutions can be made for a nominal fee. The meal starts with a nice selection of tapas including olives, gazpacho, ham and cheese and two types of croquettes. Joe and I substituted the olives course for the shrimp and Chris added an order of patas bravas which is a mandatory item for us at any tapas restaurant. Every item was delicious. For our main, Chris and I both enjoyed the octopus and Joe and Ammie both tried burgers. The dessert was flan for all of us especially since there was a sign stating “best flan ever.” It was a super creamy flan but not really traditional. I would definitely rate this restaurant higher than most reviews.
The show was starting after dinner so we went right to the theater. We were told at the door we needed reservations but we were allowed in anyway. It is a very large theater and the show is offered at three different times. The cruise director wowed all of us as she easily rattled off conversation in five languages. The show itself wasn’t quite as impressive but I didn’t fall asleep so it wasn’t bad to me. It was a very typical cruise show of singing and dancing themed to rock songs through the ages.
We wanted to see the casino open so we took a quick stroll through the dome show. The dome with LED lights is pretty impressive and fun feature to the ship with different themed shows each night. The casino was busy and we did not stay long as we decided to return to our cabins and rest up for our day in Cannes, France.
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