Round Up #5

Sunny Weather

Now although some days it has been a little bit too warm, I’ve enjoyed looking outside and seeing the sunshine. I’ve also liked cracking out the summer wardrobe, shorts strappy tops and all things brightly coloured. It’s got me really excited for my holiday which is only less than three weeks away!

The world’s best primer

You’ll be hearing more about this on Monday but I thought I’d give it a mention here because this week it’s really changed my life. With having work experience and sometimes doing stuff afterwards on a night I need my makeup to last me 12 hours plus without much touching up. I’ve already spoken about my love for the L’Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation before but in the sun it’s all a bit too heavy. So by using the Rimmel Lasting Finish Primer it turns my L’Oreal True Match Foundation into a much longer lasting base because on its own it sometimes gets a bit too oily too quickly. But again more about this on Monday.

Food

So. Much. Food. Need I say more. I have a back log of food posts to go up (which is good as it means I can cover the weeks that I’m in Florida). There will be quite a few repeats especially in the next few weeks so don’t hate me but I did have different dishes so it should be alright. Tomorrow is also my mum’s birthday party and we’re having an afternoon tea style buffet which I’m really excited about but no doubt that will be in next week’s round up!

The Food Awards!

As with the cruise ports it’s time to reflect on the best meals of the holiday! I’ll choose a best starter, best main and best dessert, then the best overall meal, Let’s go!
Best Starter:
Without a doubt the Beer Battered Cod Fingers. They were so good that, to not sound too weird, sometimes I can still taste the curried tartare sauce, it was just that good!
Best Main:
Although the Seafood Spaghetti scored higher, the Salmon En Croute was a lot more memorable and had some really delicious aspects. Anything with pastry is a winner with me and everything else was just a cherry on top.
Best Dessert:
Three words, White Chocolate Cheesecake. It was so insanely good that I just want to relive the experience everyday for the rest of my life. 
Best Overall Meal:
This was a hard one to choose as there good points and bad points about all of them but I finally settled on the meal I had on Day Eleven. It was the Beer Battered Cod Fingers, Beef Wellington and the Coffee Mousse. There was a mixture of fish and meat and the dessert drew everything together , it was very nice indeed.
I’m going to miss looking back on all of the food I ate on my holiday because it reminds me what I ate and maybe what I liked enough to have again in the future. Bring on the next holiday so I can do this again!

Food Day Fourteen

Source

Starter-Pan Seared Scallops and Chorizo

Super delicious, but don’t expect anything less from this combo. The portion size was small but it was very big on flavour. It came with a creamy cauliflower puree which was really nice and the scallops were perfectly cooked. The chorizo was nice although it did just taste like crispy bacon and everything was in proportion.
9/10
Main-Seafood and Mash
I’d never come across this combination before but it was surprisingly good. The scallops were tough, which was odd as they were fine in the starter, but they still had a good flavour. The remoulade sauce was very hie and went well with everything. The mashed potato was extremely tasty, the fish was very nice and the prawns were the best thing on the plate.
8/10
Dessert-Lemon Tart
This was delicious. The custard was really creamy and had a lovely lemony flavour. It came with a biscuit base which I’d never had on this dessert before but it was really buttery and it was gorgeous. the portion size was good and it was just beautiful.
10/10

This was an extremely good overall meal and is definitely up there in terms of the best so this gets a 9/10.

The Destination Awards!

As my cruising journey draws to a close it’s time for me to reflect on all of the holiday fun! I’ve made a few categories and will be choosing a winner for each one, so let’s go!

Best port:

The winner of this one is Cadiz, for the sole reason that it was the closest port to the actual centre of the destination, meaning less walking and a happy Abz! Special mention goes to Vigo for also having a short walking distance to the shops but Cadiz just pipped it to the post.

Best experience:

Without a doubt it has to be seeing the dolphins in Gibraltar, it was just incredible. Having them swim beside the ship on the way into the port was insane and then seeing them up close and personal on the dolphin trip was the cherry on top of an amazing dolphin cake. I think it’ll take a lot to beat this as one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

Best ship view:

Ibiza is the winner of this one as the view from my mums and dad’s balcony was simply stunning. It was mainly sea but with a small rock in the centre and a large island in the distance. To the left was the best part as there was a lighthouse on a rock and it looked beautiful when the sun was making the sea sparkle. I thought that this view was so calm and serene it was definitely my favourite.

Best buildings:

Barcelona without a doubt. There was such an array of different buildings, from normal apartment type buildings to breathtaking gothic cathedrals. I also loved Barcelona as a place in general and would definitely go back (but not on a Saturday, it was a little bit too busy).

Favourite picture:

This one was really hard as I had A LOT of of pictures to choose from but I finally settled on this one. I have the worst aim and normally my photos aren’t in focus so I was really proud when I saw how this one turned out. Plus this little birdy is so cute, how could he not be my favourite!?!

This holiday was definitely unforgettable and was one of the best ever, go cruising!

Wandering Around Cadiz

Welcome to one of the weirdest weather days I’ve ever experienced in a foreign country. Is it hot, is it cold? Is it blistering sunshine or overcast cloud? We experienced it all! Cadiz was a beautiful place with a really nice atmosphere that was calm but bustling at the same time. The port was in the perfect place, stepping off the boat straight into the centre, my favourite (less exercise!). The cobbles narrow streets leading to hidden historic statues were beautiful and so cute!

The architecture in Cadiz is stunning. Much like Vigo the buildings remind me of little Paris apartments with the bright colours and balconies, except these were only three or four storeys so they weren’t as imposing and made streets and squares nice and light. There was one main church which was central in Cadiz and when you saw it from the boat it looks like the biggest, most imposing building in the world. However, from the ground it is beautiful. It’s in the most gorgeous square filled with market stalls (one which sells insanely good churros!).

Our plan for the day was just to walk around and have a little explore which worked out really well as everything was clustered together so we didn’t have to walk far to get anywhere. When we went and had our usual little drink at a bar we had a beautiful view of the sea with little bobbing boats and the beach that was full of life. I’d love to go back and maybe stay for a few days as I think it would be a really nice place to relax, have a browse of the markets and spend a little time on the beach. I seriously loved this place and would definitely go back.

Party in Ibiza

 Next stop Ibiza and I was quite looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. I have to say I was a little bit disappointed as to put it lightly there wasn’t really anything there. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery was beautiful and it was the most stunning port view we docked at, but in the actual town itself there was nothing there other than a few shops and bars.

The port itself was a twenty minute car ride from the ship (there seems to be a recurring theme at some of these ports) but this time we decided to take a different route. For €3 return there was a little speed boat that took 15 minutes and docked in the centre of Ibiza town. Can’t really go wrong! The boats came every half an hour, which is pretty frequent, and it was a smooth ride which I was grateful for as over the past couple of years I’ve started to get a bit travel sick.

We went for two drinks when we were in Ibiza town, one in Pacha (I think that was what it was called) and one in a bar next to the Hard Rock Cafe. In Pacha, I’m not even joking we waited 20 minutes for someone to take our order and everything else was just as slow. It was terrible, the staff were slow and unfriendly and I would never ever go back. This is when we went to another bar in the hope that we may have a better experience and we definitely did. The staff were friendly and worked at a normal speed (hooray!) and even the situation of the bar was better as it was in the centre of a little grassy square, lovely.

My overall thoughts on Ibiza is that if I ever went back, I would go to a different place or do my research more on Ibiza town to see if there was anything more interesting to do there that we just missed walking around.

Food Day Seven

Source

Starter-Crab Cakes

These had a really interesting texture but were full of a delicious crabby flavour. The dish came with two crab cakes, a basil alioli and a snowy pea slaw. I wasn’t a fan of the snowy pea slaw but the basil alioli was insanely good. The crab cake and the alioli went really nicely together.
7/10
Main-Manhattan Strip Steak
I had my steak medium rare and it was cooked really nicely. It was a little chewy but that was just the nature of that kind of steak. As always the vegetables were cooked really nicely and were super tasty. The garlic butter gave a really good flavour, but what would have made the dish better would have been to have chips instead of a jacket potato and if it had come with onion rings.
6/10
Dessert-Sugar Free Red Berry Tart
I was very surprised with this dessert as the sugar free element makes it sound like it wouldn’t have much flavour but boy was I wrong! The pastry base was lovely and thin but the sponge on top was a little bit strange and would have been better left off. The cream was really nice as were the berries and berry sauce, but I could have done with a little more sauce.
8/10

This meal was okay and elements were tasty but it wasn’t a memorable meal so I give it a 7/10.


Barcelona By Bus

It’s time. The moment you’ve all been waiting for, or at least I was in the destination line up….BARCELONA!!! I think that this was the place I was most excited to visit. I had been here before on another cruise but that was about six years ago and we only really got to see the football stadium (yay…) and a little bit of las ramblas, los rambles, whatever it’s called.

As with Valencia, Royal Caribbean put on their own transport to get you from the boat to the port entrance but don’t get it! The port themselves have their own bus and it’s half the price of the other bus (€3 return, €2 single), plus they’re really frequent.

We decided on getting the open top bus around the city as it’s a great way to see everything in a relatively short amount of time. My main wish for the day was to see the Gaudi park and to do that we had to get two different coloured bus routes which was a bit of a pain but it did mean that we got to see different areas of the city like the gothic area where the stunning church is and the olympic area which was also pretty cool.

Park Guell was absolutely my favourite bit as the sun came out and everything was so beautiful and there were cute little parrots and arggg!!!! If you’re in Barcelona I’d definitely recommend going to a any of the little bars and cafes off Las Ramblas (and there are plenty to choose from) because they are much cheaper than off the actual strip but are so cute! I had such an amazingly delicious cheesecake and churros, oh the churros. I also had my very first Kiko experience in these backstreets which was amazing and I may have gotten more excited than I should have…oops. To finish I’ll leave you with all of these pictures, have fun scrolling!

Valencia Sun

Day Seven, the start of four stops on the trot, phew! It’s going to be a busy, but fun, few days. When we pulled up into port we had a lovely view of the sea, which is a bit weird to say seeing as though our view 80% of the time our view is sea! The actual centre of Valencia is a twenty minute drive from the ship so we had two choices on how to get in: 1. Pay $72 for 4 of us to wait for 20 minutes to get a warm coach which would take another 20 minutes to get in, or 2. Pay €40 to get a taxi straight away. No brainer really. My advice for anyone going on a Royal Caribbean cruise is don’t use the transport as they provide as it is so overpriced and you can really keep the costs down by just using taxis or port provided buses.

When we arrived in the centre we just took a little walk around. The buildings were so beautiful and there was a mixture between really old church style and newer coloured balcony type buildings which I love. The streets were really cobbled and cute and there was a really nice feel around the place. I thought one of the best places in Valencia was the Mercado Central (Central Market). It was just full of fruit, meat, fish, nuts, it was amazing. The building it was in had a gorgeous domed roof and tiled walls.

Although we only spent a few hours in Valencia, I really liked it and would love to go back and explore some of the other areas. So overall hooray for Valencia!

Gibraltar Wildlife

As I said in a previous post, today was all about the dolphins! After being given the best ride into a port possibly ever, we had even more animal fun to come!

We arrived in the port quite late in the day at around one in the afternoon. We were booked on a dolphin safari at fourish so to pass the time we took a leisurely stroll into the town centre. It was only a 15 minute walk into the centre which wasn’t too bad but it was such a hot day (and I’m seriously unfit) I was dying. I really liked the centre as everything was all in one place, shopping streets all joined together by a central square. The streets were cobbled and there was just a nice feel around the place. We had a drink in the square which was a great place to people watch, hehehe. Also, who doesn’t like tax free shopping?!!?

After walking back to the port it was time for the main event, DOLPHIN SAFARI! After a 5 minute bus ride to a mini harbour we got straight on the boat and were away for dolphin fun times. They prepared us that the fog was rolling in so we might not see any of the cute little creatures but oh were they wrong! As soon as we got out into the open sea we were surrounded by dolphins who were showing off by jumping, diving and playing, it was so cute! It was such an amazing experience to see that many dolphins in one place. I’ll leave you with a few (or more…) pictures from the trip!