Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Food Day Eleven

Starter-Beer Battered Cod Fingers
This starter was out of this world. The batter was super crispy, the fish was perfectly cooked and the curried tartar sauce had so much delicious flavour it was crazy. By far the best starter on the ship but possibly the best starter I've ever had! Perfection. 
Main-Beef Wellington
Beef Wellington is one of my favourite meals of all time and this didn't disappoint. The only thing that let it down was that the fondant potatoes as they were undercooked and hard and the pastry was a little undercooked but it was still really tasty and had a good texture. The meat was perfectly cooked and was very tender and soft and went really well with the tasty carrots. 
Dessert-Coffee Mousse
The texture of this mousse was better than yesterday as it was more of the mousse I'm familiar to. The taste was gorgeous and there was plenty of it and the little piece of chocolate on top was a nice touch.

Another great meal was definitely as good as yesterdays so to I'll match the score with a 9/10! 

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Monday, 29 September 2014

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!

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Friday, 26 September 2014

Food Day Ten

Starter-Thai Green Chicken Salad
I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this! I'd never normally choose a salad but I didn't fancy anything else on the menu so I thought I would give it a go and I'm very glad I did. It was really tasty with a little bit of a kick. The chicken was perfectly cooked, nice and moist, and went really well with the different textures, a mixture of crunchy and soft, The portion size was good and the sauce was very tasty, could have just done with a little more of it.
Main-Sea Bass
I love sea bass and I wasn't disappointed. The fish was cooked perfectly with lovely crispy onions (another favourite of mine) and a tasty tomato sauce that brought everything together, could have just done with a little more of it. The potatoes were thin and crispy and the spinach was nice and tasty.
Dessert-Coffee Mousse
Compared to all of the other mousses I've had on this holiday this one was certainly the strangest. The texture was unusual as it was a little bit chewy which I've never come across before. However the flavour was really nice and the little bit of raspberry sauce and cream were tasty as well. The portion size was just enough as well.

This overall meal was probably the best so far on this trip. Everything was consistently very good and I enjoyed everything a lot so this one gets a 9/10!

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Thursday, 25 September 2014

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.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Food Day Nine

Starter-Tomato Seafood Risotto
This was beautiful. The seafood was calamari, scallops, mussels and prawns and everything was cooked to perfection. The portion size was good and risotto was an excellent texture. The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been a more tomato flavour.
Main-Coq Au Vin
This dish was really nice. It was a little large but I'd rather it be too big than too small. The chicken was cooked beautifully and was in a very flavourful sauce. The spinach was nice but I wasn't a fan of the grilled polenta as I thought the texture was wet and strange and there wasn't much flavour coming from it.
Dessert-Creama Catalana
It came just like a creme brûlée which I am usually a huge fan of but I didn't eat the sugar on the top as it was very greasy. The texture was good and there was a nice orange flavour. It was very large and it came with a chocolate biscotti which was nice but I would have preferred it to have had more of a chocolate flavour.

This was a nice meal but it wasn't one of the best so I think it was a 9/10. 

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Monday, 22 September 2014

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.

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Friday, 19 September 2014

Food Day Eight

Starter-Slow Roasted Salmon
The flavours of this meal were beautiful and everything went really well together. It came with both cooked 'normal' salmon, as the name would suggest, and smoked salmon, which I love so that was a great surprise! The cooked salmon was perfectly cooked and came with a peppercorn topping which was beautifully tasty. Finishing it off was a hot horseradish cream which was really nice but just a little bit hot for me.
Main-New York Strip Steak
Much like the Manhattan strip steak it was cooked very nicely medium rare but a little chewy. The accoutrements were chips spinach and mushrooms which were really yummy and this is normally what I like when I have steak. The sauce was BBQ mustard which I wasn't looking forward to when I saw it on the menu as I don't really like BBQ flavours but I was pleasantly surprised. The only thing that let it down was that the steak was a little chewy but I preferred this steak to the Manhattan one.
Dessert-Orange Mousse
This dessert was actually really nice for a simple mousse. The texture was nice and creamy, slightly cheescakey, and the flavour was full of orange. There was a little raspberry garnish of the side which was tasty and sweet, a nice contrast to the orange.

This meal was a good little all rounder, consistently good with a few stand out elements, so I think it deserves a 8/10.

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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mallorca Majorca

Day numero seveno! The Mallorca (or Majorca, I don't know what the 'correct' spelling is) port was one of the most stunning views out of all of the destinations. It was like a little bay with some typical spanish buildings on the shore and the most beautiful historical church as you look on the horizon. One problem with this stunning panoramic view of the city of Palma de Mallorca is that we could see this amazing church, and how far away it was from the boat, and how far we were going to have to walk to get to it. Yes, walk...fun times.

I'm not huge on exercise, in fact I hate it very much, so walking to what seemed to be 20 miles around a bay was not my idea of holiday fun but hey ho! What made it worse was it was THE HOTTEST DAY EVER.....EVER! When it came down to it the walk went past the harbour and was very scenic, it was just the heat that made it harder. When we got to the cathedral it was totally worth the walk, it was stunning. The detail in the architecture was gorgeous and I liked how even the surrounding lake and trees all complemented and made it a lovely area to have a wander.

When we docked in Mallorca it was a Sunday and I'd love to go back another day as pretty much everything was closed which was a bummer. The buildings were very historic, quite old and a terracotta colour which I really liked as they were different from the other types of architecture in the other ports. We had a drink in two different bars, as although not many shops were open most of the bars were, and they were in cute little backstreets in the shade and had a nice relaxing atmosphere. In fact I think the atmosphere of the whole place was laid back. We didn't do a whole lot in Palma so I'd like to do a little more if I went back but I had a really nice visit. (Sorry about the lack of variety in the pictures, oopsie!)

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Food Day Seven

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.
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.
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.

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

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Monday, 15 September 2014

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!

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