We are starting our adventure on our second cruise ever. We said we would never cruise! The reasons were: cruising was for old people, the ships were too crowded, and all we would do was eat too much, once we got on board because we would be bored stiff! Those were the main complaints. There were several others……… But, then our friends booked a cruise on Regent Cruise Lines and loved it. So, we thought we would try it once. We are now embarking on our back to back (second and third cruise) This time through the Mediterranean. Three weeks of travel from Barcelona to Venice with a bazillion stops between and then from Venice to Rome with another bazillion stops between. Regent cruises are all inclusive. That means you pay one price and almost everything is paid for up front. Except your souvenirs, ha ha! Your first class airfare is paid for. Upon arrival at your cruise port you are picked up at the airport and taken to the hotel. You never carry or pull your luggage, they take care of all of that. Your 5-star hotel room the night before departure is paid for, if you book the Penthouse Suite or higher. You can arrive earlier than one day if you want to and explore the city. They offer excursions at the port city too. The Penthouse Suite on the ship also allows you a personal butler…….I’ve never had a personal butler. What exactly do they do? More about that on another post. All your food in every specialty restaurant on the ship, or any food or drink is paid for. All tips, taxes, and ports of call fees are paid for. All Excursions are paid for (there is an average of 43 excursion options per port to choose from) You are treated like royalty. There are less then 700 passengers on every ship in their 6-star fleet. There is an average of 532 crew members on every ship. I could go on and on…………but let’s start in Barcelona at the 5-star Fairmont ReyJuan Carlos I Hotel and see how everything goes.
and up close and personal……..
I wondered if this was the way weary travelers looked to the Catalonians upon their arrival to the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I in Barcelona. Small minded, big bodied travelers with a few tiny suitcases………. I was not too impressed with my first look at this 5-star hotel, but maybe I was tired, small minded and did not have enough stuff with me! Notice I did not say big bodied. Hmmm…..something to ponder, as I entered the hotel. The hotel was a concrete shell with lots of weird angled glass in the front. So I walked around the perimeter to see more…….
And then we went in………..and saw King Juan Carlos I first. The magnificent painting I mean………….
And wow what an atrium! There is five thousand tons of steel, 75,000 square meters of concrete and 10,700 square meters of glass surface to gaze upon! The hotel was originally built for the 1992 Olympic games to host the presidents, prime ministers and members of the royal families of Europe, who would be attending the Olympics. This six acre, unique urban resort won the National Prize for Architecture in 1993 and is now considered one of the best hotels in the world. The atrium is made from glass, mixed metals, and features dove-grey and gold accents. Sixteen floors souring high above the lobby features angled balconies stacked in a V formation on either side of each plush room. The elevator is glass also. The atrium reveals natural light pouring in from the glass facade.
And looking down from our room on the 9th floor……..
And at night looking down……
This jewel of pride offers 432 beautifully decorated and fully appointed rooms. The even-numbered rooms provide stunning views of the hotel’s pools, the outdoor ivy-covered restaurant, The Terrace, the six acres of gardens and the Royal Polo Club, where we could see the equestrian trainers with their thoroughbreds in the dressage arena every morning from our room on the nine floor. The odd-numbered rooms reveal dramatic sweeping views out over Barcelona.
The Terrace is one of five restaurants on the property………
The Terrace offered tapas-inspired lunches or casual dinners prepared on a wood-fired grill……..
For more views of the pools and outside eating areas read my previous post HERE.
The 24 hour bar named B24 located in the Atrium served an amazing assortment of spirits, cocktails and international wines in addition to Spanish influenced dishes. Tea service was available in the afternoons along with pastries or popular tapas.
So what did the rooms look like?
and most important the bathroom!
Well we are off to a great start I’d say………..the grounds were perfect, the food fabulous and our room spotless, with a beautiful view! Before we leave we’ll tour the hotel’s gardens! See you there!