Med Cruise: Day 8 – Back to Palma

Leaving day is a bit of a muddle – our main luggage has disappeared, and we have to be out of the cabin by 8 am! Everyone was carting their hand luggage about with them – I took my time over breakfast, and chose porridge to set me up for the day. Transport to the airport was happening throughout the day, and all the cases had colour-coded labels to assist in the logistics of getting nearly 2,000 people safely to their various flights. We relaxed and read for an hour, and then found out that hand luggage could be left at a secure storage point in the Bounty Lounge. So we were free to head off into town relatively unencumbered.

We caught a bus into the centre from just outside the port terminal (1.50 euro) and strolled back into the old town.  I was now in pearl search-mode, but we could only find the ends of the spectrum – either a posh jewellers selling strands for 400 euro, or cheap accessories stores with fake pearls on dodgy clasps for under 10 euro.  There was only one thing for it – find that helpful pearl store we’d been in a week ago!  There followed a full-on session of map-reading and walking round in circles, but after a calming rest by a pond next to the Cathedral, we did indeed locate that very boutique.  And Centre Perles could not have been more helpful, even getting samples brought from their other shop so that I could get the exact length, size of pearl, and colour that I wanted. Roger negotiated a price, and they threw in a little dangle pearl charm for good luck (which I will add to my troll-bead charm bracelet).

We found our way back to the Placa Major, and tucked into some spinach croquettes, clamari, and compulsory manchengo as we enjoyed the street theatre.  I bought some flavoured fleur de sel to have in the kitchen as a daily reminder of our wonderful trip.

We took a taxi back to the boat in plenty of time for our bus transfer.  The plane was delayed slightly, but we made it home by 11 pm.

Cruise Tip Of The Day:  Make the most of your last day – stay on the boat if that’s what you loved the most, or head ashore if you prefer to get every last ounce of foreign delights.  And count the coins you have left to spend at the airport!

Med Cruise: Day 1

We set off on our belated honeymoon – a cruise around the Mediterranean! We’d booked it rather last minute, so I only had about 3 weeks to get ready, packed etc. I also wasn’t too sure what to expect from a cruise, this being our first one. I did some research on each of our stopping points, and noted the one “must do” in each, and noted them on my phone.
It was an early start – the flight was leaving at 6 am, so I wanted to be at the airport at 4, which meant leaving the house at 3, and setting the alarm for 2 am. It hardly seemed worth going to bed! But we did manage to drag ourselves away from the Queen’s Jubilee concert on telly, and got a few hours sleep.
I didn’t look too bad, given the hour…

Capsule wardrobe items: Gladiator sandals (M&S footglove), cotton turn-up trousers (from an organic cotton place on Lisburn Square that is sadly no longer there), tribal T-shirt (TKMaxx) and light shirt (Craghoppers). Battered old panama hat, and hand luggage which I bought at Banjul airport last time I was coming back from The Gambia. Grey pashmina from my daughter.

We paid £20 for extra legroom, but I found that I really didn’t like being separated from my handbag, which isn’t allowed to be stowed under the seat in front on these over-wing-exit seats.
Palma is a pretty big airport – but then Majorca is still a huge tourist draw for the UK and elsewhere. The Thompson check-in and transfer procedure was very smooth, and we were being welcomed aboard the cavernous Island Escape by about 11.30, heure locale.
the huge bulk of the cruise ship, Island Escape

Our first experience of the Beachcomber restaurant was pretty good, and I easily fround some grilled fish and salad for lunch. Some reviews had complained about the melamine plates in this restaurant, but that’s to allow you to take your food outside, or to eat by the pool.
We picked up a taxi outside the port, agreed a rate to take us to the cathedral, on my list of Palma musts. Entry to the cathedral costs 6 euro, but it is a stunning, vast cavern of space and light, with the most beautiful brightly coloured stained glass windows.
Leaving the cathedral, we called into a pearl shop – I’d said that I wanted a string of pearls as a honeymoon present, but we weren’t keen to buy anything in the first shop we found. But the assistant was extremely helpful, warning me to guard my handbag in the area round the cathedral, and giving us a map directing us to the little streets of the old town. We had a very pleasant wander of the tiny alleys, settling down to an iced coffee and some people-watching at a cafe on the Placa de Aeulia.
In Spain, Rog usually does the talking, but I managed to dredge my knowledge of Eurovision Nul-Pointers to remember that poor Spanish girl in her striped blue and white tablecloth dress, and recalled the word for boat. So I asked the taxi driver to take us to “la barca grande”. Which he did.
After the compulsory safety briefing (post the Costa Concordia disaster, it is a requirement that all passengers take part in this on their first day), we changed for dinner and decided to treat ourselves to the wine-and-dine package at the Oasis restaurant for £14.99 (all prices on the boat are in sterling). It was delicious.
carpaccio of beef

I wore a sleeveless black dress accessorised with coral jewellery, a coral wrap, and black fancy sandals. Felt very elegant!.

We found a quiet spot on deck to watch as the ship set sail at 11, and glided past the night-time lights of Palma…


Cruise Tip Of The Day: It can take a few hours for your luggage to get to the cabin, so pack a swimsuit and flip-flops, Tshirt and shorts in your hand luggage, so that you can change out of your travelling clothes.