After 3 nights in Barcelona, we board the MSC cruise ship Fantasia for a one week trip in the Med. Our stops are Marseille, France; Genoa, Italy; Naples, Italy; Palermo, Italy; Sicily, Italy; and LaGoulette, Tunisia on the African continent (that’s a first for us), and then one sea day back to Barcelona the night before our departure home.
We have not been to any of those cities or sights. I’ve been to Nice in the south of France but not Marseille. Katy was in Palermo when she was in her twenties but doesn’t remember much and Tunisia is a new country for us.
Here are the good points of this decision:
- We unpack once.
- The times in port are full days 8 AM to 5 PM not those shorties you get when the distance between stops is too long. Katy will get to see Pompei as it is a shore excursion from Naples I think. She has always wanted to see that.
- Boarding and disembarking is not a big hassle as the ship loads and unloads people at every stop. It is not a full week with all the same people fighting to get on and off the ship. We can take our time at breakfast and leave the ship when the crowd, if any, is gone.
- The price. It was $649 per person for the week (swing season my friends) for an inside cabin and $969 for a balcony. We are usually on the inside as crew or in my younger years I always took the inside. We saved $600 each when I found tickets returning from Barcelona instead of London Heathrow so this seemed a no-brainer. The 12,000 point savings at LeMeridien was a bonus as well.
Now the downside of the cruise:
Smoking is allowed in many parts of the ship. They divide up the restaurants into smoking or non smoking which helps, but some of the reviews say it is still an issue. Hence, we took a balcony cabin where we can get some fresh air if need be and just watch the Med go by. The ship is rated a four star experience and I’m a three star kinda guy so we’ll be just fine. We’ll meet some people we can’t even understand which is always fun, and we’ll see new sights together.
I’ve found that if I don’t rush my planning and just let it unfold things will always work out. The cruise idea hit me at midnight and by 1:30 AM I’d ruled out river cruises for this trip (they were all too long) and too expensive and found the Barcelona itinerary.
Now all that’s left is finding that Flamenco show in Barcelona. Oh BTW, temperatures will be in the mid 60′s and 70′s which is our perfect comfort range.
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases