Voyager of the Seas, Norwegian Gem, Grand Celebration, Celebrity Equinox & The Aegean Pearl in Barcelona
We arrived in Barcelona on the 16th August.  This was my first time in this port and disappointingly there weren't the loads of ships in.  But what we had was better than nothing.  I had seen Voyager of the Seas in Southampton back in May and sailed on Norwegian Gem in October 2007.  But Grand Celebration and The Aegean Pearl were new to me.  Grand Celebration began life under Carnival as plain old Celebration.  The 47,262 grt ship entered service in 1987 where she continued until 2008 when she was transferred to Iberocruceros for Spanish cruising, of which Carnival is the majority shareholder.  We were due at 9am, but which time three out of four ships would be there.  The Aegean Pearl was due for noon.  I got up early anyway and saw some shippy outlines in the early morning haze from the balcony but Grand Celebration wasn't among them.  Later, on deck, she was.
We turned around rather too slowly.  Maybe they didn't want to dent the new girl on the block.  Once we had, we backed up towards our berth between Voyager and Gem.
After the last lot of morning excursions left at 10am (I was the only afternoon tour), I explored the virtually empty Equinox.  From the Tuscan Grille I saw the amazing sight of Voyager.  Pity about the blue glass.
When I returned to my cabin just after 11am, I spotted something in the distance.  Since there were so many ferries coming in and out I went to take a closer look from the boiling balcony and saw it was the last ship of the day.  The Aegean Pearl was the baby of the day coming in at 16,710grt and entered service in 1971 as Southward for NCL.  She was Seawing for Airtours Sun Cruises between 1995 and 2000 when she was sold to Royal Olympic Cruises who subsequently chartered her back to Airtours until they foundered.  In 2004 she sold along with all Airtours ships to Louis Hellenic Cruises and become Perla, a name she kept for a few years until it was changed to her current one under a charter to Golden Star Cruises in 2008.  I was delighted she was going to enter the same way the ferries did.  I wouldn't be able to see her from behind but I didn't have to leave the air conditioning!  It would also be a very good spot when she sailed at 10pm.  I was glad we had a good berth.
When I went for my excursion I took some photos en route, and also from the coach.  The latter aren't very good but you can't expect perfection from a moving vehicle.
Grand Celebration was due to leave at 6pm.  Since my tour arrived back at 6.30pm I knew I'd miss her sailing.  Voyager and Gem were down for 7pm, the same time we'd booked the Tuscan Grille.  As the tour returned early, I was lucky enough to catch her leaving from the balcony.
I went on deck at ten to seven and saw Voyager well gone.  Bitch!  There hadn't even been any blasting between her and Equinox, which at least would have alerted me she was on the move.  I don't know whether it's not allowed in Barcelona or they're just miserable gits, especially since there was a lot of it about in mainland Europe.  Also the ropes of Gem were being thrown.  I could get one at least while Juanita didn't mind waiting a while for me.
At this point, after more than six hundred photos, my brand new card had an error - ARGH!!!!!  Luckily I took my old ones and changed it one-handed to get the rest of the photos.  The card worked again later but I left the other in so as not to take any chances.  Gem didn't blast either.
Then I went to dinner so Juanita hadn't been kept waiting too long.  Later I went to the cabin for the sailing of The Aegean Pearl.  She didn't leave on time but a text from Pam letting me know she was on the move made me go to the balcony to keep an eye out.  I didn't have to wait long.  She was going too fast for normal camera settings so I put it on sport which, unlike my previous cameras, had noise lines.  But at least the pictures are better than a ship-shaped blur.
So she was gone but nice to see.  It had been a reasonably good stalking day but hopefully if I go there again there's more ships.  The review of my cruise can be found here.
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© Patricia Dempsey 16th August 2009
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